19 – Tattva Bodha: Causal Body, Part 2 – The Cause of Rebirth & Ignorance


Discourse 19 continues explaining the Causal Body (karana sharira), being mityha, beginningless, and cause of covering your truth.

Source: Tattva Bodha

Verse: (What is the Causal Body?)

kāraṇa śarīaṃ kim?
anirvācya anādi avidyā-rūpaṃ
śarīra-dvayasya kāraṇa-mātraṃ sat-svarūpā-jñānaṃ,
nirvikalpaka-rūpaṃ yadasti tat-kāraṇa-śarīram

That which is inexplicable, beginningless, in the form of ignorance, the sole cause of the two bodies (gross and subtle), the cause of ignorance of one’s own true nature, and is free from duality.

  • What quandary does Causal Body establish?
    • Sat-svarūpa-ajñānam: Veils my nature as sat (that which is ever true, invariable and eternal). Because it is śarīra-dvayasya, the cause of other two bodies, which preoccupies the jiva (living entity) with actions for sake of fulfillment, which produce unseen-results (aḍṛṣṭa-phala), which are mixture of puṇya/pāpa (favorable & unfavorable results of past actions), and are harbored in the Causal Body. After death, a portion (prārabdha-karma) of unseen-results is taken and sculpts the body-mind accordingly with certain strengths, weaknesses, parentage, personality, likes & dislikes.
    • In short, the jiva is a perfect reflection of one's Causal Body which changes each lifetime depending on what new fancies, wisdom, actions the jiva undertakes.
    • This means, whatever position you hold in this life, we need not add a story regarding our position, or the body-mind given you — as they are a perfect reflection of the Causal Body, which wasn't sculpted by you (in this life), but some other jiva. You, in this life, are effectively enjoying a body-mind-personality complex because of some person you've never met in year 1900CE, or year 400BC, or previous cycle of creation. Similarly, you, in this life, are sculpting the Causal Body, which will be enjoyed by another jiva next life. This is the Vedic vision regarding continuity of life, or reincarnation.
  • What Is Ontological reality of Ignorance (avidyā)?
    • If it's real (sat), then it can't go. But it does go in wake of knowledge. Is it non-existent (asat)? No, else wouldn't have any problems. Hence it's sat-asatbhyām-anirvacanīyam: can't say it's either sat or asat. In other words, ignorance is mithyā. Meaning it depends on Awareness. Ignorance is another object in Awareness. For example, “I'm am aware that my mind has ignorance of flying an airplane, or I am aware that I feel incomplete”


  1. What makes up your Causal Body? Punya/papa, what else?…
  2. What were the two logics given showing you are not tied to the Causal Body?
  3. If Causal Body is not “I”, what are the implications of this? How does it change your perception about yourself? 
    • EG: In some religions, we're told “You're a sinner! Ask for forgiveness”. What do you have to say about this statement after learning about the Causal Body?


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

Recorded 1 Oct, 2023

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