Welcome back to my readers and abundance seekers,
Today we are touching upon a topic which is very close to my heart. lets start with a basic question of Who are you? when I ask this to people I often get names, place of origin, religion etc in response. But today I want you to think deeper. Go deep into yourself and unravel the layers like an onion to reach your very core, your very true essence. Indian spiritual philosophy states about the “panchkosha’s” panch meaning 5 and kosha’s meaning layers in our existence.
The pancha koshas (five sheaths) provide us with a road map for better understanding of our psychological and spiritual development. There are namely:
Physical – Annamaya kosha
Energy – Pranamaya kosha
Mental – Manamaya kosha
Wisdom – Vijnanamaya kosha
Bliss – Anandamaya kosha
Self – Atman
In each kosha’s name you have the word ‘maya’, which many people understand as meaning ‘illusion’, but in this context it actually means, ‘consists of.’
1. Annamaya kosha, (the sheath which consists of food)
‘Anna’ means food. This sheath is our physical body and is the densest of all the koshas. It includes our bones and also the tissues which make up our muscles and organs. It is the lowest vibration of ourselves. Here, energy is solidified into matter and it is made of the five elements, of which the earth element is the dominant one. It is called the food layer because it is created by the food that we eat. It is the structure that contains both the prana and the consciousness. If one gets ‘stuck’ into this layer, then one becomes over obsessive about form.
2. Pranamaya kosha, (the sheath that which consists of energy)
‘Prana’ means energy. This kosha is the vital life force that moves through the body. It literally consists of the breath and the five pranas, namely: prana, apana, udana, samana and vyana. These forms of prana control various functions within the physical body, and without prana, the body would be lifeless, and unable to move or think. It is the prana that makes the blood flow, carries impulses through the nerves from our body, to the brain and back. Prana also circulates between the physical body and the different sheaths through the agency of the nadis. Prana is in the form of vital, mental, psychic and spiritual energy. It is what allows us to travel from gross, to subtle and causal bodies.
3. Manamaya kosha, (the sheath that consists of the mind)
‘Mana’ means mind. This kosha is made up of our thoughts, feelings, mind and emotion. This is what we commonly call the ‘monkey’ mind and it is through the prism of this dimension that we perceive the world and our likes and dislikes (raga and dvesha) via the agency of the five senses. We continuously experience pain-pleasure opposition in our life, which destabilizes us and is also responsible for our happiness and unhappiness.
Consciousness is the act of being connected to the outer world through our senses, which are connected to the brain through the mind. Mind functions on three levels:
• Conscious: mind connects the outer world to the brain
• Subconscious: mind stores of all the experiences
• Unconscious mind: the ‘Real Self’ or ‘Atman’
Many people are ‘stuck’ in this sheath as they are abducted by their mind. In order to shift from this dimension, practices such as pranayama and pratyahara (mental withdrawing of the senses,) are very efficient.
Patajajali tells us in the yoga sutras: “Yogash chitta vritti nirodhah. Tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam”. (“Yoga is the mastery of the activities of the mind-field. Then the seer rests in its true nature.”) Which brings us nicely to the next kosha.
4. Vijnanamaya kosha, (that which consists of subtle knowledge)
‘Vijnana’ means subtle knowledge or wisdom. In this kosha we reach intuitive knowing and higher levels of consciousness. In this sheath the awareness of the body and mind is lost, and awareness is established as the ‘higher’ mind. We know, decide, judge, and discriminate from the wisdom part of ourselves, our higher consciousness. Consequently, the higher mind turns within towards the soul, seeking the Truth, and searching for the eternal center of consciousness. Vijnanamaya kosha, through the agency of the nadis, links the conscious mind, the higher mind and the universal mind.
Practices such as dharana, (mental focus on an object) and dhyana, (meditation on the divine,) are inner disciplines that progressively help us to channel our focus towards a deeper level of consciousness.
5. Anandamaya kosha, (the sheath that consists of Bliss)
‘Ananda’ means bliss. It is the spiritual or causal body, where, finally, you become one with the “divine spark,” which is our soul. Anandamaya kosha is connected to the unconscious or superconscious mind. It is only when the higher mind fuses with the superconscious mind, (or unconscious mind,) that one awakens to the Presence with a sense of connection to all. It is the highest level of vibration in this life. It is said that when you realize the Self or God, you reach “Mukti,” or liberation. Very few people have managed to reach anandamaya kosha, only saints and realized souls. This is when we reach Samadhi.
This is the road map that ancient seers have left us to help us understand our journey back to wholeness, so that we can break free from all bondage.
You are not the body, not the thought , not the emotion. You are energy. You are the one with your higher soul. Once you understand this life becomes simpler. You are just an instrument in the journey of the soul.
You are a being of pure light. As you begin to realize this “truth” you will stop associating your true self with your physical body, thoughts and emotions helping you get rid of your pain, sufferings, and chaotic thoughts and emotions.
The Soul Affirmation SO HAM has three parts.
The first is a constant reminder that we are not the body, the thoughts and the emotions. In order to understand this better, let us do some experiments:
Move your arms. What are you doing? I AM moving my arms. What are being moved? The arms. Are you the arms? No. Who is moving the arms? I AM. I AM is the ‘mover’, the arms are the objects being ‘moved’. The body is the temple or the vehicle of the incarnated soul.
Think of a car. What are you doing? I AM thinking of a car. Who is the thinker? I AM the thinker. What was created? The thought of a car. Are you the thought itself? No.
Think of an happy event. Feel the happiness. What are you doing? I AM feeling or creating the emotion of happiness. Who created the emotion? The I AM created the emotion. What emotion was created? The emotion of happiness. Are you the emotion of happiness itself? No.
In fact, the soul uses the mind as a subtle instrument to create thoughts and emotions.
So, when the body dies, what is left? I AM. When the thoughts and emotions are disintegrated, what is left? I AM. You are the I AM. You are the soul.
The second part is a reminder that we are made in the image of God. God has three aspects – the will aspect, the love aspect and the intelligence aspect… which in the Hindu tradition is represented as Lord Shiva (The Destroyer and Restorer), Lord Vishnu (The Preserver) and Lord Brahma (The Creator) respectively. The second part of the affirmation is a constant reminder to the truth that these qualities also exist in us given that our soul is a being of divine intelligence, divine love and divine power; and that we are always connected and one with our divine self (or the Higher Soul).
The third part of the affirmation is a reminder that we are all children of God. Given that the Higher Soul (and the Incarnated Soul) both come from God, every person and every being is also connected and one with God. Since all souls are connected and one with God, even we are connected and one with all.
Once you understand this, you are a free. Free from emotional disturbances, body nuances and also free from your own mental clutter. You are the light, you are pure consciousness and this needs to be remembered every breath.
So next time someone hurts you, you don’t say I am hurt instead say my body is hurt not me. This shift in perspective will give you the energy, inspiration, motivation and strength to face anything and everything with a smile. All you have to do is observe and let it pass.
Hope this has given you enough food for thought this week, see you next week.
happiness and sunshine