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Inner and Outer Instruments

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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