[Advaita-l] Re: ONLY ONE PLACE

Stig Lundgren slu at chello.se
Thu May 22 18:13:59 CDT 2003

Venkata Subramanian wrote,

>    interstingly,  in exactly only ONE PLACE (Isavasyopanishad
> Bhashya Asambuthi Prakaranam)  the Acharya has used the term
> 'karana Sharira' in the Whole of his Prasthana Treya Bhashya.
>   Can anyone quote anyother place from anywhere of his
> Treya Bhashya ONLY Please.

I fully agree with you. As far as I can see, the karana Sharira
(causal body) is mentioned in Shankara´s works only once, namely
in Ishavasyopanishad Bhashya 8, where he says the following:

"He, the Self, 'went round on all sides', that is, He pervaded
all like the ether. 'White' or 'pure' means luminous, that is
'flashing'. 'Bodiless' means without a body, that is, without a
subtle body (linga-sharira). 'Having no apertures and no
passages'. These last two characteristics show that He has no
gross physical body. 'Pure' means unsoiled by nescience. He has
no causal body (karana sharira)." (transl. A. J. Alston)

Apparently, according to Shankara, karana sharira means
nescience. This is maybe even more obvious from the translation
made by Swami Satchidanandendra Saraswati, who translates the
last sentence thus: "Pure, without dirt, free from the dirt of
ignorance - this negates karana sharira (causal body)." The same
could be said regarding the translation of Swami Gambhirananda,
who translates the sentence as follows: "Shuddham, taintless,
devoid of the dirt of ignorance; thereby is negated a causal
body." (By the way, I don´t have the original sanskrit text
available here).
     It is obvious that the concept of karana sharira doesn´t
play any important role in Shankara´s writings. Moreover, he do
not refer anywhere to the post-Shankara doctrine according to
which the soul enters the karana sharira in deep sleep (dreamless
     By the way, in Upadesa Sahasri (considered a genuine work
from Shankara´s pen by scholars and traditional pandits alike)
Shankara once more comments upon Ishavasyopanishad 8. This time
he completely leaves the karana sharira out of the picture:
"Because the Veda says that the Self is without 'apertures' or
'subtle canals' one should reject the gross body as unreal; and
because it also says that the Self is pure and free from evils
one should reject all mental impurity and understand that when it
calls the Self 'bodiless' it means that there is no subtle body

Warm regards
Stig Lundgren
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