aprākṛta-śarīra

(‘non-material body’)

According to most of the theistic systems of Hindu philosophy, prakṛti or insentient nature (sometimes called aparā-prakṛti also) is one of the fundamental constituents of the universe. It comprises the three guṇas—sattva, rajas and tamas. Not only the inanimate creation but also the bodies of living beings, are made out of this prakṛti. Hence, these bodies are called prākṛta-śarīras or ‘material bodies’.

However, as opposed to this, the bodies of God in his aspects of vyūha (emanations), vibhava (incarnations) and arca (manifestation in worship), are aprākṛta-śarīras, non-material bodies. The bodies of the nityas (eternal beings) and the muktas (liberated souls) are also made of the same stuff.

This non-material substance is also known as śuddhasattva and is the stuff of the ‘nityavibhūti,’ the non-material infinite domain beyond prakṛti and its three guṇas.

See also VIŚIṢṬĀDVAITA-VEDĀNTA-DARŚANA.