Panchbhoot the Five elements

Creation is made of five attributes, Pruthvi, Aap, Tej, Vayu and Akash, the Panchbhoot’. Pruthvi is solidity, often called Earth. Aap is fluidity, often called Water. Tej is called Fire but it means the energy which causes change. Vayu is called Wind but it is the vitality of energy. And finally Akash is often called Ether but it means the tremendous potential of creation. These five attributes are the manifested Creation. These are conscious energies and are linked to your energy body and are produced in your chakras where they maintain your personal body/mind/soul.

  • Panch means five, spread out, measure, union, clarity, evidence etc.
  • Bhoot is a Sanskrit (Devbhasha Samskritam) )word which means world, element, spirit, created beings, that which exists, present, truth, pure, past etc.

panchamahabhootThese five, the Panchbhoot, are created from the Bindu, the Paramatma, the Ultimate Reality. Bindu is a concept, it exists but it does not have any dimensions. A line has length, space has three dimensions, but a point? A point is dimension-less. It exists but cannot be defined. The Bindu evolves and differentiates into these 5 elements, this is called Creation, this is called Pravrutti, ‘evolving-out’. When the five bhoot merge and dissolve into each other it is Involution, Moksh, also called Nivrutti, ‘evolving-in’.

The Swastik is a very common symbol of Hinduism/Sanatan Dharm. Swastik means (swa+asti) ‘self-existence’ or ‘well-being’. It represents this dance of Pravrutti and Nivrutti, the creation and dissolution. The four arms of the Swastik taper outwards, are drawn to suggest movement and represent Pruthvi, Aap, Tej and Vayu while the central joint is Akash. Now there are 4 additional dots drawn they too have a meaning, they represent the Nitya part of the element. When the arms are in the clockwise motion it is Creation. When the arms are drawn rotating in the anti-clockwise motion it represents destruction of the manifested. In Indian households you will always find the Swastik drawn in its Creation, Pravrutti form. The destructive/Moksh form of the Swastik is used only by spiritual or occult practitioners who know what they are doing.

Panchbhoot the Five elements Panchbhoot the Five elements

Pruthvi Mahabhoot – The Great Element of Solidity, it supports. It defines Gandha i.e. ‘Relationship’. It contains the energy of Shabda, Sparsh Roop and Rasa too. There are two types of Solidity. One is called the Nitya/Eternal and the other is called Anitya/transient. Nitya Pruthvi is the eternal form of solidity, the 108 types of atoms that make up matter. These cannot be discerned by the senses and cannot be ordinarily destroyed. This is the conscious part of Solidity. Quantum experiments have proved that electrons are ‘tangled’, i.e. conscious of one another. This is Nitya Pruthvi. The Anitya solidity is the temporary shape of the body taken on by all conscious beings. This changes shape and can be destroyed and reduced to the Nitya form. We can sense this form with our sense organs. These transient forms have different names and are classified into animal, plant, rock etc.

Aap Mahabhoot – The Great Element of Fluidity. It is linked to Rasa, i.e Essence. It contains the energy of Shabda, Sparsh and Roop too. The sentiment of continuity is Aap and so is the water drop. Here too the element exists in the eternal/Nitya and Anitya/transient form. There are different types of Anitya forms representing different types and aspects of liquid flowing forms, from rivers on the earth to blood in your body.

Tej Mahabhoot – The Great Element of Energy of Change. It is linked to Roop i.e. Tangibility. It contains the energy of Shabda and Sparsh too. The heat of touch is Tej. Here too this element exists in the imperishable/Nitya and transient/Anitya forms. Fire is of different types, doing different types of work within the body, from Jathar-agni to Shukra-agni. It is also the fire and the lightening you see with your eyes.

Vayu Mahabhoot – The Great Element of Vital Energy. This indicates Sparsh, i.e. Expression. It is linked to Shabda. Vayu too has its eternal/Nitya and temporary/Anitya forms. The temporary forms are of different types, viz, 5 major classes of Vayu move in your body. In the spiritual context, Vayu is the intelligence which rules over the Antariksha/atmosphere. This is also the pran/vital energy which flows in your energy body

Aakash Mahabhoot – The Great Element of Potential of Creation Shabda. This is the summation of the other four. This is the central dot of the Swastik. Aakash has only one form, the Nitya form. This cannot be sensed by any sense organ nor does it have different types. It is eternal and pervades everything. There is nothing called ‘vacuum’ as Akash exists everywhere. Outer space looks dark to the normal eyes but actually is in motion with spirals of energies. Material space is the Bhoot-aakash and the ether of the mind is the Chitta-aakash. But when one refers to Aakash in the spiritual context it means the Chid-aakash i.e. the place of the Paramatma, the Bindu.

These five elements combine in various proportions to create the Pancha-kosh, the five layered body of all beings, conscious/non-conscious.

If you go to a jewellery shop, you will see bangles, necklaces, earrings and other ornaments, they are all different. But they are also the same gold! So the ornaments are inherent in the gold and also gold is inherent in all the ornaments. Depends on how you see it, but remember without the gold you wouldn’t have any ornaments at all.

Similarly Paramatma is hidden in the Panchabhoot and the Panchabhoot are hidden within the Paramatma. The Paramatma is the root cause of the Panchabhoot thus Creation. Depends on if you can see it!

OM.

 

Panchbhoot the Five elements

Kundalini, the chakras and creation

I have written about the energy vertices/chakras and the energy lines/nadi running along the spine in this previous post. Six chakras from Muladhar to the Ajnya in the spine are said to be the lower ones and six more exist in the head and in the astral self above the skull, making 12 major chakras in total. There are several smaller chakras/vertices in the body, eg in your palms and soles of the feet. You can feel the whirring in your palms when you use Reiki or make a chi ball. Now a bit about some of the chakras and naadis of the head.

The Sushumna nadi/central high tension channel carries the thinner Vajrini inside it. Inside this is the even subtler Chitrini. Inside this is the subtlest Brahmanadi. When it reaches the head the Sushumna bifurcates. At the back of your skull where your neck ends, there is a small hollow, at this point the Sushumna divides into 2.

  • One portion of the Brahmanadi/highest tension channel, now continues straight to the top of the head till the top bindu and the brahmarandhra.
  • The other portion continues horizontally through the pineal gland till the third eye chakra. This third eye chakra point is called the Kuthastha and represents the meeting point of the 3 naadis, Sushumna, Ida and Pingala (the 3 high energy channels).
  • Now from the Kuthastha, the Brahmanadi alone continues through your forehead till it reaches the Brahmarandhra. 
  • These 2 sections of the Brahmanadi, one from along the back of the head and one from along the forehead, now meet at the Brahmarandhra.
  • The top bindu, brahmarandhra and sahasrara chakras are interconnected one above the other at the top of your skull.

When the pran, followed by the energy of self identification, ie Kundalini, runs in these sections of the Brahmanadi and completes the circuit at the top bindu, the brahmarandhra will be accessible. The soul can then exit through it with full awareness and you get videha-mukti (death of the physical body + Moksha). If your soul does not want to exit and continue as an enlightened Guru for the benefit of others, the soul can continue in the body with full awareness in a state called Jivan-mukti. (Moksh while continuing in the body).

There are 3 chakras surrounding the top bindu located in an equilateral triangle around it. These are also locks and the pran first and the energy of self-awareness has to navigate these locks and open them. These are Vama, Jeyshtha and Raudri.

Kundalini, the chakras and creation

Let’s digress a bit now and see how creation occurs. Creation basically means the creation of the individual soul. When each individual soul gets created it then uses its own limited power of creation to further create its own personal Universe. The Creative Force of the Ultimate, basically creates the Soul/ Jivatma.

The origin of Creation is Vibrations. The Parabrahma creates Devi. The Parabrahma can be thought of as a Lamp and the Devi its Illumination. You cannot separate the two. If there is a lamp there will be its light and conversely. However the Lamp remains the source of the Light. But when the Parabrahma creates the Light (also called Prakruti) we will call the Source (Purush, as here duality has been created from the Eternal Singularity). So next, Devi creates the subtle resonance, Naada (There are 2 aspects of Naada each with specific attributes – Naadanta and Nirodhini ). Next created is Om, the pranava mantra, the ‘unstruck’ sound (sound was created but nothing was struck to create it), the primal vibration. You can perceive this subtle sound with your entire being. If you have had the fortune of sitting near a real enlightened Guru, the vibrations and the power from his aura is this.

Now the sequence is this Parabrahma – (Purush with) Devi – Naada – Om – to the next Bindu. Bindu is a ‘dot’, of compressed unimaginable potential energies. This would be the location of the topmost Bindu of your skull. This Bindu then divides into 3 energy points or chakras called Vama, Jeyshtha and Raudri. This triangle and the central bindu is responsible for our existence and all our actions.

  • Raudri represents the Kriya shakti, the energy of movement and helps the spiritual aspirant by destroying his karma balance sheet. However in the process of creation here is where your karmic balance sheet is created.
  • Jyeshta is linked to jnyana shakti and for the aspirant represents the subtle desire to seek knowledge of the self. At every point in the energy channel there are two possible directions for evolution, the inward moving/nivrutti and the outward moving/pravrutti. If you wish to seek the material you will move along the pravrutti direction and if you wish to seek the self you move in the nivrutti direction.
  • Vama represents the Iccha shakti, if the aspirant wishes to cross this chakra he has to terminate the seeds of the desire of seeking worldly pleasures. Or the other direction, when you are being created, this is where the desire for worldly experiences are linked into your Jivatma/individual soul. Whatever binds you also has the power to release you, the choice is always available to you.

Now at this level, the vibrations are still in the subtle planes, high in energy, not yet sufficiently lowered to be felt as the manifested gross. They are the subtle seeds. This portion in the Shriyantra geometry is the central dot and its surrounding equilateral triangle.

Next these 3 bindus together downshift their energy of subtle sound and create the Matrika/the deity considered as the creator of the sounds of the Sanskrit language (Devbhasha Samskrutam). Matrika produces her creations, the 16 Kala/’atom’, seeds of matter. The first fifteen kalas are the 15 vowels of Sanskrit (a, aa, e, ee, u, uu, rhu, rhuu, lhru, lhruu, ae, ai, o, au, am). The sixteenth kala is called the visarg  अ:/’aha’. The : sign is called a Visarg. This sixteenth kala is the source of all the consonants of Sanskrit.

When the Matrika produces her creations, the sounds, the original energy of creation moves further down as the energy structures of the Shatchakras, the six lower Chakras Ajnya, Vishuddhi, Anahata, Manipur, Swadhisthana and Muladhar are created. The consonants are now linked to the ‘lotus’ ‘petals’ of each of these chakras as beej mantras. These are still subtle seeds of creation not manifested.

The energy of vibrations is brought lower and lower and becomes more and more differentiated. Finally this subtle energy of self-identification is locked with the locks of the Kundalini and the entire structure of sound fixed into the Kurma-shila below the lowest Muladhar chakra. Thus the physical body is created out of vibrations. Now the 33 types of energies/33 koti devata, are used to lock the physical structure in all the possible dimensions of space/time etc.

Kundalini, the chakras and creation

Thus self awareness is brought down from the Parabrahma to the limited consciousness of the human soul. To go back to your original state of consciousness i.e. to experience Parabrahma again you have to reverse this entire process. The energy of self-identification has to be released from its kundalini locks and systematically brought up.

If the naadi route is perfectly harmonious with the original vibration that created it, the energy will just shoot up in an instant. You want to experience yourself, this desire is always there! The perfect structure looks like the Shrichakra in 2D or the Mahameru in 3D when seen from the top. The kundalini lock is at the very bottom, when the energy is released it has to navigate this maze like geometry in all possible dimensions. Each vertex of this yantra/energy diagram represents a complicated locking mechanism and the straight lines are extremely fine subtle energy lines millions of times thinner than your hair. Such a huge quantum of Kundalini energy has to be brought through these thinnest naadis and manoeuvred through each of those locks. Can you imagine the type of control you need to have on yourself? ‘Yourself’ here means your energy of self identification, Kundalini.

But as we have taken on karmas, their subtle influences have distorted our internal energy structure. It does not look like the perfect geometry anymore. So the best possible you can do is to focus on your practice and set your geometry right. The instant your energy geometry gets perfect the energy locked by the kundalini will rise in one smooth motion perfectly.

This was on how we are formed of Vibrations and are energy which is slowed down so much that it looks like matter.

 

diwa-5-1-min

Practicing Tratak using Shri Yantra

Tratak is a very simple and common exercise used to train the mind to remain absolutely still and without thoughts. This is how you do it.

On a white paper take a print of the Shriyantra. (preferably a line diagram) This is the energy geometry of your own self, use this always for any mediation etc where you need a focus point. While choosing an image to print remember that the central triangle is perfectly equilateral and the central dot/Bindu is in its exact center. Mark the central dot with a pen to make it clearly visible (If you use this image below, shade in the central dot completely and dark black.)shri yantra black and whiteDecide where you will sit, be comfortable. Paste this paper on the wall a few feet away from your seat at the eye level. Now steadily gaze at the central dot/Bindu without blinking your eyes, till your eyes start tearing up. When it becomes too much, close your eyes, you will see the after image of the dot and the geometry in your closed eyes. Then again open your eyes and stare at the dot without blinking. Repeat this exercise till you can stare for longer and longer times. The after-image in your closed eyes will become stronger and stronger and eventually the entire Yantra will remain imprinted in your closed eyes as an after image. (If you can sit in on your asan in a yogic posture like Siddhasan or Padmasan it will be faster, if you cannot for some reason, that also is ok.)

Here you are training your internal geometry also. You are showing your energy how it looks in its perfectly balanced state. You should do this steady gazing/Tratak as much as you can, start for one minute a day and gradually increase it. (One of my friends used to do this for hours and hours when we were children in school!) Soon your personal energy will start entraining itself with the Shri yantra geometry and resonating with it. Later you will also see how the 2-D paper geometry changes, becomes deeper adding more depth and dimensions to it. It is a wonderful experience!

When you do Dhyan and search for the gold/silver – flame/point of the third eye chakra within yourself, the forces of aakshep and vikshep interfere and push/pull your focus away from that specific point. (Aakshep means the energy which tosses aside, throws away with force, presents a challenge i.e. the tossing mind. Vikshep is the wandering mind, it means to scatter, to repel (exactly like same pole magnets), to disperse.)

If you have practiced doing Tratak on the Shriyantra these forces will be overcome faster and you will be able to access the opening of the Brahmanadi faster. And it is such a simple exercise!

 

Pranayam, the basic 3 methods

 

(Got this Comment on the contact form: Hello, I live in the USA. I grew up Christian but I am interested in the Indian Spirituality. It is difficult finding an Indian friend here because most live in India. Many times I have questions. Would you be interested in giving me direction when I have questions/maybe we can connect on facebook or email?? Your English is good! :).. 

Hi there, I do not interact individually on fb/ email but if you have questions you can ask, and if I know the answer, I will respond. You can ask on this blog in any of the comment forms under the posts. 🙂

Beej mantras

It is possible that this post gets too technical, but this was the best I could do to simplify the concept! (The website http://spokensanskrit.org is quite good for basic translations of Sanskrit words.)

Sanskrit is the Devbhasha देवभाषा, it भाषा means ‘to define’ and देव means ‘light’ or ‘divinity’. Thus Sanskrit language defines Illumination. Humans did not discover this language, its origin is from the cosmic sound of Om. (There are scientific papers on the perfect mathematics of the 14 Maheshwar Sutras). Sanskrit is highly mathematical and precise. Each word has layers of meanings and can express concepts both from the physical as well as the spiritual world with equal ease. There are several scientific papers on the mathematical and linguistic perfection of Sanskrit and experiments are being conducted to record the effect of Sanskrit words, on the DNA, in medicine etc, the visible energies of these words are being mapped with cymatics etc. We are re-discovering the importance of Sanskrit again.

Beej mantras

Sanskrit has 54 Akshar/अक्षर. Akshar are indestructible, inalterable, immutable, fixed sounds. All these Akshar are sourced from Om, they are different aspects of Om. Om is the original sound of creation. The entire Universe resonates to the vibrational frequency of Om (lots scientific papers on this too). Thus the Akshar define existence and evolution both, and have the power to change these states. Each Akshar is considered to be Divine in its own way. Stringing them in defined ways gives the words of Sanskrit. These words are speech, the Mantra.

You can change your existence and the direction/speed of your progress/evolution using these mantra. Mantra words have tremendous power as they harness the energy of sound/vibrations itself, (Nada/नाद Brahma or Shabda/शब्द Brahma). We revere sound/vibrations/rhythm as Divine, and call this divinity Matrika/मात्रिका. Vibrations are Time itself and have the capacity to alter Time. Sanskrit speech /mantra /मन्त्र are not just words. They are the the perfect expression/description of an idea. If you know the perfect word for an idea you can use this expression to manifest your idea. Thus Sanskrit Mantra have the power to manifest and create.

To re-cap, Devbhasha Samskritam/देवभाषा संस्कृतम is the first and original language of this Universe.  It is absolutely perfect by its own creation. Its origins are from the Pranav Mantra Om, and the seer Rishi Panini wrote its grammar as he saw it from the Akash. It has remained unchanged since it was first expressed by the Universe. Sanskrit words are found in all the languages of the world and it is the original mother-tongue of mankind.

So let’s list out the 54 sounds. (I don’t know how to write them with the diacritical marks).

  1. 14 vowels – a, aa, e, ee, u, uu, rhu, rhuu, lhru, lhruu, ae, ai, o, au
  2. 2 support vowels – am, aha
  3. Gutturals – ka, kha, ga, gha, nga
  4. Palatals – cha, chha, ja, jha, nja
  5. Cerebrals – ta, tha, da, dha, na
  6. Dentals – ta, tha, da, dha, na
  7. Labials – pa, pha, ba, bha, ma
  8. Semi-vowels – ya, ra, la, va,
  9. Sibilants – Sha, Ssha, sa
  10. Consonants – Ha, LLa, Ksha
  11. Conjunct Consonants – Tra, Jnya
  12. The sound of the Bindu or dot. (it is somewhat like ‘ang’, very very nasal)

Now with this brief introduction to Sanskrit and the sounds, on to beej mantras. The sound which is the ‘seed’, the primary cause, the source, the truth is the ‘beej’.

Every sound/Akshar has its own power, linking 2 or several can create a blend of their powers. These Akshar are the root sounds and are the purest expression of their energies.

Example, Ga (ग) – is ruled by the specific Devi Gayatri who personifies the light of pure wisdom and clarity. Thus the beej mantra derived from this गं (‘gung’ with the nasal sound of the Bindu/dot) has the capacity to grant wisdom. Mantras are power, to utilize this power you will need your Intention and your personal Will. This गं beej mantra will do whatever action is required to confer wisdom. This is the reason why using beej mantras randomly is considered dangerous by normal people. When you use this गं beej mantra you are sending out your intention (powered by your will and the mantra) to the Universe that you desire the purest expression of wisdom, and the Universe will respond in all ways possible. Extreme example is, if for receiving this wisdom you are required to leave your householder’s life and take sanyas, you will be made to do so, if not in this life, then in whichever life this intention will fructify. So beej mantras should be used with due respect.

Now the mantra of the Devi Mahatmya/Durga Saptashati. ‘Om Aing Hreeng Kleeng Chamudayai vicche’. This is what the beej mantras briefly mean,

Om = the pranav mantra, origin of the Universe, your real name, the Paramtattva

aing = ai + ang = Abundance/richness + Bindu

hreeng = ha + ra + ee + ang = Eternity/Endless/One + Removal/Dissolution + Balance/Perfection + Bindu

kling = ka + la + ee + ang = Control/Coordination + Beauty/Enchanting/Captivating + Balance/Perfection + Bindu

 

Now each of these beej mantras end with the nasal ‘ang’ sound. This is different from the ‘am’ sound. This sound is the reason why mantras are not so effective anymore. If you observe your priest doing a puja for you, he will use the sound ‘am’, as it should be. He is doing this puja for you, this beej mantra is not being recited for his own self, he is saying it for you, so he pronounces it as ‘am’ sound made by closing the lips.

Now the Bindu ‘ang’ sound. This is transcendental. It is the sound of the 16th kala/aspect of the Moon (internal Illumination) ruled by Mahatripurasundari, the highest Paradevi, Mahamaya Herself  who is represented by the central Bindu of the Shriyantra/Meru geometry. You are accessing the creative aspect of the Parabrahma itself when you use this Akshar. When you make this sound the lips remain open, the tongue presses at the back of the palate (is significant) and the energy of the sound is directed upwards through the nostrils into your third eye. You are powering the mantra to high energy levels, you are manifesting your intention, you are being the Creator Himself.

So always pronounce the beej mantra as ‘Om aing hreeng kleeng Chamundayai vicche’ and not as “Om aim hrim kleem Chamundayai vicche”. And treat the mantra with due respect, you are putting the energies of the Universe into motion with the mantra.

Edit

I got several confused questions on the ‘nasal anngg sound’ so here is a audio of the Ganapati mantra, ‘Om Gan Ganapataye namah’ it has been recited perfectly.

 

Beej mantras

(Thank you to the kind soul who wanted to know more about the beej mantra, I hope reading it triggers something good for you!)