Pancha Tattva

Definition - What does Pancha Tattva mean?

Pancha tattva are the five aspects of Absolute Truth, or God. From Sanskrit, pancha means “five” and tattva means “truth” or “reality.”

As concepts, the pancha tattva are connected to yogic philosophy, but they are particularly relevant to the Gaudiya Vaishnava and Krishnaist traditions. These traditions believe that the five aspects of God incarnated on Earth in the late 15th century as five different people. These people were responsible for spreading practices of devotion to Krishna throughout India.

Yogapedia explains Pancha Tattva

The five people who formed the incarnation of pancha tattva were:

  • Chaitanya Mahaprabhu - considered the supreme devotee or Krishna himself.
  • Nityananda Prabhu - the first personal expansion of Krishna, combined with the power of Balarama, Krishna’s elder brother.
  • Advaita Acharya - the incarnation or fused form of both Vishnu and Shiva combined, sometimes known as Harihara.
  • Gadadhara Pandita - the fused incarnation of Lalita, Radha and Krishna’s own energy.
  • Srivasa Thakura - the pure devotee of Krishna, who symbolizes devotion.

The Pancha Tattva mantra includes the names of all five incarnations. It is spoken or chanted as a means of devotion and worship, or japa meditation. Devotees believe that this mantra is the most merciful mantra that can be chanted in the age of Kali, or “age of vice,” which followers believe humanity is currently living in.

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