Definition - What does Sthula mean?

Sthula is a Sanskrit term and adjective which is used in yogic writings and philosophy to denote that which is fixed and manifest. It is associated with things that have a gross, physical existence and may be considered to be of a physically coarse material. The human body is considered sthula. Trees, plants and other objects are also sthula. In essence, all physical matter is sthula.

Within Vedic literature, sthula can refer to the physical manifestation of God; as opposed to Virat, the cosmic form, or Brahman, the Absolute.

Yogapedia explains Sthula

Sthula may be commonly used in yoga and Hinduism to describe things which are big or heavy. For instance, sthula kaya means “fat body.” It can also suggest the terms “vaguely” or “broadly.”

Sthula is sometimes defined in terms of its opposite and complementary quality, sukshma. Sukshma is an adjective to describe the intangible, subtle and ethereal aspects of something. It is said that all objects that have sthula also have a subtle, underlying sukshma aspect underlying. They also exist on a subtle or astral level. It is this aspect that provides the feeling or connection between the physical world and the subtle.

Sthula and sukshma, as qualities, are interdependent and the relationship between them is changing and fluctuating, even through sthula appears fixed and permanent. In metaphysical terms, sthula and sukshma are two of the three levels of existence, the other being the causal level, or karana.

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