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The physical body (anamaya kosha) and the four subtle bodies that exist on non-physical planes are the five koshas as illustrated by the diagram and descriptions below.

Five Koshas

  • anamaya kosha: the body of ana or food - the physical body of skin, bones, tissues, etc. The DNA is found in anamaya kosha in the form of chemical molecules in nucleus of every cell. The DNA in every normal cell is identical, i.e., the DNA of a brain cell is the same as the DNA of a blood cell or a skin cell. Even though the DNA as chemical molecules is very small, it is a physical structure in the anamaya kosha.
  • pranamaya kosha: the body of prana or energy. Prana is that subtle non-physical substance which is responsible for all transmutation of physical matter. We should understand prana as that which causes chemical reaction, and chemical reaction is the process which transmutes one physical substance into another. The pranamaya kosha of one person is different from the pranamaya kosha of another like one whirlpool in the river is different from another. Both whirlpools are made of the same water, but if we study the two different whirlpools we will see differences between them. Like this, my pranamaya kosha and your pranamaya kosha are made of the same prana but they are different. There is a representation of the DNA in the pranamaya kosha, however pranamaya kosha is not the cause or source of the DNA.
  • manomaya kosha: the body of manas or mind. Manas is the cause of all movement in prana. When manas is still, prana is still. When manas is active, prana is active. As with the pranamaya kosha, the DNA is represented on this level in a 2-strand configuration mental contruct, but its source is subtler still.
  • vijñânamaya kosha: the body of vijñâna or intellect. Vijñâna is the seat of the knowledge of the parts or components of what makes an individual unique. This is the most subtle of the bodies and the source of the DNA which contains the knowledge of the components that make-up an individual life and the various bodies it lives through. The DNA on the level of vijñânamaya kosha is composed of intention. To change the DNA on the physical body, something must be done on the level of the vijñânamaya kosha.
  • ânandamaya kosha: the body of ânanda or bliss. There is only one ânandamaya kosha in the realm of Lord Brahma which is shared by all in a state of relative Unity. This body contains the archtype of the body of the universe and has a DNA representation which is imprinted upon all of the vijñânamaya koshas in the universe.

But there is more to the story on the level of DNA. In Kali Yug, 2-strands of DNA is the norm. The human bodies in Kali Yug are designed to live for about 100 years. However in Sat Yug, the human bodies have 12-strands of DNA and the bodies are designed to live for 100,000 years. In each yuga, the number of strands declines, with 8 in Treta Yug, and 4 in Dvapara Yug.