Causal Body is ignorance as per Advaita.

Here's an article i came across that was posted on an advaita website. Here's the link- Article no. 1. There it's mentioned that causal body does not reside within us and yet it has been called a body by Shankaracharya, because as per Shankara, a body is that which dies. Just like the flesh body dies, the same way thru knowledge, ignorance or avidya also dies and so in that sense, he calls it a body, but at the same time the author of the article says that causal body doesn't reside within us like how the subtle body resides. So I guess as per this article it's like an energy existing or floating all around us, but not within us as a separate body.

Then in another article the following has been said about the causal body-

Before creation the Subtle and Gross Bodies exist as seed form or unmanifested form in the Causal Body, and during creation they manifest. During creation (srishti), the Subtle and Gross Bodies arise from the Causal Body, and during dissolution (Pralaya), they go back into the Causal Body . . . Matter can never be produced or destroyed. Matter always exists. So before creation too the Subtle and Gross Bodies must have existed in potential form. That potential form is called the Causal Body.
The Causal Body has got the longest life compared to the other two bodies. Even the Subtle Body gets dismantled during dissolution (Pralaya), but the Causal Body continues even after the dissolution of the universe. Here's the link- Article no. 2

Now according to this article, the description of causal body is similar to Mula Prakriti, which is the Avyakta or the Asat from which all manifests and in the end during annihilation, all is pulled back into it and stays in unmanifested state.

So what exactly is Causal body as per ADVAITA?

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    Each of us has a causal body OUTSIDE us, not WITHIN us. US = SOULS. Souls have bodies covering them. Souls don't have bodies inside them.
    – ram
    Aug 20, 2018 at 18:53
  • @ram, Thanks for replying. By within, i meant, within our flesh body and not within our soul ... So is there a covering of causal body outside the Atman and inside the flesh body as per Advaita? Aug 21, 2018 at 9:19
  • 1
    There's no need to put tag name in the title. We have tags for that. Sep 1, 2018 at 17:40

1 Answer 1


Paingala Upanishad Adhyaya II:

Paiṅgala again addressed Yājñavalkya thus: "How did Īśvara, who is the creator, preserver, and destroyer and the Lord of all the worlds, acquire the state of Jīva?" To which Yājñavalkya replied: "I shall tell in detail the nature of Jīva and Īśvara, together with a description of the origin of the gross, subtle, and kāraṇa (causal) bodies. Hear attentively with one-pointed mind.

"Īśvara having taken a small portion of the quintuplicated mahā-bhūtas, (the great elements), made in regular order the gross bodies, both collective and segregate. The skull, the skin, the intestines, bone, flesh, and nails are of the essence of pṛthivī. Blood, urine, saliva, sweat and others are of the essence of āpas. Hunger, thirst, heat, delusion, and copulation are of the essence of agni. Walking, lifting, breathing and others are of the essence of vāyu. Passion, anger, etc., are of the essence of ākāś. The collection of these having touch and the rest is this gross body that is brought about by karma, that is the seat of egoism in youth and other states and that is the abode of many sins. Then He created prāṇas out of the collective three parts of Rajas-essence of the fivefold divided elements. The modifications of prāṇa are prāṇa, apāna, vyāna, udāna, and samāna; nāga, karma, kṛkara, devadatta and dhanañjaya are the auxiliary prāṇas. (Of the first five), the heart, anus, navel, throat and the whole body are respectively the seats. Then He created the karmendriyas out of the fourth part of the Rajas-guṇa. Of 'Olds' and the rest the mouth, legs, hands, and the organs of secretion and excretion are the modifications. Talking, walking, lifting, excreting, and enjoying are their functions. Likewise out of the collective three parts of Sattva-essence, He created the antaḥkaraṇa (internal organ). Antaḥkaraṇa, manas, buddhi, citta, and ahaṅkāra are the modifications. Saṅkalpa (thought), certitude, memory, egoism, and anusandhāna (inquiry) are their functions. Throat, face, navel, heart, and the middle of the brow are their seats. Out of the (remaining) fourth part of Sattva-essence, He created the jñānendriyas (organs of sense). Ear, skin, eyes, tongue, and nose are the modifications. Sound, touch, form, taste, and odour are their functions. Dik (the quarters), Vāyu, Arka (the sun), Varuṇa, Aśvini Devas, Indra, Upendra, Mṛtyu (the God of death), Prajāpati, the Moon, Viṣṇu the four-faced Brahma and Śambhu (Śiva) are the presiding deities of the organs. There are the five kośas (sheaths), viz., annamaya, prāṇamaya, manomaya, vijñānamaya, and ānandamaya. Annamaya sheath is that which is created and developed out of the essence of food, and is absorbed into the earth which is of the form of food. It alone is the gross body. The prāṇas with the karmendriyas (organs of action) is the prāṇamaya sheath. Manas with the jñānendriyas (organs of sense) is the manomaya sheath. Buddhi with the jñānendriyas is the vijñānamaya sheath. These three sheaths constitute the liṅgaśarīra (or the subtle body). (That which tends to) the ajñāna (ignorance) of the Reality (of Ātmā) is the ānandamaya sheath. This is the kāraṇa body. Moreover the five organs of sense, the five organs of action, the five prāṇas and others, the five ākāś and other elements, the four internal organs, avidyā, passion, karma, and Lamas—all these constitute this town (of body).

Anandmaya Kosh resides in Causal body (Karana Sharira). Causal body needs bliss or peace which it gets from Anandmaya Kosh. Karana Sharira or Causal body is the map template which is the sole cause for the gross and subtle bodies in the future birth of the soul that is not liberated or detached from the causal body. Karana Sharira controls the formation and growth of the other two bodies, and determine every aspect of the next birth.

Karana Sharira is the doorway to the higher consciousness. It is associated with the state of dreamless sleep and samadhi. It links individual consciousness with the collective consciousness. Experiences (samskaras) from our past lives are stored in the causal body, it carries the information and knowledge acquired during the previous births. The attachment of Maya and intense desires for the worldly objects and pleasures, called “vasanas” also go along with Karana Sharira.

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    Avoid answering pure copy paste. Add some of your own contents as well
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Aug 20, 2018 at 14:59
  • As per vedanta or advaita philosophy, its the subtle body which is the storehouse of the samskaras & memories and not the causal body. Even though you've quoted from the upanishads, which is actually vedanta itself (end of the vedas), but this very belief that latent expressions are stored in causal body is probably accepted by the yoga school of philosophy and not by the advaita school. And since i'm studying advaita ATM, i wish to know the beliefs of the advaitins. Aug 21, 2018 at 10:28
  • I don't have any problem taking my beliefs from the Yoga school. Because the dissection of the human bodies mainly come from Yoga.
    – user9072
    Aug 22, 2018 at 4:22

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