Concept Of Five Elements
   Date :09-Jun-2024

Five Elements 
Since beginning Indian seers have visualised the concept of PANCHA MAHABHUTAS or five elements. They are the earth, water, fire, air and space. The earth element is the grossest one. It has five attributes: smell, taste, touch, sight and sound. Subtler than the earth is the water element. It is composed of four attributes: taste, touch, sight and sound. Smell is absent in the water because water has no smell of itself. The third element is fire which has three attributes: touch , sound and sight. The air element is subtler than fire. It has only two attributes: touch and sound. The subtlest element is space and it has only one attribute: sound. Indian philosophers have propounded that the entire universe is constituted of these five elements. Human body is a part of the universe. So it is also made of these five elements. As per the belief of the Indian philosophical systems, the human body keeps on interacting with the universe on both the gross and subtle levels. This interaction has a deep and far reaching impact on the human body. So the health of the body is intricately associated with its interplay with the universe and these five elements.
This is the reason that there are numerous hymns where the Indian seers have prayed for the well being of the entire universe. The SHANTI MANTRA is the hymn where the prayer is offered for the peace in the whole universe. The Indian seers were clever enough to understand that any damage to these elements, specifically earth, water and vegetation would bring devastation to the creation. The looming large danger of climate change is the outcome of the widespread damage caused to the environment. The science of medicine which originated in the Indian subcontinent also operates on the concept of these five elements. According to the Ayurveda physical or mental diseases are caused by the disharmony of these elements in the body. So all medicines are supposed to correct the imbalance of these elements. Naturopathy is directed towards restoring health by exposing the human body to earth, water, vegetation, etc. Mud bath, hydrotherapy, heat exposure, cold therapy, forest bathing therapy, etc are all based upon the broad concept of these five elements.
Different Yoga postures, Pranayamas or breathing exercises, Mudras or Yogic gestures and Bandhas or Yogic locks are supposed to correct the imbalance in the flow of bio energy based upon these elements. Yoga Mudras have been given utmost importance in the system of Hatha Yoga. There are many Yogic gestures which are performed by the combinations of different fingers of the hands. The thumb is the symbol of the fire element. The index finger is associated with the air element. The space element is indicated by the middle finger. The ring finger is called the sign of the earth. The little finger is the mark of the water element. Different Mudras are believed to be beneficial in activating different elements in the body and correcting the energy flow. Finger acupressure therapy also works on the same principle. (The writer is Former DG Police & CG, Homeguards, Maharashtra)