Jan 14, 2015


PANCHA MAHUBUTAS - The five elements which are - Ether or space: Air: Fire: Water and Earth. These are not related to elements described in the periodic table. In ayurveda we’re talking about the energies or forces of the elements not so much about their true physical nature although that is a factor. The earth element is the densest, because it has all of the five elements in it, water, fire, air & ether as well as earth. Water contains all the elements except earth.Fire contains all the elements except water and earth and air has ether element in it. Ether is referred to as the 5th element because it has no material qualities and is pure. But ether is in the four material elements of air, fire, water and earth. Ether could be described as being beyond material matter and elements as denser forms of ether. Therefore we can say that solid matter an illusion and is simply fields of energy which is Einsteins theory saying that energy and matter are essentially the same thing.  Ether exists in all physical things and why it is the most pervasive. Matter is made up of atoms and atoms are mostly space.

Ether element is difficult to demonstrate because we are describing nothing. We know that Space is there but at the same time the reason that it is space is that there nothing. A pot has space inside it which is defined by the pot but if you break the pot, the space within it doesn’t go away, it just becomes part of a different space. Even though space is nothing it does have qualities which are soft, light, subtle and smooth. The word ethereal must come from ether which means it has a spiritual aspect, therefore because we can’t see ether the best way is to represent its ethereal nature. What better way than with flowers which are used in puja  to represent the ether element and used to adorn churches in the West. Ether is the medium of sound with the ears as the sensory organs.

Air element can be filled with air it is denser than ether but has the same subtlety and lightness and the quality of cold and rough.  Air is mobile therefore promotes movement, in fact it is constantly moving and we are not aware of its power until there is a force behind it as in the wind. A gentle breeze is very refreshing but when it becomes a tornado it is a different story. Air itself is drying, but it can carry moisture as in humidity. It can be heard and felt and has the sensory quality of touch. In Puja the air element is represented by incense.

Fire element has the qualities of ether and air with hot, sharp and slightly oily properties. Its quality of heat promotes combustion. Fire is the power of transformation and in nature fire is essential. Fire with the qualities of air and ether and can be heard, felt and seen. It has the sensory quality of sight, and in puja the fire element is represented by a ghee lamp.When Fire is under control it is very soothing but if it gets out of control when it hasair in it fire is a force to contend with. We use water to put out a fire because fire doesn’t contain water, but if it is oil burning, water can’t be used because fire and water are slightly oily and water will only make the fire burn more. The way to extinguish an oil fire is to cut off the air which is inherent in fire.

Water element is liquid and oily and has the quality of coldness and promotes cohesion it is heavy, moist and soft. Water can be heard, felt, seen and tasted therefore has the sensory quality of taste and in puja a sweet liquid like milk is used to represent the water element. Water is everywhere on earth and in everything, all living things are mostly waterand when there is a force affecting as in the tides for example the power of water is immense. 

Earth element is heavy, stable, tough and dense and hard in nature. The earth element contains all the other elements and can be perceived by all senses, hearing, touching, seeing, tasting, and smelling and has the sensory quality is smell. In puja, oil or sandalwood paste is used to represent the earth element. Earth promotes stability. Sand is very heavy and when it is wet it is even heavier and when dry has a lighter quality, but sand stays the same. Everything in nature consists of five elements and it is the qualities of these elements which give matter its characteristics.

According To Ayurveda & Yoga - Ann Holaday



Panchabhootam - Earth, Air, Water, Fire & Space - A multimedia musical, dance production

Panchabhootam is a unique theatrical production that brings together Indian music and Classical dance, accentuated by stunning mutimedia visuals, depicting the five elements of nature - Earth, Air, Water, Space and Fire. It was performed to a house full audience at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center in Atlanta.

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