The search for the sacred comes in many forms. We see it in our attraction to the wonders of nature and the marvels of the universe. It is seen in our fascination with ancient historical sites, such as the Oracle of Delphi, the pyramids of Egypt, and the stone circles that pepper the quilted landscape of the British Isles. We witness it in the beauty created by the great artisans of history, and in the awe experienced when gazing at the cathedrals and temples humanity has created in honor of the divine.
Yet, in a deeper sense, the path to the sacred is an inner rather than outer quest. It is the path that leads to the soul deep within the recesses of human consciousness. When traveling upon this inner path there is a bridge that must be crossed, and it is called the Antahkarana.
Antahkarana is a Sanskrit term that denotes the bridge connecting the lower mind with the mind of the soul. Through it, an individual is able to realize the soul’s profound love and wisdom. In this way, the antahkarana is a communication conduit. It makes possible the realization of wisdom and guidance that transcends the rational thinking processes of the lower-self (personality).
The antahkarana gives revelatory insight into things that the personality cannot fathom on its own. As such, it is the medium used by the soul to communicate its love and purpose to the personality. However, this rainbow bridge (colloquial term for the antahkarana) does not exist naturally. Instead it must be built over time.
There are three disciplines that facilitate the building of the antahkarana, all of which are needed for its full construction. The first is the adoption of a meditative practice. Though the benefits of meditation are many, its contribution to the building of the antahkarana is often not realized. The function of meditation is to draw the self from its personality encasement. It involves detachment from the physical, emotional and mental aspects of the personality in order to sense the soul residing behind it. When the meditation ends, a strand of subtle substance is carried from the soul to the personality. This strand then becomes a part of this inner bridge of revelation.
The second technique supporting the construction of the antahkarana is selfless service. When a person begins to feel compelled to make an uplifting contribution toward others, it indicates that the individual is thinking beyond his/her own needs. Such a person begins to resonate to a higher form of love — a love that is widely inclusive, yet impersonal. It indicates (to the soul) that the personality is beginning to demonstrate a willingness to let go of its independent tendencies in order to be guided by altruistic motives. This demonstration begins to create a magnetic rapport between the soul and personality. When strong enough, it causes the soul to downwardly gaze, and by so doing, the antahkarana is further built.
The third process needed to complete the antahkarana is the development of the abstract mind. The reason this is important is that the soul is found on the abstract mental plane. As such, to think abstractly is to be in the neighborhood of the soul. Abstract thought makes it possible to see the broader (and wiser) truths underlying outer events. The deeper principles that govern life and circumstance are seen anew, and with a spiritual understanding not realized before. Most importantly, the abstract mind is the rightful recipient of intuitional insight.
It has been said that to find the path, one must become the path. This is a profound notion, and directly relates to the subject at hand. Often people believe that the spiritual path is related to the things we do and the directional choices we make in life. Yet in truth, walking the path is not an outer activity. Instead, it is an inner quest upon the antahkarana leading to the soul deep within. It is not governed by personality driven motives, but by an urge to be the authentic self (soul), filled with love and guided by wisdom and higher purpose.
The antahkarana is truly a bridge of revelation, and when fully built, enlightenment is then rightfully conferred.