Q: Sūkṣmaśarīraṁ kiṁ? What is the subtle body?
A: Apañcīkṛta-pañcamahābhūtaiḥ kṛtaṁ satkarmajanyaṁ sukhaduḥkhādi-bhōga-sādhanaṁ pañcajñānēndriyāṇi pañcakarmēndriyāṇi pañcaprāṇādayaḥ manaścaikaṁ buddhiścaikā ēvaṁ saptadaśakalābhiḥ saha yattiṣṭhati tatsūkṣmaśarīram.
The subtle body is that which is made of five elements (that have not undergone the five fold process of grossification), born due to good karma, the means for enjoyment of pleasure, pain, etc., with the seventeen factors namely, the five sense organs, five organs of action, five physiological functions, the mind and the intellect.
Unlike the sthūlasarīra-gross body which is perceivable, the sūksmasarīra-subtle body is not visible by others. Just like the mind, one cannot see other's mind, but one can know what is going on in one own's mind. So the subtle body is partially knowable to oneself but not to others, unlike the gross physical body. This subtle body is also made of five basic elements as the general cause, but not after grossification (remain subtle), Apañcīkṛta-pañcamahābhūtaiḥ kṛtaṁ. The specific cause is also based on the previous karmā, satkarmajanyaṁ.
This subtle body is an instrument for one to contact with the external world, so the transactional activities can be happened. These activities can bring joy, pain or indifference, therefore the subtle body is called the means for these experiences, sukhaduḥkhādi-bhōga-sādhanaṁ.
Subtle body as an instrument is not one instrument itself, it is a bundle of instrument consist of seventeen instruments. Each of the instrument is having their corresponding object of knowledge, and each faculties is having their presiding deities (devatā). Presiding deity of each instrument is an infinite power because of which this individual finite faculty can be functioning. And the presiding deity seeing from the total point of view is called Īsvara the Lord. Here are the table showing each faculty, its presiding deities and its corresponding object (it has included all the answer of the definition of the subtle body).
Pañcajñānēndriyāṇi - five instruments of knowledge, consist of: FACULTY PRESIDING DEITY CORRESPONDING OBJECT 1. Śrōtram organ of hearing (ears) dik devatā śabda (sound) 2. Tvak organ of touch (skin) vāyuh devatā sparśa (touch) 3. Cakṣū organ of sight (eye) sūryah devatā rūpa (form) 4. Rasanā organ of taste (tongue) varunah devatā rasa (taste) 5. Ghrāṇam organ of smell (nose) aśvinau devatā gandha (smell) Pañcakarmēndriyāṇi - five organs of actions , consist of: FACULTY PRESIDING DEITY CORRESPONDING OBJECT 1. Vāk organ of speach (mouth) vahnih devatā bhāsanam (speach) 2. Pānih organ of grasp (hands) indrah devatā vastu (object) 3. Pādah organ of movement (legs) visnuh devatā gamanam (movement) 4. Pāyuh organ of excretion mrtyuh devatā malam (waste) 5. Upastah organs of reproduction prajāpathih devatā ānandah (descendent) Pañcaprāṇādayaḥ - five forms of energy, consist of: ENERGY RESPONSIBLE FOR 1. Prāna respiratory system
2. Apāna excretory system
3. Vyāna circulatory system
4. Samāna digestive system
5. Udāna evacuatory system Manaścaikaṁ - one mind, which is doubting faculty and emotional faculty. Buddhiścaikā - one intellect, which rational faculty, where the decision is made.
In some others text, two more faculties is added, they are Cittam - memory faculty and Ahankārah - "I" notion, because of which we identify with the gross and subtle body.
In this manner subtle body consist of seventeen aspects. And we need to remember this subtle body is anātma - not me.
A: Śrōtraṁ tvak cakṣū rasanā ghrāṇam iti pañcajñānēndriyāṇi.
Śrōtrasya digdēvatā. Tvacō vāyuḥ. Cakṣuṣaḥ sūryaḥ. Rasanāyā varuṇaḥ.
Ghrāṇasya aśvinau. Iti jñānēndriyadēvatāḥ.
The five organs of perception are the ears (sense of hearing), the skin (sense of touch), the eye (sense of sight), the tongue (sense of taste), the nose (sense of smell). The presiding deities of the organs of perception are: of the ears is Dik, of the skin is Vāyu, of the eye is Sūrya, of the tongue is Varuna, of the nose is Aśvins.
A: Śrōtrasya viṣayaḥ śabdagrahaṇam. Tvacō viṣayaḥ sparśagrahaṇam.
Cakṣuṣō viṣayaḥ rūpagrahaṇam. Rasanāyā viṣayaḥ rasagrahaṇam.
Ghrāṇasya viṣayaḥ gandha grahaṇam iti.
Thus, the sphere of the ears is receiving sound. The sphere of the skin is receiving touch. The sphere of the eyes is receiving sight. The sphere of the tongues receiving taste. The sphere of the nose is receiving smell.
A: Vāk pāṇi pāda pāyūpasthānīti pañca karmēndriyāṇi. Vācō dēvatā vahniḥ.Hastayōrindraḥ , Pādayōrviṣṇuḥ. Pāyōrmṛtyuḥ. Upasthasya prajāpatiḥ. Iti karmēndriyadēvatāḥ. Vācō viṣayaḥbhāṣaṇam.Pāṇyōrviṣayaḥ vastugrahaṇam. Pādayōrviṣayaḥ gamanam. Pāyōrviṣayaḥ malatyāgaḥ. Upasthasya viṣayaḥ ānanda iti.
The five organs of action are: the organ of speech, the hands, the legs, the organ of evacuation and the organ of procreation. The presiding deities of the organs of action are: Fire for organs of speech, Indra fro the hands, Visnu for the feet, Mrtyu lord of death for the organ of evacuation, and Prajāpati for the organ of procreation. The sphere of activity of the organ of speech is speaking, of the hands is grasping things, of the feet is movement, of the organ of evacuation is elimination of waste, of the organ or procreation is pleasure.