Sharing my knowledge about Vedanta – Suksma Sarira

Bhoga-ayatanam and bhoga-sadhanam (instrument of experience)

The stula-sarira (gross body) is called ‘Bhoga-ayatanam’, which means ‘Counter of experiences’, while the suksma-sarira is called ‘bhoga-sadhanam’, which means ‘the instrument of experience’.

The subtle body, which is made up of the senses, the mind and the intellect, is the instrument through which an individual comes to know joy and sadness.

Living in the stula-sarira, one uses the suksma-sarira to experience the world of objects.

Manas and buddhi (Mind and intellect)

‘Manas’ is the mind, it has a continuous stream of various thoughts before making a decision, like whether to do this or not. Whether to do this or that? Emotions and memory or ‘chitta’ are also an aspect of manas/mind.

‘Buddhi’ is the faculty of deciding. It is the faculty of inference, logical, analytical, critical reasoning before deciding, also called intellect. Ahankara-Ego also belongs to buddhi.

Just as memory is the aspect of ‘manas’, ‘consciousness’, which has the innate sense of right and wrong, is also an aspect of buddhi/intellect.

Brain and antah-karana (subtle body)

The brain is a part of the sthula-sarira (gross body). It is a physical organ and is not part of the suksma-sarira.

Antah-karana, which is made up of 17 limbs (which are subtle and not sense objects – 5 organs of perception, 5 organs of action, 5 pranas, mind and intellect) uses the brain as a tool to experience the outer world of objects.

Manonmaya-kosa and vijnanamaya-kosa

‘Kosa’ means ‘sheath’ something that is veiled or protected from reaching.

Manonmaya-kosa and vijnanamaya-kosa behave as sheaths that protect the ‘Self-Atman’.

The sthula-sarira (dense body) is Annamaya-kosa – food sheath.

The suskma-srira (subtle body) is divided into three kosas. Pranamaya-kosa, Manonmaya-kosa and vijnanamaya-kosa.

Pranamaya-kosa (consists of 5 pranas) is endowed with the power to act and is called ‘kriyasaktiman’

Manonmaya-kosa constitutes the organs of perception (also called jananendriyas, listed below) and manas, endowed with the power to desire and therefore referred to as ‘ichhasaktiman’

ear (srotram) – hear
Eye (cakush) – see
Nose (ghrana) – smell
Skin (tvak)-touch
Tongue (rasana) – to taste

and vijnanamaya-kosa constitutes the organs of perception and buddhi, endowed with the power of knowledge and referred to as ‘jananasaktiman’

The organs of perception are common to both manonmaya kosa and vijanamaya kosa because the perceptual knowledge obtained through the organs of perception is vital to the functioning of both manonmaya and vijanamaya kosas.

Visva and taijasa

Visva is the awakened experience of the external world of objects (Jagrud state). (Due to identification with the dense body).

Taijasa is the dreaming ego state in the dream state where the subtle body projects its own world (svapna state) and feels part of it. (Due to identification with the subtle body)

Sankaracharya defines the dream state as “the world that is perceived during sleep, born from the impressions of what was experienced in the waking state.”


Panca prana is part of the 17 limbs of the subtle body, suksma-sarira. They are: (PASVU) (I remember it as PASU with V before U)

Prana – controls breath – breathing

Apana – controls excretion – waste removal

Samana – supports digestion and assimilation
Vyana – controls circulation and nutrition of cells

Udana – reverse actions (can also be called as going up)

The term prana is a collective term for all pranas and the first prana

linga sarira

Suksma-sarira, also called the subtle body, is also called linga-sarira. ‘Linga’ means ‘root’ or ‘pointer’ in Sanskrit.

All 17 components of the suksma-sarira are inert (still/immobile) and rudimentary tanmantras. But they seem to be endowed with the power to know and have the strength to act as if they had been borrowed from elsewhere. The borrowed intelligence and strength to act of these susma-sarira indicates the existence of the Self, which alone has lent them Existence and consciousness.

Since the functioning of the suksma-sarira indicates the presence of Atman, it is the pointer and is called ‘linga-sarira’


Svapna-avastha is a state where the dreamer can experience a world in a different realm totally different from the waking state. The individual feels that he is part of that world when he is in that realm.

The experiences (not the sensual ones, only the ones we hear and see) obtained during the waking state are stored in the form of vasanas. The subtle body based on the experiences in the waking state creates this world in the dream state that the mind projects to them. These are thought projections and have no valid external reality. When one wakes up from this dream state, he realizes that they are not true.

Similarly, we are all in the state of long sleep and can only truly wake up when we realize the Self in us. This existence in this realm is making us believe that everything is real. All this is created by our mind like a dream and we think that this life is real.

The 17 members of the suksma-sarira

Suksma-sarira are rudimentary elements bypassing pancikarana, it is called suksma-sarira – subtle body.

Is it so:

5 jnanendriyas – 5 organs of perception – ear, nose, eyes, tongue and skin.

5 karmendriyas – 5 organs of action – speech, hand, leg, anus and genital

5 pranas: prana, apana, samana, vyana, udana

manas-mind (includes emotion and memory)

buddhi – intellect (includes reasoning, decision-making, and awareness)

Atma Bodha explains:

During sleep, the mind is active and we experience the dream from the unsatisfied desires, passions that the mind carries when we go to sleep. When we wake up, we realize that it was just a dream.

Whereas we experience bliss during deep sleep because the mind and intellect are not connected with external objects at that time and therefore the ‘Self’ is not identified with anything. There are no likes and dislikes and the intellect does not make any decisions during sleep. The ‘Self’/Atman is in close alignment with the ‘Brahman’ in deep sleep. There is no identification with the gross body and the objects of the senses.

The ‘Avidya’-‘Spiritual Ignorance’ does not allow us to understand that all life is also a dream and that the world is nothing but ‘Maya’. One has to wake up to realize that I am the ‘I’ separated from the body, mind and intellect (BMI EGO), a reflective half of the self. The ‘Self’ lights up depending on the media used. Due to the reflection of the ‘Self’ by the EGO, sufferings are caused. The removal of this EGO is Vidya/Spiritual Knowledge. This result is the merging of the personality into One Pure Consciousness both inside and outside of us.

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