13) Self Knowledge (Atmajnan) – Inner Organ (Antahkarana)

TALK 13 by Prabhuji

Let us contemplate on ‘antahkarana’ or ‘the inner organ’.

The ‘antahkarana’ or ‘the inner organ’ uses the physical body as the vehicle to operate in the world. You can visualise the inner organ as the driver of the vehicle, where vehicle is the body. The ‘antahkarana’ or ‘the inner organ’ is very often used in the vedantic literature.
So ‘antahkarana’ has four functions (they are NOT four parts), they are called
1. Manas
2. Buddhi
3. Ahamkara
4. Chitta

Manas, loosely translated as mind in English views the world through the sense organs. It conceptualises about the world. When the concepts become clear then it is called Buddhi, it is a function, it is not a part. Antahkarana conceptualises the world and the conceptualising function is called ‘Manas’. It is a conceptualising function, not a part.

How does the Manas conceptualise?
When you see some objects outside through sense organs, mind goes out through sense organs and takes the shape of that object. For example I see the fan, so the antahkarana moves through senses organs, takes the shape of a fan, to understand the fan. Without taking the shape of the fan, the Manas cannot conceptualise the fan. To conceptualise, the antahkarana modifies itself to take the shape of the fan and this function is called ‘Manas’. When you see some person the Manas functionility of the antahkarana takes the shape of the person, in other words, an image of the person is formed. So this function is called ‘Manas’.

Now when image is formed, it is not yet determined whether it is this person or that person, when it is determined that “this is the person or this is to be done” then it is the Buddhi function. Don’t think that intellect is not a separate part it is a function of antahkarana. So the determining function of antahkarana is Buddhi.

So Buddhi will take the reference of the memory to recognize from past impressions and past memories as inputs. And recollecting from past impressions is called ‘Chitta’. Please understand that this is the one function called Antahkarana performing different functions, these are not different instruments or machines. So Manas has brought some object (through sense perception), and the image of the object is matched with what’s there in Chitta, recollection happens in Chitta and then Buddhi/Intellect determines, what it is?

Once the Buddhi determines ‘this is what it is’, the Manas forms a relationship between the two objects, because the Manas job is to conceptualize. There are two objects, body and ‘I’. For example, there is ‘me’ and the ‘car’ where Intellect will say “this is a car”, and you will say, ‘this is MY car’, a relationship is formed between you and the car. This relationship forming function is called ‘ego’. Manas forms one more bondage called called, Ahamkara – Pride. Thus Ahamkara/Pride arises in Manas. That is why Ahamkara is destroyed when the intellect investigates it properly through viveka. ‘Ahamkara belongs to Manas function’ and ‘Chitta belongs to Buddhi function’.

Chitta belongs to Buddhi because Buddhi has to take reference it has to go to memory. Whenever it sees something, it takes from the memory, says ‘oh this is a book’. When Manas sees something the Ahamkara says, ‘oh this is mine’. Ahamkara is nothing but relationship formation function between some object or action and ‘me’, whatever that ‘me’ is.
And the ‘me’ of Ahamkara is vague, sometimes that ‘me’ can be body, and sometimes ‘me’ can be mind, and sometimes ‘me’ can be intellect. It forms a vague relationship called ‘I’. Only when the Buddhi investigates that ‘I’, that ‘I’ gets dissolved, the Ahamkara dissolves. So the investigation process of Ahamkara by Buddhi is called ‘viveka’. Otherwise mind is only a conceptualization job, just provides the images. Let’s say there is an image of ‘me’ as ‘body’, it goes to the memory and body related information is brought and intellect says it is so and so. Intellect doesn’t analyse, because the image is given to the Chitta, only when the intellect investigates the Ahamkara properly, it dissolves. That is why ‘Mukti’ is possible.


Transcription by Atmajyothi Satyavathi

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