In the Taittriya upanishad, the five layers of the body are expounded upon. Going beyond these, one can reach the atman.
These five layers are the pancha kosas. These are:
- Annamaya kosha or physical body.
- Pranamaya kosha or the energy body. This consists of a further five levels or the pancha bhootas, i.e earth, fire, wind, water and space.
- Manamaya kosha or the mental sheath. Here there is perception, memory and ego. Here also lie emotions which can cause one to be swayed from what is right.
- Vigyanamaya kosha, which is the wisdom layer. This contains knowledge and the conscience. A person who doesn’t have Buddhi or the discriminating faculty, which is found in this sheath, is no better than an animal.
Anandmaya kosha or the bliss sheath. Ananda is what everything in the universe has been created from. By doing various tapas, man can journey toward and attain oneness with the ultimate.