Anda di halaman 1dari 9

32 Human Personality and its Development : The Yogic Perspectives

32.1 Introduction
Human personality and its development is a major area of study in Psychology. The Indian sages from ancient times have given thought to this area. Bhagawad Geeta, at different places gives the models of highly developed human potential in its totality. In 16th canto, it gives 26 virtues that are constituents of a highly developed personality. It also describes three gunas and says that we all are combinations of these gunas (characteristics) which are Tamas, Rajas and Sattwa. Sri Aurobindo has given a concentric and vertical system of ones being which is based on Indian thought and on his studies on consciousness. This system is more or less like Koshas and the vertical is like a staircase showing gradations of consciousness. We will study these perspectives in brief and try to understand what are their implications for day to day life.

32.2 Objectives
After reading this lesson we will be able to :
! ! !

list the various divine virtues that one must have; describe the Tamasik, Rajasik and Sattwika ways of life; explain the concept of five Koshas;

Human Personality and its Development : The Yogic Perspectives :: 131

! !

relate how one can develop the five Koshas; appreciate the concept of development of consciousness as given by Sri Aurobindo.

32.3 The Wealth of Virtues or Good Qualities

As a profile of highly developed personality in 16th Canto, Geeta gives a constellation of good qualities like fearlessness, purity, desire for knowledge and staying in knowledge of the self, selfless giving, control over desire, sacrifice, self study, penance, straightforwardness, non-violence and truthfulness. It also includes absence of anger and irritability, calm, conquest of animal desires, compassion for all beings, sense of detachment, gentleness, modesty, steadfastness, radiance, forgiveness, cleanliness, loyalty and unassumingness. Some like Arjuna are born with these qualities and some can achieve them if they are motivated to transform their personalities and ways of life.

32.4 Three Gunas and three Life ways

All life around, men, women, animals, plants, objects in nature is made up of combinations of three Gunas. Sattwa represents light, Rajas represents dynamism and Tamas represents lethargy or inertia. All human beings also are mixtures or combinations of these three qualities. Tamas is considered as the lower rung of the ladder while Sattwa is the higher rung and Rajas is somewhere between these two. In 17th canto, Geeta describes how different people under the influence of different gunas behave in different ways. Human development is measured with reference to our transcending from Tamas to Rajas and then to Sattwa. The highest stage is being above these three gunas. Let us study the three personality types based on the combinations of these three Gunas. Sattwik : This kind of person is moderate in eating, sleeping and activity. He or she meditates regularly, and does all his or her work as worship of the Lord. People love this person and this person also loves and helps people. He or she radiates the light of knowledge. Guru Nanak Dev, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Kabir, Meera, Purandar Das, Tyagaraj are some of the examples of such a persons. Rajasik : This type of person is very active, dynamic and is addicted to work. If he or she does not have work to do, he or she will feel restless. This person likes to eat spicy food. He or she is fond of entertainment, sitting at one place and observing silence is difficult for him or her. Such persons can be found in business. Tamasik : A person of this category does not like to work. He or she gets up late in the morning. They are failures in their lives. Nobody likes them because they are dirty, idle and lethargic. People keep themselves away from such persons. The three qualities Sattwik, Rajasik and Tamasik are not exclusive. Each and every person is a combination of these three gunas. In some, Sattwik is predominant, in some Rajasik is predominant and in some Tamasik is predominant. However all these three are present in

132 :: Psychology

each of us to some extent. Personality development involves maintaining the right proportion of all these three qualities. Rajasik is necessary to some extent but Tamasik should be tried to be kept at the minimum. Now we come to another way of looking at our existence which sees human beings consisting of five levels. Let us examine them in detail and also the ways in which life is organized developing along with them.

32.5 The Concept of Panch Koshas

This concept has already been introduced in lesson 3. Taittiriya Upanishad gives the concept of Panch Koshas and their development. It says that starting from Annmaya Kosh and reaching the Anandamaya Kosh, our existence has 5 layers or sheaths. They all enfold at the same time but reach their ultimate stage of development at different points. Here we shall examine them in some detail. It states that human existence comprises the divine spark of life called the Atman with five layers covering it. They are called five koshas or sheaths. The gross body that we see is Annamaya Kosha. The subtler body made of pranic energy is called as Pranamaya Kosha or vital sheath. The third kosha is Manomaya Kosha or mental sheath comprised of ones feelings and emotions. The fourth one is Vijnanamaya Kosha. It is comprised of imagination, memory, knowledge, insight and understanding. The fifth is Anandmaya Kosha or sheath of bliss. Its characteristics are creativity, joy and bliss. In Indian thought the self or Atman is the core of ones existence and the five Koshas given above are the sheaths that cover the core. Let us learn more about these five Koshas. 1) Annamaya Kosha : The Food Sheath

The physical body, the outer most part of our personality beyond which we do not physically exist, is termed as the Annamaya Kosha or Food Sheath. It has emerged from the essence of food assimilated by the father and nourished in the womb by the food taken by the mother. It continues to exist because of food eaten and it ultimately, after death, goes back to fertilize the earth and becomes food. The substance of the physical structure, rising from food, existing in food and going back to become food, is naturally and most appropriately termed the food sheath. The food we eat gets transformed into muscles, veins, nerves, blood and bones. If proper exercise and proper diet is given the Annamaya Kosha develops well. The signs of healthy development are fitness, agility, stamina and endurance. A person having these qualities can easility master motor skills and has good eye hand co-ordination. Wiring, fitting, welding, smithy knitting are motor skills that involve eyehand co-ordination. Body is an effective instrument in the worship of God. Our duty and work itself is the worship and one is supposed to do it with total devotion. It is an instrument to perform our duties. Yoga says that body is made of five elements. Prithwi (solid), Aaap (liquid), Teja (fire),

Human Personality and its Development : The Yogic Perspectives :: 133

Vayu (air and gas), and Akash (space). All the solid matter in the body like tissues, bones etc. are Prithwi related elements. All liquids in the body like blood, urine are of Aaap. Our body has temperature because of Teja. We feel the gas or Vayu in stomach. There is lot of space or Akash in our body between the cells. Thus the five elements reach the optimum extent as we grow. Food taken is transformed into these elements and it makes us grow physically. Death is nothing but disintegration of these elements and their going back to their original sources. 2) Pranmaya Kosha : The Vital Air Sheath

The Pancha-Pranas, which are corresponding to the five physiological systems described by the biologists, represent the Vital-Air Sheath. These activities which support the body take place as a result of the air that we breath in. Hence it is termed the Vital-air Sheath. The five Pranas comprising this Sheath are:i) Prana : The faculty of Perception : It controls the perceptions of the five fold stimuli received from the outer world of objects through the five sense organs. ii) Apana : The Faculty of Excretion : All things thrown out of or rejected by the body such as seeds, septum, perspiration, urine, faeces, etc. are expressions of Apana. iii) Samana : The Faculty of Digestion : Digests the food received in the stomach. iv) Vyana : The Faculty of Circulation : The power by which the digested food is properly coveyed to the various limbs of the body through the blood stream. v) Udana : The Faculty of Thinking : The capacity in an individual to raise his thoughts from their present level so as to conceive a possibility of or appreciate a new principle or idea-the capacity of self-education. These five faculties gradually weaken as people advance in age. The Vital-Air Sheath control and regulates the Food Sheath. When the pranas do not function properly, the physical body is affected. The signs of healthy development of Pranamay Kosha are enthusiasm, ability to use ones voice effectively, suppleness of body, forcefulness in personality, perserverance, leadership, discipline, honesty and nobility. 3) Manomaya Kosha : The Mental Sheath

The mind regulates and order the Pranamaya Kosha, Vital-Air Sheath. For example, when the mind is upset due to some shock, the functions of pranas and the body are affected. Mind interprets the impressions of sense organs. It stores good and bad memories of the past. Mind and body are strongly related. The diseases like Asthma and Psoriasis have mental causes. Such diseases are often called Psyhcosomatic diseases. It is possible to increase the strength of mind by regular prayer, making resolutions and keeping them up. There is deep relationship between mind and intellect.

134 :: Psychology


Vijnanmaya Kosha : the Intellectual Sheath

The intellect controls the Mental Sheath. To get a clear idea of what exactly the mind and intellect are they have been differentiated below in five ways. a. The mind is that which receives the external stimuli through sense organs and communicates the responses to the organs of action. Though the stimuli received through the five sense organs are distinct and different from one another. An integrated experience of them all is brought about by a single entity which receives them and that is called the mind. The intellects is the judging capacity. It is the discriminating and discerning faculty which examines and judges the stimuli received by the mind. It also communicates to the mind its decision on the type of responses to be executed. The mind associates the impressions with pleasantness or unpleasantness based on its memory. The intellect however, with its capacity to think takes a rational decision which may not be liked by the mind but ultimately beneficial to the person. For example medicine is bitter to taste and our mind does not like it but our intellect tells us that it is good for our health. The mechanism of the mind and intellect and their functions are better understood with the help of an illustration. When an individual steps on a burning cigarette he quickly removes his foot but before he does so a series of reactions take place. As soon as the mans foot comes in contact with the fire, the skin carries the stimulus of heat to the mind, which, in turn, puts it up before the intellect for determining the type of reaction necessary. The intellect, with the help of the experience and knowledge gained by it in the past, orders the mind which in turn communicates the order to the muscles of the body to move the foot away since the object contacted is dangerous to the welfare of the individual. b. Mind involves a continuous flow of thought. If each thought is compound to a bucket of water,then the mind may be compared to a river which is a constant flow of water. Each thought, like a bucket of water, has no dynamism of its own, but, when a large number of them continuously flow, the river gathers dynamism and strength. So, too, when thoughts flow continuously they cause a lot of agitations and the mind becomes the most powerful tyrant of man. The mind and intellect are the storehouse of all memory of ones past experiences and knowledge. This storehouse of experience is the guiding factor in mans actions. The mind can also be described as the seat of emotions and the intellect is to examine the areas in which they operate. The mind has a capacity to travel only to the realms known but the intellect, besides remaining in the realms known, can further penetrate into the realms unknown to investigate, contemplate and comprehend new discoveries. The mind and the intellect also differ in their nature and quality. The mind, is ever in a state of flux. It is the doubting element. But when the thoughts stabilize themselves to form a willed judgment they are called intellect. For example when a person is



Human Personality and its Development : The Yogic Perspectives :: 135

indecisive as to whether he should be a vegetarian or non-vegetarian, thoughts in that condition of doubt and indecision are called the mind but when one takes a firm decision, whatever, it be, his/her thoughts acquire the status of an intellect. Therefore, what is a mind at one moment can be developed to an intellect at the next moment, and conversely an intellect at the next moment can be reduced to the status of a mind when its decision is shattered by the suggestions of a more powerful intellect. It is important to note that the above differentiation is functional. It is not structured. It is meant for understanding the mind and intellect, functional, in essence, however, mind and intellect are both constituted of thoughts and impressions. 5. Anandamaya Kosha : The Blissful sheath

This is the innermost of the five sheaths consisting of vasanas or desires. They exist in subconscious in which we exist during our deep-sleep-state of consciousness. It is considered blissful, because, whatever be the condition in which we are in our waking and dream states, once we reach, all of us experience relatively the same undisturbed peace and bliss due to the cessation of agitations experienced by us in the other two states of consciousness that are wakefulness and dream. The Bliss Sheath controls the intellectual Sheath, since the intellect functions under the control and guidance of ones vasanas. There is one more interpretation of this Kosha.When all the other Koshas are well developed we experience harmony between our inner self and the outer world. This harmony gives sense of joy and bliss. That is the content of Anandmaya Kosha. Prayers, meditation Japa are the means that help us to reach the level of bliss and become steady in it. The subtlest of all is the Atman which is the core of the five-sheathed structure. The five sheaths are like the layers of clothes worn by a person which are totally different from the wearer. So too, the Atman is distinct and separate from the five matter layers.


1. Name any two qualities of a Satvik person. ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Which are the five Pranas of Pranamaya kosh? ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________


32.6 Development of Koshas

Regular eating habits, right kind of food, all types of exercises and games, jogging, running, walking and particularly Asanas and Surya Namaskars facilitate the development of Annamaya Kosha. Pranayam and breathing exercises improve the quality of Pranamaya

136 :: Psychology

Kosha. For the development of Manomaya Kosha study of good literature including poems, novels, essays and articles is useful. All the activities that challenge ones intellect develop Vijnanamaya Kosha. These activities include debates, problem-solving, study-techniques, small research projects, evaluation and appreciation of books, interviewing the eminent persons, all the activities make you go beyong your tiny self and give opportunity to idenfity with your fellow beings-your community members, your country and the whole world. This facilitates the development of Anandmaya Kosha. Even in your contemplation you can extend your consciousness to reach the earth, the sun, the stars, the galaxies and the universe. This way we gradually built the relationship between individual self or individual consciousness and universal self or universal consiousness that is God. Shri Aurobindo said, Every one has in him something divine, something his own, a chance of perfection and strength in however small a sphere which God offers him to take or refuse. The task is to find it, develop it and use it. The chief aim of education should be to help the growing soul, to draw out that in itself which is best and make it perfect for a noble use.

32.7 Sri Aurobindo on Levels of Consciousness

Sri Aurobindo says that two systems are simultaneously active in the organization of the being and its parts a concentric system and a vertical system. The concentric system is like a series of rings or sheaths. The outer most circle is comprised of awareness of physical body, awareness of vital (pranic) body or sheath and awareness of mental sheath. These three types of consciousness are interconnected. The inner circle is composed of inner mind which is in touch with the universal mind or Supreme Energy. The innermost core is called as Psychic being which is a spark of the Divine (Supreme Energy) present in all of us and in every thing. It is also called as Atman

Physical Vital Mental Inner mind Psychic being

Human Personality and its Development : The Yogic Perspectives :: 137

The vertical systems is like a staircase consisting of varius levels, planes of consciousness ranging from the lowest the inconscient to the highest Sat chit anand. Satchitanand Supermind Intution Illumined mind Higher mind Mind Vital Physical The subconscient The inconscient Plants, Animals Stones, rocks. Gradually evolving human consciousness Ram / Krishan Avataras Saints

In simple words, from unicellular being, man has climed innumerable rungs of the ladder of evolution. He has evolved body and mind. But his evolution is not complete. His consciousness has to climb a number of rungs to reach still higher levels and the highest level of consciousness which is endowed with amazing powers, goodness and knowledge.


1. How can we facilitate the development of Annanmaya Kosha? ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ 2. According to Sri Aurobindo, what is the innermost circle called? ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

32.8 What You have learnt

Human existence and its development is a major concern of psychology Bhagwat Geeta, Upanishads give us profiles of highly developed life ways. Upanishads also give as the constituents of human potential. The are called as Koshas. Atman the divine spark of life lives in human body with fiver coverings on it. The coverings or sheaths are called Koshas. Annamaya, Pranmaya, Manomaya, Vijanamaya and Anandmaya are the five Koshas.

138 :: Psychology

Sri Aurobindo perspective gives us a concentric and a vertical model of our being. The development according this more or less similar to thedevelopment of Panch Koshas. The food we eat gets transformed into muscles, veins, nerves, blood and bones. If proper exercise and proper diet is given the Annamaya Kosha develops well. The signs of healthy development are fitness, agility, stamina and endurance. A persons having these qualities can easily master motor skills and has good eye hand coordination. Wiring, fitting, welding, smithy knitting are motor skills that involve eyehand co-ordination. Indian psychology says that body is an effective instrument in the worship of God. Our duty and work itself is the worship and one is supposed to do it with total devotion.

32.9 Terminal Exercise

1. 2. Explain any one Kosha in detail. Describe the ways for development of each of the five Koshas.

32.10 Key to Intext Questions

32.1 1. 2. 32.2 1. 2. Regular eating habits, exercise, night food, and Yoga. Psychic being or Atman. Moderat in eating, mediates regularly, loves people. Prana, Apana, Saman, Vijana, Udana