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Rishikesh, India

Three Bodies Doctrine in Yoga

Sharira Traya (Three Bodies)

Body, mind and spirit are interconnected, interrelated and interpenetrating. Therefore, according to Yoga, Advaita Vedanta, Tantra and Shaivism etc. scriptures, a human body (Sharira) is composed of 3 layers –

                             Layers of body
  • Sthula Sharira (Physical/Gross Body)
  • Sukshma Sharira (Astral/Subtle Body)
  • Karan Sharira (Causal Body) 

These three bodies are gross divisions and broad classifications. Now we discuss the three bodies in short –

1. Sthula Sarira – It is the material physical body that eats, breathes and moves (acts). It is composed of 5 elements (space, air, fire, water, earth).Existence, birth, growth, modification, decay and death are the six qualities of the physical body.

2. Sukshma Sarira – It is thecfiner body that thinks, feels and does subtle activities. It is composed of the five subtle elements and mind. The subtle body contains nineteen instruments of experience – organs of action (hands, legs, speech, anus, genitals), organs of knowledge (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin), internal organs (mind, intellect, memory, ego), life-winds (Prana, Udana, Vyana, Samana, Apana Vayu).

3. Karana sarira – The causal body is merely the cause or seed of the subtle body and the gross body. It originates with “ignorance” or “nescience”. Swami Sivananda characterizes the causal body as “The beginningless ignorance that is indescribable”. The causal body is considered as the most complex of the three bodies. It contains the impressions of experience, which results from past experience.

All the 3 layers of body is a complex unit in itself. Each one of them have their own components and features. Physical body in known to the modern medical science to a great extent but the other two layers are accessible to Yogis only. Yogis of the past say that within our astral body we have Koshas, Pranas, Nadis, Chakra, Kundalini and Atman. They all together complete the whole existence of an individual. We will discuss them in the following blogs.

With Love and Gratefulness (Founder Rohit Kumar) 

Source – Ancient texts of Yoga, words of Swami Sivananda, Swami Satyananda, Swami Niranjanananda Sawaswati and personal study.

Hari Om Tat Sat!   

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