Elements about the Subtle Bodies
The vehicles of the divine immortal Spirit (ATMAN) that, during the manifestation and the organisation of the human being, enable the spiritual evolution and, in the end, through transcendence, lead to the supreme liberation, are the following 3 fundamental bodies:
- the coarse physical body (STHULA SHARIRA)
- the astral or subtle body (LINGA SHARIRA or SUKSHMA SHARIRA)
- the causative body (KARANA SHARIRA)
The coarse physical body is made of 5 energetic elements (TATTVA-s). These are:
- the telluric energy (PRITHITATTVA, which is controlled through MULADHARA CHAKRA)
- the energy of water (APAS TATTVA, which is controlled through SWADHISTHANA CHAKRA)
- the energy of fire (TEJAS TATTVA, which is controlled through MANIPURA CHAKRA)
- the energy of air (VAYU TATTVA, which is controlled through ANAHATA CHAKRA)
- the energy of subtle ether (AKASHA TATTVA, which is controlled through VISHUDDHA CHAKRA)
The physical body is the one that sustains our life in the physical plane, but it is transient, passing through different stages of existence: birth, growth, decline (degeneration) and death.
The astral or subtle body is made of 19 principles and they are:
- the organ of evacuation (the anus), which is closely related to MULADHARA CHAKRA
- the organs of reproduction (sexual) which are closely related to SWADHISTHANA CHAKRA
- the organs of locomotion (the legs), which are closely related to MANIPURA CHAKRA
- the hands, which are closely related to ANAHATA CHAKRA
- the mouth (the vocal cords), which are closely related to VISHUDDHA CHAKRA
- the sense of smell, which is closely related to MULADHARA CHAKRA
- the sense of taste, which is closely related to SWADHISTHANA CHAKRA
- the sense of sight, which is closely related to MANIPURA CHAKRA
- the sense of touch, which is closely related to ANAHATA CHAKRA
- the sense of hearing, which is closely related to VISHUDDHA CHAKRA
- APANA VAYU, which is controlled through MULADHARA CHAKRA
- VYANA VAYU, which is controlled through SWADHISTHANA CHAKRA
- SAMANA VAYU, which is controlled through MANIPURA CHAKRA
- PRANA VAYU, which is controlled through ANAHATA CHAKRA
- UDANA VAYU, which is controlled through VISSHUDHA CHAKRA.
The astral body also comprises ANTAHKARANA (or the specific inner instrument), which is made of: the inferior mind (MANAS), the intellect (the superior mind, the intelligence – BUDDHI), the subconscious (CITTA) and the ego (AHAMKARA). All these are the 4 specific instruments of the consciousness.
Their distinctive functions are the following:
- the mind (MANAS) thinks and often has doubts about the surrounding reality. Example: “Is this a flower?”, “Is this gold?”
- the intellect or intelligence (BUDDHI) analyses and determines, through connections or objective correlations, the true nature of a certain object that is to be known.
- the subconscious (CITTA); all the states and experiences of the particular human being are accumulated in the sphere of the subconscious. Therefore, the subconscious contains all the experiences and emotions of that human being, which have been accumulated during this present life and during all the previous ones.
- the ego (AHAMKARA) (whose main focus of manifestation in the being is MANIPURA CHAKRA) states: “I know” or “I don’t know”. Always, the ego is the one who identifies, without even realising it, with all the thoughts that are produced or appear in the mind. Example: a powerful thought of joy/sadness appears in the mind and it generates an instantaneous state of resonance with the subtle energies of the joy/sadness in the Macrocosm. When this state of joy/sadness becomes significant, because of the described resonance process, the ego is the one who makes the affirmation: “I am very happy/sad”, because it captures all these energies.
The causative body is the body of the causes or of the seeds. It is called causative body because it is always the cause of the physical or coarse body and of the subtle or astral body. The subtle or astral body and the causative body are permanent; they exist and act together.
The 3 fundamental bodies (the physical (coarse) body, the astral (subtle) body and the causative body) contain the 5 sheaths, which are called KOSHAS in the yoga tradition:
- THE PHYSICAL (coarse) BODY (STHULA SHARIRA) contains ANNAMAYA KOSHA (KOSHA – sheath, ANNA – food, ANNAMAYA – of the food), the illusory sheath that results from the food that was ingested and assimilated by the human being. The physical body is composed, in general, of 16 coarse (physical) elements, which are, in fact, metals or metalloids.
- THE ASTRAL (subtle) BODY (SUKSHMA SHARIRA) contains 3 sheaths: 1) PRANAYAMA KOSHA (the ethereal or vital sheath), 2) MANOMAYA KOSHA (the mental – emotional sheath) and 3) VIJNANAMAYA KOSHA (the intellectual sheath or the sheath of the intelligence). THE ASTRAL WISH, specific to the astral body, leads to all the subtle or elevated forms of states or vibrations. The astral being enjoys, often, the sublime and ethereal music of the spheres, an overwhelming, endless love, the fascinating diaphanous show of the astral creation, which takes place in an amazing freedom and abundance, in an infinite diversity of the subtle and luminous rays. IT TASTES, BREATHS or ECSTATICALLY TOUCHES THE LIGHT. The astral wish is also, closely related to the faculty or the capacity of the astral being to create all the objects as wonderful forms of light, diversely coloured or as projections – condensations of all the dreams, aspirations and thoughts. In the astral world, the subtle possibility to concretise or to project all the thoughts and wishes into exterior forms of light can manifest freely.
- THE CAUSATIVE BODY (KARANA SHARIRA) contains ANANDAMAYA KOSHA (the sheath of the divine beatitude). In the human being, ANANDAMAYA KOSHA is closely related to SAHASRARA. The causative body is made of ideas. The causative being “LIVES” and moves in the amazingly grandiose, extremely subtle and beatific sphere of the pure ideas. The causative body serves as the fundamental matrix for the 35 ideas – force, which constitute, in fact, this body. THE CAUSATIVE WISH, specific to the causative body, is satisfied especially through supra-mental perception or profound, elevated contemplation. The being, who is almost entirely spiritually liberated and who has only got the causative body as exterior cover, sees and identifies, almost completely, with the entire universe, as the supreme mental objectivation of the sister ideas – force, of the ABSOLUTE CREATOR; the causative being can “materialise” absolutely anything in the astral world simply through an instantaneous act of supreme will and thinking. That’s why, even the endless astral happiness appears as quite rough to these astral beings, extremely developed spiritually. The astral being exhausts her wishes instantaneously, manifesting or objectifying at once the phenomenon, the object or the aspect she aspires at, through a fast act of supreme will and thinking. The causative being, who has got as cover only the ultra – refined veil of the causative body, IS EASILY CAPABLE TO MANIFEST AND GIVE LIFE EVEN TO PHYSICAL OR ASTRAL UNIVERSES, FOLLOWING THE DIVINE EXAMPLE OF THE ABSOLUTE CREATOR. Because the structure of any manifested world is the illusory cosmic dream, the divine spirit, who has only the fine causative veil as body, possesses an IMENSE AND AMAZING CREATIVE POWER AFTER THE MODEL OF THE ABSOLUTE, INFINITE AND ALMIGHTY SPIRIT OF GOD.