Wisdom from the Five Elements of Nature

Wisdom from the Five Elements of Nature

Mar 01, 2024Soubhagya Barick

In the sequence of the universal evolution, space(akaash), air(vayu), fire (tejas), water (apa) and earth(prithvi) are the five elements of nature. The vast universe has been crafted through the evolution of these elements in different combinations. In Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, these 5 elements are termed as Panchatattva – ‘pancha’ meaning five and ‘tattva’ meaning elements. The knowledge of these elements helps us in understanding the laws of nature as well as the structure of our body. The natural order of the elements in the body are: Earth and water are at the base, below the navel, fire is in the middle of the torso; air and space reside in the upper body. We as human beings have understood the elements in their physical forms. But apart from having the physical knowledge of the elements, the elements have certain psychological attributes. Perceived closely the elements of nature demonstrate the wisdom for healthy living. 

The element of earth or prithvi holds things together. Earth’s innate nature is to support the human and non-human species of the environment which proves to be a signifier of strength, stability, balance, calmness, grounding, resilience and confidence. The element of water or apa is a lifesaver, a giver of pleasures. Water flows freely, but is our mind free from chaos?? When a man is born he is free, but when he dies he acquires a lot of rigidity on the way. He loses his fluidity, his freedom, his free-flowing ness and becomes bound by the chains of his own thought. This demonstrates that whatever is flexible and flowing will tend to grow and become strong. The great Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu once said “Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it”, which demonstrates that a freely flowing mind is a strong mind. 

The element of fire or tejas burns anything that comes in contact with it. The way in which we perceive this characteristic of burning is completely in our hands. Swami Vivekananda asserts that “The same fire that cooks a meal for us may burn a child and it is not fault of the fire if it does so; the difference lies in the way in which it is used.” For a healthy life it is very necessary to burn the impurities present in our thoughts. Impure thoughts arise but it is in our hands how we deal with them. With the fire of our daily exercises like yoga, meditation etc. we can burn all our impure thoughts. 

In the eyes of a deep and profound philosophical system named Sankhya-Yoga, air or vayu is characterized as an element that always moves in the upward direction. Rising high is one of the main features of this fourth element. Life is like a see-saw. We do have our ups and downs, but rising well after a fall makes one a stronger human being. It is not important how many times you fall in life but it is of utmost significance how well you rise up and march forward which makes all the difference in life. Water, fire and air are the most commonly used elements to purify the body-mind. Space or akasha, I would say, is not an element but a complete philosophy of life. Space is huge, limitless, free, boundless, without any ego, it encompasses the entire existence. The difficulty appears when we fail to apply the unlimited capacity correctly. The first correct application of this infinite capacity is to function in an unselfish manner in life. The more you are generous, the more you encompass things, the more your mind becomes free, unrestricted and thereby silent. 

These are significant teachings which modern man acquires from the elemental existence. Existence teaches us the wisdom of life because “the entire existence is divine” - an ideology exhorted in the Isha Upanishad.

More articles

Comments (0)

There are no comments for this article. Be the first one to leave a message!

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published