A collection of sheaths composed of nourishing food, in the form of the physical body is called the annamaya kosh, or the food body.
The fourteen kinds of winds, like the vital energy, et cetera, circulating through the food body, are called the pranayama kosh or the vital body.
Now, we have to go into an enquiry about the bodies. Man is not one body, man has many bodies – layers of bodies. The body we know is only the outermost; inside it there is another, and inside that, another. Rishis have divided these layers into five.
The first is known as the food body, the physical body. Ordinarily, we remain attached to this body. We are in a deep illusion and are identified with the physical one. This attachment to the physical body will not allow you to move inside. But why this attachment? – because we don’t know that there is another; we have never become aware that inside this body there is another. This body is so solid, so non-transparent, you cannot have any glimpse within. This solidity of the body means that we have been using foods which make it solid. This body can be made transparent also – just like a glass body in which you can have a glimpse inside.
The change of food is bound to change the qualities of your physical body. Food is not just energy; it is also a qualitative thing. Food is not just a fuel; it contributes more than fuel – it gives you either transparency, or non-transparency. The insight into this phenomenon can mutate, and you can have altogether a different type of body. And it is not so difficult to change this body, because the body is a flux, every moment changing itself; it is a process, it is not a static thing. The moment you came here, you had another body; now the body has changed. It is changing constantly, every moment; it is riverlike, moving and changing – it is not a static thing.
If you change direction, the body takes a jump; only the direction has to be changed. One should become aware, that whatsoever one is eating must be such that it doesn’t make one’s body heavy.
This heaviness is not concerned with weight: sometimes you feel that you are weightless, as if you can fly. So the food that can give you the feeling of weightlessness is the right food. The food that gives you the feeling of being burdened is not the right food. All non-vegetarian foods make you more rooted in the earth; you cannot fly. Vegetarian foods give you wings; you have an inner feeling that you can just levitate, you can just go out of gravitation.
Food is right if it is non-gravitational. If you can feel non-physical in it, it is good. Really, the body is felt only when it is heavy; when you have the feeling of heaviness inside, only then you feel the body. When the body is not heavy with wrong foods, you are bodiless. That’s why when the body is diseased, when the body is ill, you feel it; when it is healthy, you don’t feel it. You feel your head only when there is a headache; when there is no headache, there is no head.
So to define health positively, there is only one way: A person who is not feeling his body, is healthy. The more you feel your body, the more ill you are, because when the body is really healthy, there is no need to feel it. Only pain is felt. And if you even feel pleasure, it must be a sort of pain. Pleasure is never felt, because only a disturbance is felt. Silence is never felt really, only noise is felt. And if you begin to feel silence . . .
Real, authentic silence is not felt. Really, when you are not feeling any noise, it is silence. When you are not feeling your body, it means you are not feeling any disturbances; you are healthy. So the feeling of bodilessness is healthy. Any food that gives you a feeling of bodilessness is good, is right food. So be discriminative; be consciously discriminative. Don’t eat anything which makes you more embodied, which makes you more of a body. Go on eliminating all that gives you a bodiness, and then you will begin to transform your body towards a transparency.
This may look paradoxical, but this is true. When you are really healthy, you are desireless – illness and unhealthiness create desires. This is one of the basic distinctions between Eastern and Western thinking. They say, in the West, that to be filled with desire means you are healthy. But their understanding is very superficial, because desire is a disturbance. Something is still incomplete, that’s why the desire. Something is incomplete, so there is the urge to fulfill it. But when you are really healthy you are so fulfilled, you are so complete – the circle is so complete – that there is no desire.
Desire means you are incomplete. Somewhere, something is still lacking; somewhere, something is absent; somewhere, you are feeling a vacuum.
This is what illness means: a vacuum. Health means: so much fulfilled, so much filled there is no more space. When there is no inner space, there is no desire; so a really healthy person is desireless, and a really healthy person is bodiless. These both are associated: To be a body is to be in desire; to be in desire is to be heavy with the body.
Make the body as if it is not. The more absent, the better; the more present, the more you are falling downwards. You can just become a stone, and many are that – just stones. They only feel awake when the body demands something; otherwise, they are asleep. When the body demands, they feel awake; then the demand is fulfilled – they again fall deep into sleep.
One should create a body which has needs but not demands. Needs are natural; demands become crazy and obsessions. Demands mean you are addicted; the body is the master. All the austerities were not meant as suicidal methods, they were not masochist – they were really an inner transformation, they were really a change of power.
When a buddha is fasting, it is not to destroy the body; it is to destroy the demands. Understand it very clearly: when a buddha is fasting, he is not destroying his body, but he is changing the seat of power, who the master is. The body must not be the master; otherwise, you cannot go inwards. The master is outside. How can you go inwards? You are just a slave, and you have to be around the master. The power seat must be transformed; the body must become a slave. A slave has needs, but no demands; a slave has needs, but no commandments. The commanding must remain with the master, and the master must be inside, not outside. The deeper the master, the more is your freedom.
So when a buddha is on a fast, it is to change the seat of power. He is saying to his body, “Now I will fulfill your needs, but not your demands.” The body will struggle – no one can lose the power, the master, the sovereignty, so easily. And you have lived with the body as the master for millennia. The body was never challenged, so the mastery has become natural; it has become such an old habit that the body even cannot conceive it, “What nonsense are you talking? You are the master? You have always been the slave. Always! Have you gone crazy? The orders have already been issued by me! – you have always followed.”
Austerity means, tapascharya means, tapas means, that now you are not ready to continue this status quo, this state of affairs. The body will struggle: the fight is really not from the inside; the fight is from the outside. But the body is a very subtle and miraculous mechanism; it adjusts to anything if you have the will – the greater the will, the sooner the body is adjusted again. it begins to feel, “Now the mastery is lost.” And really, when the mastery is lost, the body becomes more healthy, because now it is natural.
The mastery of the body is really unnatural; it is not healthful – even to the body – because the body has no consciousness, and goes on demanding; the body has no discrimination and goes on demanding. It goes on doing things which are not even good for it. Consciousness becomes the slave; and the material desires, the mechanical ones, becomes the master.
This is the deepest accident, the deepest misery that has happened to humankind. But in a way, it had to, because we have developed from an animal existence. We have developed from animal existence. There is no need for a Darwin to prove this – we have know it always. Because an animal has no consciousness, the body has to be the master. There is no one other to claim the mastery – the body has to be the master. But when consciousness grows inside, the body goes on, mm? – Just as an old habit.
You have to change it. Now you are not in the animal world; now you are not animals. Austerity means that now we declare we have passed the state of animalhood. The suffering that one goes through in austerity is just a birth pain – nothing else. And that suffering is good and healthy, because out of that suffering is transformation.
But it should not be done as a masochist – that’s altogether a different matter, a very diseased thing.
You can make your body suffer and enjoy it. If you are enjoying it, then you are suicidal: then it is not austerity. Then it is not austerity; then you are really a very impotent, violent mind. You cannot do violence to others, so you are doing violence to yourself. So you can fast as a masochist, as a person who enjoys suffering. This is not austerity; this is very abnormal; this is really a mental case.
Out of one hundred, ninety-nine percent of the people who go on austerities are masochists, but they can deceive; they can deceive others and themselves also. To deceive others is irrelevant, but to deceive oneself is very dangerous. You can deceive yourself. The point to understand is that one must not enjoy suffering; one must take it as a necessary measure – that’s another thing. One must go through it as a cleansing; one must go through it as a purity, as a catharsis, as a change, as a mutation. One must accept it, but not enjoy it! That is the thing: If you are enjoying it, then this is not austerity at all; this is madness.
This is the point to be remembered: never enjoy suffering because that is abnormal. To suffer suffering is normal, but to accept it as a necessity, as an inevitability, is another thing. Accept it, go through it; don’t enjoy it. You have to do it, because as you have an animal heritage, one day you have to assert your humanity. Against the animal heritage you have to assert yourself. You have to make your body know exactly, now, that the body is not the master. And once the body has know it, the body is adjusted. And really the body is freed from a responsibility it cannot carry. It cannot be the master because it has no consciousness; it has no awareness. It is an automata, it is a mechanical device.
The body is an automatic device, so it goes on working. If you make it the master it goes on demanding without any consciousness, without any discrimination, without any intelligence. It has a mechanical intelligence just like a computer: it goes on demanding . . . it goes on demanding. It has a built-in process of how to demand, but without any consciousness: without any consciousness it tells you when you are hungry, it tells you what to eat, it tells you what to do. But this whole arrangement is just mechanical – it goes on repeating.
That’s why a person who lives with the body feels life as a boredom, because the body can only repeat; it can only repeat continuously. So we are just repeating every day the same thing. It is a circle, a closed circle: the same things, the same demands, the same desires, the same lusts – the body goes on repeating and repeating, and in the end one feels just bored, but still one cannot do anything. Even if you feel bored, again the second day, the body will demand the same thing; and you will have to supply, because you have never been in command.
This physical layer is the first, is the primary layer – the outermost. If you can be aware that you are unnecessarily the slave and need not be, then change your body habits consciously. By and by, change. Change the seat of power; be more in control. And give to the body all that is needed by it, but never fulfill any addictions. It will be painful in the beginning, but it is a bliss when you have reached beyond the body and have become the master. And when you are on the throne, it is one of the deepest blisses possible.
Matter and energy are not two things.
Matter is just energy; energy is just matter – two states of one thing.
The second body is the vital. The vital body is the energy body, the electricity body, or whatsoever name we like to use for it – the bio-energy body. One thing is certain, it is not material, it is energy.
But energy can be transformed into matter, and matter can be transformed into energy.
Energy means not static, moving.
Energy means vibrant, waves.
Energy means alive.
Instead of just a physical body, a tree has two bodies, the physical and the vital. Some energy current is running, and sometimes a tree is more alive and sometimes less alive. Now, even scientists are ready to agree that when someone is near a tree who loves the tree, the tree is more alive. And when someone is near the tree who doesn’t love it, the tree is sad and less alive.
When the gardener comes in, the whole garden is happy. And it is not just a poetry; now, it is a scientific fact. It has been a poetry always, but not it is not a poetry at all; it is a scientific fact. When a person who loves a tree is nearby, the tree is different; and now that difference can be detected by machines. It is more alive; it feels something more – love is flowing. it is vice versa also. If you can love trees when you are under them, you are more, because it is reciprocal. When you are near a flower, you are not just the same. If you have love, then you have an opening, and the flower and you become deeply related in a communion.
This vital body can be purified, and when it is purified it becomes transparent, and then you can look beyond. How is it purified? it is purified by pranayama. It is purified if you can have a deep breathing system. Less carbon dioxide inside your lungs, and more oxygen inside you – the more vitality you will create. The vital body can also be purified by pure vibrations. In a crowd you are creating many impurities for your vital body. That’s why, whenever one comes back from a crowd, one feels a bit less, less than oneself. Going out of the crowd, far away from man into the nature, one becomes more alive, because up to now there ae no sinner trees, no sinner oceans, no sinner sky.
But man has divisions, so in a crowd you are sucked! Your energy has been sucked. You fall down to a lower level. But there are some people – a few, very few – with whom you can feel that you have been refilled; you have been filled, you have been vitalized. To be in the company, in communion, and communication with someone with whom your vital body is charged, recharged, is what is meant by satsang – is what is meant to be near a master. There need not be any verbal communication; there need not be any communication at all outwardly. Just to be near and intimate… just to be open and near, and your vital body increases; it begins to be more – it begins to be richer and purified.
So seek company where your vital body becomes transparent. And sometimes it happens that even a dead master can help; even the place, the bodhi tree, can help. Buddhists have tried to save this tree continually for twenty-five centuries – that same tree. It is not just infatuation; it is not just superstition; it is not just a memorial, mm? There are subtle reasons, more significant reasons to save this tree; Buddha has been near it once, and the tree has absorbed something of the buddha. The tree has been in a very deep relation with the buddha; the tree has a subtle buddhahood itself.
Now, it vibrates with a different vibration. No other tree on this earth vibrates like that, cannot.
It is a rare tree; it had a rare opportunity: Buddha has walked around it for days and for nights. Buddha has been lying, sleeping, sitting . . . And Buddha could not help loving; and Buddha could not help being compassionate. And the tree was a constant companion; and the tree has imbibed the very spirit. And still today this tree is totally different! When you are around it, and if you are receptive, in a subtle way you are again in the intimacy of Buddha himself.
So shrines can help, temples can help, mosques can help, samadhis can help. It is better not to be in the company where you are sucked vitally, even the person is alive. It is better to be in the company of a dead one, if you can feel vitally recharged.
So remember this, remember this continuously: avoid all that which destroys your vital body. And much is destructive. In a cinema hall it is not only the film which destroys you; rather, deeply, the film is relevant, but the whole crowd destroys you more. And it is a particular crowd – it is not just a crowd, it is a particular crowd – with a particular type of mind, with particular stone bodies. They destroy you more. it is not the film really, the film cannot destroy you so much, but the crowd around you . . . And continually for three hours, they are in a very rapt attentive mood – it is very dangerous because you become vulnerable. For three hours continually, without blinking the eyes you are vulnerable! Anything can penetrate you, and all around, just bad vibrations – they go inside.
When you are out of a cinema hall, you have a very much lessened vital body, coming out from a temple, you have something plus. So be aware, not only of the physical body and its purification, be aware of the second, vital body also.
About the third body, we will discuss in the night.
From That Art Thou, Discourse #6
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An Inquiry into the Bodies is from the morning talk, The Fifth Body is Known as the Bliss Body is from the evening talk of the same day.