This is part II of understanding our physical body. In the earlier part we have discussed about the gross body. We now begin our discussions on our subtle body. The subtle body is classified under four categories, the first being pranamaya kosha. Prana is vital breath, the breath we inhale and exhale. If we can say that annamaya kosha is the product of earth element, then pranamaya kosha is the product of air element. Pranamaya kosha is connected to the five organs of action viz. mouth, hands, feet, organ of procreation and organs of excretion. These are called karmaenthriyas. This pranamaya kosha is just beneath the physical body, the annamaya kosha. This is a sheath of air. If you assume that balloon is the physical body, the air inside the balloon is pranamaya kosha. The prana is again divided into prana, vyana, apana, samana and udana. These five types of prana occupy different parts of our body. Prana is the air that is inhaled occupies the head. Vyana fills the entire body and represents the whole body. Apana is the air that we breathe and circulates below our naval area. Samana is the air that digests food and represents stomach area. Udana is the air that gives us balance and represents the areas of head and neck. Because of udana, our body is grounded by gravitional pull. Prana is compared to the head of a bird, apana is its left wing, vyana as it right wing, samana is its trunk and udana as its tail. In Vedas a bird is always taken as an example and the reasons for this will be discussed later. Mind can control prana with the help of pranayama or breathing exercises. Only because of prana, we are able to survive. That is why prana is called as life force or vital energy.
Pranamaya kosha supplies required prana to annamaya kosha. Therefore pranamaya is subtler than annamaya. We cannot physically see the air in the balloon and in the same way we cannot physically see the annamaya kosha. All our physical actions are controlled by this pranamaya kosha. The main ingredient of pranamaya kosha is prana. Prana is the life force. This prana is modified into vyana, apana, samana and udana. Therefore prana is modified and performs its duties. Since it is subjected to modification cannot be treated as atman, as atman is not subjected to modification. When the physical body dies, prana leaves the body immediately. Only because of prana, our sensory organs function. Next to pranamaya kosha is manomaya kosha. This is the sheath of mind and is found beneath the pranamaya kosha. Therefore this too has a human form. Manomaya kosha is also not visible to our external eyes. How manomaya kosha works? This is connected to our mind. This is the cause for our ego. This identifies Krishna and Vincent. This mental sheath or covering performs with the aid of organs of perception viz. hearing, touch, seeing, taste and smell. Let us analyze with an example. In annamaya kosha the external ear is embedded. With the help of the pranamaya kosha the ear receives the waves of sound. These waves of sound are given as input to the mind about which we have discussed in detail in our series on mind. Conversion of sound as input to the mind is done by manomaya kosha. Mind in coordination with manomaya kosha converts the inputs as knowledge and intellect. Vdeas are classified under manomaya kosha. Learning of Vedas requires phenomenal mental strength by way of an extraordinary memory power. This is because of their huge volume and tough pronunciations. So, reciting Vedas from memory is the work of the mind. Chanting of Vedas improve the positive vibrations of a place mainly because of its pronunciations. Yajur Veda is the head of the Vedic bird, Rik veda its right wing, Sama veda its left wing, the ritual part of Vedas is called brahmana and this is represented by its trunk and Atharvana Vedas is represented by its tail. Thus all the Vedas are classified under manomaya kosha and each Veda as in the case of prana is represented by the body parts of the vedic bird.