A term used to designate that part of the human that survives from life to life in the reincarnating process. It is one of the seven constituents into which theosophy divides the human individual (see HUMAN CONSTITUTION). To arrive at a satisfactory account of this subject it will be first necessary to clarify the terminology that has surrounded it. The term “causal body,” which is a literal translation of the Sanskrit karana-sarira, has also been deemed synonymous by various writers with karanopadhi (causal attribute or basis), vijñanamaya-kosa (intellect-made-sheath), and ānandamaya-kosa (bliss-made-sheath).
The Causal Body, according to Helena P. BLAVATSKY, is composed of buddhi-manas, or the combination of the spiritual soul and the human soul. It is the principle that underlies consciousness and self-consciousness. It is the immortal entity “which passes from one incarnation to another” when a human being goes through death and rebirth (Key to Theosophy, Sec. 7), hence connects with the different personalities that one acquires and discards in each life. Thus it is also called the “karmic body” by trans-Himalayan schools (CW X:219).
Some theosophical writers, such as Blavatsky and Gottfried de PURUCKER, have expressed reservations regarding the adoption of the word “body” in this context. They would prefer the term “soul.”
Notwithstanding the above reservations, the term “Causal Body” will be used in this article because it is hallowed by long and frequent use in the literature. The noun adjective “Causal” has been adopted because in it are the causes which manifest as effects on the lower planes.
Later theosophical literature, specifically the writings of Annie BESANT and Charles W. LEADBEATER, developed further the mechanics regarding the structure and development of the Causal Body, which are outlined as follows:
The formation of the Causal Body begins with the emergence of the MONADS from the First Logos and the attachment of six permanent atoms around which all the vehicles will eventually form, namely:
Atma, Buddhi, Manas, Mental, Astral and Physical.
The lower or last three vehicles will have been through a long series of experiences in animal forms in what has been called “GROUP SOUL” and eventually the time comes when individualization takes place and a much stronger connection is made between the Monad and the Buddhic and Manasic permanent atoms with the result that these latter draw around them subtle matter from their appropriate planes. When these vehicles are sufficiently formed and refined the Monad is able to use them in a process that forces complete individualization. At this time the mind essence that has formed around the appropriate permanent atom reaches “up” or toward the Monad and at the point of junction the “higher mind body” or Causal Body is formed. Now when the Causal Body has been formed the Higher Triad can use it a vehicle for the further evolution of the individual.
The Causal Body has been said to have two primary functions:
- 1. To act as a vehicle for the Ego.
- 2. To act as a receptacle for the essences of human experiences gathered in each lifetime.
In respect of the second of the above functions, it is essential to understand that the Causal Body is not a storehouse for all experiences; far from it. It is modified by the “essence” of certain significant experiences to which it can respond and this means that it can only either remain unaltered or be improved. Regression into a lower life form is thus impossible.
Because it is in closer contact with the Higher Self, the Causal Body is the source of all those functions that we may jointly call “wisdom,” the inspirational and the creative. It is the source of the intuitive functioning of the human.
It appears that the Causal Body can be seen by some clairvoyants who describe it as ovoid in shape extending about 18 inches (45cm) beyond the physical body. Its appearance varies according to the evolutionary stage of the individual from a clear or colorless film to a multitude of delicate hues.
© Copyright by the Theosophical Publishing House, Manila