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Antarmukha – Bahirmukha In Hinduism

In Hinduism, Antarmukha is one who turns inward. And one who turns to the sensory world to realize the reality is known as Bahirmukha.

One is called antarmukha only when he withdraws his senses from worldly objects and contemplates the self. He is the seer. He perceives the self directly without the help of the senses which are fit to visualize only fixed objects in the world.

One is called bahirmukha when one loses oneself in ‘other-ness’ or in mundane activity. He does not see his own self or spirit as the all-pervading reality.

The seer of Katha Upanishad rightly distinguishes the relevance of the two kinds of tendencies and their fruit in the first two verses of the first section of the second chapter. According to these verses, the self is not to be sought through the senses. When the openings of the senses are turned outward, one looks outwards and not inwards. But the wise see with their eyes turned inwards. In the former state, one suffers the snare of the changeable, perishable world, while the latter realizes the eternal and keeps himself aloof from seeking stability among things which are unstable.

The bahirmukha acts with senses – the antarmukha controls the senses by his sadhana. The objects for the former are outwardly physiological and psychological entities, but the object for the latter is the very spirit given as his consciousness. Bahirmukha is the one who enjoys the objects of the senses, and antarmukha is the one who enjoys the truth which is knowledge and bliss.