Within the body there are five different departments of existence, known as anna-maya, prāṇa-maya, mano-maya, vijñāna-maya and, at last, ānanda-maya. In the beginning of life, every living entity is food conscious. A child or an animal is satisfied only by getting nice food. This stage of consciousness, in which the goal is to eat sumptuously, is called anna-maya. Anna means "food." After this one lives in the consciousness of being alive. If one can continue his life without being attacked or destroyed, one thinks himself happy. This stage is called prāṇa-maya, or consciousness of one's existence. After this stage, when one is situated on the mental platform, his consciousness is called mano-maya. The materialistic civilization is primarily situated in these three stages, anna-maya, prāṇa-maya and mano-maya. The first concern of civilized persons is economic development, the next concern is defense against being annihilated, and the next consciousness is mental speculation, the philosophical approach to the values of life.
- 1 Bhagavad-gita As It Is
- 2 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 3 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
- 4 Conversations and Morning Walks
- 5 Correspondence
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Chapters 13 - 18
As stated in the Taittirīya Upaniṣad (2.9), brahma pucchaṁ pratiṣṭhā. There is a manifestation of the Supreme Lord's energy known as anna-maya, dependence upon food for existence. This is a materialistic realization of the Supreme. Then, in prāṇa-maya, after realizing the Supreme Absolute Truth in food, one can realize the Absolute Truth in the living symptoms or life forms. In jñāna-maya, realization extends beyond the living symptoms to the point of thinking, feeling and willing. Then there is Brahman realization, called vijñāna-maya, in which the living entity's mind and life symptoms are distinguished from the living entity himself. The next and supreme stage is ānanda-maya, realization of the all-blissful nature. Thus there are five stages of Brahman realization, which are called brahma puccham. Out of these, the first three—anna-maya, prāṇa-maya and jñāna-maya—involve the fields of activities of the living entities. Transcendental to all these fields of activities is the Supreme Lord, who is called ānanda-maya. The Vedānta-sūtra also describes the Supreme by saying, ānanda-mayo 'bhyāsāt: the Supreme Personality of Godhead is by nature full of joy. To enjoy His transcendental bliss, He expands into vijñāna-maya, prāṇa-maya, jñāna-maya and anna-maya.
SB Canto 6
The ācāryas mentioned in these verses are described in the Mahābhārata. The word pañcaśikha is also important. One who is liberated from the conceptions of annamaya, prāṇamaya, manomaya, vijñānamaya and ānandamaya and who is perfectly aware of the subtle coverings of the soul is called pañcaśikha.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
As it is said in the Vedānta-sūtra, ānanda-mayo ’bhyāsāt. The Supreme Brahman and the subordinate Brahman, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living entities, are both joyful by nature. As long as the living entities are situated in the lower four stages of life— anna-maya, prāṇa-maya, mano-maya and vijñāna-maya—they are considered to be in the material condition of life, but as soon as one reaches the stage of ānanda-maya, he is a liberated soul. This ānanda-maya stage is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā as the brahma-bhūta (SB 4.30.20) stage. There it is said that in the brahma-bhūta stage of life there is no anxiety and no hankering. This stage begins when one is equally disposed toward all living entities, and it then expands to the stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, in which one always hankers to render service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This hankering for advancement in devotional service is not the same as hankering for sense gratification in material existence. In other words, hankering remains in spiritual life, but it becomes purified. Similarly, when our senses are purified, they are freed from all material stages, namely anna-maya, prāṇa-maya, mano-maya and vijñāna-maya, and they become situated in the highest stage—ānanda-maya, or blissful life in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Renunciation Through Wisdom
There are various stages of elevation the jīva goes through, which are like different shells (koṣas) covering him. They are the coverings of food (anna-maya), life air (prāṇa-maya), mind (mano-maya, or jñāna-maya), and transcendental knowledge (vijñāna-maya). When the final shell is penetrated, the soul attains pure consciousness, enters the state of complete bliss (ānanda-maya), and experiences sac-cid-ānanda as universal.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1975 Conversations and Morning Walks
Bahulāśva: In Kṛṣṇa Book and Bhagavad-gītā both, you explain there are five states of consciousness, beginning with annamaya, manomaya, pranamaya, like that. Do these states of consciousness manifest in different species of life?
1976 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: (break) ...śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ govinda-viraheṇa me. That necessity, that without Govinda I'm feeling everything vacant. That is necessity. That makes it finer (indistinct).
Devotee (1): Is this the anna-maya, prāṇa-maya, mano-maya, like that?
Prabhupāda: There are so many stages. Here is the highest status. Govinda-viraheṇa me. Yugāyitaṁ nimeṣeṇa. "For want of Govinda, I am thinking one moment as twelve years."
Your explanation of Annamoya is all right. Pranamoya means there are different types of airs, and the spirit soul is floating on the air, just like all the planets are floating in the air. This Pranamoya air is transferred by breathing exercises, but we have nothing to do with such exercises. Our prana, or life, is surrendered to Krishna. That is the first class yoga system approved by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita. This Pranamoya, Annamoya, etc. are different stages for persons who are too much engrossed in the bodily concept of life. Our philosophy begins from the point where we immediately accept that I am not this body; I am pure spirit soul, servant of God, Krishna.
Regarding your question about annamoya, pranamoya, etc. Yes, they are different stages of consciousness. Different living beings are situated in different consciousness, Some are satisfied in the matter of eating and sleeping, they are on the annamoya stage. Pranamoya means those who can simply survive in the struggle for existence. Manomoya means philosophical speculation. Jnanamoya means self-realization, vijnanamoya means application of that stage in practical life, and when there is the right perfection of life that is anandamoya stage or Krsna Consciousness.