The Taittreya Upanishad describes our existence in five layers; we live in one of the five spaces- known as the Koshas or sheaths that cover our real self.
The five Koshas
I knew a friend who often traveled for business and lived in Geneva, Dares Salaam, Karachi, Los Angeles, and in Mumbai. He sometimes woke at the middle of the night, confused and lost for a moment, about his whereabouts – his frenzy schedules muddled his brains. However, he confessed, when he’s back in Mumbai, he’s at peace with self- this is his real home. Everything about the city fills his being with a sense of shelter – even the foul smell at the Bandra- Mahim creek or the bizarre honking at the stop lights, and the crazy traffic- its welcome!
In our inner world, we too live in ‘five cities’- Mumbai compares to our real, natural state of existence- the level of the soul- where we experience bliss and contentment. It’s our state of being, separate from all the other identities we assume, depending on the various needs of the body and mind. This is called as the ‘Ananda maya Kosha’- the sheath of pure bliss. Just as this man came back to Mumbai to feel at home, we need to situate in the Present and render selfless service to find contentment. Our real shelter is in the state of soul- Pure bliss.
The food body – Annamaya Kosha
Since I- the soul-reside in this body, I need to exercise, eat, and rest adequately. This is the ‘Annamaya Kosha’- the Food body. Many spend a lot of time in this city- they worry about what they eat or wear. They party hard and plan holidays and have fun. The driving force of one living in annamaya Kosha is: Pleasure.
A newborn baby recognizes the world by taste. He seeks to put everything in his mouth; that’s how developed his consciousness is. Annamaya Kosha is the most obvious covering of our souls. It consists of muscles, food, flesh- the perceivable body. It’s also easy to care for this sheath.
To be continued…