Pancha Mahabhuta

Five Great Elements

In Ayurveda, the physiology, pathology and pharmacokinetics are based on the Pancha Mahabhuta theory. This is the base of whole Ayurvedic Science.

The theory says that –

“Sarvam dravyam Pancha Bhauthikam”

“Every living and non-living things in this Universe are made up of five elements”.

The five elements are: 1. Prithvi (Earth element), 2. Ap / Jala (Water element), 3. Teja /Agni (Fire element), 4. Vayu (Air element) and 5. Akasha (Space or Ether element).

You must understand the elements in this way:

  1. Pritvi bhuta is not just Earth, but an element that has the qualities of stability, density, heaviness, slowness, dullness, hardness A matter or substance (dravya), with these qualities is termed as Paarthiva dravya (Earth element predominant substance). Similarly, the other elements too.
  2. Ap bhuta has the qualities of moisture, cohesiveness, coolness, softness, oiliness (unctuous), mobility etc.
  3. Teja bhuta has the qualities of hotness, sharpness, intensity, mobility, dryness
  4. Vayu bhuta has the qualities of dryness, lightness, instability, mobility, coldness
  5. Akasha bhuta has the qualities of non-resistance, friction less, subtlety, lightness, emptyness

The only thing that differentiates living and non-living things is soul. Human body is also composed of Pancha Mahabhutas and the food we eat is also Pancha bhautic (five elemental). So in order to maintain the five elements we must choose the right ratio of the bhuta for our body (through diet and herbs). Any diet or herb with the similar property will increase the corresponding elements in our body.  After proper digestion of food, the respective property of Bhuta (element) nourishes the corresponding part of the body, that is, the Pritvi bhuthathmaga (earth elemental) quality nourishes the earth elemental symmetrical part of body tissues. Likewise, the other elements do the same.

Any variation in Panch mahabhutas can result in symptoms and signs of various diseases. Then that vitiated bhuta (elements) can be normalized by giving the drug and food having elements of opposite properties. In Ayurveda this is the main thumb rule of healing, the ‘Tridosha Sidhantha – The three dosha concept’. Without proper understanding and knowledge of Pancha Mahabhuta, no one can understand the basic principles of Ayurveda and its healing.