From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sthulaśarira literally means ‘the gross body’.

Classification of Śarira

According to the Vedānta, the jīva or the individual soul, is enveloped in three śarīras or bodies. They are:

  1. Sthulaśarira - gross or physical body
  2. Sukṣmaśarīra - subtle body, also called liṅgaśarīra
  3. Kāraṇaśarīra - causal body

Significance of Sthulaśarira

The sthulaśarīra is given by the parents and nourished by food. It is subjected to ṣaḍvikāras or six changes. They are:

  1. Birth
  2. Existence
  3. Growth
  4. Change
  5. Decay
  6. Death

Karma or the results of the actions of previous lives is an important factor in shaping this body.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore