Patanjali divides the human personality into five seeds, five bodies. He says you don’t have one body; you have layers upon layers of bodies; and they are five.
The first body he calls annamaya kosha – the food body, the earth body, which is made of earth and is constantly to be nourished by food. Food comes from the earth. If you stop taking food your annamaya kosha will wither away. So one has to be very alert about what one is eating because that makes you and it will affect you in millions of ways. Sooner or later your food is not just food. It becomes blood, your bones, your very marrow. It circulates in your being and goes on affecting you. So the purity of food creates a pure annamaya kosha, a pure food body.
If the first body is pure, light, not heavy, then it is easy to enter into the second body; otherwise it will be difficult – you will be loaded. Have you watched when you have eaten too much and heavy foods? Immediately you start feeling a sort of sleep, a sort of lethargy. You would like to go to sleep; awareness immediately starts disappearing. When the first body is loaded it is difficult to create great awareness. Hence fasting became so important in all the religions. But fasting is a science and one should not fool around with it.
Just the other night a woman came and she told me that she has been fasting and now her whole body, her whole being, is disturbed, tremendously disturbed. Now the stomach is not functioning well. And when the stomach is not functioning well, everything is weakened; the vitality is lost and you cannot be alive. You become more and more insensitive and dead.
But fasting is important. It should be done very carefully; one should understand the functioning of the annamaya kosha – only then. And it should be done under proper guidance – the guidance of one who has moved through all the phases of his annamaya kosha. Not only that: one who has gone beyond it and who can look at the annamaya kosha as a witness. Otherwise fasting can be dangerous. Then just the right amount of food and the right quality of food has to be practiced; fasting is not needed.
But this is important because this is your first body and people more or less cling to their first body; they never move to the second. Millions of people are not even aware that they have a second body, a deeper body, hidden behind the first sheath. The first covering is very gross.
The second body Patanjali calls pranamaya kosha – the energy body, electric body. The second consists of electric fields. That’s what acupuncture is all about. This second body is more subtle than the first, and people who start moving from the first body to the second become fields of energy, tremendously attractive, magnetic, hypnotic. If you go near them, you will feel vitalized, charged.
If you go near a man who lives only in his food body, you will be depleted; he will suck you. Many times you come across people and you feel that they suck you. After they have left, you feel depleted, dissipated, as if somebody has exploited your energy. The first body is a sucker and the first body is very gross. So if you live too much with the first – with body-oriented people – you will feel always burdened, tense, bored, sleepy, with no energy, always at the point of the lowest rung of your energy; and you will not have any amount of energy which can be used for higher growth.
This type, the first type, the annamaya-kosha-oriented person lives for food. He eats and eats and eats, and that’s his whole life. He remains childish, in a way. The first thing that the child does in the world is to suck air, and then to suck milk. The first thing the child has to do in the world is to help the food body, and if a person remains food addicted, he remains childish. His growth suffers.”