Purpose of Panchikarana in Vedanta

Purpose of Panchikarana

What was the need for Panchikarana?

The living conditions of the world influence every living entity.

Problems attack the inhabitants of the world.

For what reasons should problems attack me?

Why does Creation not provide me with enough materials to live a happy life?

Why should I not steal?

The Lord, in the form of Krishna, stole butter and stole the clothes of the Gopis.

What is the harm if I behave so?

What is the difference between Him and me?

A common man, outside the ambit of Knowledge, wonders in many ways and tries to tackle his problems through irregular and dubious means.

One does not understand or able to grasp the science of subsistence and is not able to make out what is desirable and what is undesirable.

The living entity starts to imagine non-Scriptural means to fulfill himself.

This is because the living entity imagines that, his thoughts are logical and obvious, therefore it not wrong and unethical to try to do things as he pleases.

It is exactly for this reason that the great world teacher Sri Adi Shankara presented the world with a detailed study of Panchikarana.

Sri Adi Shankara Introduces Panchikarana

Here he explains the very basis of creation and subsistence.

A person who undertakes a serious study of the Science known as Panchikarana will have all his doubts answered.

Such a person shall also grasp the rationale behind the words of the Sanatana Dharma Scriptures.           

Note this Before Understanding Panchikarana

The first thing to be understood while understanding the Science of Panchikarana is that the Supreme Lord is Sat-Chit-Ananda.

He is the basis of existence, Ananda Swaroop (आनंद स्वरूप ).

The Lord and the Vedic Scriptures are non-different.

The pastimes of the Lord are the basis of the Vedas.

If the Lord calls, “A perceived Falsehood”, as Truth, then it can never be Falsehood, it is Truth alone.

If the Lord calls our “perceived day as night”, by the statement of the Scriptures, that shall be night, by the dint of the Lord’s power.

When we obey Bhagawan, we are in line with the Shastra.

Obedience to Bhagawan and following the Scriptures are not two different things.

Bhagawan is at the center of Creation.

The Bliss factor or the Anandamaya Kosha reveals the whole Science of Panchikarana.

The Lord is present at the deepest level of existence, inside the Ananda Maya Kosha. Hence Bhagawan is never challenged.

The Science of Panchikarana shall make sense only when we shall accept and digest the fact about the Lord.

Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas in Panchikarana

The Science of Panchikarana divides the Jnana and Karma Indriyas into three main categories.

They are Satvika, Rajasika and Tamasika.

They are the mode of goodness, mode of Passion, and mode of Ignorance.

The sub-components of Antahkarana and the 5 Jnana Indriyas fall under the Satvika category.

The 5 types of inner winds or “Prana” (प्राण ) are the winds that the living entity utilizes to breathe, allow digestion, and defecate.

These represent the Prana Indriyas or Inner winds which keep the inner constitution of the living entity in workable condition.

These 5 inner winds are Prana(प्राण), Vyana(व्यान), Udana (उदान) Samana (समान), and Apana (अपान).

The 5 winds are Rajasic by nature or are in the mode of Passion.

The sense objects that represent sound, touch, smell, taste, and sight fall under the category of Tamas or the mode of ignorance.

Rajas: The Sense of Hearing

From the ether forms the Satvika aspect of the Antahkarana.

The sense of hearing in particular comes from Rajas.

This is because one hears both good and bad through the instruments of hearing.

It is common that, when we hear something pleasant, the disturbing effects within are obviously minimal.

On the other hand, when we hear some controversial things or something which is disturbing, our heart accepts the event and contemplates it.

Such is the Rajasika nature.

Functioning of the Antahkarana

It is interesting to understand how the inner instrument of Antahkarana works.

A person unequipped with the Science of Panchikarana behaves very similarly to another person, who is also uneducated in science.

Panchikarana is the detailed study of the inner instruments that function around the Anandamaya Kosha, the innermost instrument of the Pancha Kosha.

The untrained Antahkarana desires different things, when there is an attack on it, in the form of an insult.

This is the way nature functions.

An Example of How Antahkarana Functions.

For example, there is a village function and the function is about to begin.

The dias is set for important speakers to come up and give talks.

Meanwhile, the simpleton village boys line up and fill the first row, close to the stage as they prepare for the function to begin.

As the hour of start comes near, the collector makes his way inside.

The organizers ask one of the boys in the front row to go to the back seat and then seat the collector.

Then a politician, who is the chief guest comes in. 

hen the boy, seated in the middle of the first row is sent back. Then the commissioner comes in and one of the other boys is sent back.

This process continues.

But what are the thoughts running through the minds of the boys who are now sent to the last row?

The one replaced by a collector starts thinking that only a collector has respect and is worthy of adulation, not me.

The second boy thinks I wish I were a politician. If that were so, they would not have insulted me.

Each boy thinks about a particular status and position, something different from what they are in the present moment.

Purification of Antahkarana and Goal of Panchikarana.

One should understand that it is the nature of the mind to pursue things.

This is because the thinking process works in a pre-meditated way, the way nature has designed it.

Ideally, one has to do a lot of personal work in order to purify and regulate the functioning of the Antahkarana.

The science of Panchikarna is to look at the nature of the Antahkarana, the inner instrument, and study the way, it manipulates situations in front of us.

In the normal condition, the Antahkarana presents a distorted version of Truth.

This representation, Adi Shankara calls it Maya.

However, purified Antahkarana is truth.

A person possessing purified Antahkarana is liberated.

Such a person becomes a sage.

So, a true sage is one who has studied the way Antahkarana works.

He knows how the world functions.

The sage also knows how the mind manipulates people, through their own inner instruments.

A common man is unaware of this functioning and is revengeful.

But since a sage knows how the inner instruments, the Antahkarana works, he is free of malice and revenge.

There is nothing great about this, for the fact that he knows his inner workings.

The rest of the world just reacts, oblivious of its own workings.