Understanding The Koshas in Yoga (Part Four): Vijnanamaya Kosha (Wisdom and Intuition)

May 15, 2023 |


In the previous three articles you learned about the koshas as a system and looked at the first three koshas, annamaya kosha, pranamaya and manomaya kosha. If you haven’t had a chance to explore them yet, click here for the first article, here for the second article, and here for the third.

Vijnanamaya kosha: the source of our wisdom and intuition

Manomaya kosha (the mind) exists against the backdrop of awareness. The meeting point between mind and awareness is buddhi. Buddhi is the most refined part of the mind and is sometimes described as actually ‘sitting with its back to purusha’. Think of buddhi as being like a permeable membrane through which the light of consciousness shines.

Buddhi, a key structure of vijnanamaya kosha, is the source of our capacity for discernment. More broadly, vijnanamaya kosha is also the source of our intuition and insight. Think of it as being the location of your inner teacher. It’s the part of you that already knows, and knows that it knows.

If you think about your capacity for discernment, it can be influenced by different things. For example, sometimes it’s influenced by the ego or personality. At those times we might say it’s under the influence of manomaya kosha. But, when the answers to our questions, or our perspective on things, seems to come from some place beyond the personality, we might say it’s under the influences of vijnanamaya kosha.

Basically, vijnanamaya kosha is our abilty to access a knowing that comes from beyond the mind.

Initially, when we look at the realm beyond the mind, it feels unfamiliar. It doesn’t make sense within the rules of everyday logic and rationality. We’re in a space we don’t have much experience with using tools we’ve yet to master. This means we’ve arrived at the point where methodology and theory have taken us as far as they can. Now we have to surrender and trust (this, of course, is lovely in theory and hard to do in practice).

It also puts us into contact with the final covering over consciousness, that of anandamaya kosha. For the article on anandamaya kosha, keep an eye out for part five coming on Monday 22nd May.

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