It is a common understanding in most spiritual traditions that human beings exist as more than a physical body. The writer C.S. Lewis made this distinction when he said, “We are a soul; we have a body.” Yogis take this a bit further with the understanding that we have more than a single body: we have 10.
Of these 10 Bodies, the Subtle and Soul Bodies are together throughout the journey of Soul and its incarnations. From the moment the Soul Body is released from the One Vibration its companion is the Subtle Body. They continue together, the Subtle Body surrounding the Soul, until the Soul returns to the One, when the cycle of birth and death comes to a close.
The Siri Singh Sahib describes the relationship this way, in two parts, from two different lectures:
“The Soul Body is present in every atom of the tattvas. There are five tattwas: ether, air, fire, water and earth. These are the five constituents of your body, and in the atoms of every tattwa is the residence of the soul. This is called the Soul Body.”(September 2, 1982)
“In the spiritual scriptures, the Soul is described as light surrounded by the Subtle Body…the Subtle Body is a very high frequency magnetic field that surrounds each and every cell in the body. Each cell is protected by the Subtle Body—it is a protective shield.”(July 25, 1988)
When the tattwas—within whose atoms resides the Soul—begin to dissolve at the time of death, the Subtle Body and Soul leave together; the Subtle Body still protecting the Soul Body.
A Vibratory Blueprint
What else makes the Subtle Body important? This very high frequency magnetic field carries within it the imprints of your learning, experiences, spiritual practice, karmas and samskaras and its vibratory effect provides the blueprint for each incarnation.
Your Subtle Body affects the quality of your relationships as well as the sensitive connection to another being. The capacity for universal love and the ability to sense and attract good things come through your Subtle Body. The Subtle Body gives you the opportunity to understand and master the subtlety of life. It can help you understand what is going on around you and how things—and people—function.
An effective way to understand and relate to the Subtle Body is to consciously practice experiencing it. During one period of my life I was attempting to invoke a conscious relationship to the Subtle Body and used this piece of wisdom from the Siri Singh Sahib as a means:
“When you have got reverence for life, and life has got reverence for you, then you are subtle. Because life exists because of the Soul, when you relate to life you relate to the subtlety of life.”
Reverence for Life
My approach was to actively cultivate a reverence for life, or ahimsa, because this practice attunes us to the sacredness of life and thus, to the Subtle Body. This was put to the test one day when I was sitting with the Siri Singh Sahib. It was a hot summer day and someone had opened a window and a number of flies had entered the room. The person on duty requested a few of the people present to swat the flies and handed each a swatter. Soon the smack, smack sounds of the swatter and the cry of victory of the persons swatting filled the room. I quietly made a gratitude prayer that no one had asked me to swat. After all, I was practicing reverence, recognition of the sacredness of life, not to even hurt a fly. Thank you, Guru Ram Das.
There are other ways to develop your Subtle Body. One is to appreciate and practice refinement in the material world. As the Siri Singh Sahib describes:
“If in subtlety you become very refined and in activity you become very subtle, you are very near to your soul because there is a direct relationship between the Subtle Body and the Spiritual Body. The Spirit and the Subtle Body are very much related, they never leave each other. So anything which is refined—refined art, refined acts, refined speech which is not gross—will put you nearer to the soul. That is a rather simple way of reaching your God consciousness.” (May 27, 1981)
Another way to develop the Subtle Body is to practice the Meditation to Invoke the Master’s Touch. This cultivates the relationship of your Subtle Body to the Subtle Body of the teacher. You will find this meditation in the Level 1 Aquarian Teacher training manual from KRI.
What other ways do you have to experience, explore and develop your Subtle Body? Here is a powerful Kundalini Kriya to Clarify the Subtle Body.
About the Author
SS Dr. Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa was ordained as a Sikh Dharma Minister in 1973 and has served as Assistant Secretary of Religion of Sikh Dharma since 2000, supporting the Office of the Secretary of Religion in building a global grassroots Ministry. She travels and works with Ministers around the world and is a member of the Sikh Dharma Ministry Newsletter team. She is also a member of the International Khalsa Council and an Officer of the Sikh Dharma International Board. By profession she is a Medical Family Therapist with a PhD in Health Psychology. She serves as Executive Director of the Guru Ram Das Center for Medicine & Humanology, founded by the Siri Singh Sahib to bring Kundalini Yoga into healthcare. She was trained by him as a Kundalini Yoga Therapist. She is a charter member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and serves on its Advisory Board. Dr. Khalsa travels the globe to bring the International Kundalini Yoga Therapy Professional Training, an accredited program held in four regions worldwide, to 22 countries.