Ahamkara is a sankrit term consisting of the words aham and kara. Aham means ‘I’ and kara is derived from the verb root ‘kr.’ meaning ‘to make’. Ahamkara is considered to be the identification and attachment to the ego.
Most of the times the human mind is in the state of ahamkara and therefore in a state of subjective illusion. In this state it is only possible to define things or concepts in relation to other things or concepts. With other words, the ahamkara creates a state of illusion in which reality is obscured. Nevertheless, through the subjectivity of the ahamkara the things and concepts created in the mind are taken for reality.
Moreover, the ahamkara through its subjectivity makes us believe that the ego is our true self. Even throughout western philosophy mostly intelligence is identified with the true nature of humans. But is that really so since even intelligence in its essence is based on the contrast of subject and object? The mind without doubt plays an important role in the formation of what we consider to be our individuality. Nevertheless, this on intelligence based individuality has the deceptive aspect of establishing itself as true nature of a person.
Besides the intellect in every human there is a knowing subject slumbering deep inside. It does not show any activities and therefore is unlike the intellect most of the time even not noticed. But it is this knowing subject that knows that we think. It is this knowing subject that knows that we dream and its this knowing that eventually makes us wakeup during a nightmare.
Any human being experiences three states of being: being awake, dream state, and dreamless sleep. During the first two states the mind with its intellect plays its known role of experiencing things out of the perspective of its own-created individuality existing in our thoughts. But what about the third state, when a person is in deep dreamless sleep? At that time when the contrast of subject and object is destroyed, where is the mind with its intellect, where is the ahamkara, where is the I? It is in the state of dreamless sleep that the difference between the intellect and the knowing subject, that is persisting without change through all the three different stages, becomes very clear.
To actually understand our true nature covered and hidden by the illusory nature created by the ahamkara it would be necessary to gain an understanding of this state of dreamless sleep. A knowledge of the state where the illusory substance of empirical reality, that is based on the contrast of subject and object, is not existing.
Unfortunately due to the limitations of the mind and its intellect it is near to impossible to grasp an understanding of the dreamless state. The horizon of the mind and its intellect is limited to all the ideas, concepts and definitions derived from the reality experienced through the limitation of our senses and our mind and its intelligence, which is an endless circle of limited and deceptive conceptions.
Our inner nature is like a giant underground maze in which only few parts are illuminated by lights. The brightest light is our mind which makes us believe that the true nature is to be found within the mind. On the contrary, the knowing subject in us is the maze itself. It includes as well the illuminated parts as the unilluminated parts of the maze and therefore is unknowable in its entirety.