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The 24 Impermanent Principles

In addition to the gross and subtle senses there are also the five life energies which vitalize all bodily functions. One of these is related to breathing, another to elimination, a third to circulation, the fourth to digestion and the fifth to the upward flow which energizes the higher centers. Besides the 15 principles enumerated above, there are the four faculties comprising the 'the inner instrument'. This inner instrument is made up of all the different aspects of what we know as 'mind'. It consists of the thinking faculty which analyzes and reacts; the intuitive faculty, also known as buddhi, which knows the deeper purpose of life and discriminates between the real and the unreal; the subjective individual expression or ego self which is associated with the personality; and the reservoir of feelings and memory wherein the effects of past actions are stored.

All of the foregoing are contained within the five sheaths. These sheaths can be thought of as various bodies interpenetrating one another in a successively more subtle way, each one finer than the previous one. The grossest sheath is the food sheath which comprises the physical body. It is made up of physical matter. Next, the first of the subtle, intangible sheaths, is the vital sheath. It relates to the life breath and physical energy. Then there is the mind sheath which relates to the lower mind. The fourth sheath is the intellectual sheath. It is associated with the higher mind wherein the buddhi, the intuitive, discriminating faculty, is contained. These last-mentioned three sheaths, the vital, the mind, and the intellectual, all make up the subtle body of man. Finally, there is the bliss sheath, the subtlest of all the bodies. It is known as the causal body. It is beyond all aspects of mind. It is the source of all mind stuff. Within it, only a thin veil of ignorance remains to hide the true self, which is pure bliss.