Srimad Bhagavad-Gita :
Chapter-3. ( Karma-yogam )
Slokam-42. ( It is declared, that the senses are superior, but more than the senses, the mind is superior, but more than the mind, the intelligence is superior, and more than the intelligence, that which is superior is the individual consciousness ( ie-atma ).
Indriyanni parannyahuh indriyebhyah param manah,
manasastu para buddhriyo buddheh paratastu sah.
indriyanni = about senses;
paranni ahu = superior (than sense-objects), it is said;
manah indriyebhyah = mind (above senses) is;
param (bhavati) = superior;
bhuddhriah tu = but intelligence is;
manasah para = superior than mind;
sah tu = that Atma is;
buddheha parataha = superior than intelligence.
Lord Krishna explains the priority of the faculties humans possess starting from the physical body to the senses to the mind to the intellect to the atma or soul. The senses are superior to the physical body because if the senses are agitated they will transfer this agitation to the physical body and knowledge will not arise in the mind. The mind is superior to the senses and can stop them but if the mind is intent on sense gratification then knowledge will not arise. The intellect is superior to the senses and the mind but if the senses are passive and the mind is not agitated; then if the intellect decides contrary and is inclined to enjoy, it will overrule the senses and the mind and directs them both to pursue pleasure.
So knowledge will not arise there as well but when the senses are withdrawn from the sense objects this impulse subsides. So what is more powerful then the intellect? We see that it is kama or lust that is greater. All these things happen in regard to physical activity. The mind becomes clouded and the intellect is obscured by kama and reflects and contemplates actions that will gratify the senses veiling the true knowlegde of the atma. This confirms that kama is the greatest enemy of the human being because it obscures knowledge of the eternal atma or soul.
The five senses are the main impediments to spiritual development and are arranged in a hostile formation against it. As long as the senses are primarily occupied in the pursuit of pleasure and delight in sense objects the realisation of the atma or soul will never manifest. Yet the mind although fickle is capable of controlling the senses but if the mind is also inclined to enjoy the senses and is filled with thoughts of the same then realisation of the atma will also never manifest. But the intellect is superior even to the mind as it possesses the discriminative faculty. This means that the mind may be tranquil but if the intellect is inclined towards the channels of sense activities then there will be a perversion in one's intelligence and no possibility again for realisation of the atma. To show the order of gradation is Lord Krishna's intention.
A question may be posed what if all three being the senses, the mind and the intellect were tranquil and passive? The unvarying answer is that kama or lust which arises from desires, covertly resides deep within the heart and is always craving for sense gratification. This kama is so powerful that it will assert its mastery over them all and domineering them will have them fully pursuing the objects of the senses for sense gratification in the phenomenal world obscuring the light of knowledge and the realisation of the atma. That which is the most powerful with its domain in the spiritual phenomena is the atma and is designated by the pronoun sah.
To be continued ...