Antahkarana : the fourfold mind: Manas, ego, buddhi, chitta
The philosophy of Vedanta as well as Yoga says that the entire problem of bondage and liberation lies in the inner man in the mysterious factor called the Antahkarana or the mind-instrument.
The Rishis explain it in this way. They say, “Look here, this physical body is an inert thing. It is made out of the five elements. It is made out of bones, flesh, muscles, skin, tendons, nerves and all kinds of gross matter. Therefore, the body is non-intelligence. It has no consciousness of its own. It is an inert thing. It is a Jada Vastu (insentient object). It is like a log of wood.
Because the Pranas are functioning in it, the body seems to be moving about like a pantomime, like a puppet, appearing to do various activities, though not having the capacity to do any activity. It is the Prana which makes the body sit and chant, move, talk, act and eat. The moment the Pranas get withdrawn into some other inner centre, the body goes into sleep, becomes like a log of wood. In a state of sleep and in a state of swoon, the body is incapable of doing anything at all. So, the body by itself is a factor devoid of consciousness. And being inert or Jada, it cannot bring about the bondage of the Jiva. It has nothing in it, no power in it of its own, to voluntarily try to put you into a state of bondage. So, the body is not the cause of Samsara, it is not the root of your bondage. You have to look for the cause of your bondage elsewhere. Why? For the simple reason that the body is an inert, non-intelligent thing. It has not in it the power, it has not in it the capacity, to cause any experience to you in the form of this phenomenal bondage.
Then, shall we seek for the root of bondage in the Self? In the Atman? In your real nature? Here also, the answer is ”No". Because, the ultimate transcendental experience of those who have reached superconsciousness or realisation is that the Atman is self-luminous. That is to say, the Atman is of the very nature of wisdom-consciousness and is in an ever-liberated state. There is no darkness in it, there is no ignorance in it. Therefore, it is not bound. So, they call it Jnana-Svarupa (Nature of Knowledge). Your Self, your real innermost spiritual identity is Jnana-Svarupa. It is Nitya-Suddha (eternally pure), Nitya-Mukta (eternally free), Paripurna (All fullness). That is the Vedantic declaration. There is no doubt about it. They clearly state this upon the authority of their own personal experience, transcendental experience. So, in the Atman, in your own Self, in your true identity, there is no problem. This problem of bondage and liberation, of joy and sorrow, suffering and all that, is not to be found in the Atman. And it is also not to be found in the body. The body is incapable of causing this mischief, causing this bondage, because of its being inert. And the Atman is beyond it.
So, this problem of bondage and liberation, of joy and sorrow, is neither in the body—it is not caused by the body—nor in the Atman—it is not located in the Atman. It is somewhere in between. In between this gross physical body and the pure, ever-free, all-full Self or Atman is your Antahkarana, your inner nature. Christian theology calls it the soul. In Christian theology, soul indicates your inner nature, mind, intellect and so on. But, by the term “soul” we Hindus mean the spirit. It is in the inner man, in the psychological being, in the interim area between body and soul, in the interim plane which we call the Antahkarana, that the whole problem of bondage and liberation lies.
It is in the Antahkarana that the whole problem of ignorance and illumination, of sorrow and joy, lies. You have to find the cause of bondage there. And Vedanta says that you have to seek your solution also there. Where the bondage is, there you have to seek the solution also to the problem of bondage. Out of this has arisen the well-known saying, “Mana Eva Manushyanam Karanam Bandha Mokshayoh”, which means that the mind itself is the cause of the bondage as well as the liberation of the human being. Think you are free, you will become free. Think you are bound, you will become bound. Think you are body, you will only be a body, a physical creature. Think you are the spirit, you will rise into a spiritual consciousness and a spiritual experience.
extract of his book: The Philosophy, Psychology and Practice of Yoga.pdf
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