Pancha mahabhutas: what to know
In Ayurveda, pancha mahabhutas represents the 5 elements; they are present everywhere, in everything, even in a cell. They are essential in understanding our metabolism, keeping it balanced, as well as our physical, psychological and emotional and well-being.
Nature is in a perpetual exchange with the human being since humans are an integral part of their environment. Thus, humans breathe air, drink water and feed on the fruits of this environment. These exchanges respect a simple law that says: the qualities of a substance, of an energy, will be increased if one adds to it another similar substance (energy). On the contrary, the qualities of a substance (energy) will be diminished, if we add another opposite substance (energy).
The environment, climate, seasons, relationships, food, lifestyle, work, are all factors that affect the individual. Ayurveda proposes to put in place a harmonious interaction with the environment, in order to enjoy an optimal health. If this balance is broken, discomfort then illness can set in. This is a crucial reality, to be taken into account, today more than ever.
Understanding pancha mahabhutas
According to Ayurveda, the beginning of life is due to the 5 elements or pancha mahabuthas that appeared in this order: Ether – Air – Fire – Water – Earth. In Sanskrit they are named as follows:
The body itself is composed of these 5 elements or Pancha mahabhutas, because mankind is considered as a representation of the planet that interacts with it. Thus, just like Earth, our body is composed of 30% of solid parts (bones, muscles, organs, etc.) and 70% of liquids (blood, water, urine, etc.). It produces heat, oxygen and CO2. So:
- Prithvi = bones, muscles, organs, etc.
- Jala = blood, water, urine, etc.
- Agni = gives energy (process of digestion, creation of tissues)
- Vayu = gives the movements to the body: the movements of the muscles, the pulsations of the heart, the breathing, all the moving organs, etc.
- Akasha = all the empty parts of the body: the mouth, the stomach, the thorax, the nose, the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory system, the vessels, the lymphatic system, the tissues, the cells, etc.
These 5 elements also have an action on our 5 senses, since they are directly connected to them:
- Ether = Hearing
- Air = Smelling
- Fire = The sight
- Water = The taste
- Earth = Touch.
Finally, it is thanks to these 5 elements that are constituted the 3 doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha:
And the 7 dhatus or body tissues:
- Rasa = liquids
- Rakta = the blood
- Mamsa = muscles, flesh
- Mada = fats
- Asthi = the bones
- Maja = Marrow
- Sukra = sperm, reproductive system.
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