There are five elements or ‘Pancha Tattvas’ that are the causal form of Purusha and make up creation. ‘Pancha’ means five and ‘Tattvas’ mean ‘true essences’. These elements are Fire, Earth, Ether, Water and Air ruled by the planets Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn, respectively, according to this sutra from Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra:
“Fire, Earth, Ether, Water and Air, in that order, o’Twice Born, from Mars and the other Grahas in their order are the Tattvas.” -BPHS: Nature and Form of the Grahas, 20
The Vedas contain instructions on how to placate and worship the elements. The elements are actually the causal manifestation of Purusha that creates all that is. The Elements came first and then the planets were born from the Elements.
Each of the Five Tattvas or Elements has a Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic quality. The Sattvic qualities of the Elements manifests through the five senses. Our senses are called ‘Organs of Knowledge’ in the Srimad Bhagavatam. These organs of knowledge are necessary for our growth and evolution. It is only through abuse by human beings that the senses have been given a bad name. Since the senses are Sattvic, they have an elevating quality that will bring us closer to the Source if used properly.
The Five Organs of Sense
The Sattvic attributes of the Five Elements are the Organs of Sense. They are as follows:
Ether is ruled by Jupiter and causes the Sense of Hearing. Through Hearing we acquire knowledge from Sound. For a person to be able to hear, Ether must be present. Conversely, for someone to have poor hearing, Jupiter must be afflicted in the horoscope.
Air is ruled by Saturn and causes the Sense of Touch: Through Touch we acquire knowledge from Tangibility. For a person to be able to feel touch and differentiate the object of touch, Air must be present. Conversely, for a person to not be able to feel or lack acquiring knowledge through touch, Saturn must be afflicted in the horoscope.
Fire is ruled by Mars and causes the sense of Sight. Through Sight we acquire knowledge from Light and Colors. For a person to be able to see, Fire must be present. Conversely, Mars must be afflicted in a horoscope if the person has poor eyesight.
Water is ruled by Venus and causes the sense of Taste: Through Taste we acquire knowledge from Flavors. For a person to be able to taste, Water must be present. Conversely, Venus must be afflicted in the horoscope if a person has a poor sense of taste.
Earth is ruled by Mercury and causes the sense of Smell. Through Smell we acquire knowledge of Odors. For a person to be able to smell, the Element of Earth must be present. Conversely, a person has a poor sense of smell if Mercury is afflicted in the horoscope.
Because the organs of sense are Sattvic, they are elevating in nature and pure when the organs of sense are working properly. They are Sattvic because one acquires knowledge through their organs of sense.
The Five Organs of Action
The Rajasic attributes of the Five Elements are the Organs of Action. They are as follows:
Fire is ruled by Mars and causes the action of Motion. Feet hold the primary power of motion, but all motion of the body is ruled by Mars. Most motion is guided by Sight which is also ruled by Mars. All motion must have fire, or in this case the electrical impulses carried by the nerves, which is ruled by Mars. For a person to have afflicted motion Mars must be afflicted in a horoscope. Notice how people with paralysis or partial paralysis cannot move, the electrical impulses are not carried along the nerves or the spinal cord.
Earth is ruled by Mercury and causes the Action of Excretion. The anus holds the primary power of excretion but all excretory actions are ruled by Mercury and the Earth Element. Sweating is also considered to be excretory as well as acne.
Ether is ruled by Jupiter which causes the Action of making Sound. The power of Sound lies in the vocal chords. If a person cannot use their vocal chords to make sound, then Jupiter must be afflicted in the horoscope.
Water is ruled by Venus which causes the action of Generation. The power of generation lies within the sexual organs, but it also lies within all tissues that can repair themselves. Water and food, both ruled by Venus, satiate us after exertion. These things give us recuperation. Venus also rules ‘Virya’ which loosely translates as semen. Venus rules the vitality in the body. When Venus is afflicted in a horoscope, then it takes a long time for the person to recover after exercise or illness.
Air is ruled by Saturn and causes the Action of Manual Skill, of which the power lies in the hands. Manual dexterity is ruled by Saturn as is all manual labor. Saturn rules the menial and when manual labor is a person’s profession, their caste is ruled by Saturn. When a person has poor manual dexterity, then Saturn must be afflicted in the horoscope.
The Five Objects of the Sense
The objects of the senses are Tamasic, meaning they are obscuring. The purpose of the five objects of sense is to satisfy the longings of the heart. Jupiter as Ether produces space. Saturn as Air produces gases. Mars as Fire, produces fire, electricity and energy. Venus as Water produces liquids. Mercury as Earth produces solids. Space, air, fire, liquids and solids can all be experienced by the senses. The two luminaries, the Sun and the Moon rule over the Atman or Higher Self and the Jiva or Individual respectively. The Higher Self and the Individual are the ones experiencing the objects of sense.
Fear, which is the great cause of all neurosis and psychosis, is the number one contributing factor to abusing the objects of sense and not feeling satiated and at peace. When the desires are not satisfied within a certain time frame, the person begins to fear that they will not be satisfied, and will crave more satiation through another source. This gives rise to many different desires cropping up that cannot be satisfied all at once. So the person half-heartedly pursues many different desires which cannot all be satisfied in one lifetime. The unmet desires are still manifest within the psyche when the person dies, so the consciousness must be reborn to satisfy the numerous desires. The best course to take, to avoid acquiring numerous desires and having numerous longings, is to concentrate the mind on satisfying one desire at a time. Turn one’s whole attention on fulfilling one desire then the psyche can find more peace and satisfy the desires of the heart.
Copyright © 2011 – 2017 Laura Barat