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Question - Can Intuition be explained Scientifically? Is it a phenomenon of the mind?

Osho - Intuition cannot be explained scientifically because the very phenomenon is unscientific and irrational. The very phenomenon of intuition is irrational. In language it looks okay to ask, ”Can intuition be explained?” It means: can intuition be reduced to intellect? But intuition means something beyond the intellect, something not of the intellect, something coming from someplace where intellect is totally unaware. So intellect can feel it, but it cannot explain it.

The leap can be felt because there is a gap. Intuition can be felt by the intellect – it can be noted down that something has happened – but it cannot be explained, because explanation means causality. Explanation means: from where does it come? why does it come? what is the cause? And it comes from somewhere else, not from the intellect itself, so there is no intellectual cause; there is no reason, no link, no continuity in the intellect.

Osho on Intuition

For example, Mohammed was an illiterate person. No one knew about him; no one ever felt that such a great thing as the Koran could come out of him. There was not a single act, not a single thought, that was special about him; he was just an ordinary man – absolutely ordinary. No one ever felt that something extraordinary was possible in him. Then, suddenly, this parable is recorded: An angel appeared to Mohammed and said, ”Read!”
Mohammed said to him, ”How can I read? I do not know how; I cannot read, I am illiterate.” The angel repeated again, ”Read!”

Mohammed again said, ”But how can I read? I do not know anything about reading.”
Then the angel said, ”Read! By the grace of God, you will be able.” And Mohammed began to read. This is intuition.

He returned to his house trembling, trembling because he could not conceive of what had happened. He could read – and he had read something inconceivable. The first ayat of the Koran had been given to him. He could not understand it because nothing in his whole past related to it. He could not feel the meaning of it; he had become the vehicle for something that was unrelated to his past, absolutely unrelated. Something from the unknown had penetrated him. It might have been related to something else, to someone else, but it did not relate to Mohammed at all. This is the penetration.

He came into his house trembling, he felt feverish; he just went on thinking, ”What has happened?” He was unable to understand what had happened, and for three days he was in deep fever, trembling, because there was no cause for what had occurred. He could not even gather the courage to say something to anyone. He was an illiterate: who was going to believe him? He himself could not believe what had happened; it was unbelievable.

After three days of deep fever, coma, unconsciousness, he gathered the courage to tell his wife, but only under the condition that she not tell anyone else. ”It seems that I have gone mad,” he said. But his wife was older than he was and more learned. She was forty and Mohammed was twenty-six; she was a rich woman, a rich widow. She felt that something real had happened, and she was Mohammed’s first convert.

Only then could Mohammed get up the nerve to speak to some friends and relatives. Whenever he would speak he would tremble, perspire, because what was happening was inconceivable. That is why Mohammed insisted – and this became a tenet, a foundational tenet of Islam – that ”I am not divine; I am nothing special. I am not extraordinary, I am just a vehicle.”

This is what is meant by surrender and nothing else – nothing else! The postman just delivers the message to you; you yourself cannot even understand it.

This is intuition. It is a different realm of happening that is not related to the intellect at all, although it can penetrate the intellect. It must be understood that a higher reality can penetrate a lower reality, but the lower cannot penetrate the higher. So intuition can penetrate intellect because it is higher, but intellect cannot penetrate intuition because it is lower. It is just like your mind can penetrate your body, but your body cannot penetrate the mind. Your being can penetrate the mind, but the mind cannot penetrate the being. That is why, if you are going into the being, you have to separate yourself from body and mind, both. They cannot penetrate a higher phenomenon.

As you go into a higher reality, the lower world of happenings has to be dropped. There is no explanation of the higher in the lower, because the very terms of explanation are not existential there; they are meaningless. But the intellect can feel the gap, it can know the gap, it can come to feel that ”something has happened which is beyond me.” If even this much can be done, the intellect has done much.

But intellect can also reject. That is what is meant by a faithful mind or a faithless mind. If you feel that what cannot be explained by the intellect is not, then you are a nonbeliever. Then you will continue in this lower existence – tethered to it. Then you disallow mystery, then you disallow intuition to speak to you; this is what a rationalist mind means. The rationalist will not even see that something from beyond has come.

Mohammed was chosen. There were scholars around, many scholars, but Mohammed, a very illiterate person, was chosen because he was faithful. The higher could penetrate; he could allow the higher to enter into him. If you are rationally trained, you will not allow the higher; you will deny it, you will say, ”It cannot be. It must be my imagination; it must be my dream. Unless I can prove it rationally, I will not accept it.”

A rational mind becomes closed, closed within the boundaries of reasoning, and intuition cannot penetrate. But you can use the intellect without being closed; then you can use reason as an instrument, but you remain open, you are receptive to the higher. If something comes, you are receptive. Then you can use your intellect as a help: it notes down that ”something has happened that is beyond me.” It can help you to understand this gap.

Beyond that, intellect can be used for expression – not for explanation, for expression. A buddha is totally non-explanatory; he is expressive, but non-explanatory. All the Upanishads are expressive without any explanations. They say, ”This is such, this is so; this is what is happening. If you want, come in; do not stand outside. No explanation is possible from the inside to the outside, so come in. Become an insider.” Even if you come inside, things will not be explained to you; you will come to know and feel them. Intellect can try to understand, but it is bound to be a failure. The higher cannot be reduced to the lower.

Source - Osho Book "Meditation: The Art of Ecstasy"

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