5 Layered Concept of Human Development
The Panckosi(पंचकोशीय i.e. five layered) concept of human development towards perfection, occupies an important place in the Upanisadic thought. This five layered structure of human personality underlines the course of mental and spiritual development where one rises from pure body consciousness to the ultimate subtle states of self realization. This structure describes the steps in the path that leads one from animal mind to the state of human perfection where the person identifies oneself with the universal existence of one mind and oneness of whole creation. Having known the path to perfection, one obviously needs to know how to follow this path.
The threefold Yogic path is the practical solution towards achieving this goal. The knowledge and practice have to go together in order to succeed.
Three Fold Yogic Path
Movement of Mind from Body Centric to Activity Centric
The movement of mind from being body centric to activity centric is the first step (movement from Annamaya to Prananmaya). Here one tries to offer all his actions to the supreme power by dissociating from the fruit of his actions. He acts because actions are necessary in the material world for existence. Desiring the fruit of action increases his attachment to the individuality consciousness.
Renouncing the Fruit of Action
By renouncing the fruit of action, he moves from individual consciousness to universal consciousness which is a step in the right direction towards spiritual growth. It helps him to reduce his ego-involvement by thinking of others in preference to himself. Any movement in thought from self based desires to universal good is a step towards spiritual attainment. In spiritual terms, linking the Jivatma with Paramatma is the essence of spirituality. In layman’s terms, it means shedding individuality and linking the personal self with the universal self. Selfless action helps in achieving it through performance of actions in the material world. It amounts to saying that when you do the action, do not associate it with the ego of being the doer. Think of yourself as part of the universal will that needs actions for sustenance of life.
Selfless Actions & Patanjali’s Eight Fold Yoga
When actions are done in selfless manner, the quality of action will automatically improve. This will improve one’s conduct both in personal as well as social context. This much desired improvement in conduct is a common theme in most religions; be it part of Sila or the Yama and Niyama aspects of Patanjali’s eightfold Yoga.
Purification of Emotional Content of Human Personality
The next step is the purification of the emotional content of human personality (movement from Pranamaya to Manomaya) through thought control. The level of mind, that includes desires and emotions, is purified through the process of concentration of thoughts to one point, a process in which wandering thoughts are ignored and full concentration is applied to the object of concentration. This means giving full attention to one thought to the exclusion of all others. Both Bhakti and meditation relate to this process that purifies the thought stream and develops the capability to provide full attention to whatever you think to do. This is the preliminary stage of Samadhi where one can move inwards by shutting off external sense inputs and concentrate on one idea or image.
… to be continued in 2nd part titled “Yogic Mind in Spiritual Progress” … which will be published later in this blog…
This article Mental purity & Three Fold Yoga was written by Sh. V. V. Rampal which was published in Feb 2007 edition of “Kalyana Kalpataru” a monthly for the propagation of spiritual ideas and love for God.