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Five type of kos????

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I have a question may be amrit veer ji , tsingh veer ji, lalleshvari veer or anyone who has gyan can help this morakh.

I was reading about 5 kos of three layers of body- asthol sirar, sakhsum sirar and karan sirar

I wanted to know about the meanings of 5 kos which are.

1. Anmay Kos

2. Pranmay Kos

3 Mnumay Kos

4. Vigyanmay Kos

5. Anandmay Kos

Also if one can explain about what is karan sirar?? I know about astohol sirar and sakhsum sirar.

Thanks a lot premio..let the real adhyatamik vichar begin :)

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Thanks bro,

But you know i don't have access to these books.. I have looked baba isher singh's writing.. he just mentions the 5 kos above but i think he does not say what each are...so whenever you have time...can you please post what they are..no worries about defination of karan sirar..i got that one :D

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Woooooooooooooooooo I got it :P

Dhan Dhan google.com :D

the five kos'as

Vedanta analyses the non-Self into five kos'as, or sheaths, namely, the gross physical sheath (annamaya-kos'a), the sheath of prana or the vital force (prana-mayakos'a), the sheath of the mind (manomayakos'a), the sheath of the buddhi or intelligence (vijnanamaya-kos'a), and the sheath of bliss (anandamayakos'a). They are called sheaths because, like sheaths, they conceal Atman. They are figuratively described as one inside the other, the physical sheath being the outermost and the sheath of bliss the innermost. The real meaning is that one sheath is finer than another. As a finer entity permeates a grosser one, so the finer sheath permeates the grosser sheath. Thus, when it is said that the sheath of the vital force is inside the gross physical sheath, it really means that the former is finer than the latter and therefore permeates it. Atman is the finest substance. It is detached from the sheaths and permeates them all. The effulgence of Atman shines through all the sheaths, though in varying degrees according to their density. Thus, the sheath of intelligence manifests more of the luminosity of Atman than the sheath of the mind. Through ignorance a man identifies Atman with one or more of the kos'as, or sheaths. As this ignorance is stubborn, persistent, and hard to overcome, Vedantic philosophers take considerable pains to describe their illusory nature and exhort the aspirants to negate them. Only when that is done, that is to say, when one cultivates total detachment toward them through discrimination, is the true nature of Atman revealed.

The annamayakos'a, or physical body. This sheath, which constitutes the gross physical body, is produced by the combination of the gross elements and consists of flesh, bones, blood, and other ingredients. Dependent upon food for its existence, it lives as long as it can assimilate food. It is not seen prior to birth or after death; its existence is transitory and its virtues are ephemeral. It is changeable by nature. Therefore the body cannot be the Self. The ignorant identify themselves with the body; the book-learned, with the combination of the body, the mind, and the Self; while the calm man of discrimination regards the Self as distinct from body, mind, and ego. As long as a man does not give up this mistaken identification with the body, he cannot experience the bliss of Freedom, be he ever so erudite in philosophy or science. The body can be a help to the soul if it is regarded as an instrument, just as a house is a help to its indweller, or a horse to its rider.

The prdnamayakos'a, or sheath of prana, the vital force. This sheath is finer than the gross physical sheath and impels the latter to action. A modification of the vital force, it consists of the five pranas, enters the body after conception, leaves it at the hour of death, and produces the feelings of hunger and thirst. An insentient and limited object, the sheath of prana cannot be Atman, the omnipresent and all-seeing Witness.

The manomayakos'a, or sheath of the mind. This is finer than the sheath of prana. The Self identified with the mind feels the diversity of " I " and " you," and also experiences the differences of names and forms in the outer world. The seed-bed of desires, good and bad, the mind impels the senses to activity for their fulfilment. The phenomenal world has no existence outside the mind, which is a product of ignorance. The mind agitated by desires becomes aware of sense-objects, gross and fine, enjoys them, and also becomes attached to them. The mind alone is responsible for the illusory differences of caste and social position, as also of the notions of action, means, and end. Stained by passion, greed, and lust, it creates bondage, and freed of them, it shows the way to Liberation and Blessedness. The purification of the mind, through the practice of discrimination and dispassion, is the goal of spiritual discipline. In the opinion of Vedantic seers, the mental sheath cannot be Atman, because it is endowed with a beginning and an end, is subject to change, and is characterized by pain and pleasure. It belongs to the category of the object. The vijndnamayakos'a, or, buddhi, the sheath of intelligence. Buddhi, the determinative faculty, is, like the mind, a function of the inner organ and therefore a product of Prakriti, or matter. Though insentient by nature, it appears intelligent and conscious because it reflects Chit, or Pure Intelligence. This reflection of Pure Consciousness in buddhi is called the jiva, or individualized soul, whose chief characteristic is I-consciousness. Subject to the law of karma, it assumes different bodies, determined by the desires of previous births, and performs good and evil actions. Atman, identifying Itself with the sheath of intelligence, experiences misery and happiness in the waking and dream states and their absence in dreamless sleep. It is through ignorance that the upadhi of jivahood is superimposed on Atman, the Pure Self; and that is why Atman appears to be a doer or enjoyer in the relative world.

It may be contended that the superimposition on account of which the Supreme Self appears as the jiva, through delusion or otherwise, is without beginning, and hence cannot have an end. Therefore the individuality of the soul, also, must have no end. It must go on forever. How, then, can there be Liberation for the soul? In answer the Vedantic philosopher says that the jivahood, or individualization, of Atman is not real, but is conjured up by ignorance. The unattached, formless, and actionless Atman cannot be related to the objective world except through delusion. Since the very notion of jivahood is due to delusion, it ceases to exist when the delusion is destroyed by the true Knowledge of the Self. Because of ignorance a rope appears to be a snake; and it continues to be perceived as such so long as the ignorance lasts. But when the true nature of the rope is seen, the idea of the snake disappears. Avidya, or nescience, and its effects, such as time, space, and causality, are beginningless for those who are subject to it. But when ignorance is destroyed by Right Knowledge, all such notions as the jivahood of Atman and Its birth and death cease to exist, just as the dream ego functioning in sleep vanishes when the dreamer awakes. Atman, the only existent Reality, cannot have any connection with the buddhi and thus become a jiva, for the buddhi does not exist from the standpoint of Atman. There cannot be any real conection between Atman and the sheath of the buddhi, just as there cannot be any point of contact between the desert and the water seen in a mirage. The false superimposition which accounts for the individuality of the jiva can be directly destroyed only through the Knowledge of Brahman and not by any other means such as ritualistic worship, study of scripture, •or philanthropic activities. This unitive (intuitive?) Knowledge— attained through discrimination between the Real and the unreal and relinquishment of the unreal—enables the bound soul to attain Liberation.

The anandamayakos'a, or sheath of bliss. Finer than the sheath of intelligence is the subtle sheath of bliss. This bliss, however, must not be conjused with the Supreme? Bliss of Brahman. A modification of nescience, or Prakriti, it manifests itself by catching a reflection of the ever blissful Atman. The chief features of this sheath are pleasure and rest—the pleasure that is experienced when one comes in contact with an agreeable object. The righteous man feels it in a small measure and without the least effort at the time of the fruition of his virtuous deeds. But the fullest manifestation of the sheath of bliss is experienced in deep sleep, when one remains totally unconscious of suffering of any kind. After waking from deep sleep a man remarks that he has slept happily. A partial manifestation is known in the waking state when the senses come in contact with pleasant objects, or in the dream state due to pleasant memory-impressions. The sheath of bliss, though close to Atman, cannot be Atman Itself, as it is a product of ignorance; which fact can be known from the experience of unconsciousness in dreamless sleep. Further, this sheath, like the other sheaths, is endowed with changing attributes. But Atman is omnipresent and self-existent.

The five sheaths are all modifications of Prakriti, or primordial matter. They do not possess absolute reality. Whatever reality they are perceived to possess is due to Atman's being their Substratum. It must also be remembered that the sheaths are not real coverings of the infinite Atman. They only appear to be so when the true Knowledge of the Self is forgotten. The Light of Atman shines in varying measure through the different sheaths according to their composition. The true glory of Atman, unobstructed by any sheath, is fully realized by the aspirant when, through discrimination and detachment, self-control and meditation, he no longer identifies himself with the sheaths or with any other modification of maya, such as the sense-organs, the mind, the buddhi, or the ego, but is completely absorbed in the Self. Untouched by the five sheaths, Witness of the three states, Atman is the unchanging and unsullied Reality, knowledge of which enables one to break the bondage of the relative world and attain Supreme Blessedness.

It may be contended that, after the negation of the five sheaths and the mind and ego as unreal, one finds nothing but a void, the utter absence of everything. What entity then remains with which the illumined soul may realize its identity? In answer it is said by the Vedantist that only after such negation can a man realize Atman, which is devoid of attributes, is of the nature of Pure Consciousness, and is the Witness of the various modifications of Prakriti seen in the waking and the dream state, such as the mind, the body, and the senses, and also of their absence in profound sleep or in samadhi. It may be called contentless Consciousness in which both subject and object merge and disappear. It cannot be the void, for one emerging from the experience of Self-Knowledge shows a richer and enhanced personality. Atman, or Brahman, is, according to Vedanta, the real essence of man. After the realization of this all-pervading Consciousness, a man discovers his true Self, just as, after entering the ocean, a river, discarding name and form, finds its real source and ultimate goal.

When the five sheaths are negated, the body, the mind, the buddhi, and the other modifications of ignorance, and the different reflections of the Self in them, are also negated. And when all these illusory objects disappear, there shines the real Atman, eternal, omnipresent, and all-powerful, realizing which within himself a man becomes free from sin, fear, grief, taint, and death and becomes the embodiment of Bliss.

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  • 2 months later...

Also look at this..explained it beautifully:

Composition of Man

Personality Layers

Kosas – Sheaths (Pancha- kosas)

From ‘Vedanta Treatise’

By Sri A. Parthasarthy

Vedanta Life Institute, Mumbai.

The structure of man can be divided into five material layers enveloping Atman (indwelling soul). Atman is the core of your personality. It is represented by the mystic symbol of AUM (pronounced OM). The five layers of matter are like five

concentric circles around the symbol. They are called sheaths

or KOSAS in Sanskrit. The five sheaths (pancha-kosas) are:

Food sheath (Anna-maya kosa)

Vital-Air sheath (Prana-maya kosa)

Mental sheath (Mana-maya kosa)

Intellectual sheath (Vignana-maya kosa)

Bliss sheath (Ananda-maya kosa)

Food sheath

Food sheath is the physical body. The five organs of perception and the five organs of action are a part of it. It is called food sheath because it is caused by food, maintained by food; and finally ends up as food.

Vital-Air sheath

There are five faculties functioning within you. They correspond to the five physiological functions. They are called the five Pranas. Together they constitute the vital-air sheath. They have been given that name because they are related directly to air you breathe.

Faculty of perception (prana): is the functioning of the five senses as seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching.

Faculty of excretion (apana): throws out, evacuates

excreta of the body such as faeces, urine, sperms, sputum, perspiration etc.

Faculty of digestion (samana): digests food received by the stomach.

Faculty of circulation (vyana); distributes digested food to different parts of the body through blood stream.

Faculty of thought-absorption (udana): takes in fresh knowledge.

These five faculties (pranas) are sharp and clear when you are young. As you get older the pranas lose their strength and vitality. That explains why a ripe old man can hardly see, hear etc. His faculties of excretion, digestion and circulation become very weak. His capacity to absorb and accept new thoughts and ideas is reduced to the bare minimum.

Vital-Air sheath is subtler than food sheath. It controls the food sheath. When your pranas function properly your physical body remains healthy and strong. And when they slacken and work inefficiently the body is adversely affected.

Mental sheath

The mental sheath is the mind. Mind consists of passions and emotions, feelings and impulses. It is full of likes and dislikes. Mental-sheath controls vital-air and food sheaths. For instance, when the mind is disturbed, the physiological functions (pranas) and the physical body are affected.

Intellectual sheath

Intellectual sheath is the intellect. It functions as thinking,

reflecting, reasoning, discriminating, judging, etc. It analyses

and distinguishes between pairs of opposites. It controls the

above three sheaths.

Bliss sheath

Bliss sheath consists of Vasanas alone. When you are in deep sleep i.e. dreamless sleep you are in bliss sheath. When you cross the bliss sheath and move to other sheaths you experience the dream and waking states of consciousness. Vasanas are therefore unmanifest in deep sleep while they are manifest in the form of thought in the dream and actions in the waking state. Consequently you experience mental agitations, be they great or small, as long as you remain in dream and waking states. When however you enter the state of deep sleep all your mental agitations cease and you experience undisturbed peace and bliss. Hence it is that this sheath is called bliss sheath. But the bliss experienced in deep sleep is relative. It is not to be confused with the absolute bliss of Self-realisation.

The five sheaths enumerated above may also be classified under three different headings viz. gross body, subtle body and causal body. Food sheath and the gross portion of vital-air sheath together constitute the gross body. The subtle portion of vital-air sheath combined with mental and intellectual sheaths form the subtle body. While the gross body is made up of gross matter, the subtle body is constituted of passions, desires, emotions, feelings and thoughts. Bliss sheath is the causal body consisting of Vasanas alone.

Your causal body is the storehouse of all your impressions and latent energies in you, all your Vasanas. When this hidden material in the causal body expresses itself as feelings and thoughts it takes the form of your subtle body. The same material works out as perceptions and actions in the gross body. Let the causal body be instilled with the suggestion of health, the subtle body will entertain thoughts of health and the gross body is bound to be healthy. Let the causal body be saturated with the suggestion of godhead, the subtle body will revel in the thought of godhead, the man is bound to be godly. A man is the architect of his own personality inasmuch as it is his own causal body that is responsible for his behaviour, movements and environments.

The substratum of your causal, subtle and gross bodies is

your real Self.


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