Gurus’ references: Five Elements exposition by Bhagavan Baba in
PRASNOTTARA VAHINI: ANSWERS TO SPIRITUAL QUESTIONS
I. THE BODY AND THE INDRIYAS
Q. Why is this human body said to be composed of the five elements, the Panchabhuthas?
A. Since it is a product of the Five Elements.
Q. What exactly are the Five Elements?
A. Akasa, Vayu, Agni, Jala and Prithvi, which are usually referred to as ether, air, fire, water and earth.
Q. From where did these originate?
A. Each subsequent element originated from the previous one.
Q. Which is the cause of the first and therefore of all the five?
A. Brahmam, the unmodified, the fixed, the Basis.
Q. What is the relationship between these Five Elements and this human body?
A. From Brahmam originated Yathna and Mahath (Effort and Cosmos); from these was born Akasa, from Akasa was born Vayu, Agni; from Agni, Jalam; and from Jalam, Prithvi. The human body is the result of the combination of all these five.
Q. In what form do these elements persist in the body?
A. Each element has again become five-fold and has gone into the composition of the body.
Q. The first – Akasa, what are the five which it has become?
A. The cogniser (Jnaatha), manas, buddhi, ahamkaram, panchakam.
Q. Speaking as “in the body” how are these indicated?
A. They are recognised as the “inner senses”.
Q. Now, what are the five forms of the next element Vayu?
A. Samaana, Vyaana, Udaana, Praana, and Apaana.
Q. And, in the body, what are they called?
A. The Pancha Praanas, the five vital airs.
Q. And Agni? – The Fire element?
A. That element became the sensory organs: the ear, the skin, the eye, the tongue, the nose.
Q. And how are they demarcated?
A. As Jnanendriyas, the organs of knowledge.
Q Tell me, what are the Jala panchakas, the five which the water-element became.
A. Sabda, Sparsa, Rupa, Rasa, Gandha (Sound, Touch, Form, Taste and Smell).
Q. Have they too any special name?
A. They are known as Pancha Thanmaathraas – the Five Subtlenesses.
Q. The Earth-element remains out of the Five. How does it appear in the body?
A. The vocal organs, hands, legs, genitals and the excretory organs.
Q. And they are known as…?
A. As Karmendriyas – the organs of action.
Q. Instead of considering this human body, constituted in this manner by the elements as a single unit, the Vedanthins say there are many units in it! Is that true?
A. There are not “many”, but three. Some say, there are four!
Q. Oh! What are they? What are they called? The third and the fourth?
A. Sthuladeha (the gross body), Sukshmadeha (the subtle body) and Kaaranadeha (the causal body). Some aver that there is a fourth called, MahaKaaranadeha (the Super-Causal Body) also.
Q. What exactly is meant by Sthuladeha, the gross body?
A. It means the body constituted of the 25 elemental principles mentioned by me already.
Q. What then is the Sukshma body?
A. The 5 Jnanendriyas, the 5 Than-Maathras, the 5 Praanas, the Manas and the Buddhi – these 17 categories
combine to constitute the subtle body.
Q. Is this called Sukshmadeha only or has it any other appellation too?
A. Why should it not have? It has. It is known also as Thaijasa.
Q. And is it marked off as belonging to any state or Avastha?
A. Yes, it is.
Q. And what is the name of that?
A. The Dream State.
Q. Do you mean to say that the Gross Body has no state assigned to it?
A. Of course, it has.
Q. Tell me the name of that state.
A. That is the wakeful state, the Jaagrath.
Q. What is the Causal, the Kaaranadeha?
A. There, the Chiththam or Consciousness is in association with the Knower, the Knowing Principle, theJnaatha.
Q. What is it known as?
A. The Praajna.
Q. And the state?
A. The state is Sushupthi, Deep Sleep.
Q. Tell me also, what they mean by the Super-Causal Body, the fourth.
A. The Pure Consciousness unmixed with any Thathwa or elemental principle, the Witness Eternal, the Self Luminous. They refer to it as the MahaKaaranaDeha.
Q. Has it a name, like the rest?
A. It is known as Hiranyagarbha.
Q. And the state?
A. It is stateless, it is beyond all states of consciousness and so it is described as A-ksharaPurusha.
Q. Coming back to this Gross Body, what are the specific products attributable to the Five Elements that have united to form it?
A. Of the Earth, bone, skin, flesh, veins, hair.
Q. Of water, Jala?
A. Blood, urine, saliva, phlegm, brain.
Q. From Fire?
A. Hunger, thirst, sleep, sloth, comradeship.
Q. The element Vayu produces….?
A. Activity, movement, speed, shame, fear.
Q. The element Akasa in the body must be responsible similarly for some consequences.
A. Yes; for lust, anger, greed, pride and envy.
Q. Man has much travail, is it not? Do these consequences of his composition have anything to do with his travails?
A. You seem to have some doubts. The reason for all his agony is this group of gross qualities. The travails, too, are not many though they may appear so. They are only of four types. They are called Vasanas.
Q. What are the four Vasanas?
A. The body, the mind, wealth and sex; though there are others, all are ultimately based on these.
Q. Man in his pride struts about blindly; what is this egoism that prods him on? How many varieties of egoism are there?
A. There are four types: vanity of clan, vanity of wealth, vanity of youth and vanity of scholarship. Though there are other types too, they can be grouped under these.