Anandamaya Kosha: You are Bliss

Vijnanamaya kosha (1)

Master your breath, let the self be in bliss, contemplate on the sublime within you. ~Krishnamacharya

Have you ever been in a yoga class and heard the teacher say “Bliss is your true nature” then wondered what that even meant? In the Yoga Tradition, there are 5 Sheaths each one more subtle than the last. In the past four weeks, we have discussed the first four, the Annamaya Kosha (the meat suit), Pranamaya Kosha (energetic body/life force), Manomaya Kosha (mental body), and Vijnanamaya Kosha (the intellect body). The final of these sheaths or bodies is Anandamaya Kosha the bliss body.

Each body is more than subtle than the last, and the Anandamaya Kosha is the thinnest veil of them all. The final sheath is the separation between our ordinary awareness and highest self. This sheath is the most underdeveloped of them all for most people. Most will never experience it; others will experience it fleetingly, and for others, it will be part of their everyday existence. The latter are the mystics, the sages, and other spiritually enlightened people that are dialed in. Access to the bliss body takes work.

The meaning of our self is not to be found in its separateness from God and others, but in the ceaseless realization of yoga, of union.~ Rabindranath Tagor

The bliss we are talking about isn’t a result of accomplishment; it isn’t a jump up and down and be exuberantly joyful it’s not something that you can observe, it is something that you just are. This is the meaning of your teacher’s assertion that “Bliss is your true nature.” The Anandamaya Kosha suffuses through all other Koshas but can only be experienced completely when we pull back the veils of the other koshas, move beyond illusion and reveal our true nature. The Yoga Tradition asserts that we are bliss and that the illusion of all other things disrupts us from this connection.

We cannot force ourselves to experience the Anandamaya Kosha; it’s not how it works. It’s not something we have control over; rather it is something that is. We can cultivate it with intention through meditation, devotion, and service. Through these means, we can access Atman or inner self or soul to live more authentically, fully and connected.

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