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Concept of Sharir in Ayurveda


Sharir is a widely used term in Ayurvedic system of medicine. Sharira means the human body.

There are Three Typrs of Sharira As Per Ayurvedic Concept:

  • Sthula sharira or the gross body,
  • Sukshma sharira or the subtle or astral body,
  • Karana sharira or the causal body,
  • Ativahikapurusha or the superconductive body.

Sthula Sharira (Gross or Physical Body)

Sthula Sharira (Gross or Physical Body) is the visible material aspect and outer-most aspect of a thing. Sthula Sharira can be defined as the 'coarse body' which is the physical frame having mortality.We have full information about importance of food-stuffs we consume. Do's and don't have vital significane in Ayurvedic way of treatment. Despoite knowing the fact, sometimes we consume foods aht are harmful for the human-body. Repeated intake of unhealthy foods, acn result to a lowered immunity weakened body, and disease. The big deal is result of the wrong actions, whcich does not manifest quickly.

Sukshma Sharira (Subtle or Pranic Body)

Sukshma Sharira comprises of the intuitive level of mind and individual mind, the entire psycho-mental apparatus which can exist independently of the Sthula Sharira (Gross or Physical Body). Although Sukshma Sharira cannot be seen with the naked eyes, yogis, via high level of intuition are in a postion to have see it. Over the centuries, Sukshma Sharira has been proven to exist as in direct linkage to Sthula Sharira (Gross or Physical Body). In fact, Sukshma Sharira has great ipmact on Sthula Sharira in many ways. Just as the Sthula Sharira has three nadisl eda, pingala and sushumana, Sukshma Sharira has its own nadis -channels or nerves. It is estimated that Sukshma Sharira contain approximately 3,64,000 nadis. On daily basis we inhale and breath vast quantities of air. Likewise we experience sounds and sights through various mediums.

Karana Sharira - Causal Body

If we study the teachings of Yoga and Indian Philosophy, we encounter the concept of the 'beyond' on regular basis. In 'beyond', the very much essence of the mystery of the jiva or individual soul is hidden and it is known without words. The mysterious aspects of the absolute are represented by the potential that permeates space and time. This represents the very much essence of the essentials (the causal body or essence), which embodies the seed of all the seeds.

The Philosophy of Sharira

The key feature of Philosophy of Sharira is that Sthula Sharira, Sukshma Sharira and Karana Sharira, either work in harmony, or disconnected in a relative sense. When these connections between Sthula Sharira, Sukshma Sharira and Karana Sharira are unempowered or blocked then depression, stress, conflict, rage, confusion, and disease manifest themselves. Yoga helps by opening the blocked pathways. The main goal of yoga sciences is to open up the blocked passages, or channels of circulation, thus rejuvinate and harmonize the network bwtween Sthula Sharira, Sukshma Sharira and Karana Sharira.

Since this is an interconnected system, Sthula Sharira, Sukshma Sharira and Karana Sharira are connected to each other. The acts of the Sthula Sharira (physical body) are influenced by the subtle functioning of the Sukshma Sharira (energy body) as well as the fineness of the channels to the Karana Sharira (causal body) and vice versa. In other words, there is existence of two way street between Sthula Sharira, Sukshma Sharira and Karana Sharira.

In the start we study hathayogic principles and practices them in order to tone up the internal organs and the muscles. Through the process of pranayama, one comes to know subtleties of the Sukshma Sharira (Subtle or Pranic Body) and they start cleansining the nadis ot the energy channels. In this process doing, one reactivates the circuits that have become dormant. Subsequently, the circuits undergo alignment in a harmonious fashion via the regulation of the breath. As the effect of yoga is visible, the circuits becomes reactivated, re-empowered and reactivated.

During the meditatation, one starts from the Sukshma Sharira (Subtle or Pranic Body). This allows one to flush out the most of the subtle channels that lead to the Karana Sharira - Causal Body. And, as the connections between the Sukshma Sharira (Subtle or Pranic Body). and the Karana Sharira- Causal Body are cleansed, it results in a coherent fashion and attunement between Sthula Sharira, Sukshma Sharira and Karana Sharira, which has anatural flow, decision and will.


'Sharira' word stands for rachana (anatomy) along with kriya (physiology). For better understanding of etiopathogenesis and treatment of various disorders, the knowledge of stri-sharira (human anatomy and human physiology) is absolute vital and necessary. Anatomy of the certain systems is not clearly explained in classical lexicons of Ayurvedic system of medicine. Ayurveda classics give emphasis on applied aspects of science and thus instead of describing micro structures, they described 'sharira' wherever required.

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