Gunas, Panch Bhutas, Doshas & Sense Organs

Ayurveda says, that if one understands about a bit of his body (Physical and Subtle), and understands what he eats, we can easily take care of large number (> 75-80 %!) of health issues.

There is an intricate relation between the humans and universe, what makes us also makes the universe. Each one of us are born, live and die, and have in us, in varying quantities, ‘The Three Gunas of Life (Sattva, Rajas & Tamas)’. Every substance (Dravya), that we consume, has a property and the same is imparted to us when we intake that. We need energy to live, and we may do that by consuming “Sattvic Natural food” or “Dead meat!” I had heard Elders saying,As you eat, so shall your heart (& Mind) become. Now I know what they meant! 

The Three Gunas (Mental Qualities): The Gunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) relates to the Subtle (Mental) level. They are found in The Nature & The Mind, similar to The Three Doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) that make up our Body. The Gunas specify, what kind of a person one is at the subtle level.

Tamas             signifies Inactivity, Sleep, and Darkness;

Rajas               signifies Activity, Momentum, Desire, Will and

Sattva             signifies Peace, Clarity, Purity and Balance of Mind.

Rajas and Tamas, when vitiated beyond a certain point, become Doshas-vulnerabilities of the Mind.

A mind/person/personality may be a varied combination of the three Gunas. Just giving a single example, Individuals whose minds are Sattvic and Rajasic, enthusiastically study spiritual and holistic measures to fight and try to win over the situations that they are in. (They would happily lose their life but not do an unjust act, such as amply explains my personality!).

Other than the three Gunas, the three governing agents at the psycho (Mental-Subtle) level are Prana (Subtle component of Vata), Tejas (Subtle component of Pitta) and Ojas (Subtle component of Shukra, Kapha). Breathing Exercises with breath retention would optimise all the three of them.

Ayurveda says, The Whole Universe is made up of the ‘5 Maha Bhutas (Pancha Bhutas)’, The Five Elements such as:

  • Akash Space, relates to ‘The Sense of Sound’,
  • Vayu (or, Vata) Nerve Force [Air], relates to ‘The Sense of Touch’,
  • Agni Body Metabolic-Enzymatic Actions, Fire, relates to The Sense of Vision (Sight),
  • Soma Kapha, Plasma Chyle, Water, relates to The Sense of Taste, 
    Quality: Rasa-Sweet, Fluidity, Cold, Heavy, Unctuous and
  • Prithvi Earth, relates to the sense of Smell, 
    Qualities: Smell (Special), Heaviness (Guru), Roughness, Hardness, Bulkiness (Sthula), Stable (Sthira).

The densification of one leads to the formation of the next element. 

The five do not remain separate, but combine together in an inseparable gross mass (some kind of a bio-chemical interaction), which is responsible for the formation of all the substances in this Universe. Though, the quantity of each one of them in each of the substance is different, and this varying proportions of the different Panch Bhutas is what is responsible for each substance having peculiarly different properties. 

The Panch Bhutas thus give rise to ‘The Three All-Pervading Doshas’ of ‘The Human Body’, i.e. Vata, Pitta & Kapha:

  1. Purusha (Almighty God] => Prakruti => Intellect => Ego => 5 Bhutas => V, P, K (The Complete Human Body],
  2. As Understood-Taught by many Ayurvedic Scholars:
  • Vata = Ether + Air,
  • Pitta = Fire + Water (Bile), and
  • Kapha = Water + Earth (Phlegm),
  1. Substances which have predominance of Agni and Vayu generally move upwards; Those which have predominance of Prithvi and Soma (Kapha) move downwards. 

Rishi Sushruta calls ‘The Three Doshas’ as ‘The Three Supports’ of Life! To stay healthy what we have to do is just work on our Body’s Vata, Pitta & Kapha Component & keep them balanced. In Layman’s Terms, let us just understand them as Air, Fire & Water component. The densification of water provides Earth element, which gives support, and depends on the water & other components of what we take in. The Ethereal component is a connecting medium between the physical and the subtle body, much finer and less dense than Vayu (The Nerve Force). Hence, the more Sattvic stuff we have, more peace and health (Physical & Spiritual) we will have. 

Our Sense Organs: The Sense Organs (Ears, Skin, Eye, Tongue and Nostrils) are capable of perceiving their objects (Sound, Touch, Sight, Taste, and Smell) only when they are supported by the Mind. The mind supports one sense at a time, and to a very small extent more than one. 
The Sense Organs (Auditory, Tactile, Visual, Gustatory and Olfactory) receives/perceives the respective Sense Objects (Sound, Touch, Sight, Taste, and Smell) due to similarity of element.
Of all the senses, The Tactile Sense (Air, Skin and Touch) alone pervades all other sense organs, and is associated inherently with mind. Thus, due pervading of tactile sense, mind also pervades. 

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