The 16 Kalas

One model of the stages of life development or evolution is the 16 Kala model. I’ve heard teachers make reference to it but have never found a complete and reliable source. The below is a compilation of a number of sources and should not be considered complete or well translated.

Kala is a curious word. In Sanskrit, its usually used to mean time. However it more broadly means attribute. And more specifically in this context, siddhi or ability.

I’ve mentioned Kalas here before as they’re used to “grade” avatars by the abilities they displayed. There is a list of about 64 abilities, grouped to the different levels of this scale. Krishna was said to be a 16/16 on the Kala scale of ability, a Purnavatar. Rama is suggested to be a 12 or so, and Buddha a 10.

The 16 Kalas:
1) Annamaya – seed-born (food)
2) Pranamaya – water-born (breath)
3) Manomaya – egg-born (mind)
4) Vigyanamaya – womb-born (intellect)
5) Anandamaya – reborn (joy)

Note how these first 5 are the first the koshas or sheaths and how childhood development progresses through these stages (physical, emotional, mental, intellect)

6) Atishayini (Peace)
7) Viparinabhini (Love)
8) Sankramini (Creator)
9) Prabhavi (potent, mighty)
10) Kunthini (beyond pain or eternal?)

Are the above stages of development in Consciousness?

11) Vikasini (great)
12) Maryadini (highly respected, attained)
13) Sanhaladini (a source of happiness)
14) Ahladini (causing joy or delight)
15) Paripurna (perfect or full)
16) Swarupavasthitha (established in God self/form)

Humans are obviously 4 – womb-worn (mammals) but have the opportunity to gain “abilities” and rise to as high as an 8 or 9. The sequence is interesting as Joy, Peace, Love, and Creator suggest the stages of development I describe, with Peace as Self Realization, followed by God Consciousness and God Realization. Unity and Brahman are not as clear. After that, we move past what a human form is capable of.

For perspective, note that a very enlightened person is about half way up the scale. We can also suggest the stages are exponential. Just look at the potential of an egg-born vs a mammal. A chicken vs a horse.

It’s also interesting to note there is a second 16 kala model based on ones ability to command:
– 5 Elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space) – this correlates to the first 5 kalas in the model above. However, the typical human does not command any elementary forces so this is not an equivalent model.
– 5 Senses (Smell, Taste, Sight, Touch, Hearing)
– Time (inclusive)
– Prana (life force)
– Mind, Intellect, Ego, and Consciousness (Chetana)

Some texts suggest someone capable of deep samadhi is in command of their senses. But I’d suggest these are much more advanced than that. As in command of the cosmic senses.

This needs some work, but it perhaps offers a sense of it.

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