Our true nature is no doubt Brahman or Atman but what makes this Brahman/Atman create all the etherial subtle bodies?

If desire is the root cause for the formation of physical bodies (reincarnation), then what factor is responsible for the creation of subtle bodies?

2 Answers 2


All (Vedantic) Sampraydas Accept That Sutble Body or Sukshma Sharira is Anādi or Beginningless or Without a cause. Nobody caused it to happen, nobody created it, it’s without a beginning, though not eternal and can come to an end when you attain Moksha.

  • Welcome to Hinduism Stack Exchange! Cite some sources with your answer. Visit help center and linked Community FAQ to learn more.
    – Pandya
    Jan 18, 2023 at 15:38
  • Thanks. Jai Sri Ram.
    – Agent K
    Jan 25, 2023 at 13:39
  • @AgentK ... You said subtle bodies are not created and are beginningless, but as far as i know subtle bodies are created with pancha-mahabhutas and after moksha, these 5 elements again return to their source (prakriti). What do you have to say about this. Feb 3, 2023 at 16:58
  • Yes that is happening after every creation cycle. However our subtle bodies only turn into an unmanifested state after cycle of destruction. And in the cycle of creation they become manifested again. It’s all about manifesting and unmanifesting. It doesn’t mean it is created i.e. it doesn’t mean it didn’t exist before manifesting.
    – Agent K
    Feb 4, 2023 at 14:14
  • @AgentK Sorry for the late reply. You said before "nobody" caused subtle bodies to manifest. Could you please explain the "reason" behind its manifestation then? I mean, why do they manifest? What is the purpose behind it. Thanks. May 25, 2023 at 6:56

Your 2nd statement juxtaposed two different processes together and conflates two different ideas. As such you question assumes a false equivalency and is not logical.

Nevertheless, Brahma Sutras (https://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/brahma-sutras/d/doc63661.html Swami Vireshwarananda translator) says:

Chapter II, Section I, Adhikarana XI

Adhikarana summary: Brahman’s creation has no motive behind except a sportive impulse

Brahma-Sutra 2.1.32: Sanskrit text and English translation.

न प्रयोजनवत्त्वात् ॥ ३२ ॥

na prayojanavattvāt || 32 ||

na—Not; prayojanavattvāt—on account of having motive.

  1. (Brahman is) not (the creator of the world) on account of (every activity) having a motive.

Granting that Brahman possesses all powers for creation, a further objection is raised against Its being the cause. Nobody engages himself in anything without a motive or purpose. Everything is undertaken by people to satisfy .some desire. But Brahman is self-sufficient, therefore It has nothing to gain by the creation; hence we cannot expect It to engage Itself in such a useless creation. Therefore Brahman cannot be the cause of the world.

  Brahma-Sutra 2.1.33: Sanskrit text and English translation.

लोकवत्तु, लीलाकैवल्यम् ॥ ३३ ॥

lokavattu, līlākaivalyam || 33 ||

lokavat—As is seen in the world; tu—but; līlākaivalyam—mere pastime.

  1. But (Brahman’s creative activity) is mere pastime, as is seen in the world.

Even as kings without any motive behind are seen to engage in acts for mere pastime, or even as men breathe without a purpose, for it is their very nature, or even as children play out of mere fun, so also Brahman without any purpose engages Itself in creating this world of diversity. This answers the objection raised in the previous Sutra against Brahman’s being the cause of the world.

Further in Brahma Sutras it says:

Chapter II, Section III, Adhikarana XI

Adhikarana summary: The individual soul is permanent, eternal, etc.

Brahma-Sutra 2.3.17: Sanskrit text and English translation.

नात्मा, आश्रुतेर्नित्यत्वाच्च ताभ्यः ॥ १७ ॥

nātmā, āśruternityatvācca tābhyaḥ || 17 ||

na—Is not (produced); ātmā—the individual self; āśruteḥ—not being (so) mentioned by the scriptures; nityatvāt—being eternal; ca—also; tābhyaḥ—from them (Srutis);

  1. The individual self is not (produced), (for it is) not (so) mentioned by the scriptures ; also (on account of its) being eternal, (for so it is known) from them (the Sruti texts).

At the beginning of creation there was only “One Brahman without a second” (Ait. 1. 1), and so it is not reasonable to say that the individual soul is not born, for then there was nothing but Brahman. Again the Sruti says : “Just as from a fire tiny sparks fly in all directions, even so from this Atman emanate all Pranas (organs), all worlds, all gods, and all the selves” (Brih. 2. 1. 20, Madhyandina recension). So the opponent argues that the individual soul is born at the beginning of the cycle, just as Ak asa and other elements are born. This Sutra refutes it and says that the individual soul is not born, for there is no statement to that effect in the Sruti in the section dealing with creation. On the other hand Sruti texts clearly deny such birth to the individual soul. “Unborn, eternal” (Kath. 1. 2. 18); “This great birthless Self” (Brih. 4. 4. 25). It is the one Brahman without a second that enters the intellect and appears as the individual soul (Jiva). “Having created it, It entered into it” (Taitt. 2. 6). Hence as there is in reality no difference between the individual soul and Brahman, the fact of the Jiva’s being non-created does not contradict the text, “At the beginning there was only the Atman without a second” (Ait. 1. 1). The creation of souls spoken of in the other texts cited is only in a secondary sense. It does not therefore contradict the text, “Having created it, It entered into it.”

In the Vedanta Paribhasa of Dharmaraja Adhvarindra (translated by Swami Madhavananda), Chapter VII 'The Subject Matter of Vedanta', section 'Origin of the Various Worlds and Bodies' it reads:

Now, in the origination of the five subtle elements etc.(Refers to the five gross elements), the subtle body (Superior and inferior) consisting of seventeen components, and the gross body of Hiranyagarbha, God is the direct agent; while in the origination of all the rest of the universe He is such through the the medium of Hiranyagarbha and others. For the Sruti says, "Well, let Me enter these three deities (That is, the gross universe. Here Hiranyagarbha is identified with Viraj, who represents the sum total of all gross bodies.) as this individual self and manifest name and form." (Chandogya Upanishad VI. iii. 2).

Hiranyagarbha is the first individual to be born, and is different from the Trinity (brahma, Visnu, and Siva). (witness the Smriti text), "He indeed is the first embidied being. He indeed is called a person (purusa). He is the progenitor of beings. (That) Brahma appeared first of all (Siva-Purana V. I. viii., 22; Markandeya Purana XIV. 64; etc.). As also the Sruti text, "Hiranyagarbha appeared first of all," etc. (Rg Veda X.cxxi. 1; Vajasaneya Samhita XIII. 4; etc.).

Thus the projection of the elements and of things made up of the elements as been described.

  • So is this saying that subtle bodies are created at the beginning of each cycle? Feb 4, 2023 at 2:10
  • @SwamiVishwananda Try using a better literary source next time. The Brahma Sutra translation you used in your answer above, isn't the best source, because it inaccurately translates the word Atman as "soul". May 18, 2023 at 11:00
  • @SwamiVishwananda According to advaita, Atman is neither the soul nor the jiva ... True advaitins use the word SELF to address the ATMAN (the eternal pinch/drop of Brahman that animates our mortal existence) ... and they use the word soul to address the psyche (the three mental bodies, namely pranamaya, manomaya and vijnanamaya koshas that are made of the 5 pancha mahabhutas which unmanifests and return to its source Prakriti during Moksha and are therefore considered non-eternal). This should be the correct description. May 18, 2023 at 11:13
  • @SwamiVishwananda My question above is about the non-eternal psyche (which also goes by the name subtle body, sookshma sharira, antahkarana, jiva, soul etc.) ... And NOT about the eternal Self/Atman/Brahman ... Next time read questions properly before you rush to answer. May 18, 2023 at 11:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .