Ayurveda is based primarily on theory of creation called panchamahabhuta theory.
“Panch” – five.
“Mahabhuta” – great element.
The human body and the universe is connected in all aspects. Charaka Samhita, the sacred text of Ayurveda, states each individual is the unique expression of cosmic process occurring in the space.
Everything that happens in the external universe (macrocosm) also happens within the human body (microcosm). The core idea is that man and the universe – microcosm and macrocosm – is directly related. They reflect one another and one is always present in other. The natural forces present in the universe is also found inside the body in a modified form.
Nature and everything in this universe is made up of five elemental principles – the panchamahabootha – Earth (prithvi), Fire (Agni / tej), Water(jal), Air (Vayu), Ether or Space (Akash).
Every substance in this world is constructed with these five fundamental elements in different forms and proportions.All the civilizations more or less speak about the same five constituents.
When we say each matter consists of all five elements of earth, fire, water, space and air, it doesn’t mean they exist in their purest forms. It is actually different characteristics and different densities of the elements they refer to.
Origin of Mahabutas
According to Ayurveda – Ether is the first element to exist. The chronology is as follows –
Ether –> Air –> Fire –> Water –> Earth.
• When we say ether or Akash – it means a hollow space. The inherent quality of space is sound (shabda). Usually there is a resonant sound in hollow space. The qualities of ether element is clear, light, subtle and immeasurable.
• Air indicates the sense of movement. The constant motion relates to the quality of touch (sparsha). It is mobile, dry, light and cold in nature.
• When there is movement it causes friction and it creates heat or fire. Since it creates light the quality of vision (rupa) is related. It is hot, sharp, light dry and subtle in nature.
• The fourth element water has the quality of fluidity and liquidity. It relates to quality of taste.It is cool, liquid, dull, soft and slim in nature.
• The last element formed is earth. It is hard and solid. It relates to the quality of smell. It is heavy, dull, dense, hard and gross in nature.
It is obvious that the density of each element increases from space to earth. All these five elements mingle with each other. For instance air can enter into other four bhutas and so on.
Every human body is an entity of the whole universe and thus the five elements are found even in our human body and denote each senses. Know about how it is related to our body in “The relation of mahabuthas and Tanmatras, Indriyas, and Chakras” in our next blog.