'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.
On Wings and Wheels is the publication we are delving into currently. It takes the form of a series of Q&As from devotees to HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda. There are many sections and subsections to this book - not all will be given, but it is hoped that the general thought-flow will not be broken for those omissions. To obtain the full picture and essence of the discussions, do consider attempting to purchase the text from the link above; it is currently only available from India.
Q - at this point, a change in the discussion from the reference point of action to that of the subjective aspect; regarding the power in us which judges actions, is it an inexplicable faculty, a kind of intuition?
A - No. You cannot call it intuition because it is with the help of what is known the one judges the situation. It is the discriminative faculty within the intellect. For one who can pause the mind more, his or her judgement or discriminating power is more. One who is disturbed, agitated, has a decreased assessment faculty; but when the mind is calm, judgement improves. Intuition is nothing more, really, than a highly attuned level of assessment and judgement - there is anticipation involved, but again this can only come from having gained experience.
THE CONDITIONED INTELLECT
Q - the intellect judges not only with the help of wisdom acquired, but as you said earlier, with the trigunas - do these conditionings colour judgement?
A - Yes, it is the intellect that judges and the intellect's judgement would change according to the moods, sattva, rajas, tamas.
Q - So conscience is intellect with its accumulated wisdom, conditioned by the moods?
A - Yes… and that's how mistakes are made. The intellect does include the experience of the past - watch how a child judges compared to a teenager or that one to an adult. It is easily seen that experience matters in one's judgements. Equally, the quality of one's temperament affects this; sattva is much the best environment to make decisions, whilst in tamas there will be a total lack of wisdom or care - or even interest. If the mind is slightly disturbed, judgment and interpretation of the data will be confused. Then you act. At the moment you act only as the intellect judged; later you realise that it was a mistake. That is why we say that sin is only wrong judgement. There is a fine example given by Lord Jesus when Mary was to be stoned; he put it to the crowd that if any of them could claim to have made no errors in their lives, then by all means they must cast their stone upon her. In this way he was honouring the law of the land (as it was then) but enabling all to make their own decision about their judgement regarding stoning another human being. What a precise, beautiful, discriminative judgement - nobody dared touch the first stone!
REASON AND GOODNESS
Q - Does pure goodness equal pure reason - that is to say, is a purely rational man a purely good one?
A - The two are not dependent. Pure goodness arises from sattva. However, it is possible to be purely rational and be rajasic, or even tamasic. The rationalisig is done with the colouring of the gunas. It might be said that Hitler was a very rational man - he could make fine arguments for all sorts of horror. To be able to rationalise does not necessarily mean goodness; we can justify all our wrong traits if we put our mind to it!
Q - then would the rajasika and tamasika best be guided by the moral judgment of the sattvika, or should the person evaluate his actions according to his own judgement, albeit imperfectly?
A - The Gita states it; even though imperfect, you should continue to do your duties according to your station. It is better to follow one's own judgement, albeit imperfect, as this is the dharma. It is a complex matter of vaasanas, karma and so forth, which must be answered for during one's current dharma and therefore one's own judgement will correct - or add - to the debt. When the load of vaasanas is reduced, our judgment will become purer.