It is becoming conscious of the soul and God within us. Most of us are aware of our body, of the thoughts passing through our mind, and of the world around us. This is called body or physical consciousness.
But somewhere or other we also know that we are more than our body and mind.
There is no difference between the soul and consciousness. The soul is a minute particle of God’s consciousness.
There are six stages of consciousness – annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya, jnanamaya, vijnanamaya and anandamaya.
Annamaya is when the consciousness is totally centered on nourishment, centered on eating. This is the first stage. Food is essential to keep our body and mind fit, which can hold our soul to it.
Pranamaya is when the consciousness becomes aware of one’s body and pleasure related to it. That’s the second stage. Animals don’t go beyond that stage of consciousness.
Manomaya is when the consciousness becomes aware of the mind. This is the third stage, where an animal is transformed into human with the power of thinking.
Jnanamaya is the stage where one becomes conscious of the thinking, feeling, and willing processes of the mind. This is fourth stage from where counsious thinking starts.
Sixth stage is Vijnanamaya, when the consciousness becomes aware of the soul, aware of one’s real self. That’s like the adult stage of awareness. This is where the consciousness becomes aware of its real, spiritual self, beyond the body and its culture.
Anandamaya is when the consciousness becomes aware of God and the bliss that follows. That’s the highest stage of consciousness, and the goal of human consciousness.
Through this various stages of consciousness one attains Moksha, that is reunion with the Absolute Counsciousness, what we call it as God.