Inner and Outer Instruments

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In many of the sessions you mentioned the words Antah Karana and Bahir Karana? What are they?

We look at ourselves in terms of instrumentation – Bahirkarana and Antahkarana. Baha means outer, and karana means instrument. When we say “I”, we look at instrumentation, because this body is an instrument for us to live this life. It is also called an upaadi. Upaadi is an instrument, a construct with a constraint. An instrument is that which comes with certain boundary constraints. You can do only certain things with an instrument. You cannot do certain other things. It has certain limiting constraints, but only with that you can act, in a certain playing field. Without this instrument, you cannot act in this playing field. This body is considered an outer instrument, or Bahirkarana. Likewise we have an inner instrument, or Antahkarana. The Antahkarana is generally looked at with respect to four aspects – manas, chittha, buddhi and ahankara.

Manas can be broadly seen as that which senses the sensory data, and which also has the playing field of emotions.
Chittha can be broadly looked at as something like an electromagnetic storage space just the way hard disks and many other storage mediums are now electromagnetic. Chittha is subtler electromagnetics.

The buddhi helps you judge, decide and discriminate. It helps you decide what is good and what is bad with whatever data is available.

It is important to note that these are all processes. To all these processes, you will see that there is a stamp- “I am the doer” and this is the ahamkara, loosely translated in English as the ego, which is the principle of doership. It’s not wrong. Ahamkara is also an instrument. Without the ahamkara you will experience life as though it is somebody else’s life.

Cultivating a good Antahkarana is an extremely important educational process. The Antahkarana should be capable of seeing properly. Otherwise, it is problematic. If the eye, which is the Bahirkarana, does not see properly, what do we do? We wear glasses. We apply corrections to it so that it sees properly and the vision is corrected. Likewise, corrections in the form of such values, stories, disciplines, and in many other forms are applied to the Antahkarana so that we perceive life  properly. Otherwise it is a distorted view of reality that we get.

But everyone says that ego is bad. Is it bad?

The ahamkara has to be built and nurtured properly. It has to be a good ahamkara. It should not be a weak ahamkara, nor should it be an incomplete ahamkara. It should be  a strong and a well-balanced one. That’s what we call a well-balanced personality. Otherwise the person will be insecure and feel inferior. In the opposite case the person will develop superiority complex. Feeling powerless, vulnerable and weak is a sign of underdeveloped ahamkara. A child is very well-taken care of, with a lot of physical and emotional love in a caring environment, but with appropriate discipline as well. While disciplining the child, it is pointed out- “You are not a problem, but this action is a problem. This action will have these consequences”. And yet, the child is disciplined in a proper environment of love and affection. That becomes a good ahamkara, a well-balanced personality. These days it is said that ego is a problem. If this stamp of doership is done in with broader perspective where you recognize all other factors that contribute to the success or failure of something, then it is a very well-balanced ahamkara. Otherwise it is a problematic ahamkara! It will give you a lot of problems, just as an instrument that is faulty gives you problems. So ahamkara as such is not the problem. If the ahamkara is properly maintained, cleansed out, and is working properly, you will see that there will be no vikaras i.e contortions

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