The Yogic Anatomy of Human Potentialities
Eros, Consciousness and Kundalini: Deepening Sensuality Through Tantric
Celibacy and Spiritual Intimacy (pgs. 82-89) by Stuart Sovatsky
detailed meditations over thousands of hours, the yogis determined that
the human body is far more than a configuration of fleshy organs, bones,
and fluids. Composed of five gradients or koshas, literally, "sheaths,"
with each one more interior and more subtle than the previous one, we
are the actual "bridge" from the physical to the spiritual.
Each sheath exerts a guiding intelligence over the next more dense sheath
in the following order: the individual soul and causal body (jiva
and anandamaya kosha), the reflective-intellectual body (vijnanamaya
kosha), mental-emotional body (manomaya kosha), vital energy
body (pranamaya kosha),and the physical body (annamaya kosha).
Through this anatomy of increasingly interior bodies, yoga maps the emotionality
and sentient capacities of the intimus itself and thus the way toward
deepening our intimacy with one another and the world.
The Subtle Bodies
The physical and vital sheaths operate together, forming
the densest of our dimensions, the biological body. the erotic phenomena
of sheer sensation, physical-emotional warmth, the various orgasmic
reflexes, and hormonal rhythms are based primarily in these two interacting
bodies. Erotic pleasures and intimacies of the physical and vital bodies
operating together constitute the "realms of the senses,"
the ideal of pure sensuality.
The mental-emotional body holds the cognitive intelligence by
which we identify and attribute a socially agreed-upon meaning to the
events and sensations that occur in the two preceding bodies. People
who thought they were going to "just have sex" who later feel
emotionally involved with their sexual partner have aroused this more
intimate sheath during the otherwise seemingly casual sex. Here
is where fantasies, desires, joys, jealousies, angers, hopes, and sorrows
reside to be shared with those whom we trust.
The reflective-intellectual sheath takes the erotic sentiments
and meanings of the mental body one step further. Here we grasp the
value of the other and his or her emotions and thoughts, as well as
our own. thus, the reflective-intellectual sheath provides the even
longer-lasting erotic pleasures and intimacies of loving admiration,
the feelings of sincerity and respect, the romanticisms of love, gratitude,
apology, and forgiveness. thus, vijnanamaya kosha is the domain of human
character, or integrity.
Continuous appreciation of these deeply human sentiments and capacities
is a meditation that reveals the next underlying causal or bliss
body, the most intimate abode of the individual soul, jiva, or
atman. We have penetrated mundane concerns and changing ways; now
we glimpse beyond body, emotion, and character into the eternal glow
of the Self, the unconditional love of the Soul. the utter uniqueness
of each individual has a sense of the remarkable to it, of being a singularly
nuanced spark of the divine.
Located in an etheric space within the heart, this bliss body is in
intimate rapport with brahmarandhra, the subtle center of mind
and intellect. Together and in balance, they manifest what the great
Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza called "the intellectual love
of God," thought and love combined.
In anandamaya kosha, the Blakeian "fearful symmetry" emerges
- the inexplicable original pulsations of life into all the bodies.
Erotic pleasure is permanent, and, independent of efforts or stimulations,
it feels of the "miraculous." fulfillment in the causal body
can be so great that complete dispassion or nonattachment to sense-objects,
desires, and thoughts results. One has attained a profound balancing
of both the internal and external realms of "needs" and "needing."
As the yogi Vyas Dev says, "This is an indescribable state, beyond
the pairs of opposites...This is the highest limit of individual knowledge"
(Science of Soul, p.225).
Through "self-ishness," that is, the self's clinging to experience,
the clarity of such knowledge diminishes, imbalance emerges, and the
ego-self (known as ahamkara, also in the heart) gets confused.
Using the reflective and mental-emotional bodies, it thinks and feels
itself into a fictive separate identity.
Cut off from anandamaya kosha, it becomes (falsely)
convinced by the obviousness of the physical body that annamaya kosha
is its only basis in reality. The solutions it then seeks is to dispel
its confusions and satisfy its "needs" can become even more
egoic, that is, cut off even further from the otherwise powerful spiritual
resources, which now appear to exist only as impossible ideals or rarified
When the resources of all the bodies are functioning
in balance and the ego-self is able to grasp its more modest place in
relationship to the subtler bodies, sexual (and many other) desires
arise like small waves upon the deep ocean of our being. They do not
sway us but slip into our depths, gratifying us as they dissolve into
simple joy and contentment of the remarkable.
Continues in The Chakras