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Human body and its various subtle bodies

Modern science has gone in some depth into understanding the physical body. Yet its understanding of the other aspects of human existence is still very limited.

A living human being is made up of the following bodies.

1.      The gross body (sth?lad?ha)

2.      The vital body (pr??ad?ha)

3.      The mental body (manod?ha)

4.      The intellect or causal body (k?ra?d?ha)

5.      The subtle ego or supracausal body (mah?k?ra?d?ha)

6.      The soul or the God Principle in every human being (?tm?)

The physical body

This is the body that is best known to modern science. It comprises of the skeletal framework, muscles, tissues, organs, blood, 5 sense organs, etc.

4. The vital energy body

This is the body also known as the pranadeha. This body provides the vital, life sustaining energy for all the functions of the physical as well as the mental body. There are five types of vital energies or praana:

·         Pr?na: Energy for the activity of inhalation.

·         Ud?na: Energy for the activity of exhalation and speech.

·         Sam?na: Energy for the activity of the stomach and intestines.

·         Vy?na: Energy for voluntary and involuntary movements of the body.

·         Ap?na: Energy for urination, excretion, ejaculation, childbirth, etc.

At the time of death the vital energy is released back into the Universe and also helps in propelling the subtle body in its onward journey.


5. The mental body or the mind

The mental body or the mind is the seat of our feelings, emotions and desires. It carries in it countless number of impressions from this life and previous lives. It is made up of three parts:

·         The conscious mind: It is that part of our thoughts and feelings that we are aware of.

·         The sub-conscious mind: It contains all the impressions required to complete our destiny in our current lifetime. Thoughts from the sub-conscious mind sometimes emerge into the conscious mind from time to time either in response to some external stimulus or at time even without it.

·         The unconscious mind: This is the aspect of our mind that we are completely unaware of. This contains all the impressions that are associated with our accumulated account.

 6. The intellect

The causal body or the intellect body is the body which deals with the decision making process and reasoning ability.
The physical organ associated with the intellect body is the brain.


7. The subtle ego

The subtle ego or the supracausal body is the final vestige of the nescience and is the feeling that we are separate from God.

8. The soul

The soul is the God principle within us and is our true nature. It is the main component of the subtle body which is a fraction of the Supreme God Principle with the qualities of Absolute Truth (Sat), Absolute Consciousness (Chit) and Bliss (?nand). The soul is unaffected by the ups and downs in life and is in a perpetual state of Bliss. It looks at the ups and downs of life in the Great Illusion (Maya) with an observer stance. 

9. The subtle body

The subtle body is defined as that part of our being or consciousness that leaves our physical body at the time of physical death. It comprises of the mental body, the causal body or intellect, the supracausal body or subtle ego and the soul. What is left behind at the time of physical death is our physical body. The vital energy is released back into the Universe.

The following are some other aspects of the subtle body

·         Subtle sense organs: By subtle sense organs we mean the subtle aspect of our 5 sense organs by which we are able to perceive the subtle realm. For example we are able to perceive a subtle fragrance such as jasmine without there being any stimulus to cause it. Also the fragrance may only be experienced by one person and not by the others in the same room. This is explained in more detail. Also refer to our article on – What is sixth sense?

·         Subtle motor organs: By subtle motor organs we mean the subtle aspect of our physical motor organs such as our arms, tongue, etc. All activity is initiated first in subtle motor organs and then executed in the physical dimension by one’s gross motor organs.


10. Nescience

All the other aspects of our being other than the soul are part of the Great Illusion. It is called Nescience or Avidy? which when literally translated means absence of knowledge. The word Nescience stems from the fact that we identify ourselves with our gross body, mind and intellect and not with our true nature which is the soul or the God principle within us.


Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi