Kanchuka is a Sanskrit word which literally translates to “sheath” or “envelope”. They are five in number, and together they act as a shell which veils the consciousness and separates the observing individual from its pure and absolute form. Each kanchuka limits the dynamic and creative power of the individual in a certain aspect:
- Kalaa – that which limits the power to do all;
- Avidya vidya – that which limits the power to know all;
- Raga – that which creates desire and attachment, thus giving rise to unceasing discontentment;
- Kaala – that which limits perpetual existence by creating the notion of time, related to the changes in life, namely: birth, growth, ripening, waning, and perishing;
- Niyati – that which limits free will by creating the notion of fate and destiny, thus binding the individual to the endless cycle of birth and death.