This is part V of our series on understanding our physical body. The gross body is not permanent. The form of the gross body differs from person to person. This is called appearance. The gross body of Rama is different from Krishna. The appearance of Rama is different from Krishna. The gross body of Rama or Krishna did not exist before they were born and will not exist after their death. Therefore gross body and appearance of a person is formed by birth and cease to exist after death. The existence of gross body is only for the limited period of time between birth and death. During this limited time the gross body grows in size till a certain point of time and starts shrinking thereafter. So, the gross body is subject to change. What we are looking for is the one that does not change with time. The one that is not susceptible to change is Brahman and Brahman alone. Every other thing is subject to change. A table is here today and after 50 years the table will not be in the same position as it appears today. Change is there for both living beings and non living things. Brahman has no destruction and perception. Therefore what we are looking for is that which has no destruction and perception. To understand the Brahman, leave alone the realisation of Brahman, we have to negate one after another. We can negate something that is known to us and about which we have knowledge. Therefore to negate knowledge is necessary. To acquire knowledge, our gross body is important. The process of self realisation starts from our gross body.
Unfortunately we always identify ourselves with our gross body and do not think about subtle bodies located beneath our gross body. As long as we continue to identify ourselves with our gross body, we have to undergo only miseries in life. This is because we are identifying ourselves that is going to be non-existent at a later date. It is said that body is a good servant but a bad master. If our body becomes our master there is no salvation for us. This is the reason why we are straining our nerves to understand our gross body. Next to our gross body is the sheath of air. That is next to annamaya kosha there is pranamaya kosha. This sheath is the first among the subtle bodies. This sheath of air is not visible to our eyes. The sheath of air supplies prana to our gross body for its nourishment. Without prana the gross body dies. Hence prana is called as the vital energy. Prana is a modification of the element of air and therefore, sheath of air is identified with the basic element of air. The sheath of air cannot independently exist without the help of gross body. It has to depend on something else for its existence. Therefore prana cannot be Brahman. We have so far negated gross body and sheath of air as Brahman. We are not calling them as Brahman because they are subject to change and depend on another for their existence. Gross body depends on food and sheath of air depends on gross body for its existence.