Definition - What does Vijnanamaya Kosha mean?
Vijnanamaya kosha is the fourth of the five layers, or sheaths, of the body, which are collectively referred to as pancha kosha. Vijnanamaya kosha is the intellect/wisdom/knowledge sheath. It is said to be composed of a combination of intellect and the five sensory organs. It is also considered to be the part of one's being that is responsible for will, discernment and determination.
In yogic philosophy, although vijnanamaya kosha is associated with wisdom and consciousness, it is not the same as the true self. This is because it is transient, changing, limited and not always present.
Yogapedia explains Vijnanamaya Kosha
As well as vijnanamaya kosha, the other koshas are:
- Annamaya kosha - the physical body
- Pranamaya kosha - the energy body
- Manomaya kosha - the mental body
- Anandamaya kosha - the bliss body
Vijnanamaya kosha is responsible for all inner growth and personal development. This includes the presence and evolution of morals and ethics. It goes beyond simple perception and into more subtle knowledge, discernment and wisdom. Vijnanamaya kosha is what seeks to draw awareness from what is happening in front of the senses to a deeper mental space.
Vijnanamaya kosha, like all the koshas, is interactive and dependent upon the other layers of the body. Both asana and meditation practice help the yogi to connect with their deeper intuition, wisdom and knowledge by accessing vijnanamaya kosha.
It is also in vijnanamaya kosha that the deeper sense of oneness, as opposed to a sense of separation from other beings, emerges. Within vijnanamaya kosha lies the beginnings of understanding that separation and ego are just an illusion. This recognition is said to bring greater compassion, love and happiness.