Pancha Mahabhuta in Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda all objects living and non-living are made up of 5 basic elements. Prithvi (earth element), Jala (water element), Agni (fire element), Vayu (air element) and Akasaha (space element)

Table of content

Meaning of pancha mahabhuta

Prithvi or Earth element

Aap or Water element

Teja or Agni or Fire element

Vayu or Air element

Aakasha or Ether or space element

Meaning of pancha mahabhuta

Ayurveda quotes ” इह हि द्रव्यं पञ्च महा भूतात्मकम्।”. All objects living or non living are made of pancha mahabhuta or 5 basic elements. Which means

Pancha means 5 in number

Maha means in large quantity (just like omnipresent) or present everywhere.

Bhuta means elements or Existence

These are present in all the live, active and inert objects of the universe. This also includes human beings, animals and plants. Since they are present in all components of universe they are called Maha Bhuta .

5 maha bhuta

  1. Prithvi – Earth , Soil or Mud
  2. Ap or Jala – Water
  3. Teja or Agni – Fire
  4. Vayu – Air
  5. Akasha – Space or Ether

Prithvi or Earth element:

Wherever there is hard, heavy and solid object it contains earth or pruthvi as major element. Example – rock, mud, dry wooden log, metals in solid form etc.

Hardness, heaviness, roughness and solid structure are characteristics of earth element or prithvi maha bhuta.

In our body- Nails, bones (asthi dhatu) , teeth, muscles (mamsa dhatu) , tendons, hair etc contain earth as major element.

Aap or Water element:

When an object is soft, slimy or in liquid form, that means it contains more of water element. Example – juice of fruit, water, sap from plant etc.

Softness, sliminess and coldness are characteristic of water element.

In our body –Blood (rakta dhatu), sweat, semen (shukra dhatu), body fluids etc contain water as major element.

Teja or Agni or Fire element

Whenever an object increases temperature of another substance and makes it hot, glowing and penetrates deep layers of that substance, that shows presence of fire element. Heat, light, sharpness and glow are characteristics of fire element. Example- Sun, lava, forest fire, etc

In our body – temperature, skin glow, metabolism, vision, eyes etc. have fire as major element.

Vayu or Air element

All types of gases, atmospheric air, movements, growth, represent air element. Air element is always dry and light . Hence it moves fast.

In our body – Movements of organs, pulsation of blood vessels, all the sensory and motor activities, regeneration of tissues, breathing, blinking of eyes all happen due to air element.

Aakasha or Ether or space element

Wherever there is a space it is akasha. Space between planets, satellites, pores in a stone, pores in soil etc represent space. This element differentiates substances and expands.

In our body- All sinuses of body, space between cells, lumen of blood vessels and nerves, hollow tubes of digestive system, ducts of glands etc constitute akasha or space element.

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Author: Dr.Savitha Suri , Consultant Ayurvedic Physician

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