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Panca Mahabuta

Pancha Bhoota or Pancha Maha-Bhoota (Sanskrit: पञ्चभूत, पञ्चमहाभूत )

Panca Mahabuta

Panca Mahabuta

five great elements, also five physical elements, is a group of five basic elements, which, according to Hinduism, is the basis of all cosmic creation. These elements are: Prithvi (Hindi: पृथ्वी, Earth), Apas/Jal (Hindi: जल, Water), Agni(Hindi:अग्नि, Fire), Vayu (Hindi: वायु, Air), Aakash(Hindi: आकाश, Aether). These elements have different characteristics and these also account for different faculties of human experience. In ayurveda and Indian philosophy, the human body is considered to be made of these five elements. However, Cārvāka did not accept Akash as basic element as it is not tangible and according to him, there are only four basic elements. Buddhism also accepts four basic elements and Akash is left out. These five elements of Indian cosmological system are similar but not identical to five element theory used in East Asia.

The pancha bhoota are associated with a sense which is perceived by sense organ in human being. Below table gives details of associated sense, sense organ, and other attributes of elements.

tabel1
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Ayurveda

According to ayurveda and Yoga, Pancha Bhoota are associated with overall health of human being. Any disorder in human body indicates imbalance of one or more of these elements. Yoga Tattva Mudra Vijnana relates these five elements to five fingers of human being. Different Mudra were developed to balance these five elements in human body which form the Hasta Mudra in yogic tradition and are used in Naturopathy.

The three dosha- three intrinsic tendencies, which, according to ayurveda are intrinsic in every human being, are representation of combination of these five elements in human body. The three Dosha have subtle positive essences which control the mind and body function.

table2

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Yogic View

According to Yoga, the aim of sadhana is to have mastery over oneself. This mastery can be achieved by mastering all the basic elements. The process of gaining mastery over these elements and purifying them is called Bhuta Shuddhi. Pancha Bhoota Stalam is representation of pancha bhoota for yogic practice. People used to move from one temple to another and do sadhana on particular basic element.

The seven Chakra in human body are associated with these five elements.

table3

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Hasta Mudras:

The 5 great elements originate from pancha tanmatra. Tanmatra is a Sanskrit word meaning subtle essence. These tanmatras incarnate to form the 5 great elements. Each great element is a combination of all 5 tanmatras but shows predominance of one tanmatra.

The 5 tanmatras are Sound (Shabda), Touch (Sparsha), Vision (Roopa), taste (Rasa), Smell (Gandha). These tanmatras are related to each sense organ.

In Ayurveda, it is said that components & functioning of the nature is similar to our body components and its functions.  Pancha Mahabhuta theory states that everything in the physical creation is composed of these 5 elements.  The very first element that comes to existence is akash (Ether). It is most expansive and least concreate of all. The next element derived is Vayu (Air) then comes Agni (Fire), then Jala (water) element is formed and lastly Prithvi (earth) element is formed.

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gambar1

When we say Ether, words like space or a vast openness comes to one’s mind. Akash means having a cavity with freedom to move. The tanmatra of ether element  is Shabda (Sound).

Whenever there is compactness of molecules, we get a dull sound on tapping but when there is a cavity or hollow space, we get a resonant sound.

The qualities of ether element are clear, light, subtle, and immeasurable. Ether element is related with various actions like expansion, vibration, non-resistance. Sensory organ related to ether element is ear as it is hollow and transmits the sound waves.

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gambar2

Air is the great element that shows a sense of movement. Vayu or air initiates & directs motion or movement. Air element keeps the body in constant motion.

The tanmatra of Air element is Sparsha (Touch). The sensory organ related to Air element is skin. Skin is very sensitive for detecting any movement, change in pressure or vibration in subtle form. Any movement against skin can be easily registered.

Air element is mobile, dry, light, cold and subtle in nature. Its main action is to do any kind of movement.

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gambar3
The previous element, Air performs different movements; whenever there is movement, it produces friction and leads to formation of heat or fire. This element is also called as teja or agni. All various forms of transformation including digestion of food are carried out by fire element.
The tanmatra of fire element is Rupa (Vision). Perception of light is carries out by this tanmatra. Fire element is hot, sharp, light, dry and subtle.

Various functions carried out by this element are penetration, digestion of food, and transformation of thoughts, intelligence and perception of light.
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gambar4
The fourth element is water. It is also called as jala or Apa. Whenever we think of water qualities like liquidity or fluidity comes to our mind. Water shows important quality of binding – e.g. if we see dry soil, we cannot make a ball out of it.  But if we add water to the soil, then we can easily make mud balls. This binding nature helps in forming different structures in the body as it binds the 2 cells together. Hence this element is a constructive force.
The tanmatra of water element is rasa (taste). The sense of taste or the ability to taste depends on the liquidity that exists within in the mouth in the form of saliva. Dry mouth along with dry tongue is unable to give sense of taste. The water element exhibits qualities like cool, liquid, dull soft, and sliminess. Its main actions are cohesiveness and adhesiveness.
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gambar5
This is the last element. It is solid, dense, gross and very hard. It is related to all solid and hard structures that show shape – e.g. bones, muscles, teeth and nails. The Earth element is responsible for giving structure, shape and strength to the body.

The tanmatra for Earth element is Gandha (Smell). The small particles of earth are scattered all over the palce gives us the sense of smell. The sensory organ related is nose. Nose is more hard compared to other sensory organs. Qualities of earth element are heavy, dull, dense hard and gross.

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