“Everyone in this world has four types of bodies – Sthoola Shareera – the physical body; Sookshma Shareera – the subtle body; Ati Sookshma Shareera – the higher subtle body; and Para Sookshma Shareera – the omnipresent supersubtle body.
Sthoola Shareera is the physical body which anyone can see. Right now, I am not in my physical body, but in the Sookshma Shareera (subtle body) which is beyond the physical.
In My Sookshma Shareera, I can move to any part of the world without taking any time. In My Ati Sookshma Shareera, I enter the dreams and meditations of people and guide them. In Para Sookshma Shareera, I am present in every atom. At this point of time, you are in your physical body and if you are in a room, you cannot
see what is outside, since there is a wall in between. But Sookshma Shareera is not bound by Desha, Kala and Paristhiti (space, time and circumstances) and therefore cannot be seen with physical eyes.”
Swami revealed this to Madhusudhan “I will be in this Subtle Form, which is just like the physical form, without flesh and bones.” He declared that “My mission is not yet over, Keep yourself selfless and pure so I may use you all as my instruments, I do not have a body but I shall use your bodies to do My work. Your hands shall be My hands, your feet shall be My feet, your words shall be My words and your actions shall be My actions. Be selfless. Glorious times are ahead when the whole world will become Saimayam (filled with Sai). Soon I will be back in another Physical form as Prema Sai who will further guide you all and continue the work.” Download PDF
“One has to understand the implications of oneness with the Divine. One desires to merge in God and achieve liberation. How is this to be secured? God is formless. He is the source of all energy. He is effulgent. Eight kinds of potencies have been attributed to God. He is the source of all sound, all motion, all light, all speech, all bliss, all excellence, all illusion, and all prosperity. How is one to realize such an omnipotent Divinity? Water can integrate with water. Air can combine with air. Fire can merge with fire. As God is formless, to become one with God we have to become formless. What does this imply? It means that we have to get rid of the attachment to the body. This is achieved through meditation. While retaining attachment to the body one cannot hope to achieve oneness with God merely by praying for it. You have to become formless to realize the formless Divine.” – SS August 1997 P 199
Source: quote from A Compendium of the Teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Swami has already answered some of these spiritual questions put forth to him by earnest seekers in the form of Q&A Series known as Sathya Sai Baba Prashnottara Vahini
Q. Instead of considering this human body, constituted in this manner by the elements as a single unit, the Vedanthins say there are many units in it! Is that true?
A. There are not “many”, but three. Some say, there are four!
Q. Oh! What are they? What are they called? The third and the fourth?
A. Sthula deha (the gross body), Sukshma deha (the subtle body) and Kaarana deha (the causal body). Some aver that there is a fourth called, Maha Kaaranadeha (the Super-Causal Body) also.
Q. What exactly is meant by Sthula deha, the gross body?
A. It means the body constituted of the 25 elemental principles mentioned by me already.
Q. What then is the Sukshma body?
A. The 5 Jnanendriyas, the 5 Than-Maathras, the 5 Praanas, the Manas and the Buddhi – these 17 categories combine to constitute the subtle body.
Q. Is this called Sukshma deha only or has it any other appellation too?
A. Why should it not have? It has. It is known also as Thaijasa.
Q. And is it marked off as belonging to any state or Avastha?
A. Yes, it is.
Q. And what is the name of that?
A. The Dream State.
Q. Do you mean to say that the Gross Body has no state assigned to it?
A. Of course, it has.
Q. Tell me the name of that state.
A. That is the wakeful state, the Jaagrath.
Q. What is the Causal, the Kaarana deha?
A. There, the Chiththam or Consciousness is in association with the Knower, the Knowing Principle, the Jnaatha.
Q. What is it known as?
A. The Praajna.
Q. And the state?
A. The state is Sushupthi, Deep Sleep.
Q. Tell me also, what they mean by the Super-Causal Body, the fourth.
A. The Pure Consciousness unmixed with any Thathwa or elemental principle, the Witness Eternal, the Self Luminous. They refer to it as the Maha Kaarana Deha.
Q. Has it a name, like the rest?
A. It is known as Hiranyagarbha.
Q. And the state?
A. It is stateless, it is beyond all states of consciousness and so it is described as A-kshara Purusha.
Consciousness does not conform to scientific principles or human perceptions of physical space, time and matter.
The external world termed as Prapancha is made of five elements e.g. Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Sound (in order from gross to subtle) and cognised by the five human senses comprising of sight, smell, sound, taste and touch. Sookshma Prapancha termed as ‘subtle world’ or ‘subtle dimension’ is beyond the understanding of the five senses, mind and intellect. In my humble opinion, Swami gave us a hint to think and grow beyond physical dimension by changing the universal Vedic prayer from ‘Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu‘ to ‘Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavanthu‘ some time back. No one questioned Swami (including those who doubt the Subtle form now) about why we are praying for those Lokas (other planes of existence) which can’t be seen with our physical eyes.
Just as we need to tune in our TV antenna to receive both audio and video, we need to tune in our inner faculties through meditation and other spiritual practices to develop our receptiveness (often described as sixth sense, the creative faculty of the mind dealing with intuition).
Lot of people question that how come we believe the subtle form, when it is only seen by one person or possibly a few individuals occasionally? When Krishna saved Draupadi from the humiliation of being disrobed, no one saw Krishna’s physical form. All everyone present there could watch and marvel at, was the endless supply of Sarees. When Krishna showed his Viraat Swaroopa to Arjuna in the battlefield, only Arjuna and Sanjaya were given the Divya Drishti (divine vision) to visualise that form. Do we question this incidents and call Veda Vyasa a liar? Most people who ask these questions do not listen with the intent to understand; They listen with the intent to counter it with another question in order to defend their chosen belief. This is why Swami says that too much mind is not good for spirituality. Seva (Selfless Service) and Prema (Selfless Love) is the only way to feel the presence of Sai in our heart.
The conceit that one knows everything. Doubt whether it is or is not.These are the two chief enemies of the Sadhaka – Prema Vahini
You cannot see Me, but I am the Light you see by.
You cannot hear Me, but I am the Sound you hear by.
You cannot know Me, but I am the Truth by which you live. – Sri Sathya Sai Baba
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