Layers of the Mind (Kosha and Loka)

Information about the layers of the mind (Kosha and Loka) can be found in many discourses of Shrii Shrii Anandamurti. The table below is from the book “Idea and Ideology” [1].

You can obtain Shrii Shrii Anandamurti’s publications from Ananda Marga Books.

The following are the explanations of terms by Ananda Marga [2]

Bhúrloka – the physical world exists within this loka: it is the crudest manifestation of the cosmic mind. All that can be seen in this universe is located within this loka. In unit beings, this loka is in the form of the physical body and is called annamaya kośa, that is, the layer composed of food. In this loka, tamah is dominant, rajah is less; and sattva is least.

Bhuvarloka – this forms the crude or lower mental sphere of the cosmic mind. All the actions which are apparently performed by the physical body are actually governed by this crude mental sphere. This loka in the human mind is called the kámamaya kośa or the crude mind, which controls all the actions of the body. This sphere is therefore limited to all the actions connected with the body. Here tamah is dominant, sattva is less and rajah is least.

Svarloka – this is the pure mental sphere on which sukha and dhuka are experienced; it is also called Manomaya Jagat, Manomaya Kośa in individuals. It is in this sphere that the saḿskáras exist. According to mythology, after the death of the physical body or Annamaya Kośa, people go to svarga or naraká, heaven or hell. The fact is that the saḿskáras which determine the individuality of unit being situated in this svarloka. The Christian and Muslim ideas of heaven and hell and also svarga in Hindu Karmakandi Jaemini Partná, were derived from the fact that the saḿskáras which determine the requitals of actions exists in this loka. In reality no kośa will remain after death. In svarloka, rajah is dominant, tamah is less and sattva is least.

Maharloka – This is the supramental sphere, also called Atimánas Kośa in individuals. In this loka the saḿskáras are first manifested, although they exist in the Svarloka. In the same way, an idea of an event can exist somewhere while the actual happening occurs at a different place. For instance, one may think, “If I go there I will fall ill”. Similarly saḿskáras originate from this loka but are actually experienced in svarloka where sukha and dukha are felt. The desire for sádhaná also exists in this loka. In this loka, rajah is dominant, sattva is less and tamah is least.

Janahloka – This is also known as vijiṋánamaya kośa in individuals. In the English language no state beyond the supramental has been described, and hence there is no word in English for it. In this loka, vijiṋána, viveka and vaerágya are dominant. This exists in every person but it is overshadowed by the predominant Bhu and Bhuvar lokas. In this loka, sattva is dominant, tamah is less, and rajah is least.

Tapahloka – This is also called Hirańmaya Kośa in individuals. In this loka, sattva is dominant; rajah is less and tamah is least. This loka vijiṋána is hardly in evidence, and even the feeling of existence, the feeling of “I” is latent. But the actual existence of “I” is still present. Hirańmaya means “made of gold” – this state is as pure and radiant as gold.

Satyaloka – all the three guńas are present in this loka but they are dormant. In this loka only Parama Puruśa exists; the guńas exist only in dormant state just as in Nirguńa Brahma.

Kámamaya Kośa – This crude mental body is derived from Bhúvar Loka of the cosmic mind; it operates the body and is subtler than the crude physical body. In this kośa, tamah is dominant, sattva is less and rajah is least.

Manomaya Kośa – is derived from the next higher loka of the cosmic mind, the Svarloka or Manomaya loka which is the pure mental body of the cosmic mind. It is in this loka that saḿskáras is experienced, and also pleasure and pain. In the Manomaya Kośa, rajah is dominant; tamah is less and sattva is least.

Atimánas Kośa – this layer is derived from the Mahar loka or supramental body of the cosmic mind. It is in this kośa that the saḿskáras originates. The difference between the good and the bad saḿskáras is also seen in this Kośa. Here Rajah is dominant; sattva is less and tamah is least.

Vijiṋánamaya (Vigyanamaya)  Kośa – This layer is derived from Janar loka of the cosmic mind. In this kośa exists the knowledge of existence, the knowledge of “I”. Here also vaerágya and viveka are found, and this kośa the desire for sadhaná arises. Here sattva is dominant; tamah is less and rajah is least.

Hirańmaya Kośa – in this kośa even the knowledge of “I” is not much in evidence, the consciousness of individuality is present, ill defined and unclear. This is the subtlest layer of mind around the átman. In fact feeling of “I” is reflective in this kośa only because of its close proximity to the vijiṋánamaya kośa. Here sattva is dominant, rajah is less and tamah is least. This kośa is derived from the Tapah or Hiranmaya loka; its name means “made of gold” and hence it is as pure and beautiful as gold.

The Satya Loka which is the finest loka in the cosmic mind and where Brahma resides does not exist in the form of a kośa because kośas are limited while satya is unlimited and imperishable. Satya loka cannot therefore be part of any limited and perishable body formed of five kośas. In Satya loka the átman alone exists; only due to the influence of Prakrti five kośas or realms come into existence.

In Brahma due to the influence of Prakrti, the universe of seven lokas or saptalokátmaka jagat are formed, while in the unit consciousness, the five kośas come into existence. In other words, in Brahma there are seven realms or seven lokas while in the unit entities there are five layers or kośas. One body composed of the five fundamental factors, ten indriyas and five tanmátras make up an individual’s Brahmáńd́a (literally “universe”).

[1] Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, “Idea and Ideology”, Ananda Marga Publications, ISBN 81-7252-001-8

[2] Some Questions and Answers on Ananda Marga Philosophy,
Ananda Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell Part 3

About Suresh Emre

I have worked as a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory. I am a volunteer for the Renaissance Universal movement. My main goal is to inspire the reader to engage in Self-discovery and expansion of consciousness.
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