TRIGUNA & PANCHAMAHABUTHA

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TRIGUNA & PANCHAMAHABUTHA Empty TRIGUNA & PANCHAMAHABUTHA

Post by Admin on Sun 07 Nov 2010, 7:30 pm

TRIGUNA



Three primordial forces, or principles (GUNAS) namely Sattva, Rajas & Tamas, interweaving to create the five elements - space, air, fire, water and earth – birth the entire creation.



The principle of stillness, tamas, replenishes the universe and its beings and is the main principle of support within the physical universe. The principle of self-organizing activity, rajas, gives motility and co-ordination to the universe and human life. The Principal of harmonic and cosmic intelligence, sattva, maintains universal and individual stasis and awareness. These three cosmic principles, called gunas, operating through the five elements they have created, directly interface with human existence.

On the physical plane, tamas works closely with the physical functions of the body, summarized as bodily humors called doshas, tissues and wastes. Tamas is said to exercise the greatest influence on the body’s water aspect, or Kapha dosha(humour)* human and gives the body its ability to cogitate and to endure long periods of gestation.

Rajas influences the psychic plane of existence and works closely with the psychological functions of the body. On the physical level, rajas is said to exercise the most influence on the body’s air aspect, Vata Dosha (humour)*. It gives us our power to transform what is being perceived externally into thoughts, concepts, visions, and dreams.



Referred to as the universe’s cosmic intelligence, the third principle sattva, permeates each and every minute cell of our being. It functions through our existential states of awareness, although it also influences the physical organism to some extent. Within the physical body, sattva is said to exercise the most influence on its fire aspect, Pitta dosha (humour)*. Closely linked to the universal subtle fire, tejas, the sattva principle maintains the cosmic memory of the entire creation- the collective memory of every human- each individual’s memory accumulated from the beginning of time through each rebirth until the present time i.e– our personal wisdom.



*all the above mentioned doshas will be explained in detail in the coming chapter( tridosh)The Panchamahabhutas



As mentioned earlier the three primordial forces ( sattva , rajas & tamas ) interweave to create the five elements( panchmahabhutas) which birth the entire creation.

According to Ayurveda everything in life is composed of the PanchamahabhutasAkash (Space), Vayu (Air), Jal (Water), Agni (Fire) and Prithvi (Earth). Omnipresent, they are mixed in an infinite variety of relative proportions such that each form of matter is distinctly unique. Constantly changing and interacting with each other, they create a situation of dynamic flux that keeps the world going.

This is a small example: Within a simple, single living cell for example the earth element predominates by giving structure to the cell. The water element is present in the cytoplasm or the liquid within the cell membrane. The fire element regulates the metabolic processes regulating the cell. While the air element predominates the gases therein. The space occupied by the cell denoting the last of the elements.

In the case of a complex, multi-cellular organism as a human being for instance, akash (space) corresponds to spaces within the body (mouth, nostrils, abdomen etc.); vayu (air) denotes the movement (essentially muscular); agni (fire)controls the functioning of enzymes (intelligence, digestive system, metabolism); jal (water) is in all body fluids (as plasma, saliva, digestive juices); and prithvi (earth) manifests itself in the solid structure of the body (bones, teeth, flesh, hair et al).

The Panchmahabhutas therefore serve as the foundation of all diagnosis treatment modalities in Ayurveda and has served as a most valuable theory for physicians to detect and treat illness of the body and mind successfully. For example if a person has more of the fire element in the body he may suffer from more acid secretion (gastric/ digestive), which if causing harm in the form of hyperacidity etc., can be controlled by giving him food which contains more of jala (water) mahabhuta in it like sugarcane juice etc.



Table – 1



Panch Mahabhutas

Sense Organs

Sensory Faculty

Properties

Actions











Space

Ears

Hearing

*Creates natural space in the body

Produces softness, lightness and porosity







* No distinct taste













Air

Skin

Touch

*Light, clear and dry.

Creates dryness, lightness and wasting







*Governs breathing, movement of eyelids, joints, and other motor functions.









*slightly bitter taste













Fire

Eyes

Sight

*Rough & bright

Helps in digestion, improves eye sight







*Controls temperature and luster of body colour.









*Pungent taste













Earth

Nose

Smell

*Heavy, immobile, compact & rough.

*Increases firmness & strength of the body







*Controls organs as teeth, nails, flesh, skin, tendons & muscles.

*Acts as a nutrient, and purgative







*Sweet taste.













Water

Tongue

Taste

*Cold, heavy fluid

*Imparts glossiness.







*Slimy, fat and sweat by nature

*Enhances fluid content & purgative







*Sweet & astringent, sour & saline taste.

*Acts as nutrient, purgative.

Language of the Doshas)

The Physical, psychic and cosmic language of the body is created from the circadian rhythm of the universe set in motion some billions of years ago when the five great elements were born. Space, air, fire, water and earth, the first material for life, are the basis of the Vedic sciences. In Ayurveda human physiology and anatomy is rooted in bodily humors (doshas) tissues (dhatus) and wastes (malas). These three principles support all of life and are more than the physical substance of our anatomy.

Doshas are three in number called Tridoshas (tri meaning three and doshas being the basic physical energies/humors) . They are the primary and essential factors of the human body that govern our entire physical structure and function. Derived from the Panchmahabhutas (five elements), each dosha– which like the elements cannot be detected with our senses but their qualities can be. They are the combination of any two of the five bhutas (five elements) with the predominance of one. Called Vata, Pitta and Kapha in Sanskrit, these three are responsible for all the physiological and psychological processes within the body and mind – dynamic forces that determine growth and decay. Every physical characteristic, mental capacity and the emotional tendency of a human being can therefore be explained in terms of the tridoshas.

When existing in the body of all living organisms, the five elements congregate in a certain pattern and are known in Sanskrit as doshas, the literal meaning of which is, “that which is quick to go out of balance.” Doshas imply that the human system maintains a delicate balance, its dynamic elemental composition always being on the verge of disorder.

The doshas are a classic example of energy and matter in dynamic accord. All matter born from energy remains intricately woven within its core nature of energy. In a state of balance or equilibrium, doshas are considered an energy force in that we cannot visibly detect them as they move through and support bodily function.

For example most of the physical phenomena ascribed to the nervous system by modern physiology for example, can be identified with Vata. Just as the entire chemical process operating in the human body can be attributed to Pitta, including enzymes, hormones and the complete nutritional system. And the activities of the skeletal and the anabolic system, actually the entire physical volume of an organism, can be considered as Kapha.

In a state of imbalance or disequilibrium the doshas become visible as excessive mucus, bile, flatus, and physical matter. When these early signs of disorder are ignored, imbalances can quickly become full-blown diseases.

In this unique system of explaining health, air and space—both ethereal elements – form one of the three doshas called Vata. Here air exercises its power of mobility only when space is available.

The elements fire and water form a second dosha called Pitta. Here the bodily water protects the heat of the body from burning through. An example of bodily fire is the acid in our stomachs, which, if leaked from the stomach, is capable of burning the organism with the force of a raging fire. Water is the buffering force that contains the body’s fires.

The elements water and earth combine to form the third dosha called Kapha. Because of their mutual density, water gives earth its fluidity. Without water, earth would become stagnated and inert. Thus, the Kapha dosha enables a certain fluidity in the body without depriving it of its solid support. Thus the three doshas co-exist in all living organisms.

It is important to realize that these three are forces and not substances. Kapha is not mucus; it is the force that causes mucus to arise. Similarly pitta is not bile; but that which causes bile to be produced. And they are called doshas – literally meaning `faults’ or `out of whack’- as they indicate the fault lines along which the system can become imbalanced.

It is equally important to understand that the three doshaswithin any person keep changing constantly due to their doshic qualities (explained in the next chapter), the specific lifestyle and environment of the person, time and the season. Remember that these three are not separate energies but different aspects of the same energy, present together in an infinite variety of combination .The degree to which each dosha exists within a person determines the individual’s constitution, commonly referred to as body type (prakriti , which will be mentioned in the forthcoming pages).

Each doshathus shares a quality with another (although there remain slight differences in the nature of shared quality). Also, each has an inherent ability to regulate and balance itself, which comes from the opposite qualities that arise from the doshas constituent (basic) elements.

When the doshas are in balance i.e. in a state of equilibrium, we remain healthy. As Charaka, the great ayurvedic sage, explained: "Vata, pitta and kapha maintain the integrity of the living human organism in their normal state and combine so as to make the man a complete being with his indriyas (sense organs) possessed of strength, good complexion and assured of longevity."

It is only when that there is imbalance within these three doshas that disease is caused. And since it is the strongest dosha in the constitution that usually has the greatest tendency to increase, one is most susceptible to illnesses associated with an increase of the same.

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