almost always act as a smoke screen between them and God. ……Rohit Chauhan
Today pursuance of spirituality is looked upon as an occupation for those nearing the end of their physical life. No wonder all we routinely do in the name of religion is a practice of baseless rituals whose effect in daily life fades away after leaving the place of worship. Without a sufficient spiritual base, religious rituals run the risk of generating false expectations. As a result, it seems, the masses have become dependent upon getting their blessing everyday and using the false umbrella of those blessing as license to do just about anything during the day or until it is time for them for the next dose of blessings.
First axiom of the spiritual approach has to be that all humans are synergistically coupled highly intense bundles of the all permeating Universal Energy (UE), also known as the Spirit. It is noteworthy that we are our spirit with a body around it, rather than our body with a spirit in it.
Our body is medium of expression and interaction with other bundles of UE, human or not. We have chosen our body and the family, depending upon the mission of our spirit in the universe.
Chanting of Mantra’s brings results only to the extent of the chanter’s ability to resonate with Universal Energy (UE) that is the basic component of everything and everyone. Even the priests, at large, do not understand that a spiritual UE consciousness needs to be inculcated to bring meaning into their prescription of religious rituals.
Seven States of Awareness:
Human spirit is in constant communication with UE, and, yet, we are seldom aware of it. Our knowingness of this relationship depends upon the state of conscious awareness at any given moment. Human consciousness can be can be categorized into seven states of awareness, known as the Kosha’s. One transcendences from one Kosha to another, up and down, depending upon the thoughts (or lack of them) from moment to moment. This movement can be very smooth for those who are not stuck into any states for want of certain results.
Veda points to seven states of conscious awareness. First three of them are easily experienced by almost everyone. These are named as:
- Annamaya Kosha. This is our body. This is the state in which most adults find themselves all the time. People introduce themselves and address others as though they were just their body. This Kosha has to do with catering to the needs of human body and satisfaction of a common mind’s desire to be ‘right’ at all costs, including the survival of the mind itself.
- Pranmaya Kosha. This is the rhythm of human body, intricately tied to the beating of heart and a silent pulsation of 8 (8 according to Veda, 7 commonly known) energy centers (chakras) of a live body (Annamaya Kosha). As long as heart is able to beat, there is Prana (the rhythm) in the body. One enters the Pranmaya Kosh just by being aware of the Prana. More we are aware of our Prana, the better our body can function. Therefore, the Pranmaya Kosha can be easily confused as the spirit of body – our Annmaya Kosha..
- Manomaya Kosha. This state of consciousness has been described by Taitriyo Upnishad as the inner self of the Pranmaya Kosha. It is dominated by our mind functions; including, but not limited to, reasoning.
The remaining four states of consciousness are accessible only via meditation, which, via practice can be instantaneous for the yogi’s or highly focused individuals. These are:
4. Vigyanmaya Kosha,
6. Hiranyaya Kosha, and
7. Aparajita Puri.
A person finds himself in Vigyanmaya Kosha during periods of high creativity. Beginning from the Vigyanmaya Kosha, human spirit starts relating more and more with the Universal Energy consciousness – say God, so much so that the eternal joys of the Anandmaya Kosh come within easy reach and the duality between the man and God totally disappears in the Hiranyaya Kosha with an intense indescribable feeling of bliss.
As one moves up the consciousness ladder, beginning with the Vigyanmaya Kosha, Worldly conflicts start losing intensity, becoming non-bothersome when the Anandmaya Kosh is realized, smoothing way to the Hiranyaya Kosh. Those who have ventured into Hiranyaya Kosaha have described as being surrounded by the pleasant redness of an early rising sun or a late setting sun. At this stage the human mind, pran, and body are in the Krishana State (no friction) or in Ayodhyapuri where there is no war. When this happens, generally for short bursts of time for those who meditate, the Spirit (Atma) dances with God and communicates universal Veda (knowledge with wisdom) all the way down to the Anandmaya Kosh (body) for creative action towards fulfillment of life’s purpose.
While in the Hiranyaya Kosha all functions of Mind, Body, and discrete Spirit cease to exist on an individual basis. This is like being chums with the almighty God, generally for a short time for creative spirits with a human body. This is the ultimate and final expression of every religion, because this is the state of consciousness that feeds the lower Koshas with Veda (knowledge with wisdom) for nurturing unity and promoting synergy in diversity .
This is best attained by personalization of the religion in the first place. The big religious organizations cannot achieve this collectively, as long as their organizational identity remains important to them.
The final state of consciousness, Aprajita Puri, meaning where one is undefeatable, can be achieved soon after one’s entry into the Hiranyaya Kosh. In this state one’s consciousness gets fully integrated with the consciousness of Universal Energy. Everyone is capable of attaining this state at least for minute bursts of time. Highly accomplished yogi’s can easily attain such a state of consciousness and sustain it for relatively longer periods.
Those who are able to venture in to Hiranyaya Kosh can easily transcend into Aparajita Puri. In the Aparajita Puri, it is all one all mighty energy. It is capable of relating with each and every entity in the universe for any desired effect, though so doing forces one into a lower state of consciousness. This explains why more accomplished a spirit, it is less likely that person will be showing off miracles.
Unity in Diversity:
At the very basic level of consciousness we look upon ourselves as just our body, the Annamaya Kosha. Since each body is uniquely different from others it natural to be focusing on human diversity. With meditation, as we rise above into the hire states of consciousness, this human diversity gradually tappers off practically to an insignificance when in Vigyanmaya Kosha. It seems a self ego may still remain, though well managed, finally disappearing to almost nothing by the time we are in the Anandmaya Kosh.
Thereafter, into the Hiranyaya Kosha and Aparajita Puri, it is all oneness – the universal energy saturated with Veda, which is pure and complete knowledge laced with wisdom.
I believe it is not necessary to be lost into the details of the seven layers of conscious, as alluded above, simply because those details can only be individually experienced and never completely described in words. It is sufficient to know that, with meditation, all of us can regularly venture into the states of higher consciousness to experience soma (bliss) of unity and bring back a sharpened ability to apply Veda (knowledge with wisdom) for nurturing unity in diversity of the lower levels, which is what was originally desired by all religions.