The Koshas - 5 "Sheaths" or Coverings of the Atman
The Atman: the goal of Yoga and the science of Self Realization is to directly experience and realize Atman. By doing so the Yogi merges completely with the divine. Atman is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent and is beyond form, name and time. Atman is the same as the Paramatma, Paramashiva, Purusha or Purusottamah which are all names of the unmanifest consciousness or unmanifest existence which is at the core of “all that is” and composes in essence “all that is”.
The Koshas then are the 5 layerings, sheaths or coverings of this mergence with Atman. The Koshas are often visualized as the layers of an onion. Each of the five bodies, is made of increasingly finer grades of energy, each progressively subtler. Each of these bodies make up the thoughts that lodge in the mind, the emotions that run through us, and the disease/imbalances that plague our physical body. The five Koshas in summary are as follows:
”sheath Composed of Food. “ This is the layer which composes the Physical body and is made of the food one Eats.
” Sheath composed of prana (vitalforce).” This layer is also known as the pranic or vital energy body.
“mind-formed shealth. “ This is the mind shealth and lower astral body which included the conscious and sub conscious mind.
“sheath of cognition”. The mental or cognitive- intuitive sheath and is the first layer of the causal mind. It is the vehicle of higher thought, understanding, knowing, direct cognition, wisdom, intuition and creativity.
“Bliss Sheath” This is the intitive- superconscious sheath or causal body. It is considered the soul itself, a body of light, also called the causal body and it evolves through all incarnations and beyond until the souls ultimate, merger with the Parameshvara.
Yoga Therapies seeks to address healing on all 5 layers of the Koshas with its therapies.
*Excerpts taken from ASM Yogic Wisdom Teachings 2014, Maetreyii Nolan, PhD,
and expounded upon by me.
Yoga Psychology - The Kleshas (Causes of Suffering)
Kleshas –The Causes of Suffering and the Human Predicament.
In Yoga Psychology we attribute all suffering to Avidya (ignorance) and the original separation of the conscious awareness from the Atman, the Universal Cosmic Consciousness or Purusha.
In Yoga Philosopy we belienve the individualized conscious becomes misidentified from itself as the (Atma) the vast, unchanging, universal consciousness that underlies all of existence. Such that the personalities mental suffereing takes form in the following ways.
Avidya (ignorance) is the root klesha which produces the four others. Avidya is the misconception of our true reality, believing that the temporary is eternal, the impure is pure, and the pain to be pleasure. It is a false representation of true reality. (in essences… all that changes is temporary and illusion)
Asmita (I –am-ness) is the identification of ourselves with our ego which is where we create a self image of ourselves that we believe is us but which is not truly us. This self image can contain both external identification (ie. I am poor) as well as internal identification (ie. I am a bad person) which are false projections. When we are identified with Asmita we become trapped within the projections we have created of our life.
Raga (attachment) is the attachment and attraction for things that bring a sense of temporary satisfaction to oneself, causing us to want to recreate the experience over and over again. Our desire for pleasurable experiences creates mindless or habitual actions. When we can not obtain or recreate that which we desire we suffer. When we do obtain what we desire, our feeling of pleasure and satisfaction soon fade and we once again begin our search for pleasure. Thus we become trapped in an endless cycle.
Dvesha (repulsion) is the opposite of raga (above) and is the aversion towards things that produce unpleasant experiences. If we can not avoid the things we dislike, we suffer as a result. Also true with thoughts; thinking about unpleasant experiences also produces suffering.
Abhinivesha (will to live) is the deepest and most universal klesha, remaining with us until our deaths. We know that one day we will indeed die, yet our fear of death is deeply buried in our unconsciousness.
Taken from (Burgin, Timothy. "The Causes of Suffering: The Kleshas." and expanded upon by myself.