Pancha Kosha and who we truly are

We have five layers, dimensions, to our being, our true nature. But know that who you really are, is none of those things. Every layer we’ll look at, just know that you’re not that. In yoga, we answer the question of who we are through negation, a method called neti-neti (not this, not this). It is easier in this way to get to the real essence of our being, by identifying what we are not. 

This division, these 5 layers, they are just for the sake of learning and observing, a tool to help us with observation; but in fact, the body is whole, it is not separated. Usually, the inner layers of the Self are referred to as the causal body, and the external gross layers of the body are effects of some internal cause. What’s on the outside that we can see is usually the effect of something unseen inside.

The five layers are, from the outer layer to the innermost: 

  • ANNAMAYA KOSHA: most external level, the food layer/dimension. Everything you can see and
    that’s gross, made up of food. Your physical body, hair, internal organs, etc. this is where the effects
    are happening. Who you truly are is NOT this!
  • PRANAMAYA KOSHA: prana means the primordial life force, permeating existence, and all things.
    Continuation of energy, Shakti. At a more gross level, it can be manifested as breath. This is your energetic body. Who you truly are is NOT this!
  • MANOMAYA KOSHA: mind layer, the lower mind. The intangible mind is all over the body, Manomaya is not only the brain, but the whole mind, including feelings, and emotions. Who you truly are is NOT this!
  • VIJNANMAYA KOSHA: Wisdom/discernment, the higher mind, able to introspect and observe itself,
    to move past calculations and deeper into discernment, contemplation of the Self, deep observation. Who you truly are is NOT this!
  • ANANDAMAYA KOSHA: Ananda=Bliss, often said to be our ‘soul’. Beyond identifications
    and concerns with the sheaths, likes, dislikes, an ability to connect with a state that is peaceful. This is the closest we get to the truth of who we are.

The Pancha Kosha framework is a tool that helps us understand the essence of our true nature through negation. It requires deep observation, without judgment, and compassionate acceptance. 

Wish you a happy observation!

Namaste,

Carolina