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Atma jffana (knowledge of self) is earned through learning that distinguishes

Vidya (knowledge) from Avidya (ignorance). Intuition is the supreme source of
knowledge that occurs in mental activity. This may not be the paramount source of
knowledge, may be just a transcendental sense as held by Spinoza, a contemporary
of Samkara.

Intuition literally means the ability to know something by using feeling

rather than considering the facts. Intuition is an idea or a strong feeling that something
is true although one can not explain why. For example, one says that I have an
intuition that something awful is about to happen . Intellect is the ability to think
in a logical way and understand things specially at an advanced level.

In ethics, the view that we apprehend moral truths direct by a special faculty
analogous to sense perception. More generally this is supposed to be an aspect of
the faculty by which we apprehend all apriori truths.1 Mind does not function in
fraction. It has validity in aesthetic sensibility. Both are complementary; for aesthetic,
knowledge is supplied by intuitive experience. Intuitive knowledge is real, it
penetrates deep into the heart of reality. According to Dr. Radhakrishnan the real
is the sole base that is not in space and time, neither it is universal.2

A number of questions can be raised about intuition. All questions do not

meet with definite answers. One question leads to series of other questions. The
first question - does it occur to a mind naturally without prior seeking? Or effort
is to be made to get it? What then is the nature of the effort? Is intuition of the
same value to all or does it differ from man to man? Intuition, therefore is not free
from ambiguities, and answers to the above questions are different to be given.

According to Bergson intellect and intuition are two sources of moral and
religious consciousness. In his book The Sources of Morality and Religion he
indicates that intuition is not natural but the outcome of the laborious efforts, but
he hardly specifies efforts. Intuition, therefore varies according to efforts put by
the individuals.

Intuition reflects knowing, it has direct recourse to knowledge by which we

see things as they are, knowledge has certain forms - the intuitive knowledge and
the logical knowledge, imaginative knowledge and intellectual knowledge, individual
and the universal knowledge - intuition may be again productive of images or
productive of concepts. " 3 Intellectual knowledge is not possible until data are
supplied from some where.

Intuitive knowledge is the knowledge of self as the Hindu philosophers

deem it. This is just atma jnana (self-knowledge). This is indivisible, one and
above all. Self knowledge is not logical. It is the basis upon which ail categories
of knowledge stand and grow. It is the direct knowledge.

Intellect is useful for action, the knowledge that helps inventing a tool,
thereby controlling environment. Intellect is useful for action that ultimately begets
culture. Both intellect and intuitive knowledge are justified. But intuitive knowledge

lies beyond intellectual knowledge. They are not contrary to each other but rather
complementary. Intuition too has an itellectual side. Therefore the distinction

between the two may be analogous to that of understanding and reason.

Understanding is abstract while reason is concrete, finding universal in particulars

and forming with them an inseparable unity.

In Indian Philosophy Intuition is an important source of knowledge.
Sri Aurobindo views intuition in a restricted sense. He takes it as higher knowledge
but does not take it as the highest source of knowledge. He distinguishes between
intuition and reason and argues that reason can know only phenomena. It cannot
comprehend Being (Absolute). Reason, therefore helps cultivation of empirical
knowledge, having the way for the realization of Absolute, but cannot reach Absolute
by itself.

Intellect can be described as faculty of knowing and reasoning. Intellectuals

therefore are persons of good understanding which guides intellect to actions and
the persons become enlightened. They only are recognized as intelligentsia of the

The word intelligentsia was first used by the Russian revolutionary in 1917.
The Hindu thinkers believe that there is certainly something beyond understanding
by which man can be at least conscious of his personal self and that can be
philosophically termed as intuition. One cannot take an outward view of it. It is
something inner that can be owned by the sheer in practices. One of the
characteristics of the Indian philosophy is that it lays emphasis on wisdom that
comes out of ones inner self. The knowledge of self is possible only through
intuition. Dr. Radhakrishnan says that in intuitive apprehension we become one

with truth and one with the object of knowledge. The object seen, however, is the
inseparable part of the self.

Intuition once conceived does the functions of sense. It is a form of

uninferred immediate knowledge. It is only an account of knowing reality. Immanuel
Kant held that in our immediate awareness of our selves we have an intuition, not
mediated by thought of the will as the ultimate fact of reality.
6 6
Intuitive knowledge provides major premise of the universal scale which
remains without questions. Intuition indeed is the apprehension of soul, not
irrational assumption. Intuition avoids disbelief. Spinoza aptly says : To know

the essence of things i.e. to understand them not in their general aspect as the
scientists do, but so to say as God does from within, we need the higher grade
of knowledge............ 6. So intuition is an important means of knowing the highest
reality which cannot be apprehended by any other means.


Dr. Radhakrishnan says that it would be correct to call his philosophy by the
name Integral Experience. Prof. C.E.M. Joad in his book Counter-Attack from

the Eastdescribes Dr. Radhakrishnan as a liaison officer between two civilizations.

Prof. J.H. Muirhead calls him a philosophical bilinguist. Dr. Radhakrishnan is a

synthetic philosopher and conceives that there are different grades of consciousness
and ways of knowing. Knowledge is scientific, mathematical, realistic, rational and
also extends axioms and values to intuitions.

Indian Philosophy is intuitive in character. Behind the intellect there is a

superior power of consciousness called intuition which discerns the truth, the

thing-in-itself and the real in its native individuality. We get in it the vision of truth

and direct immediate perception. After we have acquired the discipline of intellect,
intuition begins to unfold in us. By such an emergence of intuitive consciousness

the intellect is transcended and comprehended in the higher consciousness. The

nature of the reality is fully manifested in intuition and one becomes free from
speculative intellect as well as past impressions. There are three ways of knowing

viz. sense-experience, discursive reasoning and intuition.

The sense experiences give us the knowledge of sensible qualities of object.
The data serve as the subject matter of natural science which give the conceptual
structure to describe them. Intellect gives us the logical knowledge based on the
dense material. The data are analysed, synthesized and developed into conceptual
knowledge. The knowledge so derived is indirect, conceptual and symbolic. These

depend on our perceptions, interests and capacities. Intellect is an inadequate

instrument. It fails to give us knowledge of the object in itself. It goes about and
about the object without taking us to the heart of it. Both sense and reason call for

a higher consciousness. A higher unity in which thought, feeling and volition are

blended into a whole. Intuition comprehends the entire nature of reality. Dr.

Radhakrishnan agrees with Bradley. He says that we can form the general idea of

an absolute experience in which phenomenal distinction is merged, a whole become

immediate at higher stage without losing any richness.

Western Philosophy is mainly empirical and rationalistic which lays stress

on science, logic and humanism. As a rational animal man utilizes critical

intelligence for practical ends. Western Philosophy insists that the intellectual

method is the organ of knowing the Ultimate Reality. This is the determining

feature of ancient Greek Philosophy especially in the thoughts of Socrates, Plato

etc. It is found in a developed form in modern philosophy also. According to the

advocates of this method since philosophy is concerned with thinking reason alone

is the final test of knowledge. From the Socratic insistence on the concept to
Russells Mathematical Logic, the History of western thoughts has been a supreme
illustration of the primacy of the logical. Rationalism is deed in our bones, and we
feel secure about scientific knowledge and skeptical about religious faith.

Socrates regarded that conceptual knowledge as the highest type of

Knowledge. Plato also supports conceptual knowledge as most intellectual which
according to him alone reveals the universal, changeless and essential elements in
things as true knowledge.

According to Descartes reason is the only source of knowledge. Spinoza

also shows the importance of mathematical method in Philosophy and accepts
reason or intellect as the source of knowledge.

The climax of intellectual approach to reality is found in modem Western

Philosophy in the thought of Leibnitz. He holds the extreme rationalistic view that
all our knowledge and ideas are implicit in our mind from the very beginning. Only
reason is the final test of knowledge through which only definite, true and universal
knowledge can be attained.

The life force evolves intellect as an instrument for the practical control of
the environment. Intellect is useful for action. It is the tool- making faculty by
means of which life fashions inanimate matter into instruments for the extension
of its own power.

The intellect depends on the data of sense experience. It associates and

analyses sense data and draws conceptual knowledge out of them. Intellect stiffens
our life and binds it in concepts. It is an instrument of consciousness that gives us
empirical knowledge. Intellect is a part of consciousness while intuition is the
totality of consciousness. Man experiences different grades of consciousness.
Comparatively intellect is a lower grade of consciousness. While sense is the lowest
form of awareness, intellect is higher to it and intuition is the highest consciousness
that assimilates and transfigures sense and discursive knowledge.

Intellectual knowledge is one of abstractions. The intellect abstracts only

those qualities or functions from the reality which serve individuals practical

purposes. It abstracts only those qualities which are practically useful.

Intellect is a finite and limited principle of knowledge. It cannot perceive
the reality in itself. As it does not perceive the truth, it invents theories and awaits
confirmation. Intellect gives us partial knowledge of the relations, symbol and
characteristics of a thing, but it does not comprehend the truth. Each knowledge
increases with experience. Intuition gives us profound consciousness of reality.

In intellectual knowledge there always remains the distinction between the

subject and the object. The contact is always mediated by sense perception. It does
not provide knowledge of reality. A thing is known in its definite relation to other
object through reason. It postures the existence of a reality- the validity of which
is derived through connections.

Intellect does not impart knowledge of reality. It is valid only so long the
intuition does not manifest in us. Dr. Radhakrishnan says that logical knowledge
is non-knowledge, avidya and valid only till intuition arises. Intuition is experienced,
and gets back to the primeval spirit in us from which our intellect and senses are
derived. The more deeply we advance and penetrate, the more the intellect gives

way to the universal and infinite consciousness viz. intuition. We get back to the
source of intellect, the supreme consciousness. The intuitive consciousness is the
totality of vision.To quote Dr. Radhakrishnan: It is the wisdom gained by the whole
spirit which is above any fragment thereof, be it feeling or intellect. The whole life

of mind is more concrete than that of any specialized mode of it.

The intellect is one and continuous with intuition. The intellect advances and
ultimately consummates itself in the latter. Intuition is supra rational and it is not
irrational. One becomes more and more rational when advances towards intuition.
Dr. Radhakrishanan observes: Intuitive knowledge is not non-rational; it is only
non-conceptual. It is rational intuition in which both immediacy and mediacy are
Hegel in his dialectical method lays much stress on reason to make it organic
to reality and completely denies the importance of feeling and willing - the two
faculties of mind. But being the method of analysis only intellectual method cannot
supply the materials of knowledge. An exact explanation like mathematical laws are
not possible in philosophy; further philosophy is an explanation of fact and values
based on real experience. Thus if intellect is taken as the only method of philosophy
it would lose all its richness, flexibility and concreteness. It becomes rigid, abstract
and static and there would be no distinction between mathematics and philosophy.
Therefore the anti- intellectualist philosophers have rejected intellect as an
instrument of metaphysical enquiry levelling criticisms against it.
In the Upani^ads it is stated that the Ultimate Reality is beyond the reach of
resoning or discourse. Intellect or reason is limited in its approach to the realization
of the ultimate values of life. This inadequacy of intellectual knowledge is found
in the intuitive development of knowledge which limits the intellectual knowledge
and cannot reach the root of a thing nor can attain the whole.
According to the extreme supporters of intuition intellect is completely
unimportant or destructive. But Bradley, Bergson and Lossky are some of the
philosophers who lay some philosophical importance to intellect.
According to Bradley intellect is a falsification of the real 10 by breaking
up the non-rational unity of reality into relational differences.
Eminenet thinker Gentile holds that intellect being a passive receiver or
spectator, fails to grasp the reality. The passive intellect and the independent object
are both abstractions and false.''
Criticisms are levelled against intellect in Indian Philosophy also. The
condemnation of reasoning or tarka is as old as the Upanisads which placed the
Ultimate Reality entirely beyond the limit of reasoning and argumentation, Samkara
repeatedly asserts that discursive intellect cannot grasp reality. Brahman can not
become the object of perception, as it has no form and it does not land itself to
inference and other means, as it has no characteristic marks. He maintains that
reasoning as it depends on individuals has no solid foundation. Arguments held
valid by some, may be proved fallacious by others. Reasoning, in so far as it is
independent of authoritative revelation has nothing to check its hastiness and
consequently a reasoned conclusion cannot be placed above the risk of refutation
by a logician. It is, therefore only logical quibbling that is condemned by Samkara.
We can not question the validity of intellect in the phenomenon world.
Dr. Radhakrishnan is seemed to be influenced by the attitude of Samkara. In
/ _
Sunyavada Nagarjuna shows the absurdity of dogmatic and rationalistic view of
reality. By exposing the hollowness of their logic and the self contradictory
consequence of their assumptions, Nagarjuna wanted to disprove the calm of reason
to apprehend reality.

Dr. Radhakrishnan holds the inadequacy of intellectual knowledge. Intellectual

knowledge stands in the way of intuition for the apprehension of Ultimate Reality.

But Dr. Radhakrishnans criticism of intellect is different from the criticism

of other thinkers. His criticism of intellect is not the total denial of it; but he only

tries to show the limits of its scope. Dr. Radhakrishnan never denies the significance
of intellect; his integral experience also includes reason or intellect.

Dr. Radhakrishnan observes that being analytic in nature intellectual

knowledge gives us a separate tenn and relation but fails to give a unified knowledge.

By the process of analysis, it may help to have an organized systematic expression

of a thing; but it cannot replace intuition. He says: It deals with relations and
cannot grasp the relationless absolute . Thus intellectual method however, rich it
might be, is true only in the scientific analysis but so long we remain at the level
of intellect, profound philosophic synthesis cannot be obtained.

A noted advocate of intusionism Bergson also holds the view that intellectual
analysis is useful only in science and in our day-to-day life which only goes round
the reality but cannot grasp the reality which according to him is an ever mobile
Elan-Vital. He says that intellect does not give us split sunset which has its own
beauty, but a conceptual notion that it has qualities of gold, light etc.

Intellectual knowledge is based on the presupposition of the duality between

the subject and the object, between the knower and the known where the

consciousness of a thing and its being remained is always distinct. Thus it is

applicable only in the empirical field where the duality between the subject

experiencing and the object experienced is distinct. But reality as a synthesis of

thing and being, subject and object a non-dual pure identity is beyond the reach of

the discursive intellect. To quote Dr. Radhakrishnan: We have to pass beyond

thought, beyond the clash of oppositions......... If we are to reach the real where
mans existence and divine being concide.

Intellect in its very attempt to know reality separates the that from the
what. But to know the reality in its unique unity and synthesis if any could be made

by intellect to unite the that to the what. However, the original unique unity of

the reality cannot be restored. According to Dr. Radhakrishnan if we want to know

things in their uniqueness, in their indefensible reality, we must transcend discursive


Bradley also maintains the same view in his distinction between the that
and the what. According to Bradley in making a judgement upon anything the
predicate is separated from the subject. A distinction is always made between that
and what. Thus the very essence of thought - reflection lies in the mental separation
of that from what. Thought is limited in the approach of realizing the notion of
reality for the reason it is wide. The what may extend it but can never embrace the
reality. Thought lives in the distinction between the reality o f that and the abstract
character of what. Thought in its actual process and results cannot transcend the
dualism o f that and the what'5.

Intellect being enveloped by the categories of understanding like space,

time and causality etc. provide us only the appearance of reality and not reality
proper. By the application of the categories, thought only distorts reality and its
attempts to interpret reality is only an effort to misinterpret it. The categories are
applicable only to the world of experience which is always within space and
time- where the reality is non-spatial, non-temporal by nature. Dr. Radhakrishnan
holds : Our intellectual categories can give descriptions of the empirical universe

under the forms of space, time and causality, but the real is beyond these.
While containing space, it is not spatial, while including time, it transcends
time, while it has a causality bound system of nature within it, it is not subject

to the law of cause'6.

Immanuel Kant while making the distinction between phenomena

(appearance) and noumena (reality) shows the application of categories only to
the phenomenal world beyond which reality is infallible to it. This shows the
limitation of intellect.

Being conceptual in nature thought becomes symbolic. Concept is formed

by abstracting the universal essence of individuals and thus stands only as a symbol.
Thought thus is indirect knowledge. Being concept mediated it fails to grasp the
reality - a concrete individual aspect. Reality is an immediate individual experience.
Conceptual knowledge by intellect gives us only objective knowledge. Though
conceptual knowledge is useful for the expression of perceptual knowledge the
conceptualization of experience cannot grasp the whole truth which being beyond
the concept is pure subjective identity. Intellect is thus limited in the apprehension
of reality. According to Dr. Radhakrishnan, What is immediately apprehended is
different from what is conceptually constructed'7.

Further, in the attempt to know a thing intellect always relates it with

something else and thus becomes relational in nature and is unable to grasp the
non-rational absolute spirit. Its attempt to know the real stands in the way for
attainig reality which is spiritual and non-rational unique identity.

Bradley also holds that logical thought is the relational way of explaining
thing; but reality which is an unrelated whole of experience cannot be conceived in
a relational form. Intellect instead of apprehending reality is merged in the

undifferentiated one Absolute along with feeling and willing.

Relational thought fails to give us the reality in its organized comprehensive

essence. It gives us the relative knowledge of reality as everything in this universe
is relatively true being the appearance of the Absolute. Hence, though intellect fails
to give us whole truth it gives us partial truth. So for Dr. Radhakrishnan : it is the
creative effort of the whole man as distinct from the intellectual effort that can
apprehend the nature of reality .

In the field of epistemology intellect is found to work always on the materials

supplied by sense experience. Hence, in the pursuit of reality along with intellect
sensations should also be presupposed. Thus intellect cannot be taken as an
independent means.

In its progressive march intellect may help us to clear the distinction between
right and wrong by removing obstacles caused by error and thus makes us ensure
about the commitment of errors and mistakes by the discursive knowledge. But it

fails to enter into the heart of the reality. So it can be taken as a means of knowledge
and never as the end in itself.

The aspiration of the human life - the realization of reality is possible when
intellectual function will be combined with the functions of other two faculties of

feeling and willing. To quote Dr. Radhakrishnan : All the aspirations of the

human mind, its intellectual demons, the emotional desires, volitional ideas are
there realized.

But Dr. Radhakrishnan has not totally rejected intellect; rather he has taken

it as a supplementary factor in the process of his ultimate realization of intuition.

He says : Intellect need not be negated but only to be supplemented. Intellectual

knowledge by the pragmatic outlook helps us to serve our practical interest to act
on our environment to do things and to predict and control them; but fails to give

us an access to reality. Thus what we establish intellectually or theoretically should

be brought to practice.

Thus intellectual progress helps us to clear the mental atmosphere by

removing the shadows caused by errors and illusions. Though it is not a way of
knowing things it is a way of arranging, correcting, regulating and systematizing

thought. It is a way to knowledge or truth but cannot achieve the wisdom where the

human soul realizes its identity with the supreme soul.

Though the insufficiency of intellectual knowledge is shown by

Dr. Radhakrishnan he never regarded intellect as antagonistic to intuitive knowledge.

In this regard Dr. Radhakrishnan has criticized Hegel for the reason that intuition

is regarded by him as something unrelated to intellect. Reflective knowledge is a

preparation for intuitive apprehension. He opines : Though intuitive truths cannot
be proved to reason they can be shown to be not contrary to reason, but consistent
with it.*'

Thus in criticising intellect Dr. Radhakrishnan never proves himself to be an

anti-intellectualist. To him, intuition which ignores intellect is useless. The two are
not only incompatible but vitally united.

Dr. Radhakrishnan has not used intuition to mean regretful acknowledgement

for the doctrine which could not be justified on intellectual grounds. It is not a
shadowy sentiment or pathological fancy fit for caprice. His intuition is not

antagonistic to intellect too. Intuition transcends thought but does not negate it.

Thus in his criticism of intellect he only shows the limitations of intellect

but never regards intellect and intuition as constituting any kind of polarity. They
are not opposed to each other. Rather he maintains a continuity between intuition

and intellect. In other words in his criticism of intellect it is the misuse of thought

and not the thought proper which is criticized.

Dr. Radhakrishnan is not a complete enthusiastic intuitionist nor an over

intellectualist. Thought may give an idea of reality but an idea of reality is not
reality itself. Manana or deliberation is an essential step for the rise of true
intuition. Dr. Radhakrishnan says that philosophy is not matter of dialectic and

intellectual jugglery, but a product of life and meditation on it. Intellectual

interpretation of experience is an indispensable stage of discipline leading to the
highest revelation. Reality transcends the power of discursive thought. But a

rigorious exercise of intellect must precede the highest experience. The role of

intellect has never been nullified by Dr. Radhkrishnan. He says : Intellect is not

merely repetitory but also constructive and creative. It can create novelties and

understand novelties, for they are not only differences but also identity in
difference. So intellect plays a role even in the apprehension of the Ultimate
Reality. It gives us a symbolic knowledge of the reality. Intellectual discipline is a
precondition for the intuitive grasp of reality. Our intellectual efforts consist of
intertwining of conceptual thought and intuitive insight as Ruth Reyna observes : In
his emphasis upon intuition as the means by which the individual certifies the
Supreme as Real and One, Radhakrishnan does not intend to invalidate the intellect
but only to supplement it.

Thus intellect as regarded by Dr. Radhakrishnan is related with intuition - a

relation of interdependence. To quote him : The results of intellect will be dull
and empty, unfinished and fragmentary without the help of intuition, while intuitional
insights will be blind and dumb, dark and strange, without intellectual confirmation.
The ideal of intellect is realized in the intuitive experience, for in the Supreme are
all contraries reconciled.


Intuition reveals the inner truth and holistic knowledge about the superficial
knowledge of reality that intellect gives us. Dr. Radhakrishnan personally uses
intuition to mean integral experience. He elucidates the nature and salient features

of intuition as follows.

1. Intuition reveals the knowledge of the thing-in-itself.

2. Intuition has four-fold process.
3. Intuition is knowledge by identity.
4. Intuition carries with its own guarantee.
5. Intuitions have the character of revelation.
6. Genius and creative work depend on intuition.
7. Religious intuition is the highest type of intuition.
8. Intuition leads to salvation and
9, Intuitions are ineffable.

The above characteristics are discussed below at length.

1. Intuition reveals the knowledge of the thing-in-itself :

Intuition gives us direct perception of things-in-themselves. Whereas intellect

gives us awareness of the qualities of a thing, intuition gives us knowledge of the

object-in-itself with its attributes and qualities. Intuition reveals the nature of reality,

the truth of things. It gives us the experience of things as they are as unique

2. Intuition has four-fold process :

The development of intuitive consciousness involves four-fold process - the

preparation, incubation, illumination and verification. In all creative works of art

and discovery intuition is essentially involved. Preparation for the emergence of

higher consciousness requires the discipline of mind and constant culture of will.

By the purification of will, emotion and thought we arrive at a calm and tranquil


Incubation is the period of repose during which no conscious thinking is

done. At the third stage there is the leap or jump into illumination, a vision, a flash
of insight and an immediate order of thinking. It transcends reason. Intuition gives

us spontaneous knowledge. After the process of logical thought is complete there

comes the light or illumination. It is because of this leap into intuitive consciousness

that it becomes imperative to link reason with the perceived truths. The data of

knowledge in intuition is subsequently verified. Intuition is synthetic vision which

comprehends as well as transcends reason.

3. Intuition is knowledge by identity :

Intuition is a state of consciousness in which the self gets completely

identified with the reality. It is a knowledge of being the reality and of feeling
oneness with it. In intuition the subject does not remain the knower of the reality
rather the knower and the known become identified in one. No distinction of subject
and object remains in consciousness. The object does not remain outside the self;
it becomes part of the self when the knower becomes one with the object in

consciousness. When the duality between the subject and the object culminates in

the absolute union and oneness intuition is experienced. Intuition reveals to us a

state of consciousness and not merely a definition of the object. Dr. Radhakrishnan

says that Intuitive knowledge arises from an intimate fusion of mind with reality.

It is awareness of the truth of things by identity. We become one with the truth, one
with the object of knowledge. The object is seen not as an object out side the self,

but as part of the self.

An intuition is the knowledge of object. By being the object the knower

establishes identity with the known. The mind is aware not only of the object but

of his own of mind. What intuition reveals is not so much a doctrine as a

consciousness; it is a state of mind and not a definition of the object.

4. Intuition carries with its own guarantee ;

Intuitive knowledge is spontaneous or immediate. It comes to us as a vision.

The laboured process of syllogistic reasoning is not there in insight. Intuition

renders service as the data of reasoning. It carries its own guarantee of authenticity

within itself. The basis of reason is intuition. Just as we cannot distrust mathematics
simply because its premises are not demonstrated we cannot disbelieve intuition

because of the absence of the chain of syllogistic reasoning in it. Dr. Radhakrishnan
holds that the experience is felt as the nature of a discovery or a revelation, not
a mere conjecture or a creation. The knowledge so revealed has an immediate and
intuitive certainty transcending any which mere reason can reach.

Intuition is self-luminous and self-evident. As it is a state beyond reason,

reason cannot prove its validity though it may show the vestiges and support for the
former. Though the supreme ecstasy is a rare occurrence its lower forms are
experienced by artists and poets in devotion. In great works of art, inspiration and

dedicated love, the flashes of intuition come to the mind. It is very difficult to give
a rational proof for such an experience. Dr. Radhakrishnan says: It is self established
(Svatahsiddha), self evidencing (Svasamvedya), self luminous (Svayamprakasly). It
does not argue or explain but it knows and is. It is beyond the bounds of proof and
touches completeness. It comes with a constraint that brooks no denial. It is pure
comprehension, entire significance, complete validity. 25 The seer has intuitive
certainty of the experience which transcends reason. The seers, Buddha, Christ,
Dante, Theresa and others speak of divine presence of experience. When a man

returns to his normal consciousness from his mystic experience he has abiding
certitude and conviction. As our experiences have intrinsic validity there can be no
question of truth and falsehood. Such experiences are not required to cohere or
correspond with anything external in world.

5. Intuitions have the character of revelation :

Intuition has always the character of revelation. We neither have the intuitive
experience at our command nor can retain its experience at our will. Its descent is
sometimes unexpected. Because such experiences are received at rare intervals in
an unprecedented manner; they have the character of revelation. Those who receive
this experience are the chosen beings of God. Only those persons who are chosen

by God realize the triumphant vision.

6. Genius and creative work depend on Intuition :

All dynamic acts of thinking result in intuition. Genius is realized by constant

intellectual effort which comes as a gift of God to the individual. The exercise of
reason in the realms of science, poetry, mathematics and arts result in the work of
a genius person. Dr. Radhakrishnan observes: Genius in one sense of the term is
a gift of the gods, in another it is an infinite capacity for learning in patience and
humility. 26

7. Religious intuition is the highest type of intuition :

There are many types of intuition viz ethical, aesthetic, logical, scientific

and religious. Religious intuition is the highest of all types. Dr. Radhakrishnan says

that the religious intuition is an all-comprehending one, covering the whole of life.
While the spirit in man fulfils itself in many ways, it is most completely fulfilled
in the religious life. Religious intuition reveals the vision of God. We experience
infinite consciousness, power and blessedness. The spirit in man fulfils itself in the
communion with God. The divine consciousness, omnipotence, joy and blessedness
exalt an individuals entire being. According to Dr. Radhakrishnan while every genius
is in his own way a pioneer of the evolution of spirit, in the religious genius, we
have a simultaneous exaltation of the different powers of the inward life. He
combines most or all of the superiorities and intensities, imaginative vision,
intellectual strength and practical power,

8. Intuition leads to salvation :

The individual self gets identified with God in religious experiences and
realizes the supreme state of life. When man realizes union with God, a spiritual
conversion or rebirth takes place in him. The experience of omniscience,
omnipotence and joy totally transforms man in his fullness. He becomes a spiritual
man with all his powers exalted to the highest degree. God is revealed to him more
than others. Intuitive consciousness is identical with Brahman. To know that Supreme

Brahman is to become that Brahman. The seers reborn into spirituality at the moment
get intuitions of the Divine. Dr. Radhakrishnan maintains that these souls are men
transfigured and rendered new whose every power is raised to its highest extent.
In them the universality finds its expression and God manifests Himself more than
in others.

9. Intuitions are ineffable :

The intuitive experience is ineffable. One cannot define such an experience

in sensible terms. Concepts can neither explain nor describe it. The vision of God
is too great for words to describe. The experience is non-sensuous and cannot be

described in terms of sensation or reason.

Intuitions are variously interpreted in terms of tradition, culture, training,

environment and heredity. We have to discover the given and the interpreted elements

in the utterances of seers. Intuitions are also mediated by the psychological structure
of an individual. The seers of different religions perceive different gods, deities or

symbols. Intuitions are experienced in the background of religious knowledge and

belief. St. Theresa recognizes the revelation of trinity which could not have been

possible if she had not read about trinity before. St. Paul hears the voice of Jesus

on the Damascus road evidently because he learnt about Jesus prior to his vision.
When our soul is in contact with the mighty spiritual power by consciousness and
bliss we experience the truth immediately. The spiritual experience is always mixed

up with the individuals interpretation.

It is however observed that the East stresses on the unfolding powers of

intuition and the West emphasises on the critical aptitude of intelligence. Where
as the Eastern systems are mainly idealistic, spiritualistic, axiological and intuitive,
the Western outlook is rational, intellectual, realistic, scientific and existential.
Dr. Radhakrishnan is a synthetic philosopher and conceives that there are different

grades of consciousness and ways of knowing. Knowledge is scientific,

mathematical, realistic and rational and also extends to intuitions axioms and

Dr. Radhakrishnan uses intuition in the generic sense as a connecting link

between reason, intuition in the special sense. Intuition implies a unity between the

knower and the known.On intuition knowledge Dr.Radhakrishnan tells that it is

knowledge by coincidence or Identity. This involves two things- (1) The reality
with which unity is attained and (2) The degree of unity. Knowledge in any form is
due to intuition. It is seemed that all intuition is unity. J.G.Arapura holds : Sense
perception, reason and mystical experience represent the various degrees of unity.28

It is commonly held that it is far more natural for intuition to go forward

in its own direction and meet mystical experience than to move in the opposite
direction and to meet reason or intellect. The erroneous notion which is ordinarily
entertained that intuition is supernatural. The fact is that by definition intuition is
neither supernatural nor opposed to reason. Arapura says : There are many who
argue that they have no experience of intuitive knowledge. This is due to a
misapprehension. Intuitive knowledge is not limited to the highest knowledge of

Again the generic concept of intuition as distinct from the specialized concept
can be applied as the binding factor in all the three. For, only on account of it the
three forms of knowledge - reason, intuition and mystical experience can be
directed towards one another.

To quote Arapura: M Stands for mystical intuition, I for specialized intuition,
that is, intuition of feeling and R for rational intuition. The extended line MIR is
to be regarded as an expansion, or analytical representation of I, which is generic
intuition being potentially the same as integral experience. Integral experience in
the specialized sense is the same as mystical experience (M). This is the outline
of the methodological procedure that can be detected as implicitly operative in
Radhakrishnans thought. 30

The intuition as revealing the whole spirit is regarded by Dr. Radhakrishnan

as the integrated Whole into which all the aspects of mind properly cultivated will
develop and will also be merged. So intuition is found to be dominant and persistent

theme of Dr.Radhakrishnans philosophy.

Intuition according to Dr. Radhakrishnan is direct and immediate knowledge

which is appropriately named by him as Aparoksa Jnana (Direct knowledge). It is
Aparoksa in the sense of non-meditative knowledge where the reality is known by
it without the help of sensations. Arapura says : It arises from intimate fusion of

mind with reality. 31 It is called Saksatkara or direct meeting with the reality. In

this sense it is different from pratyaksa which is direct comes

through sensations and is direct in sensuous sense.

As a means of knowing the reality, intuition is distinguished from imagination.

Reality is an ultimate spiritual principle of life. This can be done only in intuitive
realization. To quote Arapura : Intuition is as strong as life from whose soul it

springs. 32 Intuition pierces through the veil of ignorance and the individual realizes

his true identity. By intuition one can realize the true nature of self. This knowing

is self-awareness or self-consciousness. It is through intuition that one realizes

ones identity with the Supreme Self.

Thus intuition is regarded by Dr. Radhakrishnan as identity of subject with
the object where the subject becomes one with the object and differs from empirical

knowledge where there is always a duality between the subject and the object.

According to Dr. Radhakrishnan intuition' into which all the aspects of mind are
cultivated is a revelation of the whole spirit. He says : In the experience itself the
self is wholly integrated and is, therefore, both the knower and the known. 33

Neither sense perception nor intellect is exempted from the pervasive power

of intuition. They are linked up with each other and ultimately merged in the
integrated self. Dr. Radhakrishnan has used intuition in different senses the
culmination of all of which are found in integral experience.

Within the rational intuition and intuition of feeling there is an intrinsic

movement which progresses to mystical intuition by which one can experience the

supra-concious reality which is the true destiny of human life. It is presupposed by

all grades of intuition.

Mystical intuition is a faculty of divine insight present in human consciousness

by which one can transcend the intellectual distinctions in the intuitive reality and

by it, according to Chandogya Upanisad, the unperceived becomes perceived and

the unknown becomes known. 34

In Dr. Radhakrishnans concept of intuition the roles played by reason, feeling

and mystical experiences are found to represent the various degrees of unity. The

unities established by the rational intuition and intuition of feeling are taken as

partial in relation to mystical intuition in which unity is found in a complete form.

Thus the relation between empirical and mystical intuition is found by him as the

relation between the parts and the whole.

Unity found in the order of feeling is a psychological unity while logical

unity entails in the second form of rational intuition and the ultimate spiritual unity

is found in the final and the third form of mystical type.

All these different forms of intuition culminate ultimately in the integral

experience which is the unity of continuity and discontinuity - a synthesis of the

two. Dr. Radhakrishnan holds : The realization of this undivided unitary life from

which the intellect and emotion, imagination and interest arise is the essence of the

spiritual life . 35

Thus intuition is not regarded by him as anything opposed to any of the

forms of cognition or intellect or sense perception. On the other hand it is taken

by him as the basis of all these. Dr. Radhakrishnan in this respect never regarded

intuition as antagonistic to the intellect.

Knowledge based on intuition is not necessarily opposed to reason and

understanding. Every great intellectual work may be philosophical, scientific or

whatever it be is based on intuition.

An intellect cannot transcend the dichotomy of subject and object to have

an integral view of reality. Intellect should be transcended by means of intuition in

which there arises an intimate relation of mind with reality.

Again, the immediacy of intuitive knowledge can be mediated through

intellectual definition and analysis. Intellect is used to test the validity of intuition

and to communicate them to others. While intuitive experience carries within the

highest degree of certitude, it has only a lower degree of conceptual clearness. 36

The relation between intuition and intellect can be clearly understood from

a significant passage of Dr. Radhakrishnan : Both intellect and intuition belong to

the self, while the former involves a specialized part, the latter employs the whole
self. The two are synthesized in the self, and their activities are interdependent.

Complete realization o f life and the realization o f the whole spirit is found

in the intuitive experience. The true goal o f intuitive experience is found in mystical

intuition and integral experience centres round it. Mystical intuition is presupposed

by all other forms o f intuition.

Mystical intuition is an autonomous rise o f mind to the level o f supra

conscious stage beyond the limit o f finite human consciousness. The occurrence

o f mystical intuition in supra conscious level shows the uniqueness and thus

distinguishes itself from other forms o f intuition which occur in ordinary level o f

consciousness. The moments o f mystic vision are transitory that cannot be grasped.

It is something like Bradleys immediate experience which vanishes the moment

we try to know it. It is a state o f experience which is beyond description but can

only be felt. Thus it should not be confused with the other functions o f the mind.

By its unique autonom ous nature it functions independently, unifying all values

and organizing all experiences o f life.

Thus Dr. Radhakrishnans mystical intuition must be distinguished from the

dogmatic use o f mystical experience. Dr. Radhakrishnans mysticism is not a

mysticism based on miraculous ideas, opposed to scientific and rationalistic belief.

The true mystical intuition according to him is not a flight to unreason or a

glorification o f ignorance and obscurity. It assumes the indivisible oneness o f

human life, whose apprehension cannot be contrary to reason. Thus the fullness

o f mystical intuition, reason and feeling is found in Integral Experience. The

elements o f reason, feeling and intuition are not taken by Dr. Radhakrishnan as

steps leading to absolute knowledge but these are taken by him as the very constitutive

elements which are integrated in the whole o f indivisible spiritual reality.

Mystical intuition is regarded as the heart of Integral Experience where a

synthesis of it is found with all other faculties of mind. It is the ultimate experience

which maintains an integral unity of the whole by determining the identity of the

parts. In this stage of experience the self is absorbed in the Ultimate Reality and

realizes its identity with the Ultimate Reality and here the significance of

Tat-Tvam-asi (That-thou-art) is found.

We are thus having a unity of the Infinite and the Finite which is reconciled

in the spiritual reality and is the highest Ultimate Reality in Dr. Radhakrishnans


But in a pure mystical experience of intuitive form this reconciliation is not

found; rather to maintain its uniqueness it becomes discontinuous with other faculties

of mind. Thus mystical intuition though centres round the Integral Experience

supersedes all other forms of intuition. But this abstract notion of mystical intuition

according to Dr. Radhakrishnan is only theoretical. For, in Dr.Radhakrishnans hand

mystical intuition along with other forms are culminated in the comprehensive

Whole of Integral Experience and thus differs from religious mysticism which

is a mere discontinuity with the rest of life.

Thus by reconciling the duality between Finite-Infinite and Immanence-

Transcendence Dr. Radhakrishnan has tried to attain a stage of complete peace or

Shanti, a state of positive bliss or Ananda, a state of enlightment i.e. divine

knowledge or Joy. It is a positive feeling of calm and confidence, Joy and strength
in the midst of outward pain and defeat, loss and frustration.

Integral experience represents the ideal of Jivan Mukti or deliverance during

this life by the realization of spirit in its true identity with the spiritual self. It is

a state where the minds stress and strains of the embodied state are ceased for
ever. A perfect inner peace in coherence with the outward world is brought here.
By the realization of ones identity with the spiritual self, one realizes its true

identification with the universal self where the presence of same spirit is felt in all

minds. Thus the ancient concept o f Jivan Mukti is interpreted by Dr. Radhakrishnan
in his own way as integral experience.

It is a state that reason cannot explain rather it requires no explanation, a

state of feeling and identification with eternal reality. For Dr. Radhakrishnan it is

self-established (Svatassiddha), self-evidencing (Svasamvedya), self-luminous

(Svayam-prakasa). It is a state where the tension of normal life disappears giving

rise to inward peace, power and joy.

Thus in Dr. Radhakrishnans theory of intuition the unitary self of Samkara

is transfonned into the integral self. Intuition dealing with the appearances gives us

most certain and immediate knowledge. Wisdom or perfect knowledge of reality is

developed in intuition. In the integral level of intuition the subject-object duality is
lost and all comprehensive self-awareness arises by the attainment of wisdom where

there arises integral and undivided consciousness. Intuition is the culmination of

intellectual endeavour. The idea of intellect is however realized in the intuitive

The realization of the integrated unitary self is the essence of spiritual life
which is the main theme of Dr.Radhakrishnans philosophy. It is in integral knowing
that the spirit in man reaches its highest development.

In the Hindu system of Yoga Philosophy the idea of this self-integration is

found where mind controls itself by the processes of eight-fold methods, viz, Yama
(abstention), Niyama (observance), Asana (posture), Pranayama (regulation of
breath), Pratyahara (withrawal o f senses), Dharana (attention), Dhyana (meditation)

and Samadhi (concentration). Absolute meditation or Samadhi leads to liberation

or Moksa.

Though intuition is potentially found present in man, yet without proper

cultivation the realization o f it is not possible. Dr. Radhakrishnan in this way

encourages the path o f practice in religious field; for religion shows us the spiritual

path. Though the influence o f religious outlook is found present in all only a few

can attain it. It is divine insight present in all persons. But only a few specially

gifted ones could realize it. Since intuitive experience are not always given but
only at rare intervals, they possess the charater o f revelation.

Dr. Radhakrishnans intuition is not an intellectual description being beyond

the reach o f subject - object duality. It is inexpressible, non conceptual eternal

experience which is utterly silent. Through silence we confess without confession

that the glory o f spiritual life is inexplicable and beyond the reach o f speech and

Dr.Radhakrishnans account o f intuition, we can say, is not fragmented by

speculative theorisation on its part. As soon as, we quieten our mind and try to

meditate on our own being we could discover the divine centre o f our consciousness.

This divine consciousness is not other than ones realization o f who am T and T

am essentially T hat. It is a direct experience without any mediator. Intellect and

reason have nothing to do anything with this experience. This is practicable realization

o f non-dualism o f subject and object or I and That. Here lies the importance o f

Dr. Radhakrishnans intuitive experience.


Relation of Intellect with Intuition is discussed below at length.

(a) The East lays emphasis on the development of the powers of intuition and
the West on the critical faculty of intelligence.

(b) Philosophy can be seen in common with sciences, but it diffuses science in
certain ways. Both science and philosophy have common interest in the
intellectual pursuits. Yet philosophy is much towards intuition. If all
knowledge were of the scientific type the contemporary challenge to religion
would have been final. The validity of intellectual knowledge cannot be
questioned. But question can be raised about reality of intuitive knowledge
and the condition of its validity. The western mind lays great stress on
science, logic and humanism. Still there are something more interior to
intellect beyond its superficial discernible aspects or beyond logical argument
and proof and that is what philosophy is after.

Knowledge system bifurcates into two - intellectual and intuitive.

According to Dr. Radhakrishnan intuitive knowledge reveals the real and not merely
the outer appearances of things. In Dr. Radhakrishnans vision intellectual
knowledge is a scattered, broken movement of the one undivided infinite life
which is all possessing and ever satisfied. Intuitive knowledge is unimprisoned by
division of space, succession of time or sequence of cause and effect. Our
intellectual picture indeed is a shadow cast by the integral knowledge, which
possesses the object truly and securely.

(c) Indian Philosophy is intuitive in character. Behind the intellect there is a

superior power of consciousness called intuition which discerns the truth,
the thing-in-itself and the real in its native individuality. We get in it the
vision of truth and direct immediate perception. After we have acquired the
discipline of intellect, intuition begins to unfold in us. By such an emergence

of intuitive consciousness the intellect is transcended and comprehended in

the higher consciousness. The nature of the reality is fully manifested in

intuition and one becomes free from speculative intellect as well as past

(d) In intellectual knowledge there always remains the distinction between the

subject and the object. The contact is always mediated by sense perception.
The consciousness of a thing and its being remained distinct. For the intellect

to know a thing is to know its relations. A thing is known in definite relation

to other object through reason only. It postulates the existence of a reality

- the validity of which is derived through connections. Intellectual knowledge

is verified and developed through progressive enquiiy. If we want to know

the reality we must transcend discursive thinking. Intuition is direct and

immediate perception. Dr. Radhakrishnan thinks that direct perception or

simple and steady looking upon an object is intuition. It is not a mystic

process, but the most direct and penetrating examination possible to the

human mind.

(e) Intellect does not impart knowledge of reality. It is valid only so long the

intuition does not manifest in us. Dr. Radhakrishnan thinks that logical
knowledge is non-knowledge, avidya, valid only till intuition arises. Intuition
is experienced when we break down the shell of our private, egoistic existence
and get back to the primeval spirit in us from which our intellect and our

sense are derived. The more deeply we advance and penetrate, the more the

intellect gives way to the universal and infinite consciousness viz. intuition.

We get back to the source of intellect, the supreme consciousness. The

intuitive consciousness is the totality of vision. It is the wisdom gained by
the whole spirit which is above mere fragment thereof, be it feeling or
intellect. The whole life of mind is more concrete than that of any specialized
mode of it.

(f) The intellect is one and continuous with intuition. The former advances and
ultimately consummates itself in the latter. Intuition is not irrational but
supra rational. When we become more and more rational we advance towards
intuition. Intuitive knowledge is not non-rational; it is only non-conceptual.
It is rational intuition in which both immediacy and mediacy are

Dr. Radhakrishnan further points out the relation between the two to the
following extent.

1. Intuition is related to intellect as a whole. It comprehends sense and

intellectual knowledge.

2. Intuition depends on the intellect and also transcends it.

3. Intuition is the final and supreme knowledge, whereas the intellect grows
and develops from error to truth.

4. Both intuition and intellect belong to the self.

5. Intuitive religion differs from intellectual religion.

The above points of relation can be discussed as follows.

I. Intuition is related to intellect as a whole. It comprehends sense and

intellectual knowledge:

Intuition is all comprehending, synthetic and integral knowledge. It is the

source of the categories of thought. Logical knowledge is a part of the total

experience. The different grades of consciousness consummate in intuition. There
is the spiritual unity in intuitive experience. The knowledge gained by insight has
the unity of sense and reason.

2. Intuition depends on the intellect and also trancends it:

The above point clarifies that intuition is wholly dependent on thought. It is

immanent in the very nature of thinking. It dynamically continues after thought.
Intuition comes to us after a long process of analytical reasoning. It is therefore,
higher and dependent on intellect. Dr Radhakrishnan says that intuition is not
independent but emphatically dependent on thought and is immanent in the very
nature of our thinking. It is dynamically continuous with thought and pierces thought
conceptual context of knowledge to the living reality under it. It is the result of a
long and arduous process of study and analysis and is therefore higher than the
discursive process from which it issues and on which it supervenes.

Intuition is not merely complementary to reason, it is transcendent to it. It

is the source of reason. It is its perfection too. It is reason and vision in one exalted

But reality does not confonn to the categories of intellect. It is intuition

alone which grasps the reality, the inner being behind its qualities, relations and
functions. Reality is life, movement, duration and concrete continuity. Intellect
fails to apprehend the mobile reality. The concepts of intellect are static, immobile
and dead. Therefore the categories of thought cannot be applied to reality. Truth lies
beyond the grasp of intellect. For knowing the reality a higher dynamic and mobile
principle is necessary. If intellect were the highest consciousness then truth would
remain unknown even to the omniscient God. Dr Radhakrishnan observes; If all
knowledge were of this conceptual kind, truth lies not only beyond the grasp of the
human mind, but beyond the grasp of omniscience itself.
3. Intuition is the final and supreme knowledge, whereas the Intellect grows
and develops from error to truth :

Intuitive knowledge is the highest knowledge. It reveals the reality as a

whole. Therefore intuitive knowledge is incapable o f growth. The intellectual

knowledge grows and develops till it finally culminates in the self-existent knowledge.

The conceptual knowledge develops with thought and accumulation o f knowledge.

Dr. Radhakrishnan holds : Direct knowledge is incapable o f growth, for it is

individual and therefore incommunicable. Intuition is the ultimate vision o f our

profoundest being.

Intuition is both mediate and immediate consciousness o f things. It is the

mediated awareness and immediate experience o f things. It gives us a synoptic view

o f the reality as a whole; it is not mere awareness o f immediate experience as

dissociated from the discursive logical knowledge. It is an experience in which the

knowledge received gets transfigured in a synthetic knowledge. Intuition is the

synthesis o f sense, reason and insight.

4. Both intuition and intellect belong to the self :

Both intuition and intellect belong to the self. When the whole self reacts

to reality intuition is experienced; but intellect is a faculty o f self which comes

in contact with the reality only partially. When the entire self comes in contact with

the object there is a profound, deep, inner and full knowledge o f the object.

Dr. Radhakrishnan observes : Both intellect and intuition belong to the self. While

the fonner involves a specialized part, the latter employs the whole self. The two
are synthesized in the self and their activities are interdependent. Again intuition

is not mere reason, it is emotion, feeling, imagination, will and contemplation.

Perception, emotion and will fuse together in one unitary consciousness. To quote
Dr. Radhakrishnan : In it we think more profoundly, feel more deeply, and see

more truly. We see, feel and become in obedience to our whole nature, and not

simply measure things by the fragmentary standards of intellect, we think with a

certain totality or wholeness.

5. Intuitive religion differs from intellectual religion :

Religion based on intellectual knowledge is closed, narrow and dogmatic. A

rational individual desires standardization in worship, dogmas and prayers. They

erect walls of their temples, churches, mosques and traditions. When the barriers

of walls are broken down they think that their religion is being demolished. The

intellectual man regards forms as final. The followers of such a religion believe in

the congregational worship and follow definite systems of dogmas or ritual.

But the seers do not follow the different systems of dogma. They experience

the godhead in their lonely pilgrimage. They want a living contact with God. The

true religion is not one based on logical argument and proof. It is a system of

insight or religious experience. All religions are based on the revelations of the

supreme mystic experience.

Dr. Radhakrishnan in his An Idealist View of Life attempts to explain the

relation between intellect and intuition from certain angles. He refuses to associate

the insistence on intuition with anti-intellectualism. According to him intuition is

not opposed to intellect. Dr. Radhakrishnan explaining the relationship between the

two says that intuition which ignores intellect is useless. Intellect and intuition are
compatible with each other. He even goes a step further and claims that intuition

is not independent but emphatically dependent on our thought or reason. It is the

response of the whole men to reality. Intuition is immanent in the very nature of

our thinking.
Thus we see that Dr.Radhakrishnan has rejected the view that intellect is
opposed to intuition. Let us now try to have a more detailed understanding of

Dr. Radhakrishnans view regarding the relation between intellect and intuition.
According to him there are three ways of knowing. These are as follows.

(a) The first is sense experience. Sense experience gives us the knowledge of
the sensible qualities of the external world.

(b) The second is intellectual apprehension or discursive reasoning or logical

reasoning. It is an indirect way of knowing. In this way of knowing, knowledge

is obtained through concepts of symbols. In the intellectual way of knowing

the processes of analysis and synthesis are employed. The data supplied to

us are analysed. The result of the analysis provides a more systematic

knowledge of the object perceived. This logical or conceptual knowledge is
indirect and symbolic in its character. It helps us to handle and control the

object and its working. According to Dr. Radhakrishnan both sense knowledge

and intellectual knowledge are the means by which we require a control

over our environment for practical purpose.

(c) The third way of knowing is intuition. In intuition the difference between the

knower and the known is completely absent. Perhaps a clearest example of

intuitive knowledge is the knowledge of the self. Here division between the

knower and the known is completely lost. Here to the known, the reality is
the reality. In intuition thus the knower is absent.

Through a detailed discussion containing the summaries of the views of

various philosophers Dr. Radhakrishnan wants to establish the point that intuition is

not opposed to intellect. Intuition is direct and immediate. We do not find here any
distinction between the knower and the known. But in intellect this distinction is
always present. In one sense intuition does not cancel but goes beyond it. While
discussing the relationship between intellect and intuition Dr. Radhakrishnan points
out that the root principles of our life and thought are not derived from intellect
or sense perception. They are ultimately derived from intuition. He says that from
the point of view of intellectual cognition it is a mere hypothesis that the realms
of nature and spirit, existence and value are not apposed to each other. But in

contrast, from the point of view of intuitive awareness it is a fact that they are not
opposed to each other. Dr. Radhakrishnan appears to have supported the self-evidence

theory of truth. He maintains that if all knowledge is dependent for its validity on

external criteria then no knowledge is valid at all. If one knowledge is dependent

on another knowledge for its validity then the second knowledge will be dependent
on a third knowledge and so on. As a result there will an infinite regress. If we are

to avoid this infinite regress then we are to assume that some knowledge is

intrinsically valid. Intrinsically valid knowledge is cognised through intuition. So

intuition is a legitimate way of knowing. Drawing the distinction between intellect

and intuition Dr. Radhakrishnan says that intellectual knowledge is indirect. It is
capable of growth. But intuitive knowledge is direct. It is not capable of growth. In

intellect we come across the partial truths of the divided mind. But in intuition we

do not come across such truth.

Dr. Radhakrishnan says that if all our knowledge were of an intuitive character

then there would be no need for logical test. In intuitive knowledge the unity
between the knower and the known would be complete. But in case of intellectual
knowledge this completeness is differently observed. In intellectual knowledge

there is the distinction between the knower and the known.

Both intuition and intellect have their distinct functions. Dr. Radhakrishnan
therefore rejects the view that intuition is opposed to the intellect. Intellect and
intuition have their distinct purposes. The intellect has a practical role. It enables

us to know the conditions o f the world in which we live and to control them for

our ends. But intuition is beyond such utilitarian considerations. Intuition involves

integral experience. The Indian philosophers call it perfect knowledge (Samyak

Jnana). According to Dr. Radhakrishnan intelletual cognition prepares us for intuitive

cognition. Therefore the intellect cannot be regarded as opposed to intuition. The

latter does not cancel the former. On the other hand if an intuition cancels intellect

then that intuition is completely useless.


A ccording to some philosophers there can be distinction between intuition

and intellect. Intuitive knowledge is not non-rational; It is only non-conceptual.

Need o f intuition in philosophy therefore cannot be ruled out; for all human thoughts

are not derived from perceptional experience or logical knowledge. Something is

born o f the deepest experiences o f the soul which Dr. Radhakrishnan emphasizes


Noted thinker Theophrastus holds that if all knowledge depends for its validity

on external criteria then no knowledge is valid. One thing indeed depends on

another. It is difficult to believe that knowledge is not true. S elf knowledge is self

valid. Intuitive knowledge is a liberated knowledge. Dr. Radhakrishnan is closer to

ancient Hindu thought that believes in m ans spiritualization or attainment o f

liberation. Nature works for the liberation o f human spirit.

Philosophy provides machinery o f logical pro o f which ultimately ends in

co n ceptual. A t the same time philosophy does not overlook the other side i.e. the

intuitive side. As a matter o f fact we have throughout out life the intuitive and

intellectual sides at works. Dr. Radhakrishnan illustrates that even in pure mathematics
where the conclusion is not evident until the data are brought together and set forth
in logical sequence; there is an element of intuition.

Intuition and intellect are not exclusive. Intellectual process are more useful
in the observation and description of things and relationships between them. Intution
gives us an idea of the whole where as intellect provides analysis of the parts. Yet
there is an apparent union between them. Intuition gives the objects in itself while
intellect details its relationship. Intuition asserts uniqueness of the objects but
intellect tells of the qualities of the objects.

Intuition is neither abstract nor formless. It is wisdom - the nous of which

Aristotle speaks. It is the all pervading intelligence of Dante. Dr. Radhakrishnan

highlights its application in different fields of human activities - science, arts,

literature and religion. Science has objective approach and it ignores subjective


Dr. Radhakrishnan forms a different opinion about history not as visualized

by other people. History is neither a chapter on accident nor a determined drift. It

is a pattern of absolute significance. Social and intellectual life are determined by

the mode of production and its immediate consequence. Dr. Radhakrishnan asserts

that history does not take into consideration only economic factors and its
paraphernalia of production and consumption. History is a plan of spiritual

development, a gradual development and spiritualization of man.

Dr. Radhakrishnan holds that we have a divine community where individual

attains godhood. The validity of divine existence is not accidental, but divinely

well-planned. If God is the whole reality which intuitive knowledge affirms, it is to

be shown that the general character of the universe is quite consistent with this

intuited certainty of God. It is the only way by which religious truth can be

recommended to the large majority of people. This is the way one can defend
himself from uncriticised intuition and dogmatism.

Dr. Radhakrishnan opines imagination differently. He says imagination which

is just a guess work may not help us to light upon the truth except by accident.
Similarly intuition which is an activity of the whole cannot be gained by mere

rational effort. The intuitive elements are present even in scientific cognition. In

Dr. Radhakrishnans observation there is a complete fusion of the subject and the
object. In order to explain this fusion he states an excellent illustration - when the
camera takes the place of human observation it is the observer who has to fix it in
the position. If at any stage the observer is careless or prejudiced the whole process
becomes a failure. Science being a valid form of knowledge is actually the product
of intuitive knowledge.

In all intuitive knowledge man ceases to be an impartial spectator. His whole

being is at work. The application of intuition in science is witnessed not in
methodology which is governed by objective approach; but in the genius of man
who is engaged in scientific enquiry.

Intuitions are convictions arising out of a completeness of life in a

spontaneous way which is more akin to sense than to imaginations or intellect.
Celebrated Greek thinker Archimedes solved his problem in his bath and not in his
study. He said that happy ideas come unexpectedly without effort like an inspiration.
For him the happy ideas never come when his mind is fatigued or when he is at the
working table.

According to Dr. Radhakrishnan, religious scriptures prescribe us purity and

peace of the mind so that we can hear the silence from which all words are bom.
Thereby they are only insisting on preparation for reaching the highest knowledge
that opens midway between molecule and milky way. Most human experience of
nature come through a narrow window between molecule and milky way. This is the
nature of intuition.

Dr. Radhakrishnan conceives intuition more or less in Bergsons way. Intuition

unites instinctive knowledge. Instinctive knowledge outpours spontaneously from
the natural impulses, aptitude or faculty. Intuitive knowledge deals with objects not
with symbols. Intuitions perform the functions of the sense, instinct and intellect;
not only these but also something more. It is a form of uninferred or immediate
knowledge that enables to know reality. Value judgment is possible only through
intuition. Intuition helps to distinguish what is good, what is desirable and important.

Intuitive knowledge, it is said, is not convinced by reason, it is always

immediate knowledge. Brahma experience is given in intuition which is not irrational
or anti-rational; but supra-rational. God is an intuitive fact, not an observed fact.
If God is conceived as finite, eternal and necessary it is possible to look upon the
world itself as finite, eternal and necessary. God is simple and His ways are simple
too. So he can be understood in a simple intuitive way. God of religion is a Supreme
Being and in that sense He can be fortuitous. Gods existence cannot be deduced
from the very conception of God Himself.

Bergson and Bradley argue that whatever be the object-physical or non

physical intellect goes about it but does not take us to the heart of the object. For
Bradley all intellectual exercises are falsification of the real. Intellect being
enveloped by categories of understanding like space, time and causality provides
only appearances of reality but not reality in true sense. Time is dependent on the
state of mind as it changes with the change of mind. The idea of time vanishes
suddenly along with its related concepts - space and causation.

Intuition is neither an abstract thought and analysis nor formless darkness;

it is wisdom, the diffussive mental capacity of Dante. Intuition transcends thought
but does not negate it. Intuitive knowledge, however, is not non-rational; it is only

JnSna in Hinduism is the way of knowledge. Jnana yoga therefore is one of

the four types of yoga of stretching knowledge as the path to liberation. Intuition
is a form of immediate knowledge. Intuitive knowledge can be mediated through
intellectual analysis. This analysis is the function of philosophy that consists of
classification of demonstrable knowledge.

To sum up, intellect and intuition are two ways of apprehending reality.

Intellect is the faculty of knowing as compared to will or feeling whereas intuition

is a form of uninferred knowledge. Both the views can be held separately yet they

unfailingly proceed together.


1. David Crystal (ed.) - Intuitionism in The new Penguine Encyclopeadia 2003 P. 776
2. S.P. D ubey-The Metaphysics o f Spirit (ed) P.123.
3. Wildom Carr - The Philosophy o f Croce (1917) P.59.
4. S.Radhakrishnan - An Idealist View o f Life. (Collected and translated into English from the

Assamese rendering named as Ji vanar Adarshabad. Original - An Idealist View of Life) P. 115.

5. Edward D.D, D Miall - The Philosophy of Religion. P. 188.

6. S. Radhakrishnan - An Idealist View of Life P.123.

7. Ibid P.105 (1932) (Reproduction [ed]1979).

8. Ibid. P.147.

9. Ibid. P.153.
10. Ibid. P.106.

11. D.M Datta- Chief Currents o f Contemporary Philosophy, P. 109.

12. Sariraka-Bhasya, I I : No. I & II.

13. S. Radhakrishnan- An Idealist View o f Life. P. 175.
14. Radhakrishnan-Indian Philosophy. Vol. I P.l 76. (8th Impression. 1966).

15. F.H Bradley-Appearance and Reality P.148.

16. Radhakrishnan-Indian Philosophy, Vol. I : P. 174. (8th Impression. 1966).
17. S.Radhakrishnan - An Idealist View o f Life. P.l 10. (Reproduction [ed.] 1979).

18. Ibid. P.107.

19. Radhakrishnan - Indian Philosophy. Vol. I . P. 177. (8th Impression. 1966).

20. Ibid. P.179.

21. S. Radhakrishnan - An Idealist View o f Life. P. 121.
22. S. Radhakrishnan - The Reign o f Religion in Contemporary Philosophy. P. 198.

23. Ruth Reyna - The Concept o f Maya from the Vedas to the 20"' century. P.61.
24. Radhakrishnan -Indian Philosophy. Vol. - 1P. 179. (8th Impression. 1966)

25. S. Radhakrishnan- An Idealist View of Life. P.93.

26. Ibid. P.148.

27. Ibid P. 93.
28. J.G. Arapura -Radhakrishnan and Integral Experience. P. 67.
29. Ibid. P.793.

30. Ibid. Pp.65-66.

31. Ibid. P.109.
32. Ibid. P.121.
33. S. Radhakrishnan - An Idealist View o f Life. P. 76.

34. Chandogya Upanisad. Vol. - VI, SI. 13.

35. S. Radhakrishnan - An Idealist View ofLife. P.166 (1932).

36. Radhakrishnan - Indian Philosophy, Vol. - II P. 514. (8th Impression -1966).

37. S. Radhakrishnan - An Idealist View ofLife. P. 120.

38. S. Radhakrishnan - Eastern Religions and western thought. P.63.

39. S. Radhakrishnan- An Idealist View ofLife. P. 173.

40. Ibid. P. 136 (1932) (Reproduction [ed.] 1979).

41. Ibid. P.73.

42. Ibid. P. 79 (1932) (Reproduction [ed.] 1979).

43. Ibid. P. 137,

44. Ibid. P.144.

45. Ibid. P.153.

46. Ibid. Pp.152-153.

47. T.M.P. Mahadevan and G.V. Saroja - Contemporary Indian Philosophy. P.54.