Saturday, 27 February 2016

Sareera thriam - Three bodies

Tattva Bodha-2

Each and every individual has three bodies; gross, subtle and causal i.e. sthula, sukshma and karana sareeras. Sthula sareera is visible to oneself as well as to others.  Sukshma sareera is not visible to onself but one is conscious of it and it is known to him but it is neither visible nor known to others. Karana sarrera is not known or visible either to oneself or to others. Now we shall see each one of them in detail.

Sthula sareera:  

It is made out of gross elements of Pancha bhuthas i.e. space, air, fire, water and earth.  This can be seen from a few instances. The body is sustained by food from the earth and also it needs minerals like sodium and pottassium in the body for survival.  The water in the body gives it the shape. The fire in the body keeps the body temperature at 98.4 F in all environs. The air in the body helps blood circulation and the space in the body allows intake of food and water. This is the general common cause for all bodies.  But there is a special cause, visesha karanam, which is unique for each individual body and varies from individual to individual, which is Purva janma karma. The physical body in human form is itself acquired as a result of Punya karmas in the past.

This body serves as a temporary abode for Jiva for all interactions with the outside world and is a counter for experiencing pleasure, pain etc. This is the one anatomically analysed and described. It can be broadly divided into head, trunk, hands and legs. It houses the golakams, the visible external part of the physical organs. This body is subject to shad vikaras, six modifications. They are:

  1. Asti (potential existence) - In the womb it exists as a foetus.
  2. Jayate (birth)  - After the gestation period it emerges to experience the outer world as child.
  3. Vardhte (grows) - It grows in height and weight for a time
  4. Viparinamate (matures) - After adolescence, it stops growing structurally and only undergoes minor structural modifications, functioning in its peak vitality.
  5. Apakshiyate (decays) - After middle age the joints weaken, limbs ache, hair whitens/falls, skin wrinkles and there is decline in all functions.
  6. Vinasyati (dies) - the decline culminates in death, when the body disintegrates into the constituent elements.
Sukshma Sareera:

The general common cause is the subtle elements of Pancha bhutas.  The special cause is Purva janma karma. While the sthula sareera houses the external and internal gross physiological systems, the sukshma sareera, is the counterpart that performs all physiological functions and operates the jnanendriyas and karmendriyas.  For instance for the ear the golakam is in the sthula sareera and the hearing power operates from sukshma sareera so much so the golakam will stand as an ornamental piece only if the hearing power does not operate.  The sthula sareera will die when the sukshma sareera leaves it. So while sthula sareera is called भोगायतनं ( bhogayatanam) i.e. abode of experiences, the sukshma sareera is called  भोगसधनम् (bhoga sadhanam) i.e. instruments for the experience.  Sukshma sareera is also subject to change but it enjoys a longer life than sthula sareera as sukshma sareera is dissolved only in pralaya or at the time of Videha Mukthi.
The constituents of sukshma sareera are nineteen in number.  They are the five jnanendriyas (organs of perception), five karmendriyas (organs of action), five pranas, and the four constituents of Anthakarana. These organs represent the invisible subtle part that is the energy behind the physical anatomical organs called golakams and they operate in their respective fields only. The five jnanendriyas are:

  1. Ear - the field of experience is reception of sound 
  2. Eye - the field of experience is perception of forms and colours 
  3. Tongue - the field of experience is cognition of taste
  4. Nose - the field of experience is cognition of smell
  5. Skin - the field of experience is cognition of touch 
The five karmendriyas are:
  1. Tongue/Mouth - function is speech
  2. Hands - function is to grasp things
  3. Legs - function is locomotion
  4. Anus/Excretory organ - function is elimination of waste products
  5. Genitals - function is pleasure/procreation
From the above it can be seen that jnanendriyas are input organs and karmendriyas are output organs.  Let me remind once again that what is referred to here is only the functioning capacity behind the organs and not these organs as seen from outside. Those organs die with sthula sareera while these interior powers survive with sukshma sareera but their new powers will depend upon the new body acquired through karma phala.
Prana means the life force and here it means the energy generating system for the manifold functions of the body. It is generally divided into five pranas   Tattva Bodha does not enumerate them but Swami Paramatmananda has enumerated the main five pranas in his talks on Tattva-Bodha.  They are:
  1. Prana - respiratory system
  2. Apana - evacuavatory system
  3. Vyana - circulatory system
  4. Samana - digestive system 
  5. Udhana - reversing system, which functions in emergency only, to throw out toxins in the internal system and at the time of death to enable sukshma sareera to pack up and part with the sthula sareera
Vedanta-sara of Sadananda lists five more pranas as enumerated by Sankhyas which are classified only as Upa-pranas by some Vedantins:
  1. Naga - vomiting
  2. Kurma - opening and shutting of eye-lids
  3. Krukala - hunger
  4. Devadutta - yawning
  5. Dhananjaya - General arogya of the body

Anthakaranam is not discussed at this stage in the text.  Here also only two constituents are mentioned.  While discussing  Srishti (creation) anthakaranam is fully discussed.     Anthakaranam, the inner equipment, is a continuous flow of thought modifications (vritti) and it is classified into four according to the different function it performs.  It is like the same person being called singer, when he sings and dancer when he dances. We shall see it in its four roles briefly.  It receives the sense perceptions, cognises them on the basis of previous experiences and commands the senses to respond. It does not contact the external world directly by itself and the senses also cannot function without the intervention of the anthakaranam.  The four classifications are:
  1.  Manas, the mind, the emotional, doubting faculty
  2.  Buddhi, the intellect, the rational, deciding faculty
  3. Chitham, the memory. the recollecting, reflecting faculty
  4. Ahamkara, the ego, the 'I' notion

Karana Sareera

Karana sareera, the causal body, is the seat of all vasanas and is also the seed of the other two bodies. Swami Sivananda describes it as  "The beginningless ignorance that is indescribable" The text defines it as
अनिर्वाच्य अनादि अविध्या रूपं शरीरद्वयस्य कारणमात्रम् सत्स्वरूपाऽज्ञानं निर्विकल्पकरूपं यदस्ति तत्कारणशरीरम् (anirvachya anadhi avidhya rupam sareera dwayasya karanamatram satsvarupa ajnanam nirvikalpakarupam yadasthi tat karana sareeram)
That which is inexplicable, beginning-less, in the form of ignorance, the sole cause of the two bodies, ignorant of one's own true nature, free from duality - is the causal body
It is beginningless and it survives pralayam also but it comes to an end in videha mukthi. As it has no parts it is nirvikalpaka rupam. Ignorance of a thing one can state whether it exists or not.  But pure ignorance itself one cannot.  So it is neither sat nor asat, and is inexplicable. In short causal body is the one in the form of ignorance, which is inexplicable, which is beginning-less, which veils the Real nature of Self, which is the cause of the other two bodies and which has no parts. 

1 comment:

  1. Ahter CHATHUSHTAYAM, it is GREAT THRAYAM-nice explanation-- next is it something DHWAYAM?