Kosha (also, Kosa) is referred to as “sheath“, one of five (or seven) coverings of the Atman or Self according to Vedantic philosophy.

The ancient Indian model of “Personality”, given in the Taittiriya Upanishad, consists of the ‘five’ sheaths. They are ‘Annamaya’ (food sheath), ‘Pranamaya’ (vital air sheath), ‘Manomaya’ (mental sheath), ‘Vijnanamaya’ (intellectual sheath), and ‘Anandamaya’ (bliss sheath). ‘Annamaya’; a segment of human system is nourished by ‘anna’, that is, food. ‘Pranamaya’ is that segment which is nourished by ‘prana’, that is, ‘bioenergy’. ‘Manomaya’ is the segment nourished by ‘education’. ‘Vijnanamaya’ is nourished by ‘ego’ and ‘Anandamaya’ is the segment nourished by ‘emotions’.”

According to the Kosha system in Yogic philosophy, the nature of being human encompasses physical and psychological aspects that function as one holistic system. The Kosha system refers to these different aspects as layers of subjective experience. Layers range from the dense physical body to the more subtle levels of emotions, mind and spirit.

Soul (atman) is wrapped inside five layers (Pancha kosha) of Arishadvarga (the gang of the six internal foes within us). Arishadvarga are considered the 6 inner enemies of a man

Arishadvarga – (ari = shatru = enemy) (shad = 6) (varga = classes)

Arishadvarga: are the six passions of mind (vicars): Kama (Lust or desire), Krodh (Rage, anger or hatred), Lobh (Greed), Moh (delusory emotional attachment), Mada or Ahankar (Ego or pride) and Matsarya (envy, jealousy)].

Vedic texts mention that human body is only the physical abode of soul. The soul is considered to be enveloped in five (actually it is seven koshas if we go in more details of vedic texts) sheaths which we call as Pancha kosha. The Atman is at the center of the Bliss sheath. 

The soul is enveloped in seven sheaths. Development of all the seven sheaths fully is necessary for man’s complete spiritual evolution.

Here are the 5 sheaths (Pancha kosha) or 7 sheets (layers of existence) of Human being:

Annamay Kosh (Food Sheath) – Outermost of the Pancha koshas

Pranmay Kosh (Vital Air Sheath or the life force)

Manomay Kosh (mind as distinctly different from intelligence – Sheath)

Vigyanmay Kosh (Intellect Sheath)

Aanandmay Kosh (Bliss Sheath – or ceaseless joy not connected with body or mind) – Innermost of the Pancha koshas

Chitta Kosh (spiritual wisdom) 

Sat Kosh (the final state of merging with the Infinite)

Pancha kosha: Five layers of the human life

Further Reading


Pranamay Kosha

Manomay Kosha

Ananadmay Kosha

Further Reading

What is Yoga?

History of Yoga

Misconceptions about Yoga

Fundamentals Of Yoga

9 Principles Of Yoga

Yoga Basics

Panch Mahabhutas



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