In Indian philosophy and yoga, antahkarana refers to the internal organ that is the location or inner origin of thought and feeling. The word originates from the Sanskrit antar, meaning “interior” or “within,” and karana, meaning “sense organ” or “cause.” It translates as “the inner cause” or “internal organ.”
It is defined as either the link between the body and the spirit or the bridge between the middle and higher mind. The term may also be defined as the source of thinking, or the mind, soul, heart or conscience.
In Marathi, an Indo-European language, it refers to the conscience, the heart, and even the spiritual part of humans. Therefore, it’s also regarded as the connection between the body and the spirit, as well as the emotional state of a person.
Antahkarana is also a symbol used in the Reiki healing method.
In Theosophy the term is used with a special meaning that differs from the Hindu. According to H. P. Blavatsky the antahkarana is an aspect or function of the lower mind that retains its original purity, active whenever there is a spiritual aspiration. It is, figuratively speaking, a “path” or “bridge” that acts as a two-way communication. Through antahkarana the spiritual influence of the higher manas is conveyed to the personality, and all good and noble activity of the lower manas can reach the higher
Graphic representation of the seven principles by H. P. Blavatsky. The antahkarana is the green line uniting the green downward triangle (lower manas) and the blue upward triangle (higher manas).
In the sevenfold constitution of human beings described in the Theosophical literature, the fifth principle (counting from the physical body upwards) is called manas, commonly translated as “mind”. This principle is dual, comprising the higher mind (the spiritual mind, or reincarnating Ego), and the lower mind (the sensual mind, or the psychological ego). According to H. P. Blavatsky, antahkarana is the aspect of the lower mind that does not get entangled with kāma (the animal soul), thus acting as an “imaginary bridge” between the lower and higher egos.