Ancient sages have explored the depths of our being, and given us the knowledge of the Pancha Kosha (five sheaths), that addresses every level of a human being.
Pancha Kosha comprises:
- Food sheath (Annamaya Kosha)
- Breath sheath (Pranamaya Kosha)
- Mind Sheath (Manomaya Kosha)
- Intellect sheath (Vijnyanamaya Kosha)
- Bliss Sheath (Anandamaya Kosha)
The path of yoga is an inward journey towards realization of one’s true nature. The Pancha Kosha meditation takes you on this journey by gently taking your attention to the five sheaths.
Here is the story of a seeker, who traversed the five sheaths - with the guidance of his Guru.
This episode shows that:
- A combination of knowledge, discipline, intuition, experience, and devotion – is essential - for the realization of the self, and of the unity of all creation
- The seeker is encouraged to trust his own experience and sharpen his intuitive perception
- This is an experiential path – subtle and beautiful – in contrast to dry theorization and rhetoric
Thousands of years ago, in a beautiful hermitage in the middle of a forest, lived a learned Guru. Among his many talented disciples, perhaps the most talented was his own son, though the Guru showed him no special favors.
One day the boy respectfully approached his master. When he was granted permission to ask a question, he reverentially asked, "What is God?"
The Guru replied, "Food is God," and was silent.
The boy correctly surmised this to mean - that he must study not only food, but also all things corporeal in the environment, and to understand the true nature of matter. Long years passed as his observation deepened, and at last he concluded that there was more to God than matter.
Once more he approached his master and asked, "What is God?"
This time the sage replied, "Prana (the life force) is God (Brahman)."
The boy plunged this time into an intense study of prana, mastering the techniques of controlling the life force energy through pranayama and related disciplines.
But some years later, he went to his master once again, and reverently repeated his query, "What is Brahman?"
"Mind is God," intoned the Guru and sank once again into the depths of his meditative bliss.
Living up to his talent, the disciple wasted not a moment but plunged into a deepening experience of mind and consciousness through meditation.
Stilling, the modulations of the mind, he prepared himself once more to receive the best that the master had to offer.
'Intelligence is God,' was the next message he received from the Guru a few years further on. By this time he was able to plumb the depths of intuitive perception and unravel the mysteries of self-knowledge, which have become the basis of Indian spiritual thought for centuries.
But there was still another step to take; and once more he asked his master, this time with confidence of a true seeker, "What is God?"
With a satisfied smile and infinite love, the master replied with an air of finality, 'Bliss is God!'
When the ripened seeker delved into the experience of bliss, he dissolved in it totally, the ecstasy of divine realization became his very being, and thus he was enlightened.
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