Saturday, July 21, 2012

Soul levels in Kabbalah

In Kabbalah, the five levels of the soul are called nefesh, ruach, neshama, chaya, yechida. To each of these levels different Spiritual masters are assigned and they are King David, Elijah, Moses, Adam & Eve and The Mashiach.

Writing a commentary on these levels Rabbi David Cooper says:
“The initial soul level of every bit of matter in the universe is referred to as the nefesh, the vital soul. Another level of soul is equated with movement and spirit. It is called ruach. This soul force is associated with movement and the life that is embodied in every organic aspect of the universe.
Still another level of soul is called neshama, which has the same root as the word to breathe (nasham). This is an aspect of soul that includes within it two additional levels: chaya, which means living essence, and yechida, which means unity. The neshama is present in each and every breath, it is the source of life, and it is merged and identical with the source of creation.”

In Kabbalastic mysticism, the personalities of the masters who have been assigned to these levels have a very unique relation to what each level denotes.

  • King David represents the attainment of worldly power and establishment of a kingdom and lineage thus relating to the physical function of the body which is the material nature of the vital soul.
  • Prophet Elijah was in direct communion with Yahweh who is the prime source of all that is manifest and the unmanifest. The Victory of prophet Elijah over the Baal prophets signifies the conquest of the absolute reality over false reality. The very name, Elijah means “Yahweh is my name”. He is the manifestation of the spirit of Yahweh or ruach.
  • Moses as the central figure of liberation and movement of the Israelites is assigned to the soul level of neshama which word takes its root from ‘nasham’ meaning to breathe. He symbolizes the transcendental nature and vitality of continuous creation in the universe. The multidimensional character of Moses as a pharaoh to be (kinghood), a spouse of seven brides which signifies the fully integrated aspect of animus and anima in a wholly balanced personality (perfect created entity) and the liberator (forerunner to the Messiah)  maps the process of the soul journey as a movement of vital breath which has a very apt parallel in Vedic philosophy as ‘Prana’.
  • Because of Yahweh creating Adam and hence Eve in His own image, they are assigned the soul level of chaya which means living essence.
  • Creation embodies these levels of the soul consciousness but the one who can assimilate the integral nature of creation and its inter-relatedness is assigned the Messianic level of yechida. Yechida means unity.  
I can see a very distinct correlation to the five inner chakras within the body to these five soul levels in Kabbalah. 

  • The nefesh level of the soul assigned to physicality is the Swadhisthana  chakra whose function is safety, security and procreation of the species. All these aspects are rooted in the physical plane of existence.
  • The ruach level of the soul is assigned to movement and the sustaining spirit can be mapped to the Manipura chakra which is the energy centre which physically governs metabolism, mentally it governs psychic power, emotionally it governs expansiveness, and spiritually, all matters of growth.The main parameter which governs this level is action through energy or movement through spirit.
  • The neshama level of the soul which is characterized by the life sustaining breath, can be identified in the Anahata chakra at the heart level. The Anahata is represented by a hexagram denoting perfect balance. This is the level at which we transcend from the static to the sentient. This is the mutative portal. This is the soul level of unconditional love and compassion.
  • The chaya level of the soul can mapped to the Vishuddha chakra which is level at which we are empowered to give expression both through thought and words. This is the portal of ultimate expression of our intellectual and spiritual maturation.
  • The yechida level of the soul can be reflected in the Ajna chakra its key issues involve balancing the higher and lower selves and trusting inner guidance. Ajna's inner aspect relates to the access of intuition. This is the portal at which the grand unity is perceived.
May this understanding lead us toward transcendence.

Love to you all


  1. Oh yes, These are True. Only we identify with different names. I have witnessed to some level. All of us are descended from There.

    The coming here has a purpose for all of us. It is experiencing. And It is going back. Very interesting to understand This and we can only remain a witness and thank That which has given us the Intelligence to perceive It.

  2. The Hindi word 'chaya' means shadow and it is a very apt description of this soul level where Adam and Eve are in the image of God.

  3. Thank you Ram. It is a great gift to be given this deep understanding. Love & Blessings!

  4. Yes dear Magi. The shadow does not exist without the object that produces it so also the individual soul exists because of the primal soul. In Kabbalah, the primal soul is know as 'Adam Kadmon'. Love & Blessings!

  5. All religions and spiritual paths are pieces in God's Universal Religion Puzzle. Like in a 1000 piece puzzle, if even one piece is missing, the puzzle is incomplete, including the religions we may not like.

  6. Thank you Yehudit for your insightful comment. Shalom!