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Friday, June 29, 2012

Spiritual human anatomy – the Pancha Kosha

Modern Science only explains the human anatomy based on the information gained with the help of five senses and medical gadgets. When it comes to mind and beyond, the contemporary Science couldn't contain all the answers. The Rishis and Saints of India performed deep analysis during meditation about the subject, thousands of years ago and came out with a wonderful explanation of human anatomy. For a true seeker, it is very important to gain complete understanding of our own composition while performing deeper Self analysis.

According to the ancient philosophy of Vedanta, the wonderful manifestation of Consciousness or Soul occurs in the physical world with the help of five Kosha (layers or sheaths). These Kosha refers to different aspects as layers of subjective experience ranging from physical experiences to the subtle levels of breath, emotions, mind, spirit and beyond. Together, with these five layers, the living being acts as one holistic system.

Annamay Kosha: The outermost of the layers that interacts in the physical world is called the sheath of food, or Annamaya kosha. This refers to the physical body. It includes five organs of perception (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch), and the five organs of action (hands, legs, tongue, organ of reproduction and organ of excretion). This sheath has the most dense and lower vibrational frequency. Living through this layer man identifies himself with a mass of skin, flesh, fat, bones, and filth. This is referred to as the cage of flesh and blood in the holy scriptures.

Pranmay Kosha: This layer of the composed of the Prana(breath energy), the vital force that holds together the body and the mind. Its physical manifestation is the breath. As long as this vital force exists in the being, life continues. Yogic scriptures mentions the presence of 72,000 pathways along which the Prana moves in human body. These pathways cannot anatomically be seen but the existence of some of them seems to have been proven indirectly by using acupuncture needles tipped with radioactive phosphorus. The pathways have been named as Nadis in Yoga.

Manomay Kosha: This layer refers to the manaa or the mind. The mind along with the five sensory organs of taste (tongue),smell (nose), vision (eyes), hearing (ear), and touch (skin), is said to constitute the Manomaya Kosha. The Manomaya Kosh is the mental faculty that receives all the sensory inputs, interprets them as good or bad and desires the good. This Kosha is subtler than the preceding two Koshas and governs them and is, in turn, governed by the two Koshas superior to it. It is thus central to human existence.

Vigyanmay Kosha: The literal meaning of Vijnanamaya refers to the intellect, the faculty which discriminates, determines or wills. The feeling of 'me' and 'mine', and the faculty of intelligence and reasoning constitute the fourth of these Koshas. The one with strong Vigyanmay Kosha can control the mind and have strong will power. When one closes the eyes and relaxes during meditation, the Manomaya Kosha becomes quiet and the Vigyanmaya Kosha takes over. In the final stages of meditation, the intellect becomes stable and mind becomes still and this is called Samadhi.

Aanandmay Kosha: The fifth and the innermost blissful layer is in close proximity of the Consciousness. The Anandamaya kosha or "sheath of bliss" (ananda) is the most subtle or spiritual of the five levels of embodied Self. Anandamaya means of ananda, or bliss. Bliss or ceaseless joy is beyond the layers of physical and mental realms. This Kosha is the reflection of the divine qualities of the Soul, namely Sat-Chit-Anand (Eternal-Conscious-Blissfulness).

As a true seeker progresses in sadhana, he or she begins to spend more time in the inner realms of Vigyanmay and Anandmay Kosha. In this manner, the true seeker begins to realize the divine peace and bliss, within. 


  1. Baba,I am only ten years old.I love this blog,and I want to learn more about God.Unfortuntly,I can only understand limited subjects,and a few words are a little challenging for me.Can you please help me in any way?
    Thank You

    1. u definately got ur aim to know god u just persist in this field

  2. My dear, you are so adorable. Don't give much emphasis to learning. If God can be attained by learning then Lawyers and Professors will carry Him in their pockets. What is important is your love for God and your passion to know about your own true Self and God. Keep that love and passion alive. Your heart is so pure. God is very close to children because they have pure heart. Keep on praying to God with love and gratitude (for all the blessings your have). In this manner the Truth and true wisdom of the Self will be revealed in your heart on its own, by the grace of the Supreme who is residing in your heart and everywhere. Lots of blessings and love to you ....Om Shanti!