Aakash – Vayu – Agni – Jal – Prithvi
Say this in loud & deep voice & it’ll sound like opening line for Captain Planet Cartoon in Hindi
Fun, right? Now, let me share what we all know but don’t pay enough attention to. You, me, every body, every thing in this Universe is made out of these Five Elements or Pancha Maha Bhootas – Space, Air, Fire, Water & Earth. Ayurveda science is completely based on this concept. We’d be able to understand our physical and emotional self better, if we learn more about balancing these elements in our lives. We’d also have more respect for every living & non living being and universal functions, if we understand this concept deeply.
I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible –
Aakash/ Space :
It all started with Aakash/Space (also called as Ether). Akash/Space is omnipresent.
It’s funny that when someone mentions space, I get visuals of Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock from Interstellar and Gravity 🤷
But space is home for the entire universe, we are all contained in the space. The gap between all of us, between the furniture next to you, the gap between you & this screen, it is all space.
Aakash/Space is what gives you the freedom to move.
With respect to our body, space is present in all the pipes or vessels and most of the organs that carry out functions of our body, like the wind pipe, the gastro intestinal tract, hollow sinus spaces, lungs, bones (to carry the bone marrow) blood carrying artillery and capillaries and all the openings of our body.
Each of our five senses can be related to an element. And Swar/Sound is related to space.
Vayu/ Air :
From space, emerged Air. Vayu or Air is responsible for every movement happening in universe and also in our body. Bodily movement functions like breathing, blood circulation, cellular activity, food going down the gastro intestinal tract, excretion, joint movements, menstruation everything is because of the Vayu/Air in our body. Too much air in the body will always find a way out and can be embarassing *Insert a fart joke”
Sense/tanmatra related to Air is sparsha/touch.
Agni / Fire:
Where there is movement, there will, of course, be some friction and where there is friction, it’ll give rise to our next element, that is Agni/Fire. Agni helps us create energy in our body. Fire is responsible for the metabolism, for breaking down the food and converting it into energy. Fire is also responsible for Adele’s massive popularity because there’s a fire starting in her heart and she also sets fire to the rain
Jokes apart, I have spoken about Agni in detail in my last blogpost. It is also responsible for our body temperature regulation. Agni is what keeps us alive. The blood cells carry heat throughout our body, in case of poor circulation, you’d notice colder hands and feet in an individual.
Agni /Fire is a vital part of our system and as we proceed further in this series, you’ll see how everything in our body is highly affected by our Agni .
Tanmatra/sense related to Agni is Form/Roop
Jal/ Water :
Jal/ water is the fourth element, and it’s very significant as it covers 70% of our body and also our Mother Earth. Jal/Water is responsible for maintaining blood fluidity, skin hydration, digestion, cleansing, making sure oxygen reaches to every body cell and all the cellular activity. It is also responsible for taste. You must have noticed when you are dehydrated, taste buds are not as active.
Water’s tanmatra/sense is Taste/Rasa
Prithvi/ Earth :
Pritvhi / Earth is a solid, dense & hard element. It is the firm ground for global life, literally holding all the living creatures of our planet. It provides all of us food & shelter.
Our bones, cartilages, tissues, fat, nails, teeth, hair, skin our entire body structure is made of earth element. Prithvi is responsible for our physical growth.
Prithvi’s tanmatra/sense is smell/gandha
Together, these five elements Akash, Vayu, Agni, Jal and Prithvi support life and help maintain harmony in the universe and in our body. If they go out of balance, problems arise.
You can strive to balance the elements in your body by being aware of your food choices, of the environment around you, of the seasonal changes and of the entire ecosystem around you. The key is to be more and more mindful about living.
It’s clear that we all have these five elements, but some one may have more air element than others, or others may have more fire or more earth. Individual’s qualitative and quantitive proportions of these elements decide the constitution or Prakriti or Ayurveda Body Type.(next blogpost in this series)
People with Air and Space dominance are Vata Prakriti
Fire and Water dominance are Pitta type
& Water and Earth dominance are Kapha type.
Generally, most people have combination Prakriti like I’m Vata-Pitta. My space and air element are higher than fire, water & earth.
When our unique combination stays in balance then we live a healthy life, but, if the combination gets imbalanced, we may get health problems. For example, if the earth element increases, you will put on weight. If the water element increases, you will have bloating/swellings. If the fire element increases, you may get heart burns, ulcer, acidity and even fever.
Subtle changes in these elements can also affect our mental functions. For example, if your Air element increases, you can get anxious, fearful, restless and you’ll worry a lot. If earth element increases, then you may feel heaviness, lack of interest in anything & depression. And increase in fire element affects your temperament the most. Anger, jealousy issues may arise.
I hope you got a little idea about these bhootas or elements and you’d start noticing these functions within and around you.
If you have any questions, write to me <3