Kosha, aka: Kośa, Kosa, Kośā; 10 Definition(s)


Kosha means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit terms Kośa and Kośā can be transliterated into English as Kosa or Kosha, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Dharmaśāstra (religious law)

Koṣa (कोष) refers to “treasury” It is used throughout Dharmaśāstra literature such as the Manusmṛti and the Baudhāyana-dharmasūtra.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra
Dharmaśāstra book cover
context information

Dharmaśāstra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharma-shastra) is a category of Hindu literature containing important instructions regarding religious law, ethics, economics, jurisprudence and more. It is categorised as smṛti, an important and authorative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

Upaniṣad (dialogues on the Vedas)

The five sheaths (kośa) are:

  1. the Annamayakośa (the physical sheath),
  2. the Prāṇamayakośa (the vital sheath),
  3. the Manomayakośa (the mental sheath),
  4. the Vijñānamayakośa (the sheath of intellect)
  5. and the Ānandamayakośa (the sheath of Bliss).

The Kośas are compared to sheaths. As the sheath is external to the sword, so also the kośas are external to the Ātman which is the innermost Self of all. The Annamayakośa is the sheath wherein is encased the Prāṇamayakośa, the Prāṇamayakośa is the sheath wherein is encased the Manomayakośa and so on. The Ānandamayakośa is encased in the Vijñānamayakośa.

(Source): archive.org: Mandukya Upanishad & Karika with Shankara Bhashya
Upaniṣad book cover
context information

Upaniṣads (उपनिषद्, upanishad) convey the highest purpose of the Vedas. They are a category of sacred Sanskrit literature forming the basis of Vedānta (a school of orthodox Hindu philosophy). The Upaniṣads are usually found attached to the last part of the Brāhmaṇas and Āraṇyakas.


Kośā (कोशा).—Of Kāśi king.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 34. 42.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
context information

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

General definition (in Hinduism)

The Jiva is enveloped by five sheaths (Kosas), viz., Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya, Anandamaya Kosas:—

  1. Annamaya Kosa:– Annamaya Kosa (sheath) is the physical body, which is sustained by food (Anna). Annamaya Kosa is the outcome of Tamo-Guna. Tamo-Guna predominates in this Kosa and Tamo-Guna is the cause of this Kosa. Inertness is found to ppredominate in this Kosa.
  2. Pranamaya Kosa:– Pranamaya Kosa consists of the subtle body, with the five gross and five subtle senses, ten Pranas or five vital forces and finve minor Vayus. Rajo-Guna is the cause of this Kosa and Rajo-Guna predominates in this Kosa. The power of action (Kriya Shakti) inheres in this Kosa.
  3. Manomaya Kosa:– Manomaya Kosa consists of the mind, with the five subtle senses. This Kosa is the outcome of Sattva-Guna. Sattva-Guna predominates in this Kosa. The power of cognition inheres in this Kosa. So we see that the mind is mixed with Tamas qualities, such as love, attachment, hatred, anger, envy, etc.
  4. Vijnanamaya Kosa:– Vijnanamaya Kosa consists of the Buddhi (intellect) with the five subtle senses. In this Kosa, Sattva mixed with Rajo-Guna inheres. Sattva mixed with Rajo-Guna is the cause of this Kosa.
  5. Anandamaya Kosa:– Anandamaya Kosaconsists of the Jiva with the causal body. Sattva-Guna is the cause of this Kosa. The principle of the purity of the Sattva-Guna lives in a sullied state by the other two Gunas together with the three conditions of happiness called Priya, Moda, and Pramoda. It contains joys of various kinds.
(Source): Google Books: The Primal Power in Man: The Kundalini Shakti

A Kosha (कोश), usually rendered "sheath", one of five coverings of the Atman, or Self according to Vedantic philosophy. They are often visualised as the layers of an onion.

The five sheaths (pancha-kosas) are described in the Taittiriya Upanishad. From gross to fine they are:

  1. Annamaya kosha, "foodstuff" sheath (Anna)
  2. Pranamaya kosha, "energy" sheath (Prana/apana)
  3. Manomaya kosha "mind-stuff" sheath (Manas)
  4. Vijnanamaya kosha, "wisdom" sheath (Vijnana)
  5. Anandamaya kosha, "bliss" sheath (Ananda)
(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

A human being is part consciousness (Atma - soul) wrapped in 5 layers known as Panchakosha in Vedanta. The layers are

  1. Physical Body (Annmaya Kosha),
  2. Energy Body (Pranamaya Kosha),
  3. Mind Body (Manomaya Kosha),
  4. Intuition Body (Vigyanmaya Kosha),
  5. and Joy Body (Anandmaya Kosha).
(Source): MahaVastu: Hinduism

In Buddhism


kosa : (m.) store-room; treasury; a sheath; a cocoon; a measure of length, (which is about 1.000 yards.).

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

1) Kosa, 2 at VvA. 349 is marked by Hardy, Index and trsld by scar or pock. It should be corrected to kesa, on evidence of corresp. passage in ThA. 267 (cp. koccha). (Page 230)

2) Kosa, 1 (m. nt.) (cp. Sk. kośa and koṣa, cavity, box vessel, cp. Goth. hūs, E. house; related also kukṣi=P. kucchi) any cavity or enclosure containing anything, viz. 1. a store-room or storehouse, treasury or granary A. IV, 95 (rāja°); Sn. 525; J. IV, 409 (=wealth, stores); J. VI, 81 (aḍḍhakosa only half a house) in cpd.—° koṭṭhāgāra, expld at DA. I, 295 as koso vuccati bhaṇḍāgāraṃ. Four kinds are mentioned: hatthī°, assā°, rathā°, raṭṭhaṃ°. ‹-› 2. a sheath, in khura° Vism. 251, paṇṇa° KhA 46. ‹-› 3. a vessel or bowl for food: see kosaka.—4. a cocoon, see —°kāraka;— 5. the membranous cover of the male sexual organ, the praeputium J. V, 197. The Com. expls by sarīra-saṃkhāta k°. See cpd. kosohita. ‹-› Cp. also kosī.

—ārakkha the keeper of the king’s treasury (or granary) A. III, 57; —ohita ensheathed, in phrase kosohita vatthaguyha “having the pudendum in a bag. ” Only in the brahmin cosmogonic myth of the superman (mahā-purisa) D. III, 143, 161. Applied as to this item, to the Buddha D. I, 106 (in the Cy DA. I, 275, correct the misprint kesa into kosa) D. II, 17; Sn. 1022 pp. 106, 107; Miln. 167. For the myth see Dial III, 132—136. —kāraka the “cocoon-maker, ” i.e. the silk-worm, Vin. III, 224; Vism. 251. —koṭṭhāgāra “treasury and granary” usually in phrase paripuṇṇa —k -k (adj.) “with stores of treasures and other wealth” Vin. I, 342; D. I, 134; S. I, 89; Miln. 2; & passim. (Page 230)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

General definition (in Buddhism)

Kosa means "layer of mind." There are five layers of the human mind, in addition to the physical body, which—although technically not a kosa itself—is given the name Annamaya ("food") Kosa.

  1. Kamamaya Kosa (The Crude Mind)
  2. Manomaya Kosa (The Subtle Mind)

The next three deeper layers of mind are collectively known as the Causal Mind. Causal sig - nifies that these layers are in the most direct contact with the Causal Consciousness from which the mind has evolved and within which it exists.

  1. Atimanasa Kosa (The first layer of the Causal Mind)
  2. Vijnanamaya Kosa (The second layer of the Causal Mind)
  3. Hiranyamaya Kosa (The most subtle layer of the Causal Mind).
(Source): Ananda Marga: Realsm of the Mind

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

kōśa (कोश).—m (S) A treasury. 2 A particular receptacle, of which five are enumerated; annamaya-prāṇa- maya-manōmaya-vijñānamaya-ānandamaya-kōśa. 3 A dictionary or vocabulary. 4 A sheath, integument, investing membrane, tunicle, coating. 5 A scabbard. 6 The cod or cocoon of the spider kōḷī. 7 A bud. Ex. kamaḷakōśīñcā suvāsa barā ||. 8 Judicial trial by ordeal--by fire, water, poison, the balance, boiling oil, drinking water that has been poured over his tutelar god or other idol or a Brahman, and particularly this last form. 9 (krōśa S) A measure of distance, a kos or cos. See kōsa.

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kōśā (कोशा).—a Of a color approaching to black--a cow, bullock &c.

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kōṣa (कोष).—m (S) See kōśa, except in the sense A measure of distance.

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kōsa (कोस).—m (kōśa S) A measure of distance, a kos varying in many degrees both beyond and under 4000 cubits the standard. 2 The exuvies or slough of a snake.

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kōsa (कोस) [or कोंस, kōṃsa].—m Deviation from squareness, straightness, or exactness (as of an awning or outstretched cloth, of a handkerchief, field, site, of a seam, or of a wall, road, hedge, of a bounding line gen.); overlapping, overplus, or excess. v yē, asa, hō, jā, nigha, kāḍha, jirava, jira.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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