Subtle Body


In the Eastern religions (Jainism, Hinduism) and in the Hatha yoga and Tantra teachings the human being consists of three bodies and 5 sheaths:

  1. 'Gross' physical body - "Sthula Sharira":
    • 1. Annamaya Kosha  (matter sheath, foodstuffs sheath)
  2. Subtle body - "Sukshma Sharira":
    • 2. Pranamaya Kosha  (energies sheath, vital forces, life-breath, prana)
    • 3. Manomaya Kosha  (mind sheath, temper, senses, ego )
    • 4. Vijnanamaya Kosha  (wisdom sheath, intellectual sheath, sheath of knowledge, understanding )
  3. Causal body (formless) - "Karana Sharira":
    • 5. Anandamaya Kosha  (bliss sheath ).

The sheaths are not separate entities, but they represent different expressions of one and the same being. They are inseparable interwoven and penetrating each other. They are one. Simultaneously, each of the sheaths belongs to a corresponding world which has its corresponding vibration. The material body belongs to the physical world and is unable to see the higher levels, even though it is pervaded by them.


Buddhism also teaches of three body (Trikayas):

Nirmanakaya · created body which manifests in time and space ("Sthula Sharira")
Sambogakaya · body of mutual enjoyment which is a body of bliss ("Sukshuma Sharira")
Dharmakaya · Truth body which embodies the very principle of enlightenment and knows no limits or boundaries ("Karana Sharira")

Western Esoteric

In spiritual views of the West, the human body is composed of various components. Shown in simplified form, these are:

Physical body
Etheric body · matrix of the physical body
Astral body · emotions, feelings, desires, emotions
Mental body · mind, will, thoughts, ideas

Other consciousness carriers is the causal body (spiritual body) with deed, event, cause as an attribute and the wisdom mind or Buddhial body, the soul, the principles.

Beyond them is only the pure and boundless consciousness, the pure and absolute being, the unrecognised Divine unity, the ground of all being, the non-dualistic consciousness. It is not subjected to the time, space and causality.

The same Eineinordnung is also available in other Western traditions:

Christianity speaks of the existence of a physical body (Sthula Sharira), a ghost (Sukshuma Sharira) and a soul (Karana Shraira).

The Kabbalah of the mystical tradition of Judaism speaks of Nefesh (Sthula Sharira), Ruach (Sukshuma Sharira) and Neshama (Karana Shraira).

… Prana

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