By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Aprakrta-sarira, AprAkRta-Zarira, Apraakrrita-sharira
Aprākṛta-śarira literally means ‘non-material body’.
According to most of the theistic systems of philosophy, prakṛti or insentient nature (sometimes called aparā- prakṛti also) is one of the fundamental constituents of the universe. It comprises the three guṇas as follows :
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 vyuha (emanations), vibhava (incarnations) and area (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 ‘mtyavibhuti,’ the non-material infinite domain beyond prakṛti and its three guṇas.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore