[Advaita-l] Advaita vEdAnta - Unit (30)

Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna puttakrishna at verizon.net
Mon May 14 10:15:54 CDT 2007

In Unit 28, we studied turIya
In Unit 29, we reviewed the pancha kOsha - the five sheaths surrounding the jIva.
In this unit, we will continue with the description of the kOshas.

The subjective and Objective kOshas.
The five kOshas, in which the Self or Atman manifests Himself as Ego are
1.	annamaya kOsha – the sheath composed of the essence of food
2.	prANamaya kOsha – the sheath composed of vitality
3.	manOmaya kOsha – the sheath engaged in thought
4.	vijnyAnamaya kOsha – the sheath of cognizance or intelligence
5.	Anandamaya kOsha – The sheath composed of bliss or where bliss is experienced.

The Atman manifests Himself as the objective, as the non-Ego in these five principles. anna is the virAj or radiant, that which is manifested to our physical senses; This is supported by one kind of matter, called prANa or vitality (life principle) which sustains activity (kriyA shakti). Another kind of matter supports intelligence or knowledge (vijnyAna shakti) in the manas and vijnyAna kOsha. manas is that kind of matter (in the anthahkaraNa) in which all concrete (savikalpa) thought expresses itself( such as those contained in the shruti); manas is the supporter of prAna or it is from manas that prANa is evolved. vijnyAna or intelligence (also in the antahkaraNa) is that kind of matter in which all abstract (nirvikalpa) thought expresses itself. All determinate and ascertained knowledge, such as that concerning the truths taught in the vEda constitute the buddhi or understanding. pRANa, mamas and vijnYana kOshas are together called sUtratma. Ananda is the bliss which results from knowledge and action and is the ultinmate cause of all (The seeking of Ananda drives an individual to pursue action or knowledge). Thus Anna or physical matter constitutes the virAj kOsha; prAna, manas and vijnyAna constitute the sUtrAtma kOsha; and Ananda constitutes the kAraNa kOsha or causal sheath. These five associations are described below as the five AtmAs.

annamaya Atma
The gross body is the food layer (annamaya kOsha); jIva associating with food layer is ananmaya Atma (aA). The head is the pinnacle of aA; the physical face facing towards east, the right hand is the lower wing of aA, the left hand is the higher wing of aA; the center of the body is the Atma and the legs are the tail of aA. Since the body is supported on the legs, the tail is the ego (pratiShTa) of the aA. The jIva cannot be the aA, because the aA is driven by the prANamaya Atma (pA) to engage in activities. Thus we have rejected that the jIva is not the aA.

prANamaya Atma (pA)
The collection of prANAs (prAna, apAna, vyAna, udAna and samAna) inside the annamaya kOsha is the prANamaya kOsha. jIva’s association with this layer is the pA. The prAna is his pinnacle (head), apAna is his lower wing, vyAna is his higher wing, samAna is Atma and earth (prithvi) is the tail (because, the earth holds him down from being dispersed away). Accordingly earth is his ego (pratiShTa). Since the mind controls the vital airs, the jIva cannot be pA. The pA’s existence is supported by mind. Therefore the jIva cannot be pA and so we have rejected that jIva is pA.

manOmaya Atma (mA).
The mind is manOmaya kOsha. The jIva associating with this layer is mA. The yajurvEda is his pinnacle (head), rigvEda is his lower wing, sAma vEda is his higher wing; brAhmaNa is his Atma and atharva vEda is his tail and ego (the vEdas are the organs of mA, because it is the vEdas that help the mind to separate the various layers of jIva). The intellect (buddhi) generates the firm conviction to act; therefore the Atma of mA is intellect. Thus we have rejected that the jIva is mA.

vijnyAnamaya Atma (vA) 
vijnyAna is the firm knowledge arrived at by analyzing the substance of vEdas (the knowledge required for the vaidIka karma). The jIva who has this firm knowledge is vA. shraddha (faith) is his pinnacle or head; Rrita (firm conviction to follow shAstra) is his lower wing; satya (truth) is his higher wing. yOga (mind in equanimity) is his Atma. The highest principle (mahat – the intellect of aggregate hiraNyagarbha) is his tail and ego. The firm knowledge to undertake any karma is driven by the interest in the enjoyment of the fruit of that karma. Therefore the jIva, if any, is the enjoyer (bhOktra) and cannot be the vA. So we have rejected that the jIva is vA.

Anandamaya Atma (AA).
The enjoyer is the Anandamaya Atma. priya (the love at the sight of friends and relatives) is his pinnacle or head; mOda (the pleasure he experiences when he acquires or secures the desired object) is his lower wing; pramoDa (very high level of pleasure described above) is his higher wing. The bliss is his Atma. Brahman is his tail as well as ego. In experiencing joy (in the AA), there are variations in the enjoyment, which are opposite to the nature of Brahman. During deep sleep, there is no enjoyment; so even the existence of AA (in deep sleep) is under question. The AA is not organ-less or limbless(the shruti has specified organs and limbs as above) like Brahman. So the jIva is not even AA; We have therefore rejected that jIva is AA.

[ The description of a body for the latter four AtmAs (pA, mA, vA and AA) are symbolic, fashioned similar to the aA, to help the seeker in his contemplation]

Then who is the jIva? He is the witness of the happenings in the five layers. The following diagram captures the summary of the above discussion.

jIva -> reject annamaya Atma -> reject prANamaya Atma -> reject manOmaya Atma -> reject vijnyAnamaya Atma -> reject Anandamaya Atma -> sAkShi or witness.

We have arrived at jIva as a witness of the experiences in his vyaShTi sharIra. The jIva is not the witness either. We will see this how, in the next unit, when we discuss the samaShTi (aggregate) Atma.

Om shAntih, shAntih, shAntih 

( Om peace, peace, peace).

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