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Monday, May 15, 2006

PANCA KOSA -3- Manomaya kosa and Vijananamaya kosa

Manomaya kosa
The student wonders what can be there which is beyond body and praana. The body alone is not sufficient. He then determines that we also need the functioning of praana beyond hands to move, beyond eyes to see, beyond ears to hear. Many times our experience is that the eyes are there physically, and praana is also there beyond, but these two are not sufficient to see.

For example, we stop at a traffic light while driving because it shows red light. The eyes are there and the praana is also there. So you see the traffic light showing light. But then while you are waiting for traffic signal to change, the mind begins wandering, you start thinking about your career, your family, the long journey ahead, etc.

The eyes are there physically and are open, praana is also there but the mind has wandered away. The red light turns green and do not notice until somebody honks and you realize where you really are versus where your mind was.

If the mind is here, I am here and if the mind is away, I am away. Only when the mental personality is here I am here, if the mental personality is not here, I am not here. If the mental personality is there behind the eyes to see eyes do see and if it is not there, the eyes don’t see. Similarly ears do not hear if the mental personality is not there.

Therefore we are the mental personality, Manomaya Kosa.

In Sanskrit, man is referred to as Manushaya which is derived from the root word meaning Mind. So, the student is excited and goes to the teacher to share his findings, “I figured out that I am the mental personality, manomaya kosa”.

The praanic personality is like the prana filled in the mould of the body. So our physical body is the outer cover. Within the same dimensions, we are manomaya kosa. This is pervading throughout the body from head to toe.
That is what the teacher suggests the student. . This personality has been compared to a bird. Manomaya kosa is a bird whose wings are Rig-Veda and Samaveda. One indicating the natural laws and the order of creation and the other is the meaning of the esthetics. Mental personality shall sail like a bird on the two wings and the place of head is taken by the Yajur-Veda. Yajna is the way we need to do the activities in this world, Yajur-Veda gives us essentially activities as a yajna way. Heart of this manomaya-kosa according to the Upanishads is the instructions. Mind takes the instructions from above, but that above is not ultimate.
What is subtler and much fuller than the manomaya kosa? He instructs the student to find out by tapas.

Vijnanamaya kosa
It is not very difficult to know that the instructions given to the mind are followed and carried out by the mind. Hence, the Mind is not ultimate. When we are in traffic and the mind wanders, we tell the mind to focus on the traffic. We put our minds on what we see, on what we are trying to read and understand.

Mind can be handled and we are handling the mind so we are subtler than the mind. Both adults and children know how to handle the mind. A very simple incident is exemplified in a household; the Mother is sitting with the child and doing homework. It is often the mother doing the homework and not the child. The TV is switched on in another corner where somebody is watching the news. Suddenly, the Cadbury advertisement comes on with a superhero and the child’s mind is in the ad. The child is engrossed in the commercial because he only sees them on TV and not in real life. At that moment, the mother tells the child, “Put your mind here,” and continues, “We are doing homework.” And the child instantaneously puts his mind back on the homework.

This means even the child can handle the mind naturally. We are not mental personality. Mind or mental personality is something that can be handled. The child is handling the mind; you are handling the mind. So, you are somebody deeper and subtler than mental personality manomaya kosa. Now the question arises, who, then, is handling the mind?

Further, it can also be witnessed that the mind may not be there but we still exist. You are there. A person can exist when apparently the mind is totally damaged. A person may be in a coma, where he is existing but the mind is not. I have a friend whose wife went into a deep coma. There is no mental activity, no cognition, nor any retinal movement following the object. Yet, she is still alive.

to be continued...


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