Pancha Mahabhuta

Last Updated: August 15, 2017

Definition - What does Pancha Mahabhuta mean?

Pancha mahabhuta is a Sanskrit term meaning "five great elements" and is used to describe the five great elements that are said to be present in everything in the universe, including in the human body. These elements are as follows:

  1. Akasha (ether)
  2. Vayu (air)
  3. Tej (fire)
  4. Jala (water)
  5. Prithvi (earth)

Yogapedia explains Pancha Mahabhuta

Each of these five elements comes from the pancha tanmatra. Tanmatra is a Sanskrit word that can be translated as “subtle essence” and is related to each of the body’s sense organs. The different tanmatras are as follows:

  1. Shabda (sound)
  2. Roopa (vision)
  3. Sparsha (touch)
  4. Gnadha (smell)
  5. Rasa (taste)

The individual great elements described by pancha mahabhuta are made up of all five different tanmatras, but with each one featuring them in different proportions and having one that is predominant.

While meditating during yoga, it is possible to feel the presence of all the different elements in one's body and in the universe that surrounds the body by using each of these senses.

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