Koshas – The Five Sheaths of Human Being


Kosha, usually rendered “sheath”, is one of five coverings of the Atman, or Self according to Vedantic philosophy. According to Vedanta, the wise person being aware of the subtle influences of the five elements within each kosha, ever discerns the Self amidst appearances.

Physical – Annamaya Kosha

Anna means food. All of the physical aspects of life come and go, and are consumed by another aspect of external reality. Thus, the outermost of the koshas is called the sheath of food, or Annamaya kosha. In Vedanta practice, we train this aspect of ourselves, take care of it, nurture it, so that we can both enjoy our external lives and go inward without it being an obstacle during meditation time. In meditation, we become aware of Annamaya kosha, explore it, and then go inward, to and through the other koshas.

Energy – Pranamaya Kosha

The next of the koshas is Pranamaya kosha. Prana means energy. It is the vital force that produces the subtle vibrations related to breath, and which are the driving force behind the physical aspect of the senses and the operation of the physical body. It allows the invisible indweller, our True Self to be able to animate in the external world. At the same time, however, it allows the eternally still, silent center of consciousness to be mistakenly identified as the moving, visible physical body. For both a healthy life and the practice of meditation, Vedanta says that it is very useful, or essential that this level of our being be trained, regulated, and directed, so that it flows smoothly. In meditation, we become aware of Pranamaya kosha, explore it, and then go inward, to and through the other koshas.

Mental – Manamaya Kosha

The next of the koshas is Manamaya kosha. Mana means mind. It is the level of processing thoughts and emotions. It is in direct control of the operation, through the prana, of the physical body and senses. It is like a supervisor in a factory, in that it gives instructions, but is not supposed to be the manager of the factory of life. Because of this, it naturally has doubts, and created illusions. When it receives clear instructions from the deeper level, it functions quite well. However, when it is clouded over by its illusions, the deeper wisdom is clouded over. After taking care of the physical body and training the energy flow of prana, the most important part to be trained in positive ways is this level of mind. In meditation, we become aware of Manamaya kosha, explore it, and then go inward, to and through the remaining koshas.

Wisdom – Vijnanamaya Kosha

The next of the koshas is Vijnanamaya kosha. Vijnana means knowing. It is the sheath of wisdom that is underneath the processing, thinking aspect of mind. It knows, decides, judges, and discriminates between this and that, between useful and not useful. It is also the level of ego consciousness, meaning the powerful wave of I-am-ness. This I-am-ness itself is a positive influence, but when it gets co-mingled with the memories, and is clouded over by the manas, it loses its positive strength. A major part of sadhana (spiritual practice) is gaining ever increasing access to this level of our being. It is the level that has the higher wisdom to seek Truth, to go within, in search of the eternal center of consciousness.

Bliss – Anandamaya Kosha

Anandamaya kosha is the most interior of the koshas, the first of the koshas surrounding the Atman, the eternal center of consciousness. Ananda means bliss. However, it is not bliss as a mere emotion experienced at the level of the sheath of mind. Ananda is a whole different order of reality from that of the mind. It is peace, joy, and love that is underneath, beyond the mind, independent of any reason or stimulus to cause a happy mental reaction. It is simply being, resting in bliss called ananda. Yet, even this bliss, however wonderful it is, is still a covering, a sheath, a lampshade covering the pure light of consciousness. It is the subtle most of the five koshas. In the silence of deep meditation, this too is let go of, so as to experience the center.

Atman – Self

Atman is the Self, the eternal center of consciousness, which was never born and never dies. In the metaphor of the lamp and the lampshades, Atman is the light itself, though to even describe it as that is incomplete and incorrect. The deepest light shines through the koshas, and takes on their colorings. Atman, the Self, has been best described as indescribable. The realization of that, in direct experience, is the goal of Yoga meditation, Advaita Vedanta, and Tantra practices.

Five koshas

Balance our life…


It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that our health problems are confined to the body – caused and solved by purely physical, “bodily” things.

In this short, helpful video, Kerry Tepedino reminds us that our health is in fact a careful balance of mind, body and spirit. She explains the connection between our physical health and our mental and spiritual wellbeing. She emphasises that how we do it is up to us, but cultivating happiness across the board is essential for balancing the chemistry of our body.

We are all holistic beings and in order to truly transform our health, we need to take all our whole selves into account, and account for each part.

Source: http://blog.mindvalleyacademy.com/health-and-fitness/transform-your-health-mind-body-connection

How To Detox and Cleanse Your Body Naturally?

Cleansing the body periodically is an essential part of making it available for greater possibilities. It’s always best to detox your body naturally, and this can start right at home. Yogi and mystic, Sadhguru, gives us simple methods to cleanse the five elements of the system and looks at how to detox and cleanse your body naturally.

Sadhguru: Essentially, the body is a play of the five elements – water, earth, air, fire and space. It is very common in India to refer to the body as a puppet made of five elements. By composition, the body is seventy-two percent water, twelve percent earth, six percent air, four percent fire, and the remaining six percent space or akash. Bhuta shuddhi is a basic sadhana in yoga to transcend the limitations of the physical and to become available to a dimension beyond the physical.

How these five elements behave within you will determine just about everything. “Bhuta” means elements; “bhuta shuddhi” means to become free from the taint of the elements. It means to become free from the physical. Bhuta shuddhi is a basic sadhana in yoga to transcend the limitations of the physical and to become available to a dimension beyond the physical.

There are some simple things you can do to do bhuta shuddhi in a very natural way. It is not the ultimate type of bhuta shuddhi, but you can do some cleansing of the five elements.

Water – Among the five elements, our biggest concern is water. You must take enormous care about water because it is seventy-two percent and it has tremendous memory. One thing you can do is just put some neem or tulsi leaves in it. These will not remove chemical impurities but they will make the water very vibrant and energetic. Another thing is to store water in a copper vessel so that the water acquires a quality from the copper which is beneficial.

Earth – Earth is twelve percent. How food goes into you, from whose hands it comes to you, how you eat it, how you approach it, all these things are important. Above all, the food you eat is life. Other forms are giving up their life to sustain us. If we can eat with enormous gratitude for all the living things which give up their life to sustain our lives, food will behave in a very different way within you.

Air – Air is six percent. In that, only one percent or less is your breath. The rest is happening in so many other ways. It is not just the air that you breathe that affects you, it is the way you keep the air within you. You must take care of that one percent too but if you are living in a city it may not be in your hands what kind of air you breathe. So go for a walk in the park or along the lake.

Especially if you have children, it is important that you take them out at least once a month – not to the cinema or somewhere like that because the limited air in that hall gets affected just by the sounds, intentions, and emotions that are happening on the screen and reflecting in people’s minds. Instead of taking them to the cinema, take them to the river, teach them how to swim or climb a mountain. You needn’t go all the way to the Himalayas. Even a small hill is a mountain for a child. Even a rock will do. Go climb and sit on one of them. Children will enjoy it immensely and will become fit. You will become fit, your body and mind will function differently, and above all you are in touch with the Creator’s creation which is the most important thing.

Fire – You can also take care of what kind of fire burns within you. Get some sun on your body every day because sunlight is still pure. Fortunately, nobody can contaminate it. And what kind of fire burns within you – is it the fire of greed, fire of hatred, fire of anger, fire of love or fire of compassion. If you take care of that, you needn’t worry about your physical and mental wellbeing. It gets taken care of.

Akash – Akash is an intermediary situation between that which is creation and that which is the source of creation. If we keep the other four elements well, akash will take care of itself. If you know how to get the cooperation of akash into your life, this will be a blessed life.

Source: http://www.ishafoundation.org/blog/lifestyle/health-fitness/5-ways-to-detox-your-body-naturally/

Who Is Fit For Yoga?

Who is fit for Yoga? You are fit for Yoga. He is fit for Yoga. I am fit for Yoga. All human beings without exception are fit for Yoga.

The spiritual fitness can be determined by our feeling of oneness, our desire for oneness. The tiniest drop has a right to feel the boundless ocean as its very own, or to cry to have the ocean as its very own. Such is the case with the individual soul and the Universal Soul.

Where is God and where am I? God is on the third floor and I am on the first floor. I come up to the second floor. He comes down to the second floor. We both meet together. I do not forget to wash His Feet with my tears of delight. Nor does He forget to place me in His Heart of infinite Compassion.

What is Yoga? Yoga is self-conquest. Self-conquest is God-realisation. He who practises Yoga does two things with one stroke: he simplifies his whole life and he gets a free access to the Divine.

In the field of Yoga we can never pretend. Our aspiration must ring true. Our whole life must ring true. Nothing is impossible for an ardent aspirant. A higher Power guides his steps. God’s adamantine Will is his safest protection. No matter how long or how many times he blunders, he has every right to come back to his own spiritual home. His aspiration is a climbing flame. It has no smoke, it needs no fuel. It is the breath of his inner life. It leads him to the shores of the Golden Beyond. The aspirant, with the wings of his aspiration, soars into the realms of the Transcendental.

God is infinite and God is Omnipresent. To a genuine aspirant, this is more than mere belief. It is the Reality without a second.

Now let us focus our attention on the spiritual life. It is a mistaken idea that the spiritual life is a life of austerity and a bed of thorns. No, never! We came from the Blissful. To the Blissful we shall return with the spontaneous joy of life. It seems difficult because we cater to our ego. It looks unnatural because we cherish our doubts.

The realisation of God is the goal of our life. It is also our noblest heritage. God is at once our Father and our Mother. As our Father He observes; as our Mother He creates. Like a child, we shall never give up demanding of our Mother, so that we can win our Mother’s Love and Grace. How long can a mother go on unheeding her child’s cry? Let us not forget that if there is anybody on earth on whom all human beings have a full claim, it is the Mother aspect of the Divine. She is the only strength of our dependence; she is the only strength of our independence. Her Heart, the home of infinitude, is eternally open to each individual.

We should now become acquainted with the eight significant strides that lead a seeker to his destination. These strides are: Yama, self-control and moral abstinence; Niyama, strict observance of conduct and character; Asana, various body postures which help us enter into a higher consciousness; Pranayama, systematic breathing to hold a rein on the mind; Pratyahara, withdrawal from the sense-life; Dharana, the fixation of our consciousness on God, joined by all parts of the body; Dhyana, meditation, the untiring express train speeding toward the Goal; and Samadhi, trance, the end of Nature’s dance, the total merging of our individual consciousness into the infinite Consciousness of the Transcendental Supreme.

Yoga is our union with Truth. There are three unfolding stages of this union. In the first stage man has to feel that God needs him as much as he needs God. In the second stage man has to feel that, without him, God does not exist even for a second. In the third and ultimate stage man has to realise that he and God are not only eternally One, but also equal, all-pervading and all-fulfilling.

Sri Chinmoy, Yoga And The Spiritual Life. The Journey of India’s Soul