15 – Tattva Bodha: Examples of Using 3 Bodies Model To Help Improve Your Life & Gain Objectivity


Discourse 15 speaks about living from objectivity in reference to life situations, what is punya-papa karma, function of physical body, 6 modifications of physical body, and general intro to Subtle body.

Source: Tattva Bodha

Intro – What is Objectivity? 

Vedanta is “Yoga of Objectivity”. We are all experts in objectifying objects in the world. We point and say “cloud, sky”, and have no further complexes. To see it, without attaching additional adjectives or biases is objectivity. To objectify is to recognize the glass as both half-full and half-empty. Subjectivity is to choose one over the other just because it suits you or make sense more then the other; without willingness to further investigate the matter.

If negativity is “It's half-empty!”, and positivity is “It's half-full!” — then objectivity is “It's either half-empty or half-full depending how one perceives it according to one's conclusions or temperament”.

Suppose 10 people are looking at a cloud. Nine see what they want to see such as, Jesus, Zeus, flower, etc. They start to argue. While the 10th, our objective friend, quietly in the distance sees just a cloud — including the tendency of his mind to turn the cloud into something.

Or you heard the subjective expression, “Grass is greener on the other side”. Objectivity would be, “It's not necessarily greener on other side for everyone”.

How to gain objectivity? First one needs to recognize from their own inquiry; the ultimate end is moksha. Then all actions in reference to kama (pleasures), artha (security), and dharma (virtue) take sense of duty. Just as mother takes sense of duty for her offspring; and in the process she gains moments of joy and learns much from childrearing challenges. In our case, our duties are many, such as family, work, studies, health, personal hobbies, etc. Objectivity is to recognize life challenges and delights that comes your way are incidental. The moment we take them as the end; we get entangled, anxious and lose our objectivity.

Degree to how much you take it personally (make it about you), or not — is the degree of objectivity you enjoy.

We then provided some situational examples of applying objectivity using Bhagavad Gita, CH12

B.G CH12, VERSE 17:

    • yaḥ na hṛṣyati: One who understand me, doesn't get elated. Doesn't mean not showing your curiosity/joy, or not being affected. But not get elated for WRONG REASOSN (EG: feeling good by comparing yourself unprivileged, parking yourself in higher-states, elation from objects; creates dependency). But elated for the RIGHT REASONS (EG: thankful that possibilities are provided which I can collapse by free will; that everyone has a chance to liberate; that God is giving me one more day to straighten my stuff out).
    • na dveṣṭi: Not hostile. Hostility comes from black-white thinking (loss of objectivity as discussed above). It contaminates the mind. My devotee, says Krishna, isn't hostile towards one with different opinions, recognizing he or she is looking at it  from a different understanding and using different data.
      • EG of Hostility: Family broke up disagreeing about Covid jab.
      • Dealing with Hostility Towards Those Complaining Against You: “So what? Does everyone have to like me?”. They're not actively hating you; too busy. Their disliking comes from their confusion/projection of partial knowledge.
    • na kāṅkṣati: Does not grieve. And separation creates grief. Sign of love. Unhealthy grief: Natural grief turns to depression (“there's no hope for me“); becomes about you; thinking from own stories.

BG, CH12, VERSE 18:

    • Same in honor and disgrace: Who is honoured, is vulnerable to dishonour at even smallest deviation from expectations. EG: Swami Dayananda wary of being put on pedestal, knowing the moment he slightly deviates from expectations of others; there's risk of criticism and negative projection. Thus don't get flattered upon praise, nor taken back upon criticism. While it's pleasant to receive a genuine compliment; your duty continues eitherway. 

Revision of 3 Bodies: 

  1. Gross Body (Sthula Sharira):
    • Made of 5 elements. Science model is of atoms/molecules.
  2. Subtle Body (Sukshma Sharira):
    • It's subtle, because while I can see grey-brain, I don't see in it your green-tree-and-blue-sky-imagination. Thus I don't see your thoughts.  We think Subtle Body is sentient, but the sentiency is borrowed from Awareness.
  3. Causal Body (Karana Sharira):
    • Every action you do, has seen results [dṛṣṭa phalam] (immediate feedback from universe which gives insight about your action) and unseen results [adṛṣṭa phalam] (that which is carried forward and will be received later in this life or next). 
    • Punya vs Papa:
      • Punya: Unseen result of a noble action. It's experienced through body-mind as comfort/enjoyment (EG: People are showing their love for you, caring for you, you have wealth, talents).
      • Papa: Unseen result of inappropriate action.  It's experienced through body-mind as discomfort/obstacle.
    • Because results are unseen, we either make [1] wrong conclusion: world is unfair, or [2] right conclusion: world follows cause-effect relationship. And based on which conclusion you make, you act again which will introduces more actions into the field, adding to your karma.
    • Therefore Causal Body is account of your punya/papa.  It's like a bank-account.
    • How will you experience discomfort/comfort? Through the tangible body localized in one place. Can't remain a ghost or an airy subtle-body otherwise physical world can't delver concrete experiences to such an entity. Therefore because of the Causal Body, a new subtle and physical body is gained to experience the punya/papa (pleasant & unpleasant unreceived results of past actions).  Everyone comes with mixture of punya/papa; that's why noone has entirely a smooth ride, nor entirely a challenging time.

Verse: (What is the Gross or Physical Body?)

sthūlaśarīraṃ kim?
pañcīkṛta-pañcamahābhūtaiḥ kṛtaṃ satkarmajanyaṃ
sukhaduḥkhādi-bhogāyatanaṃ śarīram
asti jāyate vardhate vipariṇamate apakṣīyate vinaśyatīti
ṣadvikāravad-etat sthūlaśarīram

That which is made up of the five great elements that have undergone the process of pañcīkaraṇa, born as a result of the good actions of the past, the counter of experiences like joy, sorrow and so on and subject to the six modifications namely – to exist, to be born, to grow, to mature, to decay and to die – is the gross body.

  • Last session, we have covered the MATERIAL (5 gross elements) and EFFICIENT (past unseen causes) cause of the Gross-body. Now let's cover…
  • FUNCTION OF BODY (sukhaduḥkhādi-bhogāyatanaṃ śarīram):
    • Your body is your home, where I can meet you (we’re all gypsies; carrying our homes with us). And staying in this home, we experience pleasure and pain.  In other words, a place is needed to experience pleasure/pain of karma-phala (results of past actions).
  • MODIFICATIONS (asti jāyate vardhate vipariṇamate apakṣīyate vinaśyati):
    • Body goes through 6 major changes:  Exists (Fetal stage), Birth, growth, mature, decay, die.
    • What is material cause of body? 5 Gross Elements (pañcīkṛta pañcamahābhūta)
    • What is efficient cause of body? Past actions (sat karma janyam). “Sat” means favorable karma; at least enough to supply a human body and not one of a monkey!
    • What is function of the body? Acts as a home (āyatanam) for the individual (the subtle-body indweller). Home where world can find you.
    • What are 6 modifications of gross body? Asti, jāyate, etc…


  1. We have described what is objectivity above. What else is objectivity in your own words? What does it mean to go through life challenges and even delights  with a certain level of objectivity?

Keywords:  jayate, vardhate, viparinamate, apaksiyate, apakshiyate, vinasyati, vinashyati, drsta, adrsta, drshta, adrshta

Credit for help in Tattva Bodha to Chinmaya Mission's Swami Advayananda, and Arsha Vidya's Swami Dayananda.

Recorded 3 Sept, 2023


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