The Chrysalis (Part 1)

This is the first of a 3-part blog that I originally posted to Advaita Academy, on the subject of the pa~ncha kosha prakriyA, probably better known to most as the metaphor of the ‘Five Sheaths’.

Simplistically, this is the idea that there are various levels of identification of ‘Who I really am’ with aspects of the body-mind and that these have to be recognized and dropped so that I can realize my true nature.

However, because of the way that this idea is sometimes presented, there is often a serious misunderstanding on the part of the seeker who, taking the metaphor in a more literal sense, mistakenly believes that the self is literally ‘covered over’ by these ‘layers’ and somehow has to be ‘uncovered’, like some Russian doll. This misunderstanding may be reinforced by the notion of the Self being ‘hidden in the cave of the heart’ – another potentially misleading idea that I have discussed before. Continue reading

Tattvabodha – Part 13


Part 13 of the commentary by Dr. VIshnu Bapat on Shankara’s Tattvabodha.This is a key work which introduces all of the key concepts of Advaita in a systematic manner.

The commentary is based upon those by several other authors, together with the audio lectures of Swami Paramarthananda. It includes word-by-word breakdown of the Sanskrit shloka-s so should be of interest to everyone, from complete beginners to advanced students.

Part 13 concludes the exmaination of the states of experience with the deep-sleep state and begins to look at the metaphor of the five sheaths, from the Taittiriya Upanishad. This part explores the sheath made of food.

There is a hyperlinked Contents List, which is updated as each new part is published.

Panchadasi Part 2

A series of posts, presenting a new translation and commentary by James Swartz on the Panchadasi. This was presented by James as a week-long course during July 2012 and was very well received.

This is Part 2 and contains the teaching on the pa~nchikaraNa (‘quintuplication’ of the elements),  macrocosm and microcosm, pa~ncha kosha (five sheaths) and the ‘elimination’ of these.