Anandamaya Kosha (Causal Body): Source of Happiness & What is Ignorance? (123)


Lesson 123 explains functions of Causal Body (karana sharira / anandamaya kosha), and answers question, “Why Bhagavan create ignorant jivas?”.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 2 (Revision)


  • CH13 is discernment of Reality consisting of the Knower and Known. Discernment is done for sake of obtaining proper perspective in everything… while at same time, enjoying one’s intrinsic freedom while living.
    • Proper perspective is gained in:
      1. Desire Management:
        • 2 Extremes:
          • Give up desires.
              • Impossible. Because everyone is endowed with unique talents/abilities. They always convert to “I desire to ___”.
              • The way world is designed is, WHEN you properly express desires (which contributes to betterment of others)… it simultaneously nourishes you.
          • Spend whole life in desire fulfillment, thus loses perspective and wisdom. Takes one for a ride.
            • Consequence of this is inability to derive pleasure from simple things in life, because only learned to gain pleasure from big things.
        • Proper perspective:
          • Learning how to use desires so it helps you expand (V 7-10).
      2. Relationships:
        • Understand no person in world can satisfy all your desires. No relationship can fulfill you completely.
        • There's times when you won't be respected, won't be given your desire, will feel undervalued.
      3. Perspective in how to be an active participant (living by universal values):
        • Proper perspective:
          • “I am an essential link in grand scheme of things. Thus I am not outside the system”.
          • Knowing this:
            • You don’t fight nor criticize the system.
            • Want to investigate the system.
            • Desire to proactively contribute to the system which itself brings happiness.
  • Why is Ksetra/Ksetrajna discernment significant?
    • Because jivas start out like this…

      • Starting point is “I am limitless, the truth of everything”.
      • Limitlessness identifies with one individual form (limitation).
      • Limitlessness (living in a limited koshas while inherently knowing it's nature is boundless), compensates by trying to free itself through the koshas.
      • World constantly reminds me of my limitations. Which produces low self-image issues.
        • EG: One unconsciously isolates themselves in world of knowns, because can't stand being reminded “How much I don't know“.
          • What is this? Rose. Happy.
          • Why is this rose yellow and others red? Don't know. Unhappy.
        • Constant insecurity of losing/missing out.
          • EG: If beautiful, aging becomes source of unhappiness.
  • Next Question: What is the means of shifting “I” to proper perspective?

Revision Verse 1: Pancha-kosha

  • We used Taittirīya Upanishad method of identifying kṣetram (in reference to body-mind instrument).
    • When koshas are covering ksetrajna (as it were), then life becomes centered on pleasing the koshas.
      • Whereas permanent contentment is only found by discovering “I am the whole”.
    • IMPORTANT: Disidentification from koshas is not experiential (because long as body is alive, there will experience of 5 koshas). Instead, disidentification is a firm conclusion in buddhi.
    • How to practice:
      • I’m feel off today > This is a condition in manomaya > Then address.
      • I feel insignificant in this world > This is a conclusion formed in vijñānamaya > Then address.
    • Result of practice?
      • Through time, buddhi converts from being an (opinion-generator) TO an (objective-instrument… seeing things as-it-is).
      • Instead of claiming “This is MY emotion, MY life”, it gets into curiosity, problem solving mode.
    • Conclusion: I am not what I experience. Experiencer/experienced can never be the same.
  • 5 Kośas also show CAUSE-EFFECT Relationship (as true in anything):
    • Prāṇāmaya-kosha: corresponds to kriyā-śakti (power to do).
    • Manomaya-kosha: corresponds to iccha-śakti (power to desire).
    • Vijñānamaya-kosha: corresponds to jñāna-śakti (power to know).
    • In which order do these 3 śaktis/kośas arise in our experience?
      • ORDER:
        1. First knowledge comes.
        2. Then desire comes (product of knowledge).
          • LOGIC: You can’t desire something unless (a) you know what is being desired (b) know it’s worthy of desiring.
          • Therefore desire must be outer kośa and knowledge inner kośa.
        3. Finally, doing comes to fulfill the desire.
      • CONCLUSION: Preceding kośa is the cause. Succeeding kośa is the effect. Satya-mithyā.
  • Vijnanamaya Kosha:
    • What is it?
      • Deciding mechanism. “Should I ask or not? Is this right or is there room for improvement? How do I apply this to my life? In which way should I say this?”.
  • Ahamkara:
    • What is it?
      • Conditioned Ksetrajna. “I (kṣetrajña) am ignorant, liberated, smart, creative, silly”.
      • Ahamkara perishes only at time of videha-mukti (jñāni dies physically). In fact, ahamkara doesn’t perish (because nothing can be destroyed), but jñāni’s ahamkara is now ahamkara of Ishvara (the Whole).
    • How to recognize the ahamkara?
      • It’s the role played each moment. Each role, “I” seem to take on different personality.
      • EG: Now playing role of listener. After class over, will play role of evaluator of “How this session went”. Tomorrow morning, caring partner.
    • Why ahamkara isn’t Ksetrajna?
      • Ahamkara is savikāra. Doer/enjoyer undergoing modifications in each role.
        Ksetrajna is nirvikāra. Not subject to change. EG: “I” am not stuck to any one role.
      • If “I” was ahamkara, then role-playing wouldn’t end in deep sleep.
      • Ahamkara is inert (made of 5 elements). Appears sentient due to borrowed consciousness (pratibimba caitanya).
        • EG: Suppose stand front of mirror. The reflected image starts glorifying itself. But it’s borrowed from me.
      • Ahamkara is confined to single body and also travels after death. Whereas kshetrajna cannot travel and isn’t confined.
        • EG: Space is all-pervasive, hence can't be confined nor travel.
      • Whatever knowledge arises in vijnanamaya-kosha, it’s because of Self (ksetrajna) pervading it.
      • Ahamkara/vijñānamaya-kośa is subject to arrival-departure.
        • Thoughts/roles come-go. But Knower of them all… survives to report the changes.
  • CAUSAL BODY (ānandamaya kośa / kāraṇa-śarīra):
    • What is it?
      • What’s supposed to come tomorrow is called Causal Body.
    • Several functions:
      • Contains individual’s beginningless sañcita-karma (a) all effects yet to be experienced in future lifetimes (b) memories of past lives.
      • Contains prārabdha-karma for present life. Prārabdha-karma just means pleasant/unpleasant (puṇya-pāpa) experiences yet to fructify.
        • EG:
          • In deep sleep, 4 koshas are resolved in Causal Body.
          • When 4 koshas manifest in Waking… Causal Body fructifies puṇya/papa of yesterday.
            • That’s why whatever suffering/pleasure was yesterday, it soon arrives upon waking.
        • Student QUESTION: (A) Why is there bliss in deep sleep (when it contains both puṇya/papa)? (B) Where is bliss of sleep coming from? (C) What is nature of that bliss? (D) Why is bliss felt in deep sleep?
          • ANSWER:
            • During deep sleep, individual’s punya/papa is in potential.
              • How to prove it’s in potential? Because if it wasn’t in potential, you’d be awake.
              • Because it’s in potential, there’s no punya/papa experience.
          • OBJECTION: Then what is the source of bliss in deep sleep? Where is it coming from?
            • Causal Body is also a reflecting medium of original ānanda. Reason it’s ALSO called ānandamaya-kośa.
            • So during deep sleep, the bliss is your very own ānanda nature… reflected on the Causal Body. However the bliss of deep sleep is tama-guna dominant (as Causal Body is also made of maya's 3 gunas). So it's not true bliss of sat-cit-ānanda.
  • Ānandamaya-kośa in reference to HAPPINESS in WAKING STATE:
    • Ānanda (happiness) is often mistaken as a state of mind.
    • QUESTION: Does mind produce happiness or happiness come from somewhere else?
      • Universal conclusion (in respect to happiness):
        • Source of happiness is in sense-objects. That’s why world running after kṣetrams.
        • Why think this? Lack of analysis.
          • EG: If object contained happiness, it would make all happy.
      • Vedanta conclusion (in respect to happiness):
        • There’s only one source of happiness: Kṣetrajña (whose nature is existence-awareness-happiness).
        • Why do we experience happiness upon contact of sense objects? It temporarily resolves the Wanter/Desirer. Thus the still mind is capable of reflecting the original ānanda (of sat-cit) that’s always reflected on ānandamaya-kosha.
          • Mind goes from Rajasic to Sattvic (IE: Still water reflects fullness of the sun).
          • Therefore our mind borrow both Awareness and Happiness from Kṣetrajña (myself, the Knower).
    • What is happiness?
      • It’s NOT a part, product or property of the mind.
      • It’s not isolated to one mind. It’s an independent reality.
    • Reason for all pursuits in life:
      • All pursuits are based on thinking, happiness is found in one of the 4 koshas or external objects.
      • But it’s actually coming from ānandamaya-kośa, which itself is borrowing ānanda from Kṣetrajña (myself, the Knower).
    • Reflected ānanda in ānandamaya-kosha is experienced in 3 gradations by all people:
      • Priya-vrtti: Seeing object. Happiness that arises from seeing object of like. Happy. 
      • Moda-vrtti: Possessing object. What you saw, comes to your hold. Happier.
      • Pramoda-vrtti: Enjoying and directly experiencing the object (become one with it). EG: actually eating the chocolate. Happiest.
    • According to Vedanta, what is optimal state of mind conducive for happiness?
      • A resolved one. Not chasing one of 3 states of mind.
      • Meaning the more mind is resolved (quiet/sattvic), the more often you experience ānandamaya-kośa’s reflected happiness (advaita). Reason why happy person (in that moment) isn’t asking for anything.
        • What is samadhi?
          • When ahamkara remains to witness itself experiencing ānandamaya-kośa’s reflected ānanda.
        • What is nirvikalpa?
          • Ahamkara has temporarily resolved, thus total identification with ānandamaya-kośa’s reflected ānanda.
          • It’s as good as deep sleep, but with awareness of the bliss (while it lasts).
        • Ānandamaya-kośa’s reflected ānanda surfaces when there is favourable event (punyam).
          • This applies to all living beings: animals, plants, humans.
        • Maximum ānanda reflection is experienced during (a) deep sleep or (b) nirvikalpa samadhi.
        • Difference between jnani’s and ajnani’s happiness?
          • Ajnani: My happiness is because of that object.
          • Jnani: This happiness is because of my own ānanda-nature being reflected in ānandamaya kośa, which is manifesting through the 4-remaining kośas.
        • Maximum bliss is experienced because mind is NOT limiting the ānanda reflection with it’s turbulence/notions. Just as bucket of still water, fully and clearly reflects the sun.
        • The bliss experienced is my own ānanda, reflected on ānandamaya kośa. However  the bliss is impure (contaminated by tama guna).
    • Why is anandamaya-kosha NOT ksetrajna?
      • Because nature of ksetrajna is unceasing limitless ānanda. But ānandamaya-kośa’s reflected ānanda is experienced in varying degrees. So it too is negated as kṣetram.
      • NOTE: Vedanta doesn’t say to reject experiential happiness. But to enjoy while it lasts. At same time, recognize it’s temporary because it’s reflected ānanda on ānandamaya-kośa, and NOT original.
        • Original can’t be experienced as an object because it is “I”.
  • Having negated ānandamaya-kośa, what is nature of Ksetrajna?
    • Self-evident consciousness principle, which doesn’t need to be revealed by any means of knowledge.
      • EG: To learn about “Cooking”, you need a cooking lesson. But don’t need a lesson about the self-evident subject, “I” whose always available to perceive things.
    • Kṣetrajña reveals everything by it’s mere presence. Including 3 states.
    • It doesn’t undergo change.
      • EG: Throughout the day… mind/body gets tired. But in Ksetrajna’s presence, there is knowledge of energy-levels.
    • It can’t be contaminated (pure).
      • EG: Light doesn’t take on attributes of the pure/impure surface it shines upon (and even contacts).
  • QUESTION: Why Bhagavan create ignorant jivas? Why has Bhagavan created Jivas far away from truth?
    • What is ignorance?
      • (Adi Shankara): Ignorance is a condition of the mind in which tama-guṇa dominates. Tamas has capacity to cover.
        • Tamas results in:
          1. Non-perception of the object.
          2. Creates doubt what object is.
          3. Makes you perceive object other then what it is.
        • EG: Before stump is perceived:
          1. No knowledge of it.
          2. On perceiving, doubt arises whether stump OR man.
          3. Due to partial knowledge of the stump… erroneous conclusion is made to be a man. All this due to ignorance of the stump. It’s how superimposition works.
      • Ignorance is adding up the facts wrong.
        • 2 + 2 = 4 no matter what.To say 2 + 2 = 5 is an incorrect conclusion in the buddhi.
        • 2 + 2 = 5 belongs only to the buddhi. Not to mathematics, geniuses, numbers, arithmetic.
    • What is Bhagavan?
      • Ksetrajna (Knower). The same Knower because of which one says “I’m ignorant about __, I don’t know about __”.
      • Meaning the Knower (Bhagavan) doesn’t have ignorance, thus can’t create ignorant jivas.
      • Therefore question “Why Bhagavan creates ignorant jivas?” itself is an incorrect conclusion. That’s why it’ll never have a satisfactory answer.
    • What is NATURE of Bhagavan (Ksetrajna)?
      • All-knowledge, all-power which helplessly projects MANY out of itself.
      • Just as singer can’t help but to project his dormant power of singing).
      • Limited-Jiva is one of the many projected.
    • Why Bhagavan projects many?
      • Will never get satisfactory answer to this. Because the mind is an effect. The effect can never understand the cause. 2 Reasons:
        1. Describing to a child experience of giving them birth and caring for them. Child will only get vague idea, but never completely understand. Because of:
          1. Limitation of words.
          2. Listener misinterprets.
        2. It’s like dream character inside dream asking, “Why did I (waker) project this world of multiplicity?. It’s pointless asking.
          • All dreamer can do is discover one’s limitation is only apparent.
          • The source of the entire dream world is myself.
  • Further reading on ignorance:




Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya), Paramarthananda & Chinmaya Mission.

Recorded 4 May, 2021



  1. why is Brahman part of (tail) the Anadamaya layer? what is the symoblic meaning of this? and why is Ananda the body of the bird?


    1. Slight correct. Brahman is not part of the tail. Rather from Brahman, the tail extends into 5 koshas. Because obviously tail always has an origin. Brahman is tail’s origin.

      Also tail is metaphorical, no different then cord extending out from Vishnu’s navel into Brahmaji. Symbolically meaning, Vishnu is lending Existence-Awareness to Brahmaji. IE: Brahman is lending existence-awareness to Īśvara (creator of universe).

      Regarding Anandamaya kosha:

      What is Brahman. Sat-Cit-Ananda. Existence-Awareness, which is full/blissful. This blissful nature of Brahman, reflects on the anandamaya kosha, which further reflects on the subtle-body (sukshma-sharira), which further is experienced as subtle job or gross (aided by chemicals in gross-body brain).


      As don’t have specific text/verse from you that mentions of ananda/bird, will go with Mundaka Upanishad. Two birds are ananda (as explained above: all things in creation borrowing sat-cit-ānanda). Only the 2nd bird (jiv) knows it; otehrwise called jiva-mukta. Knows what? I (the apparently small bird) am not different from ānanda/sat/cit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *