| Nature has certain characters that are common to all the objects in existence. It does not take a very intelligent mind to see the glaring similarities of objects of the manifested Creation. These are like principles, which apply everywhere in the Universe. One of these common characteristics that is seen in every single form of matter is its existence in layers. From the smallest existing physical form an atom, to the largest—the earth itself, we see that there are a number of layers that constitute that form. Anything in its natural existence is made up in layers.
Our bodies also observe the same principle. There are layers like skin, tissues, bones, etc. These are only the physical layers. There’s more to us. There are layers that have existence beyond the physical boundaries of the body too. These are the etheric layers called the
The physical and the etheric layers together constitute a being. The visible layer or the physical body is the last layer of a human being. The grossest of the fine layers, this physical body is called the Annamaya kosha. Annamaya kosha or the physical is incapable of functioning on its own; it depends on the etheric layers’ command to function. Even the smallest action in the physical body happens at the command of the etheric layers.
Our physical system survives not on food, water, or for that matter even oxygen. It can do without all these things. What it survives on is the one energy that runs the entire universe called ‘prana’. Our body derives prana from various layers without which existence in thisform is impossible. A certain frequency of pranic energy is required by the body for survival which comes from the outer layers.
The immediate layer that commands the annamaya is the pranmaya kosha. It is the immediate reflection of the physical body. This is generally referred to as the pranic body or the aura of a person. This layer is subtler than the physical layer and infuses life and action in the physical body. A set of energy centres present in each kosha catch the command from the outer layer and translate them to the lower layers for the functioning of the physical system.
Prana exists in various forms, one of which is colours and the other is sound. There are millions of shades of different colours, and similarly various frequencies of sounds, which constitute the pranic body. It has been clairvoyantly observed that these colours or sounds manifest in the physical, the grosser shades or heavier frequencies as diseases, and subtler shades or subtler frequencies as healthy functioning of the organs.
The set of energy centres present in the pranmaya kosha translates a colour or the frequency of sound present in the relevant area and sends a message to the brain; from there this message gets carried forward through the various channels called nadis to the area which enacts the command. Pranmaya, hence, is the agency that directly controls the physical.
The layer that envelops the pranmaya kosha is the manomaya kosha. Manomaya pertains to the mind, that is, the intellect or emotions. Any great idea or thought is not conceived in the brain of a person. It is the manomaya kosha that receives commands from the next layer and decodes it into a particular combination of colours, or some frequency of sound that translates it to the pranmaya kosha, which in turn decodes that combination and sends the signals to brain. The action in the physical spurs from here. This is the mental or emotional agency that defines the thought process of a person. People whose mental faculties are highly developed, or whose intellectual brain is highly active, their awareness extends till the manomaya kosha in the etheric plane.