The assemblage of cells created by food
is the annamay kosh, the physical body.
When the fourteen different winds,
such as the prana wind, act in the physical body,
they form the pranamay kosh, the energy body.
Man as a whole is made up of many layers, and a right understanding of all these layers is necessary in order to go beyond them. It is essential to know that which we have to transcend, it is essential to recognize that which we have to get rid of. How a man appears from outside is not his complete body, it is only the first layer of his many bodies. When we look at a person, what we see at first glance the sages have called annamay kosh, the physical body.
This body is inherited from the parents, it is not yours; this layer is not you, this layer has a long tradition behind it. Thousands of bodies have created your body. The first cell you inherit from your parents contains the complete inbuilt processes of your body; all the potentialities of its growth are hidden in it.
Now the scientists say that whatever is manifested in your body throughout the whole of your life is all hidden in that first seed cell – apart from this cell nothing new can happen. The color of your eyes, the color of your hair, the color of your skin, your life span, whatever will blossom in your personality, all this is hidden in that cell. But that is not you. That body has had its own long journey: you received it from your parents, they received it from their parents – it has had a long journey, a long journey of millions of years.
If we trace back in the body we will find that the whole history of the universe is hidden in each man’s body. Something of your body must have been present on the day when this world came into existence for the first time; by and by that same part has developed to become your present body. The whole story of existence is hidden in this small seed cell. It is not yours, it has a long tradition. That cell has traveled up to you through many human beings, many animals, innumerable plants and minerals. That is your first layer; that layer the sages call annamay kosh, the physical body. It is called annamay kosh because the process of its creation is through food, it is created by food.
The whole of the human body changes every seven years; everything changes – bones, flesh, marrow – everything is changed. If a man lives for seventy years his body has been renewed ten times. The food you take in daily creates your body, and every day you throw out the dead cells from your body. When we say that someone has died, it refers to his final death…when his soul departs from the body. Otherwise, man is dying every day, his body is dying continuously. When you cut your nails you don’t feel any pain because the nails are dead parts of your body. When you cut your hair there is no pain because it consists of the dead cells of your body. If the hair was a living part of your body, then you would feel pain when you cut it.