- the deity of time, knowledge, pure intellect, prudence, foresight, creation, progress, welfare and ultimate evolution is described in the rhetoric representations of the Indian scriptures as having five faces and ten arms. Idols and pictures of Gayatri
also depict the same. This is not a mythological characterization, rather, the five faces of Gayatri
symbolize the Pancha kosha (five 'shells' covering the consciousness
or the five 'cells' of its different domains of existence and expansion). The ten arms of the Goddess indicate her powers which can completely destroy and eliminate the ten major causes of malice, decline and consequent pains and agony of life.
The gross, subtle and astral bodies of individual self are said to be subtly covered by the Pancha kosha - annamaya kosha (body cell), pranamaya kosha (life cell), manomaya kosha (mind cell), vigyanamaya kosha (knowledge cell) and anandamaya kosha (beatitudious bliss cell). These are also described as five doors successive opening of which leads the soul towards absolute liberation from all bonds and ultimate unification with its divine origin. The word "kosha" in Sanskrit and Hindi languages also means treasure. The pancha kosha contain five secret treasures of enormous potentials endowed on the human self attainment of which removes all deficiencies, complexities, stresses, worries, sufferings and agonies and successively transmutes human life into divine one. The Bhragu Valli section of Tattiryopanishad and Shatpatha Brahmana (15|17|31) and Vrhadaranyaka Upanishda mention these aspects in detail.
The knowledge of the Sadhana
(spiritual endeavors and disciplined practices) of penetration and activation of the Pancha koshas lies at the deepest core of the science of yoga
and spirituality. Acharya Shri Ram Sharma’s "Gayatri Manjari" and "Gayatri Mahavigyana" present the nectar of the Vedas, Upanishadas and other scriptures on Gayatri Yoga
- describing the Sadhanas of arousal, refinement and evolution of consciousness
for opening of the Pancha koshas and attainment of supernormal potentials associated with them. The present volume is based on these books and compilation of his other articles on this topic. The first and the lowermost in the hierarchical manifold of the five 'shells' is the annamaya kosha. The state of this kosha determines the structure, strength and overall health of the gross (physical) body. The nutritional quality of what we eat affects the development of the gross body. But, the innermost characteristics, subtle properties and purity of the food-intake influences the evolution of the annamaya kosha. For example, food prepared with the help of resources earned by unfair means or prepared by hurting some living being in some way would have obnoxious subtle properties and therefore exert negative effects on this kosha and hence on the health of the body too.
Disorderly, maligned or weak state of this kosha is considered to be the root cause of all diseases and deficiencies of the body. Specific practices of vrata, upawasa (fasting), asanas (physical exercises of yoga), tatva shuddhi and tapa
- titiksha (refinement by penance, self-restrain, endurance and ascetic disciplines) are prescribed for healthy maintenance and purity of this kosha. Higher level Sadhanas of Gayatri
meditation and yoga
can be practised only in a pure and strong state of the annamaya kosha. Detailed information and guidance of the day-to-day practices and Sadhanas of refinement and opening (spiritual activation) of this kosha are provided in three chapters of the present volume. Successive refinement of this kosha increases the vitality, resistance and charm of the body and brightens the glow of the aura around it. Awakening of this kosha opens up the way to enter the next kosha - the pranamaya kosha.
The pranamaya kosha constitutes what is defined as the 'etheric double' by the Theosophists. It refers to the reservoir of vital energy - the source of liveliness, activity, eminence and inner strength. Disorder, malice or deficiencies at this source gives rise to psychosomatic diseases, mental weakness and complexities. This kosha is maintained in order by harmonizing the level of prana
(vital force) by the yoga
exercises of pranayama. Several types of pranayamas including those aimed at activation of the surya chakra
and upthrust of prana
through the sushumna nadi are described in the volume no. 17 of the Vangamaya series. Details on the higher level Gayatri Sadhana
of arousal and spiritual transmutation of the vital force are present in the volume no. 16. One chapter of the present volume focuses on these in brief...