22 – Tattva Bodha: Anandamaya Kosha: Source of Happiness & Motivator of Your Actions


Discourse 22 explains the Anandamaya-kosha, the source of happiness, also being reason behind all your actions, but also cause of rebirth.

Source: Tattva Bodha

Verse: Bliss Sheath

ānandamayaḥ kaḥ
evaṃ eva kāraṇa-śarīra-bhūta avidyāstha-malina-sattvaṃ
priyādi-vṛtti-sahitaṃ sat ānandamayaḥ kośaḥ, etat-kośa-pañcakam

What is bliss sheath? Established in ignorance, which is of the form of the causal body (made up of impure sattva-guna; meaning sattva is dominated by rajas/tamas), united with thoughts like priya (pleasure) and so on — is the bliss sheath. These are the five sheaths.

  • Produces sense of enjoyership (bhoktrtva), and is experienced as happiness.
  • Kartrtvam (doership) from prior vijnanamaya kosha is motivated by, and done for sake of bhoktrtva (enjoyership).
  • It's commonly heard in the spiritual marketplace, “You have to give up pleasures, and becomes selfless”. However Brihadaranyaka Upanishad disagrees with, “ātmanastu kāmayā sarvaṁ priyaṁ bhavati : Nothing is dear for its own sake; but for the sake of self”. For example, you don't attend class to make the teacher happy. You come to class because the information benefits you in some way. Although your presence certainly contributes to the other's happiness, but that's not your original intention, it's only a by-product. Same applies to marriage. You don't marry to make another happy. You marry because it makes you happy for whatever personal reasons. In otherwards, there’s no such thing as absolute selflessness, because enjoyer “I” (bhokta) can’t be given up. In fact, center of life and reason for wanting to live one more day, is bhoktrtva (identification with enjoyer-ship).
  • What is the place for Selflessness and Selfishness?
    • These words refer to one's maturity. In other words they indicate WHAT pleases the person. For example, selfishness is inciting bhoktrtvam (anandamaya kosha) or enjoyment — through activities that take little account for others wellbeing. Whereas selflessness, while the activity is still done for sake of self — you evolved to such an extent that you get pleasure not only from fulfilling your own needs, but helping others. Or inciting bhoktrtva via food bingeing and computer games, vs. evolving to such an extent that you prefer “selfless” community service to gain pleasure or emotional satisfaction.
    • SUMMARY: Anything done is because it makes you pleased. Furthermore, what pleases you, indicates your maturity. Noone can claim, “I’m here to do selfless service”, because center of life is bhoktrtvam.
  • OBJECTION: What about slavery, being forced against my will, or intensive labor? None are pleasing!
    • To be forced against your will, such as slavery — certainly is not pleasing. But what is pleasing oneself, is the imagined future prospect of potential freedom.  Same applies to work. One can be laboring all day in scorching sun, and still cheer.  However the cheerfulness isn't stemming from the 8-hour intensive labor, but the future enjoyed bhoktrtva by means of paycheck. When employees go on a public paycheck strike, it shows the current paycheck is no longer suffice to incite the bhoktrtva.
  • MODES OF HAPPINESS: Expresses as 3 vrttis (modes of being). In other words, the happiness supplied by the anandamaya-kosha is of different degrees. “I” being connected to the enjoyer, wants to maximize one of the 3 modes below…
    1. Priya (idea of future happiness).
    2. Moda (food is infront).
    3. Pramoda (I am one with the experience). 
    • Yes, “love” too is product of Anandamaya Kosha. It can be for another person, an object, a belief, or an idea. It brings about feeling of happiness. “Love” is a form of pramoda
    • However absolute definition of “love” is Self, or Awareness, or fullness. Although Vedanta will generally use the word “love” in sense of happiness, which is product of anandamaya-kosha.
  • REBIRTH: Long as I think, “I am the doer/enjoyer” (due to ignorance) — the causal body remains, thus a new subtle/physical-body is gained to continue enjoying what I think will fulfill me.
    • EG: If feel you haven’t understood your nature, you will feel sense of incompletion. However you will have some idea what will bring completion. This forms a samskara (impression), which determines how one engages with world in order to gain fulfillment one is seeking.
  • I identified with anandamaya-kosha, expresses like this, “I am this limited person who is an enjoyer, who has to engage in the world through actions – to maximize my pleasure/well-being”. This is due to ignorance that anandamaya-kosha is an upadhi, and has no connection to atma.
  • Why am NOT the bhokta (enjoyer)?
    1. Bhoktrtva (Priya/moda/pramoda) is a mode of mind. If enjoyer (bhokta) gets an object, believing it will give pleasure, what happens is the seeker-bhokta AND sought have a temporary resolution.
      • EG: Promotion has happened. The seeker of promotion has temporarily resolved. A vrtti is produced, making me recognize what I have sought is what I have got. Resolution makes me a non-demanding person. To extent vrtti is able to resolve my sense of lack, to that extend I feel happy. Until a new samskara produces another desire.
      • SUMMARY: Bhokta is form of transitory thought.
    2. In deep sleep, the bhokta (who wants to engage in world for enjoyment) is resolved. Bhokta different in dream. Bhokta satisfied from full stomach, but in dream unsatisfied.
  • avidyāstha-malina-sattvam: Anandamaya-kosha is not exactly the Causal Body (karana sharira). As Causal Body is predominant tama-guna, while anandamaya-kosha is predominant sattva-guna, and is also what yogis are attempting to access via induced samadhi. It's also said the bliss experienced in deep sleep, is due to prajna (deep sleeper) being identified with anandamaya-kosha. However in other texts, it's stated prajna (deep sleeper) is identified with Causal Body. Neither are contradictory.
  • Priyādi-vṛttisahitam: When you experience degrees of ananda (happiness), like priya/moda/pramoda — you (atma) are identified with anandamaya-kosha.
    • It's called anandamaya because it's the subtlest/closest to Atma's limitless ananda, which manifests as happiness in anandamaya in form of priya/moda/pramoda, which is accessed by seeker-sought resolution as discussed above.
  • Indicators of identification:
    • Anandamaya only becomes a “kosha” (cover), when one makes statements like: I am enjoying this. I am happy. I am in love. I am ignorant.
  • Etat-kośapañcakam: Purpose is to help point out the mistake Atma commits that keeps it not-free. Thus transcending kośas is pointing out the mistake, resolving the 5-fold mistake.

Verse: Logic Why Self is Free of the 5-Sheaths

madīyaṃ śarīraṃ madīyāḥ prāṇāḥ madīyaṃ manaśca
madīyā buddhir-madīyaṃ ajñānamiti svenaiva
jñāyate, tadyathā madīyatvena jñātaṃ kaṭaka-
kuṇḍala-gṛhādikaṃ svasmād-bhinnaṃ tathā pañcakośādikaṃ
svasmād-bhinnaṃ, madīyatvena jñātam-ātmā na bhavati

Just as bangles, earrings, a house and so on, are known as ‘mine’ are all other than the knower ‘me’. So too, the five sheaths and so on, are known by oneself as ‘my body’, ‘my mind’, ‘my intellect’, and ‘my ignorance’ – are different from me and are therefore not the Self.

  • Why am I not 5 sheaths?
    • Text gives a method called: The I-my method (aham-mama), or I-this method (aham-idam).
    • Method is: Whatever is claimed as “mine” is not “me”.
      • EG: “My house” is different from Me. To say “this”, implies I am other then “this”.
    • Another way to say, text is using subject (invariable presence observing things that come-go) / object distinction.
  • 5 Koshas:
    1. Annamaya (madīyam śarīram) : If I know about so many conditions about body (grows, ache, hunger) – they’re objects of my awareness. So the objectifier is different from objectified.
      • EG: My body, my health, illness. 
    2. Prāṇāmāya (madīyam prāṇāḥ): Example, take medicine and I know to feel better. Very fact that prana comes and goes, shows you are distinct from it.
      • EG: My hunger, my thirst, my sense.
    3. Manomaya (Madīyam manaḥ): Emotions of care, kindness, happiness – are flowing in light of background of consciousness. EG: My mind is restless / My doubt / My resistance / My anger.
      • 3 EXTREMES:
        1. DISASSOCIATION: There is tendency to let emotions go, knowing I am the Subject. However, to capture the vision as it’s meant to be captured, scriptures speak of needing a certain type of mind, which isn’t one that disassociates. One that manages and processes emotions.
        2. PERFECT MIND: Other extreme, people identify with a “perfect mind” (mind that’s never angry, sad), so they try to rid of all vasanas. No such thing as total elimination of impurities. You can though change your orientation and master emotions.
        3. HAPPY = LIBERATED: Another error is equating pure, happy, clean state of mind to knowledge.
    4. Vijnanamaya (madīya buddhi): Decision making is known to me. Decision maker doesn’t stick to me. Once understood, it’s gone. I’m available for another understanding to take place.
      • EG: My talent/skill.
    5. Anandamaya (madīyam ajnānam):
      • Ignorance is known to me.  What is known to me, cannot be me.
      • “My happiness”.  Whatever is “mine”, is not Me. EG: My necklace. My arm. My happiness, etc.
      • If nature of I was happiness — then when I am miserable, I would go out of existence. 
  • kaṭaka-kuṇḍala-gṛhādikam: We say “My bangle, earring, house”. We don't put I-sense into them because they are “mine”. Similarly the 5 koshas are “mine”, showing they can not be Me. What is “mine” is not Me. 
    • House: You have unique relationship with house (body), but doesn’t mean it’s you.
    • Bangle (kaṭaka): Things closer to you. Thing you identify, you go for.
  • What does transcending kośas mean? It's cognitive transcendence. Meaning by merely pointing it out and inquiring, the identification is reduced gradually in time. 
  • NEXT VERSE: Knowing thus far what I am not, what am I?…


  1. “Everything is done, and things are loved — not for it's sake, but for my sake”. Explain.
  2. What are indicators of putting one's “I” into the anandamaya-kosha? Example words we say or things we do that shows I have assumed anandamaya's happiness as my nature.
  3. Demonstrate 2 ways how I am NOT anandamaya-kosha's happiness (priya/moda/pramoda).

Extra Resources:


Credit for help in Tattva Bodha to [1] Chinmaya Mission's Swami Advayananda, [2] Arsha Vidya's Swami Dayananda, [3] Neema Majmudar.

Recorded 22 Oct, 2023

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