For the benefit of mobile readers – and pub quiz cheats – the quick answer to the title question is that: the English translation of Antaryami is omniscient.
If you want to go deeper into the meaning of Antaryami read on, because omniscience gets interesting, and dare I say, somewhat controversial. But we do like a healthy discussion here at Antaryami, so feel free to have your say.
You are probably already aware that omniscient is a word typically used to describe “God.” I’ve put that name in inverted commas because God is what we call the omniscient force that is Antaryami.
Essentially, omniscient means all-knowing. The English word is derived from the Latin words, omni which means ‘all’ and scientia – where we also get the word science – which means knowledge.
In his book, ‘The Book Of Virtue: The Mystical Path to Self-Transformation,’ Brian Warner states the Hindu word, ‘Antaryami,’ means “controller within.”
The concept, in Warner’s opinion, is similar to the idea of the “God Within” that is spoken of in ancient texts and modern religions from around the world. Warner goes on to expand on his summary by explaining:
“It is a reference to the Divine source of life that lives within all creation.”
But what is this mysterious “divine source” that so many people talk about. This is where we venture into the realms of controversy, so take a deep breath and try to keep an open mind.
The three OOO’s
The following explanation is perhaps easier to follow by understanding the three O’s modern religions associate with God. Omniscient as you know means, “all-knowing.”
It is said the “God” knows everything past and present and future. Nothing comes as a surprise. Everything there is to know, He knows because His knowledge is complete.
Then there is Omnipotent which means “all-powerful” and has control of every living being, the wind, water, gravity and everything else mentioned in physics. We are told that “God’s power is limitless.”
Finally, there is Omnipresence which means “everywhere.” So we consider God to have limitless powers, is all around us and knows everything about us. Furthermore, He judges us and manifests into reality that which we deserve.
Well, you can say the same thing about consciousness, regardless of whether scientists understand or not. We know consciousness exists because are alive and our lives evolve through conscious interpretation of the world view.
Is God another word for consciousness?
The three OOO’s are referred to in all religious systems, but whereas pantheistic religions that were most prominent in the ancient past, believe the universe and the divine are connected as one, modern monotheistic religions separate the divine from the Universe.
This may sound biased given we herald the Hindu religion, but it is difficult to see how modern religions can justify separating the divine from the Universe.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says:
“O Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all things that are yet to come. I also know all living entities; but Me no one knows.”
In Hindu mythology, Krishna, the avatar of the earlier Lord Vishnu, represents absolute consciousness. That is to say the source from which all consciousness arises. In my opinion, consciousness is what religions call “God.”
According to the Scientific American Magazine, scientists have all but given up trying to find categorical evidence that explains consciousness. Physicist Edward Witten says: “I think consciousness will remain a mystery.”
As Krishna said, “but Me, no one knows.”
And so we have the enigma that is “God.” Many belief He is real, many more know he is there, but nobody knows how to explain the concept of God to non-believers.
But we do not have to tell non-believers that consciousness exists because they already know. So does consciousness go some way to understanding the concept of “God” even though scientists cannot explain what consciousness actually is?
The answer to that has to be left to the perception of individuals. What we can say about consciousness, is that it is gives rise to all life in accordance with laws of the nature. It is therefore omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.
Science beginning to prove ancient texts
Modern day scientists may not be able to prove what ancient sages teach us about consciousness, but quantum physicists are beginning to understand there is some truth in ancient wisdom.
Believed to have been written around 450BCE, the Advaita Vedanta teaches that everything in the Universe is unified even though it appears separate at surface.
When Albert Einstein said: “a human being is a part of the whole called by us, Universe,” science took one step closer to understand the one consciousness of the Universal mind.
There are other modern day researchers that also agree with the Upanishad sentiment that the Universe is connected and we are all part of the same consciousness.
In his book, ‘Unified Reality Theory”, Steven Kaufmann explains that reality stems from the source of Universal consciousness.The author states: “the model describes in detail how the universe gets something from nothing.”
In the Vedas, Hindu mythology tells the story of Brahma being born from a golden egg that manifests from the naval of Lord Vishnu. The symbolism suggests the latter is the source from where consciousness begins, whilst Brahma represents consciousness that evolves into reality by our thoughts, emotions and actions.
The Trinity of thoughts emotions and actions are the dharma and karma effect that Hindus hold so closely to their hearts. There is a firm belief that carry out the right action will manifest in goodness. Wrong actions illicit negative experiences.
Hinduism and other modern religious groups say “God is the ultimate sanctioning agent of good or bad effects.” He passes judgement on us. This is an ancient belief we are beginning to rediscover. So can we realistically imagine what it is like to be Antaryami?