Science of
A practical exposition of ancient method of
visualisation of Soul (Atma Vijnana)
Swami Vyas Dev Ji
Yogeshwarananda Saraswati

by Yoga Niketan Trust, Bharat, India

This is the introduction to Science of the Soul order


How is Jivatman, the individual soul
which is concealed by the combination of three bodies, to be
realised? That is the subject of this book. Therefore it is
necessary to describe the body in all its aspects and the
possessor of the body.

That which is termed “I” or “Me” is,
in fact, made up of the aggregate of two Tattwa’s
(principles) …Jada or inert matter, and Chetan or
consciousness. Consciousness abides in, and is hidden in the
matter. The abode of the conscious Atman (soul) is this body
made up of material elements, and is likened to a castle.
There are three parts of this castle the physical body, the
astral body and the causal body.

The physical or gross body is the
main gate for approaching the soul; we have to enter by this
main gate. This physical body is made up of five material
elements and is born of past actions. It has two
parts……the grosser part is Annamaya Kosha. (Food Sheath)
and the other is Pranamaya Kosha (Vital Air Sheath),
Together, they offer gross services to Jivatman, Lord of
this castle. But this physical body does not have its own
strength to serve the soul. This strength or energy comes
from another body that abides in the physical body. This is
Sukshma Sharira (subtle or astral body). This astral body is
devoid of nerves, veins, arteries or flesh and bones : it is
made up of extremely subtle vapour-like element, it is even
devoid of limbs but pervades the whole physical body. It is
the conductor of the physical body; in other words, all
actions of the physical body take place by the energy and
the prompting of the astral body alone. But in this
prompting two types of energy knowledge and action are
blended. By the blending of these two forms of energy there
arises a force known as life. It is because of this life
that the physical body remains alive and performs all its

The astral body also has two parts:
Manomaya Kosha (Mind Sheath), the action predominating part,
and Vijnanamaya Kosha (Intellect Sheath), the knowledge
predominating part. It is a wonder that this life force too
does not animate the astral body, and there is yet another
body that pervades the astral body and gives life to it.
This is Karana Sharira, the causal body (also known as Linga
Sharira or Avyakta Sharira).

This causal body is much subtler
than the astral body. Although it gives energy to the astral
body, its own vitality has a different abode Anandamaya
Kosha (Bliss Sheath). This is like a mass of light, yet it
is inert; it too does not have its own faculty to generate

Thus these three pairs of the castle
of the soul arc completely inert as compared to the
conscious Jivatman. We see this clearly in our day to day
life. When a living and moving body suddenly becomes
actionless and lifeless, we say in common parlance that the
Jivatman, the individual soul, has gone out of this body. It
directly proves that it is by the association of this
conscious Jivatman that the aggregate of the five sheaths
appears to be conscious. It is because of the contact of
this conscious soul that energy in the form of Jnana or
knowledge, and Kirya or activity, arises from the Chitta
Sattwa, the pure mind stuff of the Anandamaya Kosha (Bliss

Chitta is the knowledge
predominating part of the Anandamaya Kosha. Ahamkara or ego
which is the action predominating part of the Bliss Sheath,
spreads both the types of energy and brings them out of
Anandamaya Kosha in the form of Sukshma Prana or subtle
vital force. This force enters the astral body with a jerk
or push. The astral body becomes alive by this life force
and in turn makes the physical body alive and active. This
process continues throughout the life of an

The method by which one enters into
this castle of the body and gains knowledge of conscious
spirit (soul), veiled by unconscious matter is known as Atma
Vijnana, the science of soul, or self-realisation. The
present book gives a detailed exposition of this

In this very castle (the body)
Ishwara, the Lord who controls the entire universe, is also
present. That is the experience of all saints and sages. Yet
the greater portion of aspiring humanity seeks God outside
in temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras, at Kashi,
Jagannath Puri, Kedarnath, Badrinath and other places of
pilgrimage. This confusion of God being inside and outside
is a great problem and it is at first difficult to discover
the truth. Let us consider this problem.

The most
authoritative texts, the Upanishad s,


Hridayaguheshana Devamanyam Prayanti ye, Te
Ratnamabhivanchhanti tyaktahasta Kaustubhah (Mahopanishad,
6, 20)

The man who having renounced the
Lord seated in the cave of the heart, searches for other
gods (i.e., goes to other places to find him) is seeking
broken glass pieces having thrown away the pearl that was in
his very hand. Atman and Paramatman (Individual Self and
Supreme Self) are very close, yet man is unable to realise
them, Why is it so? Because both are extremely subtle.
According to Upanishad s

Mahatomahiyan Atmasya Jantoh Nihito, Guhayam, (Kathi

“Jivatma (Individual
Self), that is subtle and minute, and Ishwara (Supreme
Self), who is greatest of all, both dwell in the cave of the

According to these declarations of
the Upanishad s this much is evident that (1) Jivatma is
minute, (2) Brahrnan or God is great. They you can decide
for yourself which is the right path.

In Kathopanishad the teacher Yama
(Lord of death) States

Tam Durdarsham gudhamanupravishtam
Guhahitam Gahwareshtham. (Kathh 1,2,12)

Jivatman and Paramatman are both so
subtle that they cannot be seen by normal vision; they are
hidden in the cave of the innermost heart chamber and they
are without beginning or end. How beautifully the great
teacher presented this truth in a few words. He goes on to
describe the fruit of the vision of Jivatman and
Paramatmanone who realises the divinity knowable by Adhyatma
Yoga (the Yoga of Atman) becomes free from all the pairs of
opposites such as Harsha and Shoka (elation and grief), Raga
and Dwesha (desire and aversion), etc.


Adhyatmayogadhigamen Devam Matva
Dhiro Harshasokao Jahati (Kath 1,2,12)

Thus the conscious principles abide in the heart Jivatman,
subtle and minute, and Ishwara, God, the great who is
omnipresent. These are hidden in the treasure-chest of the
heart in this body the castle.

Although we see nine gates (eyes,
ears, nostrils, mouth, organs of evacuation and
reproduction), in this castle made up of five gross elements
yet these gates close after a short distance. We do not see
any other gate by which we can enter, and without entry we
do not succeed in our purpose of self realisation. Even the
main gate is not apparent from the outside; it is secret and
hidden, yet we must enter the castle by this gate only.
Hence our Sadhana (spiritual discipline) commences with the
Annamaya Kosha (Food Sheath). This outer veil has become the
main cause of the soul’s bondage. Until we acquire the
science of the internal and external nature of this sheath
we cannot proceed further. Then, having understood its true
nature, one should develop Vairt~gya (dispassion) to wards
it. In this way the gross body becomes also an aid in the
path of liberation; by realising its unholy and transitory
nature one destroys his attachment or infatuation for it. It
is because of infatuation born of attachment to the body
that one suffers innumerable afflictions, ground by the
wheel of birth and death. Our forefathers realised this
truth after years of Yoga-Sadhana, and developed the science
of soul to save mankind from intense misery due to
ignorance. Without Yoga-Sadhana one cannot know the secret
of life, nor can one understand the nature of Atman or
experience the reality of God in whose governance the entire
world exists.


Ashuddhikshaye Jnana Deeptrravivek Khyateh.

(Yoga Sutra of
Patanjal 11-28)

By practicing limbs of Yoga one
destroys the impurities in him, gains effulgence of
knowledge, thereby attaining the power of discriminating
Prakriti (matter) and One’s essential nature.

From this point of view Raja Yoga is
the best of all methods because it is a straight path. Raja
Yoga is the synthesis of the Yoga of eight limbs Yania,
Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara Dharana, Dhyana, and
Samadhi. By practice of the last four limbs Pratyahara
(withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana
(meditation), and Samadhi (super consciousn ess)a Yogi
gradually masters the Annamaya Kosha (Food Sheath) and
Pranmaya Kosha (Vital Air Sheath), then one controls the
astral body made up of five Tanmatra s (subtle elements) and
the Divya Vishaya s (subtle enjoyments of divine objects by
the astral body). Having perfected Sadhana of these four
parts by the power of Samyama (firm concentration) thus
developed, a Yogi becomes able to use divine senses. Taj
jayat Prajnalokah …”By victory over Samyama one attains
the light of intuition” (Patanjal 111-5). Out of the divine
senses the divine eye becomes able to realise all the
internal functions ceaselessly performed by Manomaya Kosha,
Vijnanamaya Kosha and Anandamaya Kosha. Human life is based
on these functions. The great Yogi Pdtanjal instructs


Tasya Bhumishu
Viniyogaya “Samyama is to be practised by stages” (Patanjal

A Yogi should direct the power of
his Samyama towards higher states of Yoga; in other words,
he should go on realising the divine objects, divine
functions and enjoyments of the three sheaths (Manomaya,
Vijnanamaya and Anandamaya). He should continue until he
attains Swaroopasthihi (establishment in essential nature)
through discriminative understanding of Purusha and Prakriti
(The Absolute and Matter) which is the highest state of

We follow Ashtanga Yoga (the yoga of
eight steps or limbs); therefore we give a brief description
of the first four and a clear and detailed description of
the other four so that Sadhaka s can proceed towards self
This Patanjal eightfold Yoga is a universally accepted
system, endorsed in many scriptures as the best means of
attaining discrimination of Purusha and Prakriti.

There are three main grades of
aspirants. For the best and the medium type, the first
section of Patanjal Yoga Darshana is quite sufficient. For
such aspirants:

Vairagyabhyam Tannirodhah “Practice and dispassion are the
main two means for the highest attainment.”

The entire Yoga is
summed up by such Sutra s as: Yogashchitta Vriti Nirodhah
(Yoga 12)

For a lucid description of the
eight limbs of Yoga and allied subjects please see the
author’s book Bahiranga Yoga (First Steps to Higher Yoga).

“Yoga is the
cessation of all the modifications of Chitta or Mind”,
Tadadrashtuh Swarupe Avasthanam (Yoga: I, 3)
“Then the seer rests in his own nature”

But in order that even those who
have their hearts tainted by Samskara s and Vasana s
(impressions and subtle tendencies) of painful Karma s
(acts) should not remain without self realisation, the
sages, inspired by compassion for all beings, discovered the
method of Ashtanga Yoga, the eightfold Yoga of Patanjal. By
this method Samadhi manifests gradually and the Klesha s
(afflictions) are destroyed. Avidya (ignorance) is the root
cause of the Klesha s. When A (man develops the feeling of
identification with the internal organ (the feeling that the
internal organ is “mine”) this, is known as Avidya or
ignorance, and the destruction of such wrong feeling is the
function of Vidya …knowledge or discrimination. The
internal organ (Antahkarana) is the purest and subtlest
effect of Prakriti (matter). When the soul realises its
distinction from Prakriti and consequently establishes
itself in its own essential nature, the sages call this
Apavarga or release. Apavarga has been described

Shunyanam Gunanam Pratiprasavah Kaivalyam, Swaroop
Pratishtha Va Chitishaktiriti Yoga IV – 34)

“When the Guna s (the three
qualities of matterPassion, Inertia and Purity) become
devoid of any purpose involved in their cause or power of
consciousness, this is establishment of the soul in its own
nature. This is Kaivalya or Apavarga.” Kanad Rishi has also
defined Liberation likewise.

Samyoga bhavo pradurbhavashcha Mokshah


When the Karma s, pious as well as
wicked, come to an end and the soul is free from the
association of Antahkarana then it is not born

Ashuddhikshaye Jnana Deeptiravivek khyateh, Yoga, 11-28).

This Sutra clearly states that by
the proper practice of the various limbs of Yoga, impurities
are destroyed and the light of knowledge shines more and
more until one attains self realisation in the form of
discrimination between Purusha and Prakriti. This
discrimination is attained by the last of the Samadhi s. But
in order to attain the different phases of Samadhi the first
four limbs of Yoga are indispensable: Yama (ethical
restraints), Niyarna (moral observances), Asana (physical
postures), Pranayama (breath control). These four are the
firm foundation on the basis of which Pratyahara or
withdrawal of the senses is perfected. When Pratyahara
matures, one starts getting Siddhi in the constituents of
Samyama, the power of Samayama (firm concentration). Samyama
itself has three limbs: Dharana (concentration), Dhyana
(meditation) and Samadhi (super consciousness). By the
practice of Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama,, the gross
impurities of Chitta (mind stuff) are washed away; Chitta is
able to perceive the subtle form of Klesha s (afflictions)
due to Avidya (ignorance etc.). Having perceived the subtle
forms according to the Sutra:

Dhyana Heyah
Tadvrittayah (Their Modifications are to be destroyed by

one should try to destroy the subtle
Vasana s and Vritti s (tendencies and functions) of the
Klesha-s. These afflictions, which have renounced their
Udara or expanded nature are hidden in the heart in the form
of Tanu (thinned-out state) and Prasupta (latent state), and
are destroyed by fire of discrimination between Purusha and
Prakriti; they are then turned into parched up seeds (Dagdha


The chapter on the description of
as the Center of Consciousness

The description of the elements of the

The description of the meeting of
..the source of
Science of the Soul.

Introduction Chapter of
of Soul