What are Humans Comprised of?
By Expert Author: Sean M. Clarke
In this article we explain the composition of the human body and its various subtle bodies. Modern science has gone in some depth into understanding the physical body. However its understanding of the other aspects of human existence is still very limited. For example the understanding of the human psyche and intellect is still more or less limited to their physical aspects. However spiritual science has studied the entire human existence in great detail.
What are human beings comprised of as per spiritual science?
A living person is made up of the following bodies:
1. The Physical Body
This is the body that is best known to modern science. It comprises of the skeletal framework, muscles, tissues, organs, blood, 5 sense organs, etc.
2. The Vital Energy Body
This is the body also known as the Praandeha. This body provides the vital, life-sustaining energy for all the functions of the physical as well as the mental body. There are five types of vital energies or praana:
Praana: Energy for the activity of inhalation.
Udaana: Energy for the activity of exhalation and speech.
Samaana: Energy for the activity of the stomach and intestines.
Vyaana: Energy for voluntary and involuntary movements of the body.
Apaana: Energy for urination, excretion, ejaculation, childbirth, etc.
3. The Mental Body or the Mind
The Mental Body (Manodeha) or the Mind is the seat of our feelings, emotions and desires. It carries in it countless number of impressions from this life and previous lives. It is made up of three parts:
The conscious mind: It is that part of our thoughts and feelings that we are aware of.
The sub-conscious mind: It contains all the impressions required to complete our destiny (praarabdha) in our current lifetime.
The unconscious mind: This is the aspect of our mind that we are completely unaware of. This contains all the impressions that are associated with our accumulated account.
Sometimes we also refer to an aspect of the Mental Body as the Desires Body or Vaasanaadeha. This is the aspect of the mind that contains all the impressions of desires. The physical organ associated with the Mental Body is the brain.
4. The Intellect
The Causal Body (Kaaranadeha) or the Intellect Body is the body which deals with the decision making process and reasoning ability. The physical organ associated with the Intellect Body is the brain.
5. The Subtle Ego
The Subtle Ego or the Supracausal Body (Mahaakaaranadeha) is the final vestige of the nescience and is the feeling that we are separate from God.
6. The Soul
The Soul is the God principle within us and is our true nature. It is the main component of the subtle body which is a fraction of the Supreme God Principle with the qualities of Absolute Truth (Sat), Absolute Consciousness (Chit) and Bliss (Aanand). The Soul is beyond the 3 subtle basic components.
The subtle body
The Subtle Body is defined as that part of our being or consciousness that leaves our Physical Body at the time of physical death. It comprises of the Mental Body, the Causal Body or Intellect, the Supracausal Body or Subtle Ego and the Soul.
The following are some other aspects of the subtle body -
Subtle sense organs:
By subtle sense organs we mean the subtle aspect of our 5 sense organs by which we are able to perceive the subtle realm.
Subtle motor organs: By subtle motor organs we mean the subtle aspect of our physical motor organs such as our arms, tongue, etc. All activity is initiated first in subtle motor organs and then executed in the physical dimension by one’s gross motor organs.
The word Nescience or Avidyaa stems from the fact that we identify ourselves with our physical body, mind and intellect and not with our true nature which is the Soul or the God principle within us. The greatest attachment that each one has is for himself; that is his own mind and body. Even a slight discomfort or illness can make one unhappy; hence everyone should gradually become detached about oneself and accept pain and illness in one’s stride. This is of course with the inherent understanding that happiness and unhappiness in life is experienced primarily due to our destiny. Also that only by identifying with the Soul can we experience perpetual Bliss.
The Soul and Nescience together constitute the embodied soul. Nescience for a living person has twenty components in all - the Physical Body, five subtle sense organs, the five subtle motor organs, the five vital energies, the conscious mind, the Chitta, the Intellect Body and the ego. Since the functions of the components of the subtle body go on continuously, the attention of the embodied soul is drawn to them instead of the soul, that is away from spiritual knowledge to Nescience.