Agni Mantra

Agni Mantra

Friday, August 07, 2009

Sheaths of Body

|| Om Gurave namah ||

Dear Friends,
 The body is composed of fives sheaths. Good information about this is also kept at

The Sheaths are called kosha,

(Sanskrit) "Sheath; vessel, container; layer." Philosophically, five sheaths through which the soul functions simultaneously in the various planes or levels of existence. They are sometimes compared to the layers of an onion. The koshas, in order of increasing subtlety, are as follows. --
  1. annamaya kosha: "Sheath composed of food." The physical or odic body, coarsest of sheaths in comparison to the faculties of the soul, yet indispensable for evolution and Self Realization, because only within it can all fourteen chakras fully function.
  2. pranamaya kosha: "Sheath composed of prana (vital force)." Also known as the pranic or health body, or the etheric body or etheric double, it coexists within the physical body as its source of life, breath and vitality, and is its connection with the astral body. Prana moves in the pranamaya kosha as five primary currents or vayus, "vital airs or winds." Pranamaya kosha disintegrates at death along with the physical body.
  3. manomaya kosha: "Mind-formed sheath." The lower astral body, from manas, "thought, will, wish." The instinctive-intellectual sheath of ordinary thought, desire and emotion. It is the seat of the indriyas, sensory and motor organs, respectively called jnanendriyas and karmendriyas. The manomaya kosha takes form as the physical body develops and is discarded in the inner worlds before rebirth. It is understood in two layers: 1) the odic-causal sheath (buddhi) and 2) the odic-astral sheath (manas).
  4. vijnanamaya kosha: "Sheath of cognition." The mental or cognitive-intuitive sheath, also called the actinodic sheath. It is the vehicle of higher thought, vijnana--understanding, knowing, direct cognition, wisdom, intuition and creativity. 
  5. anandamaya kosha: "Body of bliss." The intuitive-superconscious sheath or actinic-causal body. This inmost soul form (svarupa) is the ultimate foundation of all life, intelligence and higher faculties. Its essence is Parashakti (Pure Consciousness) and Parasiva (the Absolute). Anandamaya kosha is not a sheath in the same sense as the four outer koshas. It is the soul itself, a body of light, also called karana sharira, causal body, and karmashaya, holder of karmas of this and all past lives. Karana chitta, "causal mind," names the soul's superconscious mind, of which Parashakti (or Satchidananda) is the rarified substratum. Anandamaya kosha is that which evolves through all incarnations and beyond until the soul's ultimate, fulfilled merger, vishvagrasa, in the Primal Soul, Parameshvara. Then anandamaya kosha becomes Sivamayakosha, the body of God Siva.
further these fives sheaths are categorised as,

  • The physical body (annamaya kosha) is also called sthula sharira, "gross body."
  • The soul body (anandamaya kosha) is also called karana sharira, "causal body."
  • The pranamaya, manomaya and vijnanamaya koshas together comprise the sukshma sharira, "subtle body," with the pranamaya shell disintegrating at death.
In Jyotish these are seen in various divisional charts. A single rashi or 30 degrees can be further divided in 2 parts of 15degress each called D2, or 3 parts of 10 degrees each called D3 and so on.

Kosha Division Range Parashari Divisions number of divisions Description Category
Annamaya D1-D12 D1,D2,D3,D4,D7,D9,D10,D12 8 Sheath composed of food Sthula or gross body
Pranamaya D13-D24 D16,D20,D24 3 Sheath composed of prana (vital force) Sukshma/Subtel body
Manomaya D25-D36 D27,D30 2 Mind-formed sheath Sukshma/Subtel body
Vingyanamaya D37-D48 D40,D45 2 Sheath of cognition Sukshma/Subtel body
Anandamaya D49-D60 D60 1 Body of bliss Karana/Causal Body


One should understand that the deepest of karma gets registered in the Karana shareera or Causal body.

Let's give some examples, If you have a physical problem like a wound etc then it's affliction in Annamaya Kosha (or Food Sheath), If you have some pains like head ache or body etc due to excess using of prana (exertion) the it's problem in Pranamaya kosha. Examples like feeling unhappy, sorrow, happy, pleasure etc are example of Mana or Mind Sheath of body. Sometimes there can be problems in all koshas, then all the relevant divisionals have to be analysed.

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