By Shakti Parwha Kaur
We know that we have a physical body. We can see it, touch it, feel it, and so can other people. But most of us are not aware that we have other bodies, which are equally real, if not more so. The funny thing is that we identify so strongly with our physical bodies, that we think of ourselves primarily in physical terms.
It seems as if the physical body becomes the focus of our whole identity. As important and valuable as the physical body is, it is not who we are, because who we are—our essential self—can never change.
You certainly don't have the same physical body you were born with, yet you know you're still you. You are not your body or your mind. You are much more permanent than that. Sat Nam isn't born weighing six pounds-nine ounces, growing to 120 pounds; Sat Nam doesn't get the measles, go through menopause, or worry about dry skin. Sat Nam is your eternal true identity. It is who you are, who you were, and who you will be, now and forever. Truth is your identity.
You might visualize your various bodies as layers of clothing, the physical body being the overcoat you wear for a lifetime. During your whole life, rain or shine, summer or winter, you never take it off, so you don't see the beautiful jacket or suit underneath, much less the dress or shirt under that. Until you develop a special kind of "x-ray" vision, you definitely never see the body that is wearing all those garments, which is the Soul.
The first body is the Soul Body. It is your very best friend. It is God's light which lives in your heart. The Soul Body never dies. It goes with you forever. It's a good idea to get acquainted with it as soon as possible and develop an ongoing communication. The best time to get the conversation going is during morning sadhana.
Here's a brief summary of the three main aspects of the Mind, the body that many people mistakenly identify with.
2. The Negative Mind protects you by warning you what could be the danger or loss in any situation.
3. The Positive Mind inspires you by telling you what is the possible gain, the advantage to you, in any situation.
4. The Neutral Mind listens to the intellectual input from both the Negative Mind and the Positive Mind and then leads you to the best decision, using unbiased intuitive knowledge. Whenever you want to reach outside of yourself, reach out with your Neutral Mind. It is a most graceful, wonderful secret of success.
5. Physical Body
The Physical Body was given to you so you could participate fully in life on this planet. It is a temple for God to live in while He sees through your eyes and hears through your ears. You were given the physical body so God could experience and enjoy His creation. The physical is a balance point between heaven and earth. The key to perfecting the Physical Body is balance: balance in diet; balance in exercise; balance in work, play, and rest. It always makes sense to avoid extremes. Don't be lazy and don't be fanatic.
6. Arc Body
The Arc Body or Arcline is a line of energy that goes in an arc from ear tip to ear tip. It is sometimes called your "halo." This spiritual body projects who you are to other people without a word being spoken. It also protects you from negative energy directed towards you. Have you ever felt something, and turned around to find someone was staring at you? That's one experience of your arcline in action.
7. Auric Body
The Auric Body or Aura is a sphere of electromagnetic energy that surrounds the physical body. It can extend up to nine feet in every direction. This body protects you and also gives you the ability to uplift yourself and others. Some people can see the auric body as a field of flowing colored light. You may have experienced the auric body when you were near someone and simply felt their energy. Being in the aura of a spiritual and loving person is peaceful and healing. As the energy field of their aura interacts with ours, it automatically elevates us. (Remember, "Spirituality cannot be taught, it has to be caught, like the measles. You get it from someone who's got it.")
8. Pranic Body
The Pranic Body controls the breath and takes in Prana, the life force energy of the Universe. The Pranic Body gives you energy, courage, control over your mind, and healing power. When you breathe, you are feeding your Pranic Body. As you practice pranayam, you'll experience the expansion and strength of this body.
9. 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 work. Those people who can tune into situations easily or pick up new skills as if by magic, have developed the Subtle Body.
As the Mahan Tantric, Yogi Bhajan has explained that he always teaches with his Subtle Body. We have experienced the projection of his powertul presence during his White Tantric Yoga® video courses. Even though his physical body may not be there, his Subtle Body most definitely is present and actively engaged with us.
10. Radiant Body
The Radiant Body gives you spiritual royalty and radiance. A strong Radiant Body will make you courageous in the face of any and every obstacle. Good things are drawn to you through a developed and powerful Radiant Body. On a practical level, people with well-developed Radiant Bodies are said to have "charisma." Their very presence works for them before they say one word. They virtually "shine."
Yogi Bhajan on the Ten Bodies
"You are a total combination of ten bodies. You have a Spiritual Body, you have three Mental Bodies (Negative, Positive, and Neutral); then you have this Physical Body, the Arc Body (which you call "halo"); and you have the simple Auric Body and a Subtle Body, Pranic Body, and a Radiant Body. These ten bodies are interlocked, but two are free to leave.
"Whenever the soul desires to leave the Physical Body, the Arc Body and all the other bodies remain behind because they have no combination. The Physical Body's pranic connection with the Pranic Body totally breaks, and the Soul leaves with the Subtle Body. That means, your identity is gone. (Your physical body remains, but "you" are gone. We call it death.)
"But do you understand what that indicates? If, in subtlety you become very refined, and in activity you become very subtle, very subtle, you are very near to your Soul. The Spirit and the Subtle body are very much related. There's a direct relationship between the Subtle body and the Spiritual body. They never leave each other. So, anything you do which is refined—refined art, refined acts, refined speech, anything which is not gross—will put you nearer to the Soul. That's rather a simple way of reaching your God-consciousness."
Excerpt from Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power available through KRI.
Artwork by Hector Jara
Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa was Yogi Bhajan’s first student in the United States. He gave her the title of Divine Mother of 3HO. She has been teaching Kundalini Yoga since 1969. She is the author of Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power; Kundalini Postures and Poetry; and Marriage on the Spiritual Path: Mastering the Highest Yoga. She is a frequent movie-goer in the City of Angels.