Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Pancha Mahabhutas Principle

Existent as in the form
The Area
Heat Energy
According to Ayurveda everything in Universe is composed of the Pancha mahabhutas.. Omnipresent, they are mixed in an infinite variety of relative proportions such that each form of matter is distinctly unique. Although each element has a range of attributes, only some get evident in particular situations. Constantly changing and interacting with each other, they create a situation of dynamic flux that keeps the world going.
Panch mahabhutas are the minutest elements, which constitute living and non-living matters. Everything, including drugs, herbs and living beings are made of these basic elements. Every matter contains all of these five elements. Depending on the predominance of the content, the matter is classified as Parthiva, Apya, Taijasa, Vayaviya and Akashiya (With predominance of earth, water, fire, air and space respectively). The permutation and combination of these elements and its quantity in a given matter determines its properties.
These five elements, it should be understood, derive from and are expressions of an unmanifest and undifferentiated Creative Principle, which is one. These five elements are to be understood in a material sense as well as a subtle sense. By earth we are to understand not only the terrain of our planet or the iron in our red blood cells and spleen, but also the quality of steadfastness of mind, strength of one's moral fiber, one's slow and quiet undeterred advancement towards a goal, and the resistance to the manifestations of others. By water we mean to imply the cohesive aspects of reality which flows into and holds things together, perfectly and simply witnessed in the ubiquitous H20 molecule.
Likewise other elements too were intended by the ancient Vaidyas (physicians) to communicate the essential universal principle inherent in a particular element. By fire we mean the universal force in nature that produces heat and radiates light; it is our passion to pursue despite obstacles and delays; it is what burns away the cloak of ignorance and allows the Truth to shine with brilliance. Fire removes doubt from the mother-substance of human heart and replaces it with joy. Air is that transparent, rarefied, kinetic force which sets the universe in motion; it moves the blood through the vessels, wastes from the body, thoughts through the mind; it moves the birds to warmer climates in winter, it moves the planets around their suns. Space is the subtlest of all elements which is everywhere and touches everything; in the mind it is the vessel which receives all impressions, in the heart space accepts love; space is receptivity and non-resistance to what is true.
Thus these Five Subtle Elements (Pancha Mahabhutas) form the basis for all things found in the material creation, from a grain of sand to the complex physiology of every human being. Balancing these elements in just the right way for each unique individual is the key to maintaining health and treating disease should it arise, whether it be physical, mental, or spiritual

As for example -
In a simple, single living cell for example the earth element predominates by giving structure to the cell. The water element is present in the cytoplasm or the liquid within the cell membrane. The fire element regulates the metabolic processes regulating the cell. The air element predominates as the gases therein. The space occupied by the cell denoting the Akasa.
In the case of a complex, multi-cellular organism as a human being for instance, akasa corresponds to spaces within the body (mouth, nostrils, abdomen etc.); vayu denotes the movement (essentially muscular also nervous system); agni controls the functioning of enzymes (intelligence, digestive system, metabolism); jala is in all body fluids (as plasma, saliva, digestive juices); and prithvi manifests itself in the solid structure of the body (bones, teeth, flesh, hair etc.)

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