With the awakening of Pranamaya Kosha, we move on to Vijnanamaya Kosha. What is Vijnanamaya Kosha? – “Psychic” has been used as the word to describe vijnanamaya kosha, but it also means subtle understanding, and not just knowledge but wisdom. Knowledge can be an intellectual process, a rational process, but wisdom is the living application of that knowledge and in this, we become aware of the different dimensions of consciousness.
The practices of dhyana meditation are applied to experience the vijnanamaya kosha, and this eventually leads to the experiences of anandamaya kosha, the bliss. Anandamaya is not only bliss, it is also beauty combined. Bliss and beauty, these are the two qualities which a spiritual aspirant experiences.
So this is how yogis have viewed the entire structure of human personality. The yogic vision of human personality is not limited to the day to day experiences of body and mind and emotions, but they have integrated the manifest experiences with the unmanifest experiences as well.
They fully realize that the aspect of life with which we identify is only external and superficial, but there is a deeper layer to our personality which has to be realized in order to experience the three oms.
You know why we chant Om three times? With the chanting of three oms, we are recognizing the three qualities of the self. In the first chanting, it is om, omniscient. The second time it is om, omnipotent. The third time it is om, omnipresent. These are three qualities of the self which are confirmed at the time of chanting the three oms.
So in the process of meditation, when we begin to move from pratyahara to dharana, there has to be a gradual expansion of awareness, and this awareness has to be expanded in a systematic way.
One experiment was done in the USA about seven years back in which a hypnotist hypnotized someone and asked that person how many leaves were on a plant which was kept in the room. Now consciously we may walk into any room and look around but we do not consciously recognize the quality of the room, nor the things that are in the room, but the subconscious mind observes everything.
In the state of hypnosis that man actually gave the exact number of leaves that were on the plant kept in the room. He had not counted the leaves beforehand, he had gone into that room for the first time in his life.
What does this experiment mean to us? The mind has the ability to observe, and it observes all the time, every moment, but that process of observation is definitely not conscious, it is subconscious. If we can make this observation process, or this awareness, a conscious activity, imagine the transformation that will happen in life.
Externally, to a person who has not developed that quality, this ability will look like a psychic power, but it is not a psychic power, it is the natural ability of the subconscious and the unconscious. We can say it is the total consciousness manifesting externally.
For an ignorant person it may seem paranormal, but for the person who is experiencing it, it is a natural spontaneous process. This is how we move into the meditative states through the personality. In meditation, it is not only the mind which is involved but each and every aspect of human nature, the human mind, and human personality. This has been the aim of yoga, to awaken the entire human nature so that one can experience total fulfillment.
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