We hear that we should not use our intelligence to try to understanding the instructions of the shastra as our intelligence is contaminated and we may not be able to get the real meaning of the instructions so we should just follow what the senior devotees or Guru is saying.
But on the other hand we are told that we should use our intelligence while accepting the Guru or association of devotees. So I am not clear as what to do, should we or should we not use our intelligence?
Answer by Romapada Swami: We should not speculate with our minds, but Srila Prabhupada repeatedly encouraged us to “try to understand.” Big difference!
Intelligence is the power of discrimination. In the conditioned state, we are conducted by material intelligence. But when the soul is directly connected to or engaged in his relation with the Supreme, under the direction of a bona fide teacher, then he is guided by superior spiritual intelligence coming directly from Krishna or through His devotees. As we read the scriptures like Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta our reading is carefully guided and protected by Srila Prabhupada’s purports. Thus we do not need to engage in speculation to understand Krishna’s instructions or His pastimes. Instead, the more sincerely and faithfully we read Srila Prabhupada’s purport we are actually purifying our intelligence; thereby strengthening our spiritual intelligence. See BG 18.70.
Thus as we progress in our Krishna consciousness we can then use our intelligence (which is somewhat purified, if not fully) to make the right choices by utilizing our free will. Based on the guidance from the scriptures and devotees, we come to understand by using our intelligence the message of the Shastra, as well as the characteristics of a bona fide spiritual master.