The scripture 'Vedanta Sara' states that, the subtle body houses the 5 subtle jnanendriyas, 5 subtle karmendriyas, manas, buddhi, chitta, ahamkara and also the 5 prana airs.

VS-77-87: These verses describe vital forces which differentiate Vedanta from Sankhya in respect of enumeration of subtle elements. "The five primary vital forces are responsible for 1. Breathing (Prana, प्राण), 2. Excretion & evacuation (Apana, अपान), 3. Circulation & coordination (Vyana, व्यान), 4. Passing off or death (Udana, उदान), and 5. Digestion & assimilation (Samana, समान). Sometimes five more (secondary) vital forces are conceived viz. 1' Vomiting (Naga, नाग), 2' Blinking (Kurma, कूर्म), 3' Hunger (Krukal, कृकल), 4' Yawning (Devadatta, देवदत्त), 5. Eating-drinking (Dhananjaya, धनंजय). The main vital forces are said to be made of Rajas particles of Tanmatras."


VS-88: These five prana airs or vital forces together with organs of actions (karmendriyas) constitute the "vital sheath" (Pranamaya Kosha, प्राणमय-कोश). Its active nature shows that it must be the product of particles of Rajas.


VS-89: Among these sheaths, the intelligent sheath (Vigyanamaya Kosha) is endowed with the power of knowledge (of agency), the mental sheath (Manomaya Kosha) is endowed with will-power or desire (of instrumentality), and the vital sheath (Pranamaya Kosha) is endowed with activity (of product). This division has been made according to their respective functions. These three sheaths (Koshas) together constitutes the subtle body.

Now the question is, does the subtle body carry the prana airs along with the mental imprints, once the physical body dies? ... Or does the prana airs gets absorbed in the atmosphere when the physical vessel falls dead?

Some believe that it gets absorbed in the atmosphere. If that is really the case then how does the subtle body like say of a yogi or a ghost function without the prana? I've read somewhere that great yogis can float around in subtle body. Same with ghosts. They too have a finer subtle like body.

If you check the quoted verses above then you'll notice that the pranas are needed for breathing purposes as well. So if the pranas are absorbed in the atmosphere after death, then how can a yogi or a ghost in the form of subtle body, breathe without the prana airs?

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    Generally death happens when the Prana gets disconnected from astral body and all our 49 vayus will be moving out of our body. When vayus are moving out of body, the life energy will be flowing downwards...out of all 49 vayus, Dhananjeya departs last. Dhananjeya is in Sahasra. After death, it decays the body and gets absorbed in atmosphere Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 12:51
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    But hinduism doesn't recognise anything called astral body. The 5 koshas are grouped into 3, namely gross, subtle and causal. Your answer seems to be from the yoga philosophical point of view, of which i have no idea, since im only familiar with advaita philosophy and not yoga philosophy. But still i can learn a thing or two from you ;) Vedanta normally speaks of 5 prana airs but sometimes 10 also ... But here you've said that there are 49. Can you explain (briefly) about them and what is the function of dhananjaya vayu? ... And why do you think the life energy (prana) flows downwards? Thnx. Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 13:03
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    -Dhananjeya vayu is inactive in ordinary humans. It has two functions. Decay the body at death but when that vayu is activated when alive and united with other 9 vayus, 10th gate of body opens and Atma exits via 10th gate and attains Moksha. Second at death all our vayus will be leaving us via 100 Nadi paths. At death mostly energy flows downwards more than during time of leaving. It will try to exit through 9 gates of body basically Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 13:20
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    Certain vayus/Nadis are inactive. 33 crore deity powers are in Cosmos and same powers exists within us as certain Nadis/Vayus. To trigger these inactive Vayus we have certain Mantras. Both beeja and deity moola mantra... Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 13:24
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    I've read somewhere that the ones who are sattvic or spiritually advanced their jivatmas (not Atman since Atman is universal and present everywhere) ... so yeah, their jivatmas leave the body through the openings of the eyes, skull, mouth ... but impure people's jivatma's leave through lower openings like genitals or anus. Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


First of all, VedAnta SAra (VS) is a Prakarana Grantha and not a scripture. It was authored by Paramahamsa ParivrAjak Shri SadAnanda Yogindra Saraswati. I have a hard copy of this book which has Amrita TikA (a commentary by SwAmi Amritatva Ananda).

Yes, the Pancha Pranas are part of the subtle body. So, they remain attached to it as long as the subtle body isn't destroyed. And, the subtle body isn't destroyed with death, it remains intact till liberation is achieved.

Sukshma linga sharirAntadA mokshadakshayam priye ||

O Beloved! The subtle Linga Sharira exists till liberation.

KulArnava Tantram 1.11

The subtle body is created from the "Apanchkrita" elements.

VS Sutra 62 says:

AvayavAh tu jyAnendriya panchakam buddhi manasi karmendriya panchakam vAyu panchakam cha iti ||

The five organs of knowledge, the five organs of actions, the five vital airs, mind and Buddhi -------- these 17 avayavas constitute the subtle body.

Previous Sutra says:

Sukshma sharirAni sapta dasha avayavAni linga sharirAni (61)||

The Linga Sarira comprised of the 17 avayavas is known as the Sukshma Sarira or the subtle body.

We should also see the Amrita TikA on VS 89. I am giving it in parts below:

Etat koshatrayam militam sath sukshma shariram iti uchyate || (89)

These three sheaths (VigyAnmaya, Manomaya and PrAnamaya) jointly constitute the subtle body.

Amrita TikA:

It quotes Chandogya Upanishad viz - "Sa yatha prayogya ... prAnoh yuktah" and says:

Just like the chariot is connected with the horses, likewise the PrAna gets connected with the body (so that the soul can enjoy the fruits of it's Karma) etc and that's why the Upanishad says PrAna to be KriyA Shakti-endowed. ... The sheaths Avayavas are 17 in number, if we count Chitta and AhamkAra separately, then 19 in number. This Sukshma Sarira leaves the gross body at death and enjoys/suffers at heaven/hell and again obtains (according to Karma) a gross body. This is Jiva ... As long as VAsanAs (desires) exist and the Jiva does not realize the Self, the subtle body exists. Due to the nature of Karma it gets births and deaths again and again..

So, for the Jiva to receive the fruits of it's Karma (in whichever Loka it is), the subtle body, connected with the PrAnas, is needed. So, the PrAnas must stay with the subtle body only even after death.

  • Somebody told me that the 5 pranas which are part of subtle body, gets absorbed in atmosphere, when the gross body dies ... But you're saying that even after the death of the physical body, the 5 prana vayus remain attached to the subtle body , right? Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 7:47
  • Also what is prakarana grantha. Sorry bro, i'm not a hindoo. And so i don't understand all words of sanskrit or hindi. Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 7:49
  • "Also what is prakarana grantha. Sorry bro, i'm not a hindoo" -- It's ok bro.. that is not a problem.. "But you're saying that even after the death of the physical body, the 5 prana vayus remain attached to the subtle body , right? " Yes bcoz the 5 pranas are part of the subtle body. @TheCrimsonUniverse
    – Rickross
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 7:53
  • Thanks @Rickross 😊Don't mind but Im looking forward to other people's opinions as well. Lets see what they have to say on this matter. If no one replies to this topic, then i'll choose your answer as the best one. 😉 Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 7:57
  • That's ok .. u shd wait for other answers.. @TheCrimsonUniverse
    – Rickross
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 7:59

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