Panch Kosh Meditation (Five Sheath Meditation) in English

Pancha Kosh Meditations

This is a technique taught in Vedanta philosophy. According to the doctrine of Vedanta 5 sheaths or bodies surround the soul of every person. The soul by its attachment and identification with them indulges in sense pleasures and worldly desires. By yoga and meditation we have to separate the soul from its attachment and identification with these 5 sheaths or bodies. When the soul is separated from these 5 sheaths, then the soul gets back to its real form which is pure consciousness and becomes forever free from the cycle of repeated birth and death.

For breaking the attachment of the soul to these 5 sheaths following 5 meditation processes are practiced.

1. Unity with sound vibration meditation (Aum chanting meditation): For, freeing our soul from the
attachment and identification with the food sheath ‘(Annamaya kosh),’ or physical body.

2. Simple Pranayama Meditation: For freeing consciousness from its attachment and identification to the vital sheath ‘(Pranamaya kosh’), or energy body or Aura.

3. Repeating Prayer Meditation (Ajapa Japa or Shivo Ham Meditation): For freeing consciousness from its attachment and identification to the mental sheath (‘Manomaya kosh’), or emotional body.

4. Consciously Witnessing Meditation: For freeing consciousness from its attachment and identification to the knowledge sheath ‘(Vignyanmaya kosh’), or intellectual body.

5. Inner Silence Meditation: For freeing consciousness from its attachment and identification to the blissful sheath (‘Anandamaya kosh’), or causal body or bliss body.

Unity with sound vibration meditation (Aum chanting meditation)

Chanting the AUM mantra creates a powerful sound vibration in the body that raises its energy level. Sit in any comfortable posture with spine straight, chest out and body relaxed. Close your eyes and watch your breath. Take a slow, deep breath through the nose (mentally chanting Gayatri Mantra) and while exhaling chant AA—UU—MM or OOOMMM. While chanting AA concentrate the mind at the navel center, UU concentrate the mind at the throat center and finally MM at the crown center. Mind becomes absorbed in the vibration. Consciousness then becomes very aware of the body. As consciousness becomes more aware of the body it slowly learns to disengage it from the body and know itself as separate from the physical body i.e. ‘Food Sheath’ (Annamaya Kosh). Do this up to 20 minutes.

Benefits : OM is Existence, Knowledge and Bliss. So by doing this meditation regularly, you will attain self-realization. You will learn to listen to your inner voice which will be your shining star showing you the way all through your life. There will be a complete change and harmonious working in the cells of the body. The vibration of ‘OM’ sound creates Alfa waves in the brain, which brings a sense of happiness and calmness to the mind. It is very beneficial in digestive or respiratory ailments like asthma. It also gives relief in abdominal diseases, cold and cough and other breath related problems.

Simple Pranayama Meditation :
With eyes closed concentrate your mind in the spine. Visualize the spine as a hollow silver white tube. Become aware that energy is moving within the spine. Take a slow, long, deep, continuous and soundless inhalation through both nostrils. As you inhale feel a cool current of energy moving up the spine. Then exhale again slow, long, deep, continuous and soundless. As you exhale feel a warm current of energy moving down the spine. Mind becomes aware of the movement of energy in the spine with each breath. Watch the exhaling and inhaling breaths, which should be in same ratio, say 10 seconds in exhaling and 10 seconds in inhaling. Practice for 15 minutes.

Benefits : Breath becomes slow and deep. Energizes the chakras and brings peace of mind. Consciousness becomes aware of the energy body and learns to detach itself from the vital sheath or Pranamaya Kosh.

Repeating Prayer Meditation (Ajapa Japa or Shivo Ham Meditation):
Life without death, happiness without misery, joy without sorrow and good without bad are contradictions. This world is not all evil or all good. It is a mixture of both. With eyes closed concentrate your mind at the center of the eyebrows (Agnya Chakra). Watch the breath. Now as the breath on its own enters the nose mentally chant ‘Shivo’ (God). As the breath flow out of the nose mentally chant “Ham” (I). Have the feeling that I am in essence one with God.

Benefits : It removes laziness of mind; creates a feeling of deep relaxation and pure thoughts and emotions. It helps to free the consciousness from the mental sheath or Manomaya Kosh.

Consciously Witnessing Meditation
Keeping the eyes closed you will find darkness before the closed eyes; some one may find different colors before the closed eyes. Curiously watch, consciously watch, what is behind the darkness / what is behind the colors? During conscious watching, thoughts will arise, thoughts will blossom forth and thoughts will die. Watch the flow of thoughts. Do not change, do not control, simply watch. Thoughts are coming, thoughts are dissolving. Watch, watch and watch the thoughts, the thoughtlessness, Love (Prem), Bliss, Light (Inner Jyoti) and any other thing that flows up in the mind. Watch every thing as a non-doer. All this will happen spontaneously when you go deep into meditation.

In a dreamless sound sleep, we enjoy the bliss, which does not depend upon any worldly object. In meditation we have the experience of bliss. Even in wakeful state when we are fully established in ourselves, far away from any stress and strain, we are in the company of self and attain the state of real happiness, which no wealth in the world can buy.

Once a young boy came to a spiritual person and asked him to tell the quick method of controlling the mind and tell him quickly as he was in a hurry. The sage said, “Just have rest, come in and sit down.” “I haven’t got time,” was the reply. The saint said, “Come in. It won’t be long. Coffee is just ready. Have a cup of coffee.” Unwillingly the youth came in and the sage poured the coffee into the mug. He went on pouring after the mug was full and then the coffee overflowed. The youth asked the sage why he was pouring coffee when the cup was full.

The saint replied, “How you can control your mind when it is over-filled with thoughts. Learn to empty your mind from all thoughts, which is very difficult without meditation.” The way of mindfulness for the outer world and mindlessness for inner world, comes only through meditation.

Benefits : Relieved of the incessant flow of thoughts and gaining divine feelings of peace and wisdom. It helps the consciousness to free itself from the intellectual sheath or Vignyanmaya Kosh.

Inner Silence Meditation:
Keeping eyes close watch the breath. Shift the attention from the breath to the inner silence within. As you concentrate within you will begin to hear inner sounds. You will first hear the physical sounds of the vibrating heart. As you keep on concentrating on the heart sound of dhukdhuk you will begin to hear many astral sounds. Absorb your mind in these inner sounds. Slowly you will experience that behind these inner sounds there is a deep silence within. Become aware of that silence and enjoy that silence as long as you can. That silence is God within your body. That inner deep silence behind your heart beat sound is a part of supreme cosmic consciousness.

Benefits : You will experience deep silence and in that silence you will experience God as love and bliss. It helps the consciousness to free itself from the bliss sheath or ‘Anandamaya Kosh’.

Meditation on the Self
Sit as above. For 10 minute simply act as a witness to all activities going on in the body and mind. Do not control, do not do anything simply watch, observe, witness. First concentrate on the breath, as the breath slows down concentrate on any sensation that you may feel. As these subside concentrate on the thoughts that rise and fall, come and go. As the thoughts reduce sit quietly, steadily. Now visualize a dazzling brilliant light in the center of your heart. Feel I am this light. Concentrate on the feelings I am eternal, I am infinite, I am pure, I am perfect, I am a blissful spirit, blissful spirit ……… Sit quietly as long as possible with this feeling I am a blissful spirit.

Research Finding
Research has established that meditation enhances the repair and rejuvenation of the parasympathetic nervous system. The effects of these are both healing and restorative. The body and mind is in a relaxed, yet alert state. During meditation, all systems are functioning at their peak and most efficient level. Taking this into consideration, it may be said that positive meditation and affirmations may be the safest method (with no side-effects) to enhance breastmilk production in a mother-to-be or nursing mother. Regular research on (ajapa japa meditation or shivohum meditation) repeating prayer meditation based on Vedanta Philosophy enhances breast-milk flow in nursing mothers.

(ajapa japa meditation or shivihum meditation) repeating prayer meditation can be done in any meditative pose; even lying down with legs and hands slightly apart from the body (called the corpse pose or shavasana) will do. Begin to mentally recite Shivo Hum or any prayer of your choice up to 20 minutes for best effect.

Anxiety is a natural response to any sudden change. In a new mother, especially with limited family support as it is today, this can reach new heights. In these days there is hardly any physical threat from the anxiety. The body’s emergency response puts a brake on other systems; for example, digestion slows down. It has been found that this stress reaction in a mother can affect breast milk flow. While meditating, the fact that your mind is looking inwards sends a subtle but effective message to the brain: that the danger is now passed. This gently restores the body’s homeostasis, so the functions that have been disrupted, including nursing, is finally restored.

Meditation, it has been found, impacts the master glands directly due to this ‘looking within oneself’ tactic – you can equate it to the massage of the brain. This is extremely soothing and relaxing. In fact, it is often said that just five-minutes of the yoga nidra meditation is more relaxing than several hours of sleep. This allows a new mother to catch up on her rest, so she does not suffer sleep deficit, which is inevitable as she adjusts to the new life in her midst.

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