Ananda-Maya Kosha is the innermost and finest of all the Koshas. Ananda means bliss. However, it is not bliss as a mere emotion experienced at the level of mind, Ananda is a whole different order of reality from that of the mind. It is peace, joy, and love that is beyond the mind, independent of any reason or stimulus to cause a happy mental reaction. It is simply being.
In Western mysticism it is known as ‘The Causal Body”, the seed of our manifest Being and permeates all the other Koshas.
In Ananda-Maya Kosha, intuitive knowledge is transcended and one experiences the transcedental dimension of the human being where time, space or individuality don’t exist. One can inhabit this sheath in deep sleep when there is no consciousnes of body (dense body) or mind (subtle body). It can also be accessed in deep states of meditation.
Those who have experienced this bliss say that knowing this kosha gives meaning to our life and existence.
The subtlest of the five Koshas, the Anandamaya Kosha may be seen as the Self in the silence of deep meditation. But this too is only illusion and not the Self. Although Anandamaya Kosha is a perfect reflection of Atman, it still remains a covering over the true Self.
‘According to yoga, the essential ‘I’ or the Self (Atman) lies beyond the five koshas which envelope our Essential Being. Therefore, if we want a deeper understanding of our own Being and the purpose of life, we should, without accepting any stereotyped answers, reflect deeply on the essential question: Who am I? We should not accept seemingly ‘obvious’ answers, but go deeper and deeper, until we find the answer.
The deepest purpose of yoga is to realise That which is beyond all five koshas – The Essential ‘I’. Then our life resonates with Joy and Meaning.’ Sw Nishchalananda.