Yoga and Ayurveda has been considered as a significant part of Vedic science. Being considered as sister practices, they have been originated and practiced in India. Both of them heals the mind, body and soul.

The whole nature is made up of five elements as per Ayurveda and these five elements are called as Panchamahabhootas – Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether. All living and nonliving things is composed of these 5 elements. Our human body is also made up of these 5 elements and when the Atma or soul enter the body life gets manifested in our physical body. Let us look a little detail about Tridoshas and Panchamahabhootas.

 

Ayurveda and Tridoshas

According to Ayurveda, there are three doshas (functional units of the body)- Vata, Pitta and Kapha. They destroy or maintain the body when vitiated or not, respectively.

These Doshas are constituted by Pancha maha bhoota (five primordial elements) by which the entire perceptible universe is formed of, at a subtle, subatomic level. These five maha bhootas constitute the animal kingdom, the vegetable kingdom and minerals. Thus, living or non-living everything are made up of them. Though they cannot be seen, they can be inferred by structure and function of substances. Thus, the food we eat, our body, our excreta, our surroundings, all are constituted of five elements.

To have a better idea on this you should be knowing the concept of ‘cosmogony’ in Ayurveda. It is termed as ‘Srishti Utpatti’ in Sanskrit. This deals with how the universe is created. It is an important topic discussion of many of the philosophies. The genesis of the universe is termed as creation (Srishti) and the dissolution is called as inundation (Laya). Man has identified these stages for almost all things. Things appear or manifest, they stay for some time and finally they are destroyed.

Srishti Utpatti according to Samkhya Darshana

Samkhya is one of the earliest schools of Indian philosophy and most systems, including yoga, have been drawn from or influenced by it. Samkhya is a dualistic philosophy and postulates two eternal realities: Purusha, the witnessing consciousness, and Prakriti, the root cause of creation, composed of the three gunas. It is only when the activity of Prakriti is guided by the purusha, and both co-operate, there is evolution of world of objects.

During the first phase of evolution, the equilibrium (Samyavastha) of Prakriti is brought to an end by the impact of purusha (Consciousness). In this stage, the Trigunas (Satva, Rajas and Tamas) becomes active. ‘Rajoguna’ naturally become first active due to its chalamatra property and through it the other two gunas begins to vibrate. Due to this gradual differentiation and integration, and the combination of these trigunas in different proportion the various objects of the world originates. 1

 

Srishti Utpatti by Scholar Susruta

Acharya Susruta explains evolution like that of Samkhya philosophy. He also mentions in every substance existing in this universe all the five bhutas (elements) are present invariably. Their proportion however varies widely, and so substances are categorized in to five kinds based on the predominance of each bhuta (element). 2

Creation consists of vibrations at various frequencies and amplitudes giving rise to the phenomenon of the world. The human beings are the outcome of Pancha maha bhoota (five elements) and which can be constituted in to the soul, the mind and the body. These are complex cycles and are always in constant motion. 3

In short, every living body is enveloped by an electrical (static) force and contains within a divine nucleus. The cool emission of radiation of the nucleus are channeled through nerves in to spinal cord and the brain. 4

Principles of Pharmacology and Five vibrational modes

Prithvi or the earth element forms the base of matter, and Jala or the water element is the origin of all matter. Agni or fire element is responsible for all transformations. Vayu or the air element help with movements and Akasha or the ether element helps with space, in matter. Thus, the inseparable aggregation of five bhutas is very vital for the origin and existence of matter. However, they are being named according to the bhuta predominantly present in them.

How does death occur?

Death occurs when the Atma/soul detaches from the physical body made of panchamahabhootas or the five elements. This happens after the completion of life span.

The importance of understanding Mahabhootas

The word bhoota is a Sanskrit word composed of 2 root words – Bhoo and Kta. It means that which has its identity and existence. They are causal factors and ever existing. We cannot destroy or alter them.

Though all materials are made of Panchamahabhootas, just like the concept of prakriti, each substance will have a predominance of one or two mahabhootas. For example, consider the bone tissue in the body. The stability and firmness of the bone tissue comes from the predominance of Prithvi (Earth) Mahabhoota. The weight or mass of each material is due to the presence of Prithvi mahabhoota.

The integrity and adherence of particles occurs due to the water component or Jala Mahabhoota.

The movement of particles in materials is contributed by the Vayu or air. The space and temperature of substances is brought by the Akasha or Ether and Agni Mahabhoota respectively.

 

 

Guna’s or Qualities of Mahabhootas.

 

Shabda (Sound) Quality of Akasha or Ether
Sparsha (Touch) Quality of Vayu or Wind
Roopa (Sight) Quality of Agni or Fire
Rasa (Taste) Quality of Jala or Water
Gandha (Smell) Quality of Prithvi or Earth

 

These are the swabhavika guna’s or basic phenomenal qualities of Mahabhootas.

Relationship between Tridoshas and Panchamahabhootas

The panchamahabhootas form the physical components and make up the anatomy of the body.The body functions are rendered by Tridoshas – i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

The tridoshas are formed by Panchamaabhootas

Vata Vayu+ Akasha
Pitta Agni + Jala
Kapha Prithvi + Jala

 

In normal conditions, when the doshas’s are in equilibrium they are responsible for all thr normal functions of the body.

 

 

 

References-

  1. Aparna Pravin Deshpande. Mantra (Incantations) – Divine remedial in Ayurveda. Ayurpharm Int J Ayur Alli Sci. 2014;3(3):61-72.
  2. Susruta Samhita, Shareera sthana, Chapter 1
  3. Effect of Mantras on Human beings and Plants
  4. Effect of Mantras on Human beings and Plants

Photo by Inset Agency on Unsplash

Article by Dr Arya Krishna, BAMS