Pancha Kosha – wrapping up the illusion.

From food, surely, are they born;

All the creatures that live on Earth.

On food alone, once born, they live

And into food they shall pass.

~ Taittiriya Upanishad

In the never ending quest for self knowledge, the Upanishads shed some light on the nature of Maya (Illusion). This illusion is organised to laters which veil our True Nature.

Annamaya Kosha ~ the physical body

Anna means food. This represents the physical mass of the body and is the level that we experience matter.

Our body is based around the 5 elements:

  • Earth
  • Water
  • Fire
  • Air
  • Ether
  • And it’s dominated by the 3 doshas:
    • Vata
      Pitta
      Kapha

    Pranamaya Kosha ~ the energetic body

    Prana is defined as the life force energy. It comprises of all the cosmic energies that permeate the universe. The Sanskrit is taken from two words Pra meaning “constant” and an meaning “motion”.

    This sheath takes its name from from this energy that binds the physical and the mental body and is composed of the 5 pranas or Vāyus :

    • Prana – the breath
    • Apana – down and outward energy or the eliminatory energy
    • Udana – rising energy
    • Samana- heat of digestion
    • Vyana- energy that circulates through the whole body.
  • Manomaya kosha ~ the mental body
  • Manas means “mind”. This sheath deals with sensory perception and knowledge from the outside world. The mind in this sense refers not only to the human mind but that which is found in all living things including plants.
  • This Kosha collects it’s information from the sense organs.
  • Vijnanamaya Kosha ~ the wisdom body
  • Jnana means “knowledge”. This later is composed of our intelligence and our reason. It naturally looks from the inside out and takes a disciplined yogi to turn it inward. At this later we experience value judgements.
  • Looking outwards we can organise stimulus from the outside world. Looking inward we can see what is happening in our microcosm.
  • Anandamaya Kosha ~ Bliss Body
  • This is our inner mind. It focuses on feelings of love, faith and intuition. It holds onto mental impressions and recollections and holds information pertaining to karma. Our behaviours and tendencies lay imprinted on this sheath.
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