Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Nourishment of 5 bodies (Panchakośa-s)

In earlier article, we had understood panchakośa-s in brief. Now, let us understand the food that nourishes these bodies. Panchakośa-s are often classified into 3 śarira-s - sthula, śukshma and kāraṇa śarira. Though kośa is loosely translated as ‘body’, it is actually ‘śarira’ that means a ‘body’. kośa means ‘container’. It collects and preserves something. English word for it is ‘sheath’. In order to avoid confusion, we will use saṃskrita words ‘kośa’ and ‘śarira’ instead of using the word ‘body’. 5 kośa-s are combined into 3 śarira-s (sthula, sukshma and kāraṇa śarira) based on their collective function. Hence when we say śukshma śarira it is a combination of prāṇamaya and mamomaya kośa. It does not include last two kośa-s - vijñānamaya and ānandamaya kośa-s which constitute kāraṇa śarira. Kāraṇa śarira is so called because it is the cause of creation of other śarira-s. Kāraṇa śarira does not die or is not destroyed until moksha. Kāraṇa śarira is said to store vāsanā-s.  Ānandamaya kośa is born out of avidyā (ignorance). It’s nature is bliss. We all experience ānanda (bliss) in deep sleep without knowing what brings the ānanda. Ānandamaya kośa veils ānanda svabhāva of Brahman i.e. it does not reveal from where the ānanda is originating. Hence it is created from āvidyā. Due to veiling of  svarūpa-jñāna (knowledge of the Ātmān), a person does sakāma-karma or karma with sense of doership. Karma done in such a way produces karma-phala. These karma-s are stored in kāraṇa śarira. Kāraṇa śarira is the cause (kāraṇa) of avidyā. It is the cause death and rebirth of 3 kośa-s - annamaya, prāṇamaya and manomaya, hence it is rightly called as ‘kāraṇa śarira’. 

Sthula śarira has only one kośa - annamaya kośa. When we generally use the word ‘body’, it generally means physical body i.e. annamaya kośa. But since sthula śarira has only one kośa hence both kośa (sheath) and śarira (body) can be used interchangeably.

After brief explanation of kośa-s and śarira-s, let us understand what nourishes these kośa-s and śarira-s.

As a general rule, awareness of any kośa (except annamaya kośa) will increase the prāṇa śakti in them. Here prāṇa is not one of the 5 vayu-s (praṇa, vyāna, apāna, udāna and samāna), but śakti which cleanses and energizes. This śakti is said to have it’s own intelligence but can be directed by the will of practitioner.

Chāndogya Upaniṣad gives us the explanation as to how food affects us all in nourishing annamaya, prāṇamaya and manomaya kośa.

Chā. Up. 6.5.1 says, food that is eaten gets divided into 3 parts i.e. it becomes threefold. The coarsest part becomes faeces, that which is medium becomes flesh and the subtlest part becomes mind.

Śankara Bhāśya explains this sloka as - 

  • Solid part becomes feaces.
  • The medium part of food gets transformed step by step into rasā, etc i.e. body fluids and then gets transformed into flesh.
  • The subtlest part of food reaches heart and from there it enters a nāḍī known as hitā nāḍī and brings into existence vāyu etc (5 prāṇa-s) and indriya-saṃgraḥ i.e. collection or aggregation of 5 senses and in this sense it becomes mind. It goes on to add to the development of mind. Chā. Up. Bhā. 6.5.1

Note: Here, the subtlest part is said to becomes mind. We will try to understand how ifood can become mind. The subtle part, which is prāṇa śakti through hitā nāḍī gets absorbed into śukshma śarira and mixes with indirya-s (5 senses). The śakti is stored in mind. This śakti strengthens mind. It nourishes the mind and becomes a part of mind. In this way, mind is created from the subtlest part of food.

Mind gathers information and experiences (feels and perceives) the world through indriya-s (5 senses). Since the subtlest part mixes with senses, hence the purity of senses is determined by the purity of tatva consumed. Experience of mind will depends upon the senses. Grosser the vibrations, gross will be the experience and so mind in turn will become gross. Similarly, gross mind will search for gross objects. In this way both indriya-s and mind are connected and with each other.

Depending upon food, vibrations of mind (mana) change into subtle or gross. In other words they constitute mind. This will be more clear after we refer other sloka-s. This is personal understanding of the author.



Chā. Up. Further says, water when enters body splits into 3 parts. The coarsest part becomes urine, the medium part becomes blood and the subtlest part becomes prāṇa - Chā. Up. 6.5.2

Similarly, teja (fire) eaten in the form of Ghee, oil, etc becomes threefold. Grossest part becomes bones, medium part becomes majjā (bone marrow) and the subtlest part becomes vāk or speech - Chā. Up. 6.5.2

Ādi Śankara in his bhāśya says that by consuming teja (fire) in the form of Ghee, oil, etc, speech becomes clear and distinct (i.e. one can becomes a good orator)

In this way, mind is annamaya, prāṇa is jalamaya and speech (vāk) is tejomaya. It means, quality or purity of mind depends upon food (anna), quality of prāṇa depends upon jala and clarity of speech depends upon teja (fire, in the form of Ghee, oil, etc)

In next sloka, Ādi Śankara raises objection that

“Animals living on food (grains) alone, such as, the rat and the like, are possessed of Speech and of Life-breath (without taking water or oil); similarly, animals living on water alone, such as the fish, alligator and other animals living in the Ocean, are possessed of Mind and are endowed with Speech; similarly, it may be inferred that animals not taking any oils at all have prāṇa and Mind. If all this is so, then how can it be said that Mind is made up of food?”

To this āchārya replies – “This does not contradict our position. All things being triplicate in their constitution, everything is possible everywhere. As a matter of fact, no one eats food that is not triplicate in its constitution; nor does any one drink Water that is not triplicate, nor does any one eat Fire that is not triplicate in its constitution. So that for those who eat Food, such as, rats and the like,-there is nothing inappropriate in their being endowed with Speech and prāṇa”

Ref: Page 321-324 in English translation of Śankara Bhāśya by Ganganath Jha and pages 582-590 of Gita Press Hindi Translation of Śanakra Bhāśya. 

Further it says, Mind consists of Food, prāṇa consists of Water, and Speech consists of Fire ...

In the next adhyāya (chapter), Chāndogya Upaniṣad says that the subtlest part of anything that is eaten or drunk rises upwards and reaches mind. Later it states that the puriest and subtlest part of food strengthens mind and is further divided into 16 kalā-s or qualities. More the qualities, more a puruṣa (person) becomes capable in many things like draṣṭā (observer, witness), shrotā (speaker, orator),  mantā (thinking), boddhā (decision making, cognising), kartā (doer) and vijñātā (experiencer of truth, knower)

In other words, seeing, hearing, thinking, cognizing, moving, knowing and acting are possible only because of presence of śakti which rises up in the mind and strengthen it. If this śakti is absent or drains out, a person becomes powerless and looses these abilities.

In Chā. Up. 7.26.1, it is said that a Jñānī does everything by being established in ātmajñāna and so pervades all. He sees same ātmā in all beings and in this way becomes one with them. He experiences himself in everybody else. Earlier it is said that the subtlest parts of food i.e. jala, teja, prāṇa etc merge in ātmā only. This imples that Ātmā is the sole substratum of everything.

In Chā. Up. 7.26.2, it is mentioned how food helps realise one’s true nature by making mind pure enough to transcend consciousness beyond māyā.

When the food is pure, antaḥkaraṇa becomes pure. (Antaḥkaraṇa consits of mana, buddhi, ahaṃkāra and chitta i.e. mind, intellect, ego and retention power or recitation power or memory). When antaḥkaraṇa becomes pure, then one attains steadfast, unshakable smriti (realisation of one’s true nature and staying rooted in this knowledge of ātmajñāna). As a result of constantly being rooted in one’s true nature all granthi-s (bondages, knots of karma) are destroyed. In this way vāsanā-s (dis-satisfied desires) are uprooted – this knowledge to transcend or rise from tamas to jyoti i.e. from ignorance to knowledge (truth) is passed on by Bhagavān Sanatkumāra to Devarṣi Nārada jī. Sanatkumāra jī is called as skanda (skanda means ‘giver of self knowledge’) - Chandogya Upanishad 7.26.2.

In this way, food strengthens mind and so it affects purity of mind. Purity of mind is important for purification of antaḥkaraṇa. Purified antaḥkaraṇa helps one retain the knowledge of ātmajñāna. Constant smriti (memory) of being rooted in ātmajñāna results into moksha. Such a jivanmukta sees Self in everybody, as his mind projects the reflection of his own Self (Brahman / ātman) onto others.

After briefly understanding how food helps nourish kośa-s and antaḥkaraṇa in general, which in turn helps progress spiritually, let us understand what nourishes 5 kośa-s one by one.


Sthula śarira - annamaya kośa

Annamaya kośa is the physical gross body. It’s nourishment is food. In general, local vegetables or fruits are suitable for consumption. They should be consumed fresh. Seasonal fruits are effective in protecting kośa-s when consumed fresh or eaten during their season. Food stored in cold storage are not good for health as they are said to have more of tamasa guṇa in them. Food must be taken as prescribed in Āyurveda. Śāstra-s like Suśruta-saṃhitā, Charaka-saṃhitā and Vāgbhaṭa-saṃhitā (works of Āchārya Vāgbhaṭa) are the three important texts that talk  about ancient science of āyurveda. While Suśruta saṃhitā talks on both āyurveda and surgery, other two śāstra-s focuses on āyurveda. Āchārya Vāgbhaṭa is said to be disciple of Āchārya Charaka, and composed Ashtāṅga-saṅgraha (अष्टाङ्गसंग्रह) and the Ashtāngahridaya-saṃhitā (अष्टाङ्गहृदयसंहिता).

Āyurveda a vast subject, as it is an entire branch of medical science which requires 5 years of study in order to become an āyurvedic doctor. Traditionally, it is a life long learning science about not only annamaya kośa, but all 5 kośa-s. Since we are talking about nourishment of kośa-s, it is important to know what nourishes them and which way of life keeps kośa-s healthy. Hence, though āyurveda is a deep subject, and author himself is not well-versed in it to talk as an authority, still, we will briefly touch the subject and give pointers for further study to the interested readers.

According to Āchārya Vāgbhaṭa, 85% of diseases can be cured without a doctor, only 15% of diseases require a doctor. Āyuveda not only focuses on cure, but also on prevention, as the saying goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure’ is indeed an āyurvedic mantra.  Hence, learning basic principles of āyurveda and imbiding them in our day to day life is important. Āyurveda focuses on healthy living. It integrates in our day-to-day life. This is why one must know what to eat, when to eat and how to eat, when to drink water, when and which fruits should be consumed, when should one drink cow’s milk or buffalo’s milk. In varying degrees of sickness like cold & cough, fever, physical injury from bruises to broken bones and organ malfunction or failure what should be done - are all mentioned in āyurveda.  

For day-to-day living, āyurveda has mentioned different types of dośa-s or defects. Āyurveda focuses on vāta, pitta and kapha. Any imbalances in any one of them causes dis-ease or imbalance in body. 

Diagnosis method in ayurveda

Diagnosis of illness is done by doing nāḍī parikshā or pulse disgnosis along with logical questioning. Nāḍī parikshā can accurately diagnose physical, mental and emotional imbalances as well as diseases.  Nāḍī parikshā can identify dośa-s (defects, imbalance) in vāta, pitta and kapha. Accuracy of reading nāḍi-s depends upon the concentration level and skills of practitioner. Nāḍī vigyāna is a deep science. It involves study of Dhamani-s (arteries) and Sira-s (veins).

It is well admired fact that Maharshi Suśruta managed to trace even minute channels present in the body even when they were very difficult to be traced with naked eyes. He was able to recognize even the pores in it. It was calculated that there were about 700 sira-s (veins), 200 dhamani-s (arteries), which could be easily enumerated but when the minute sira-s (veins) and dhamani-s (arteries) were counted with their tributaries and branches, their number was estimated to be the same as the number of hair follicles which was distributed thoughout the body. Approximately their number was calculated as 2,95,556 (two lakh ninety thousand five hundred and fifty six).

Source: https://ayurveda4all.weebly.com/nadi-pariksha.html
http://www.planetayurveda.com/dhamani.htm


Viruddha Āhāra

In addition to the above concept, there is a unique concept of ‘viruddha āhāra’ in āyurveda. ‘Viruddha’ means that which is of opposite nature. ‘Āhāra’ here can be translated as ‘food to be consumed’. This means there are foods with different types of guṇa-s (properties / characteristics) and those with opposite guṇa-s should not be consumed together. They are incompatible with each other when consumed together.

Viruddha āhāra is categorised in 18 parts as per Āchārya Charaka.


1. Deśa Viruddha – Incompatible in Place – Intake of dry and strong substances such as strong wine, in deserts; oily and cold substance in marshy land is place contradictory diet habit, because, in deserts, it causes extreme increase of Vātā and Pitta and in marshy land, it causes extreme increase of Kapha Dośa.
2. Kāla Viruddha – Time contradictory diet habit – Intake of cold and dry substances in winter; pungent and hot substance in the summer.
3. Agni Viruddha – Digestion contradictory diet – Intake of heavy-to-digest food when the power of digestion is low (mandāgni); intake of light food when the power of digestion is very high (Tīkshṇāgni). Similarly intake of food at various with irregular  and normal power of digestion fall under this category.
4. Mātrā Viruddha – Dose specific diet contradiction – Intake of honey and ghee in equal quantities
5. Sātmya Viruddha – Habit specific diet contradiction- Intake of sweet and cold substance by persons accustomed to pungent and hot substances.
6. Dośa Viruddha – Dośa specific diet contradiction- Utilization of drugs, diets and regimen having similar qualities with Dośa-s but at variance with the habit of the individual.
7. Saṃskāra Viruddha – processing – Method of preparation specific diet contradiction:- Drugs and diets which when prepared in a particular way produce poisonous effects, for example, meat of peacock roasted on a castor spit, heating of honey etc.
8. Vīrya Viruddha – Potency specific diet contradiction- Substances having cold potency in combination with those of hot potency.
9. Koṣṭha Viruddha (कोष्ठ विरुद्ध) – Bowel specific diet contradiction –
Administration of a mild purgative in a small dose for a person of with hard bowel (Krura Koṣṭha) and administration of strong purgatives food for a person with soft bowel (Mrudu Koṣṭha)
10. Avasthā Viruddha – Stage specific contradiction: Indulgence in Vātā aggravating diet after physical stress, sexual intercourse, exercise. Indulgence in Kapha aggravating diet by a lethargic, sleepy person.
11. Krama Viruddha – Order specific contradiction – If a person takes food before his bowel and urinary bladder are clear (empty) or when he does not have appetite or after his hunger has been highly aggravated.
12. Parihāra Viruddha – Prescription specific contradiction – Intake of hot things after taking pork.
13. Upachāra Viruddha – Treatment specific contradiction – Taking cold things after taking ghee.
14. Pāka Viruddha – Cooking contradiction – Preparation of food with bad or rotten fuel, under-cooking, over-cooking or burning during the process of preparation.
15. Samyoga Viruddha – Combination – Intake of sour substance with milk.
16. Hṛdaya Viruddha – Palatability :- Any substance which is not pleasant in taste.
17. Sampat Viruddha – Richness of quality:- Intake of substance that are not ripe, over-riped or purified.
18. Vidhi Viruddha – Rules of eating :- Taking meals in public
Examples of viruddha āhāra are given in Charaka Saṃhitā and in Āchārya Vāgbhaṭa’s works. An example of viruddha āhāra mentioned in Āchārya Vāgbhaṭa’s works is, milk and onion should not be consumed together, as it may cause skin problems. Some examples involve mātrā i.e. percentage of one of the components. An example of mātrā-viruddha āhāra is intake of honey and ghee in equal proportion.

Before, we go further, let us understand some thing about two important nāḍī-s – iḍā and pingalā, present in prāṇamaya kośa. They are related to digestion. As mentioned in Yoga Yajñavālkya, chapter 4 sloka-s 29-34, both Īḍā and pingalā begins from from kanḍasthana which is near base of spine, in between svādhisthāna and manipur chakra and ends in nostrils. Īḍā ends on the left nostril while pingalā nāḍī is on right nostril.

At a given time, only one nāḍi is active. Īḍā is cold, as moon moves through it and is also known as chandra nāḍī. Pingalā is warm as sun moves through it and is also known as sūrya nāḍī. Chandra Nāḍi takes one to pitṛ loka (loka of ancestors), while sūrya nāḍi takes on to deva loka. Suṣumnā nāḍī leads to moksha. 

(for more details, please visit:
https://sites.google.com/site/sanatanhindusite/five-bodies-sanatana-dharma#TOC-23.3.2.-nADI-s-and-vAyu-s

   
As time passes on, some food items may become obsolete as life style changes or we may not consume them regularly.  As a general principle, it is said that sūryakiraṇa or Sun’s rays help in digestion. Hence one should eat food after sunrise and before sunset. In order to digest food, sūryanāḍī (pingalā / hot nāḍi which ends on right nostril) has to be activated which, in case of healthy person, activates immediately upon consuming food. After consuming lunch (not dinner), one must rest for about 20-40 minutes. One may even take a 20 minute nap. For those doing hard work, it is advised to take rest for 45 minutes after taking lunch and then continue to do work after 45 minutes to fecilitate digestion. This helps boost working efficiency. After sunset, digestive power decreases, hence it is not advised to have heavy dinner in the night and definitely not in late night. In fact after dinner, one must not take rest for atleast 2 hours. Biochemistry of body (and it’s enzyme secretion) is different in night than in day. Just in case you are not able to follow diet instructions, it is advisable to sit in vajrāsana for atlest 10 minutes after consuming food, especially in night after dinner. Vajrāsana is the only āsana allowed to be practised immediately after consuming food. Āyurveda also talks about the amount of water to be consumed. In general, quantity of water that can be taken is - take your weight, divide by 10 and then subtract 2 from the result. This many liters of water can be had per day. For example, if your weight is 70 kgs, then, 70 / 10 = 7 – 2 = 5 litres of water should be consumed daily. However, some may need less quantity of water than calculated by above formula. It all depends upon prakriti, living conditions and weather.

Āyurveda and healthy living is a vast topic. One must consult qualified āyurvedic practitioner for proper guidance. For those interested, following links are very useful -

http://www.planetayurveda.com/virudh-ahara.htm is a site that explains attributes of food, and types of viruddha āhāra along with examples.

https://easyayurveda.com/2013/03/14/bad-food-combinations-and-solution-as-per-ayurveda/ explains viruddha āhāra and their solution in āyurveda.

http://www.healthmantra.com/healthy-living.shtml is a site that lists types of food as per Āchārya Vāgbhaṭa.

All credits about āyurveda to above mentioned three links.


In a nutshell, food of annamaya kośa or sthula śarira is sātvika āhāra, be it solid or liquid. Quality of food not only affects sthula śarira, but also śukshma śarira.


Let us continue to understand which type of food nourishes other bodies.

Śukshma śarira - prāṇamaya and manomaya kośa-s


Prāṇamaya kośa is permanently connected to annamaya kośa. It has 72000 nāḍī-s and many chakra-s. Śiva Samhitā, one of the three classical texts on Haṭha Yoga, in chapter 2, sloka 13 says, there are 3,50,000 i.e. three lakh fifty thousand nāḍī-s, out of which 14 are important, out of 14, 3 are important and out of 3, iḍā, pingalā and suṣumṇa, 1 suṣumṇā is the best. Out prāṇamaya kośa has many chakra-s. There are chakra-s in sole, palm, jaws, etc. There are also chakra-s for various glands and important organs. Out of these, 7 chakra-s are given importance as each chakra connects to one loka. Prāṇamaya kośa is dependent upon prāṇa or energy. Prāṇa is absorbed from atmosphere by chakra-s and gets distributed to energy counterparts of internal organs, blood and other body parts. Similarly used up prāṇa is released out of kośa through these chakra-s. Along with nāḍī-s and chakra-s, there are certain śakti kendra-s or energy spots like half round inverted disc in brain near pineal gland which showers nectors. Milky white, bright white and golden bright śakti bindu-s or spheres located at various points like before left and right eye, left and right ears, etc and are ascribed to certain loka-s like indra loka, pitr loka, yama loka, etc.  These descriptions are found in Śastra-s like Śiva Samhitā, Uttara Gītā and Aṇu Gītā. Since all these s;akti kendra-s are connected via nāḍī-s, and prāṇa śakti flows through these nāḍī-s, it is important to have pure prāṇa śakti. Prāṇa is formed from food and is absorbed from surrounding atmosphere. Hence both should be clean and pure.

As said earlier, prāṇamaya kośa also gets some prāṇa from the prāṇa śakti of the food that we eat. Food that grows in air like fruits contains high percentage of ākaśa tatva. Underground food contains tamasa guṇa as it has high percentage of prithvi tatva. That is why fruits are considered as sātvika āhāra or sātvika bhojana. This is not to say that underground foods should not be eaten. Our own sthula śarira or annamaya kośa (physical body) is made up of tamasa guṇa. Underground food like herbs have medicinal properties.  Garlic, ginger, onion, etc are good for health and so are other foods like carrot. They help protect physical body and strengthen it. Anyone doing physical hardwork like labourer needs these foods. Those who do light work may not eat them. However, they are not to be taken in excess. Their quantity is limited as compared to other food that we eat. Only onion is used in large quantities taht too not daily. Some sampradaya-s like vaiṣṇava and some brāhmaṇa-s prohibit consumption of underground food like onion and garlic. Jains also strictly observe this rule.

Each part of food has a subtle element. It has it’s own prāṇamaya kośa. Plants also have emotions. So they have manomaya kośa, but not developed to the extend to which it is developed in animals and humans. Plants also like to multiply and so grow beautiful flowers with pleasent aroma and fruits to attract birds and animals. Flowers attract bees and insects. Flowers have pollen grains that are necessary for multiplication of plants. When ripe, both flowers and fruits drop off on their own. Insects carry pollen grains to another plant and complete the process of polination. When fruits are eaten and seeds are eother discarded or are excreted by animals, and they fall on earth. Animals walk over it and press it in the ground. If seed finds suitable environment, it begins to grow and ends up growing in a big tree. Yet, since fruits and vegetables are eaten and they have life, so we pray to them to forgive us as we consume them for survival. We pray to them to protect our śarira-s. Such a prayer from heart sends positive vibrations and affects śukshma śarira of plants, trees, crops, flowers and fruits. Prāṇa becomes subtle and easily integrates into our prāṇamaya kośa after it is consumed.  In simple words, food consumed after prayer and with gratitute help protect our śarira-s.

Animals too have sthula, śukshma and kāraṇa śarira. However, unlike plants, animals do not have the ability to regrow body parts. They do not depend upon others for multiplication of their kind. Unlike plants, animals do have central nervious system. They have better developed śukshma śarira then plants. When they are butchered for taste of tongue, they secret stress harmones which stay in the body even after jīva painfully leaves the body. They wish to live and try their best to escape from the clutches of death. In this struggle, they leave behind emotions of pain and distress. These emotions, along with stress harmones stay in the dead body even after death. When we eat non-veg food, these emotions and chemicals enter into our system. If animal has any disease, it gets transferred to the one who is eating it. In modern slaughter houses, live stock is given anitibiotics so that they remain healthy. Anitbiotics are to be discontinued before 3 weeks of butchering so any antibiotic present in system gets discarded naturally. If this precaution is not taken, there are chances that antibiotic remains in the body when it is cooked. Such meat when eaten will transfer this antibiotic to the one who eats them. This is very unhealthy for both mind and body. This is the reason why a yogī should never take any non-veg, else s/he cannot progress spiritually.

So, the nourishment of prāṇamaya kośa is sātvika prāṇa.
Any food that balances vāta, pitta and kapha is also helpful for prāṇamaya kośa as these vāyu-s are present in prāṇamaya kośa. When prāṇamaya kośa gets sātvika prāṇa, it begins to increase in size, shines and radiates goodness and positivity. It activates chakra-s, cleanses nāḍī-s thereby purifying the entire nervous system of prāṇamaya kośa. Prāṇamaya kośa also absorbs prāṇa from atmosphere. Hence living in a sātvika vātāvaraṇa (atmosphere) is advisable. Sātvika vātāvaraṇa is found in holy places, in pūjā room, in temples, near samādhi of saints. It is created by intense meditation, be it bhakti, jñāna or yoga. Sātvika vātāvaraṇa is also created by diligent study, contemplation and chanting of shāstra-s, singing of devotional hymns either alone or in group. Blessings of a saint also purifies prāṇa of a particular place. All those present in the vicinity where these activities regularly conducted are purified.

Prāṇamāya kośa is discussed in details here
An article on non-violence and vegetarianism can be found here.


Manomaya kośa

manomaya kośa depends upon thoughts and emotions for it’s nutrition. We all have a habit of thinking on a subject. However thinking in right direction is what people do not do, as they are not aware of what the right direction is. Here the purpose of life comes into play. Why are we here?, what is our purpose of life?, what is the goal of our life? how can we be free of pain?, how can we be eternally happy?, how can we avoid death?, etc. Answers to these questions are found in śāstra-s and in teachings of greats saints. Reading śāstra-s and contemplating on works of greats saints help us develop all our kośa-s. Clear, concrete thoughts have a clear shape and they are prominent in manomaya kośa of a saint. It influences all those who are within it’s vicinity.

Manomaya kośa strengthens when one uses logic. Sanātana saṃskriti has long history of polemical debates. In fact one branch, nyāya śāstra is dedicated to logic. Then there is nirukta which goes further dēp into the subject. We also have Maharṣi (Maharshi) Pāṇiṇi’s aṣṭādhyāyi and Maharṣi Patanjali’s Mahābhāśya. There are further commentaries nad sugcommentaries like laghu-soddhānta kaumudi which are purely dedicated to grammer. Sanātana dharma is the only dharma where one is allowed to ask any ype of question and have a debate on it. Anyone can formulate any philosophy and write commentaries in support of his claim. Ofcourse he has to defend his position in debate in order to establish his philosophy. We are also allowed to raise question and attack even the basic rule of debate. This can be seen in the works of khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādhya, a famous polemical work by the great logician Śrī Harśāchārya (Āchārya Harśa). He attacked basic rules of debate of nyāya school of thought. The result was collapse of the entire nyāya philosophy. Later another great logician Śrī Gangeśa Upādhāyaya establish a new nyāyā philosophy, now known as navyā nyāya. He was so impressed with the logic of khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādhya that he went on to write a commentary on it. Such rich culture, that there is tolerance and respect for new view or opponent’s view. This can only be found in sanātana dharma. Such is our ancient rich culture, our glory and our pride. One can go as far as logic takes one. Deep thinking, exploring the inner universe of other kośa-s by the way of yoga and tantra are only found in dharma originating from the land of Bhārata.

While rational thinking and discussions of śāstra-s using hair splitting logic develops manomaya kośa, nurturing emotions is also very important. Hence listening to stuti-s, stotra-s dedicated to our devī-devatā-s are very important. Clear thoughts and emotions help one stay bonded with society. Emotions help us understand others. It teaches us to respect others and take care of loved and young ones so that their emotional needs are fulfilled. This helps them grow emotionally along with you and make them as much sensitive as you are. Fulfilling emotional needs is aas much important as sharpening intellect. Along with IQ, EQ (emotional Quotient) is equally important. Dry logic is useless and has less effective if it is not accompanied with emotions which bring life to the topic and give inspiration. Along with thoughts emotions shape and transform our heart. If emotional needs are not fulfilled, a person may feel loneliness and s/he cannot feel connected to anyone, not even to family members. Loneliness gives rise to irritation, frustration and even depression. It makes one loose control over one’s mind. Unfulfilled emotional need is one of the reasons of increasing crime rate where the emotional storm takes control of one’s mind, blinds intellect and forces one to do unimaginable things. At times, such a person is not aware of what s/he is doing. 

Without emotions, pure logic is nothing but dry philosophy, no matter how much impressive it is. If we do not pour our heart into the logic, one cannot progress after a certain point. Vichāra i.e. chintan, manan and nidhidhyāsana and bhāva like divine love, devotion, faith, surrender, peace (divya prema, bhakti, shraddhā, samarpaṇa, śānti) etc are very important for developing mono maya kośa.

Nourishment of manomaya kośa is sātvika vichāra (spiritual thoughts) and sātvika bhāva (spiritual emotions).

However, excessive thinking on material issues lead one to clog manomaya kośa, manomaya kośa’s sahasrāra and so sahasrāra chakra of prāṇama kośa. Even thinking too much on śāstra-s and too much tarka may lead to blockage of sahasrāra chakra of both manomaya nd prāṇamaya kośa-s. We must learn śāstra-s with a goal to get more clarity and direction, else the focus of reading śāstras will change from moksha to material gain for example reading to be victorous in śāstrārtha (polemical debates). Contemplation of the essence of śāstra-s, meditation, svādhyaya (self study), inner reflection, devotional songs, chanting of mantra-s with bhāva (deep devotion, faith and surrender), chanting of veda-s, etc are the best nourishment of śukshma śarira.

Vichāra or tarka (logic) is to be used in such a way that it gives clarity, right direction and helps us transend duality. Bhāva for Īśvara should be so strong that our heart stays rooted in Īśvara and always devoted to his lotus feet.

kāraṇa śarira consists of vijñānamaya and ānadamaya kośa.


Nourishment of these kośa-s is done by contemplation on Īśvara, śāstra-s and on words of a guru. Being aware of them, releasing old karma-s is a way to liberate it. This is done by japa, tapa and nidhidhyāsana. Japa, tapa and nidhidhyāsana help one stay connected with Īśvara. It is the best way to stay detached to the society and work only to finish off prārabhdha karma. Not building any more karma helps both of these kośa-s, especially vijñānamaya kośa. trengthening of manomaya kośa indirectly helps build vijñānamaya kośa. 

Since vijñāmaya kośa is one of the kāraṇa śarira and since kāraṇa śarira stores all karma-s of past, diseases or ādhi (mental diseases) are originaed from these  kośa-s and they appear in manokaya kośa and then they are transferred to annamaya through prāṇamaya kośa. Hence keeping healthy kāraṇa śarira is very important.  

Ānandamaya kośa


Ānandamaya kośa brings ānandānubhūti (bliss). In tatva Bidha, Ādi Śankara Bhagavadpāda says, ānandamaya kośa is created from avidyā (ignorance of our true nature). Hence acts as a veil between us and Brahman and so to hides Brahman from us. On other words, it blocks realisation of our true nature. Hence one must rise above this kośa too and become aware of one’s svarūpa (true nature) which is Ātmān or Brahman.

It is also a kośa for intuitions. A developed Yogī does not need to logically understand anything, but will get direct knowledge by intuitions. Since this kośa is the most subtle of all, it helps one to tap into cosmos, into prakriti. Such a yogī is indeed rare and does little thinking. Mind remains blank for most of the time unless one is doing concrete thinking or is fully concentrated in any work. In general, a yogī may stay detached and be a sākshi (witness) of all kośa-s including ānandamaya kośa. Even if one is in ānandamaya kośa while doing work, no harm is done. One feels Īśvara is very near to him or her.

Thus ends brief information on nourishment of panchakośa-s.

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