Ashuddha Tattvas

Definition - What does Ashuddha Tattvas mean?

In the Hindu school of Saivism, the ashuddha tattvas are the impure realities or truths. The term comes from the Sanskrit prefix a, meaning “not”; shuddha, meaning “pure”; and tattva, which is usually translated as “thatness.” Other schools of Hinduism classify tattvas in different ways.

In Saivism, there are 24 ashuddha tattvas that consist of material, mental and sensory realities as well as perceptions and actions. There are also five suddha (pure) tattvas, which are spiritual energy, and seven shuddha-ashuddha (pure-impure) tattvas, which consist of limited individual experience.

Yogapedia explains Ashuddha Tattvas

The ashuddha tattvas, also sometimes called the atma (individual self) tattvas, include:

  • Four manifestations, or antakaranasprakriti (energy of the soul), buddhi (intuition), ahamkara (ego) and manas (mind)
  • Five cognitive senses, or jnanendriyasghrana (nose), caksu (eye), rasana (tongue), tvak (skin) and srotra (ear)
  • Five organs of action, or karmendriyas payu (anus), upashta (sexual organs), pada (legs), pani (hands) and vak (mouth)
  • Five sensations, or tanmatrasgandha (smell), rupa (form), rasa (taste), sparsa (touch) and sabda (sound)
  • Five elements of matter, or mahabhutasprithvi (earth), tejas (fire), jala (water), vayu (air) and akasa (ether)
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