17 July 2012

The Importance of Physical Body

A human being is not just what is visible to the physical eyes. The physical body is just the gross aspect of the human. Every living human being has a physical body, an astral body and a causal body.

The physical body immediately starts disintegrating when the astral body along with the causal body gets separated from the physical body. This process is generally referred to as death. The astral body also dissolves after some period, after taking appropriate lessons in the astral plane. It is the causal body that remains forever (till liberation) forming new astral and physical bodies according to the need.

For one to attain liberation (to completely dissolve the causal body), the physical body is necessary. Shri Adi Shankara in the Viveka Chudamani described three things that are very rare in this world: to have a human birth, to have the desire for liberation and to have the blessings of the realized master.

So, what is the need of the physical body? For the spiritual evolution to happen, the energy has to be anchored into the system (the Physical-Astral-Causal complex). Proper amount of energy when moved in proper channels, brings spiritual development. What I mention as energy channels is referred to as nadi in the eastern terminology. There are three major energy channels: ida, pingala and sushumna. Sushumna is the major nadi/channel that the yogis are concerned with. When the energy is moved in this channel from muladhara (bottom chakra) to sahasrara (crown chakra) and above, spiritual evolution happens faster.

Our system also receives cosmic energy. This movement is from top to bottom. We have more control over the energy that we can move from muladhara to sahasrara. That is why some yogic traditions like  kriya yoga, mostly concentrate on kriyas (kriya pranayama) which moves the energy in the sushumna channel.

The gross form of energy in our system is the sexual energy. It can easily and readily be converted to the subtler form and moved up along the sushumna. This is the most important process that happens in the human system. It naturally happens whether one is aware of it or not. But, when one becomes aware of the energy and moves it, the entire process of spiritual evolution becomes quite quick. This fueling of spiritual evolution, in this manner, is possible only with the physical body, through which we can convert the gross energy and feed the subtler systems.

In yogic techniques like Kriya pranayama, the energy is moved consciously and in systems like vipassana, the blocks are cleared and the energy is allowed to move on its own. The one who knows this secret makes the best use of his life.

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