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The Gross Body and the Subtle Body
Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (2.17):
avinasi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idam tatam
vinasam avyayasyasya na kascit kartum arhati
"That which pervades the entire body is indestructible. No one can destroy the imperishable soul."
The Lord also says in the Bhagavad-gita (7.4):
bhumir apo nalo vayuh kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me bhinna prakrtir ashtadha
"Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego are My eight separated inferior energies".
These eight energies are always subject to change.The gross body, also known as the 'sthula sharira' is made up of five elements - earth, water, fire, air and ether - often known as 'pancha maha bhuta'. Earth represents all solids, water represents all liquids, fire represents heat, air represents all gases and ether represents space and sound in our body The Mind, Intelligence and False Ego constitute the subtle body. The subtle body is also called as the 'sukshma sharira'. 'True Ego' is to understand that 'I am spirit soul, eternal servant of God'.'False Ego' is to think in illusion that, T am this body'. The subtle body and the gross body are coverings upon the soul. Such a soul entrapped in these subtle and gross bodies is called a 'Conditioned Soul'. One who becomes free from these coverings and attains spiritual consciousness is called a 'Liberated Soul'.
In the next verse, the Lord says:
apareyam itas tv anyam prakritim viddhi me param
jiva bhutam maha baho yayedam dharyatejagat
"Besides this inferior nature, there is a superior energy of Mine, that are all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe" (Bhagavad-gita 7.5).
Both inferior energy (matter: gross and subtle) and superior energy (spirit soul: sat-cit-ananda) are subordinate to the Supreme Lord. The soul is life and the body is always dead. Just as when you wear gloves on the hand and move the fingers, the gloves may appear to have life, similarly the soul moves the body. The body is always dead even when the spirit soul is present in it, because the body is after all made up of dead matter - earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego; which have no life in themselves.