From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Puryaṣṭaka literally means ‘city or body comprising eight parts’.

It is the sukṣmaśarira or the subtle body that is responsible for the transmigration of the jīva, the soul in bondage. According to some schools of Śaivism, the sukṣmaśarīra comprises eight parts and hence is called the ‘puryaṣtaka’.[1] or the body.[2] These eight are:

  1. The five tanmātras - subtle elements
  2. The fives thulabhutas - gross elements
  3. The five jñānendriyas - organs of sense
  4. The five karmendriyas - organs of action
  5. The antahkaraṇa - or the inner organ comprising manas or mind, buddhi or the intellect and ahaṅkāra or ego-sense
  6. The three guṇas - sattva, rajas and tamas
  7. The pradhāna or prakrti
  8. The pañcatattvas or the five principles which are:


  1. Purī means the city of nine gates.
  2. Aṣtaka means a group of eight.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore