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Antaryami Brahman In Hindu Religion

In Hindu religion, Antaryami Brahman is the indwelling entity, spirit, that inheres in the universe. Antaryami Brahman is referred to in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (III – 7). To the question posed by Uddalaka Aruni about the principle by which this life, the next one, and all beings are knit together as in a sutra (string), and the internal ruler by whom they are controlled. Yajnavalkya replies that the fundamental principle is vayu and antaryamin is Brahman. Brahman, he says, inhabits the five elements, the heaven, the directions, and, in short, the entire universe including the individual organs of all beings. Brahman, the primary cause and source of all, sends forth the entire universe consisting of five elements and introduces the mass of individual selves into different bodies, divine and human, depending upon their merits and demerits.

The selves thus become the self of the bodies. Brahman becomes the inner self of all selves, evolved in all these aggregates as something substantial. The living self in all the selves is Brahman himself. The universe of matter and selves inclusive of the intelligent selves is the body of Brahman. As antaryamin residing in the heart of hearts of every self, reminds the good selves of its presence and helps them to meditate on him.

‘He is never seen but is the witness; he is never heard but is the hearer; He is never thought, but is the thinker; He is never known, but is the knower; There is no other witness but him, no other thinker but him, no other knower but him. He is the internal controller, your own immortal self’ (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad).

Ramanujacharya, the consolidator of Visishtadvaita philosophy, taking the cue from this Antaryami Brahman, propounded Sharira-Shariri Bhava (body-soul theory). In this attempt to systematize the philosophy of Upanishads, he recognizes three trends of thought regarding the relationship between Brahman, the self, and the world. There are passages in the Upanishads which bring out the differences of nature between the non-sentiment matter (world), the self and Brahman. These analytical texts, according to him, emphasize the transcendental character of Brahman. There are passages which declare the unity of Brahman with the world in its causal as well as effectual aspect. These synthetic passages, such as, ‘That Thou Art, ‘Svetaketu’ (Chandogya Upanishad, VI.2, 8), proclaim the non-dual character of Brahman, who alone constitutes the ultimate reality. The self and thew world, though different from each other, exist because Brahman exists. There are other passages which teach that Brahman is the inner self of all entities that form his body. He is having been the inner self of all selves evolved into all aggregated names and forms (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad VII. 3-23).

These meditating or reconciling texts declare that neither the individual self nor the world can exist by itself. They are inseparably connected with Brahman as its body and in turn are controlled by it. All names denote the same. Ramanuja emphatically states that the interpretation of the various types of texts such as the ones referred to above must be such that they do not contradict themselves. Even one single text should not be interpreted so as to be divested of its primary meaning and fundamental significance.