Kāraṇaśarīraṁ - causal body Q: Kāraṇaśarīraṁ kiṁ? What is causal body?
A: Anirvācyānādyavidyārūpaṁ śarīradvayasya kāraṇamātraṁ satsvarūpājñānaṁ nirvikalpakarūpaṁ yadasti tat kāraṇaśarīram.
Kāraṇaśarīraṁ causal body is that which is of the nature of indefinable beginning less avidyā, as merely the cause of the two bodies (gross and subtle), ignorance of one’s nature, and of the nature of total non-differentiation.
In the law of creation based of our scripture, there is nothing really created nor destroyed. Just like the pot, cup, etc were already exist in the form of clay. By the effort of the pot maker, transform the clay into many kinds of earth wear. This transformation alone is called creation. In this transformation, not even a gram of clay is created by the pot maker. Therefore the creation is not from non existence become existence.
If there is an argument, all the earth wear even though having the different forms, but they are still earth wear obviously. But this creation is so rich, how do you explain that they are all from the same unmanifest form? If we pickup a piece of mango seed, can we see the form of the mango tree in the seeds? Can we see the wood of the mango tree which is going to be a piece of furniture? Can we see the tasty mango fruits we are having as dessert? Furniture and dessert are totally different things and categories.
Therefore, everything is exist all the time, only unmanifest condition to manifest form is called srsthih - creation and from manifest form to unmanifest is called pralayah - dissolution. Kāraṇaśarīraṁ - causal body is the caused for gross and subtle bodies - śarīradvayasya kāraṇamātraṁ. It is the unmanifest form of all the gross and the subtle bodies (entire world). It is the caused and the world is the effect. The caused is in the undifferentiated form - nirvikalpakarūpaṁ and the effect is differentiated in parts. This unity caused of the entire diversity universe is called avidyā - ignorance. It is called ignorance because the manifestation itself failing the true nature of itself - satsvarūpājñānaṁ and in the same time projecting a new status which is wrongly to be known as itself. Therefore the meaning of ignorance here is not deprive of knowledge of its true nature but, it is opposed to the knowledge of its true nature.
Avidyā - ignorance is anādi - beginning less. The idea of beginning less seems like difficult to accept by most of us, because anything in this perceivable world is having beginning. This birth of the physical body is perceived a beginning of one's life. This is our experience. Any beginning implies its prior absence. When śastra said ignorance is beginning less means that knowledge - vidyā of the self was never known whenever the creation/manifestation was there. Knowledge of the self is not known because it was veiled by the veiling power of the avidyā and the knowledge of the self is distorted by the projecting power of avidyā. These 2 power of avidyā is respectively called āvarana śakti and viksepa śakti. Even though ignorance has no beginning, but luckily it got the end, when there is the raised of knowledge of the self. Whenever the knowledge of the self is there, ignorance has to go, because knowledge and ignorance are opposed to each other, they can not exist together. Just like when the light is there, darkness will not be there. Can we experience the kāraṇaśarīraṁ - causal body just like we experience our gross and subtle body? Not exactly we can experience it because it is there in its original form only before creation or after dissolution. But we can have a taste of causal body in deep sleep state. That is why in the deep sleep, total ignorance was there. There is no subject-object devision like our waking and dream states. Since there is no knower-known division, therefore knowledge is not there either. Unlike the gross and subtle body which made out of individual punya and pāpa karma, only one causal body is the caused of all gross and subtle bodies, therefore it is being experienced as the same for all. Everybody has their own perception of the waking world, has their own projection of the dream world, but having the same undifferentiated deep sleep world. In the deep sleep, there is no difference between a beggar and a king.
Avidyā is anirvācya - can not be categorised as independent existence nor non-existence. Another word of anirvācya is mithyā. We have known the word mithyā from previous class through the example of golden ring. Just like the existence of the ring is depend on the existence of the gold, the existence of ignorance is depend upon the existence of the consciousness-Ātma. We can not say that ignorance as independent existence / true existance. Because in the analysis of finding the true nature of every individual, what is call true must be something can not be negated at all. If it's existence is dependent on something else to exist, means it can be negated when the locust of dependency is being negated. Ignorance is depend upon consciousness to exist, but in the same times we also cannot deny its availability. It is something like dream. The dreaming power is depend upon the conscious being - me. And because of this dreaming capability, then the entire content of the dream which consist of the gross body (every individuals and object we see in the dream) and subtle body (the sentiency of the individuals in the dream) are there. But when one wake up from one's dream which is deprived of the power of dreaming, one no more identify with the content of the dream. The dream is no more real when one wake up from the dream. Similarly, when one woke up from the ignorance of the self, all the identification to these limited gross and subtle body also is gone, then all the problem as the result of identification are also gone.
I ātmā is also distinct from this causal body.