IN the earlier articles, we went through different layers of consciousness. In this part, we will talk about knowledge or ‘gnana’ and how it expands consciousness.
It is subtler than the previous three sheaths and is able to become cognisant and to recognise based on previous cognates. At its best, it remains in tune with the highest consciousness. At the very least, it guides us to discriminate between what is ephemeral and what is eternal. This wisdom is needed in spirituality. When this state of discernment matures, we automatically develop non-attachment to temporary things, resulting in a state of unattached-attachment. The mind can remain actively involved in daily activities; the trick is to have the conviction that we are not the doer. If we allow our maker to be the performer of any act we do, then we are free of attachment.
The vignanamaya kosha is mostly about self-awareness. Through this sheath our consciousness can expand into the sky of super-consciousness and the depths of subconsciousness. As this sheath becomes more and more refined, it helps us access finer levels of super-consciousness. Once again it is worth mentioning here that it is the practice of meditation with the aid of transmission that makes such an expansion possible.
This kosha also helps us to decide on any course of action. Based on previous cognates, we learn to choose wisely, for example, not to play with snakes, not to put our hand in the fire, etc. The mind receives the cognates, consciousness feeds us with memory (recognition), and intelligence and wisdom help us to choose.
When this discernment results in right and favorable results, we become more confident. When it fails to yield favorable results, we lose confidence. Then we retrace our steps and see where we went wrong. This step of back tracking is important for continuous self-improvement. In due course we learn to listen to the heart. At times the heart tells us to avoid something, but we don’t listen, and then we see the consequences, resulting in regret. Never mind! Let it not repeat.
Heartfulness meditation accelerates the purification of the koshas, the chakras, and the overall physical system at a vibratory level. The help of the three koshas associated with the subtle bodies is an asset in any pursuit. They perform at their best when there is constant inward attention towards the heart, so that the heart becomes the guide. An innocent pure heart is helped. It is worth recalling the statement of Lord Christ: “Be ye like little children.” That childlike state reflects innocence and purity. Children have no ego to say, “I know it all.” Such claims prevent the expansion of consciousness.
The trio of subtle bodies and their associated koshas also play a major role in the formation and dissolution of samskaras, thoughts, memory storage, and recalling of cognates, thus providing information as and when needed.
To be concluded
— Kamlesh D Patel is the fourth spiritual Guide in the Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga meditation. He is a role model for students of spirituality who seek that perfect blend of eastern heart and western mind. He travels extensively and is at home with people from all backgrounds and walks of life, giving special attention to the youth of today