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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Sthulasarira, SthulaZarira, Sthulasharira

Sthulaśarira literally means ‘the gross body’.

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 which is also called liṅgaśarīra
  3. Kāraṇaśarīra - causal body

The sthulaśarīra is given by the parents and nourished by food. It is subjected to ṣaḍvikāras or six changes viz., birth, existence, growth, change, decay and death. Karma or the result 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