The world is an interplay of consciousness and environment. In other words, there is a union of life and matter that makes up our universe. Each human being has the awareness of being alive, born out of cosmic intelligence and adopted into his/her own individual intelligence. From intelligence is derived the power of differentiation of ‘self’ and ‘other,’ also called ‘ego’. Our mind connects to the external world through our 5 senses. Each of us uses our senses to see, hear, taste, touch or feel our surroundings. What surrounds us is matter in all its forms. If you keenly inspect the environment to observe its finest building blocks, you encounter the 5 elements described in Ayurveda.
The five basic elements of Ayurveda that together encompass the entire cosmos are: space or ether, air, fire, water and earth. The expansive space contains the earth and planets, stars and galaxies. The elemental earth refers to everything that is solid, living and non-living such as mountains, rocks, trees, flowers, animals, birds, humans and so on. We can see a bonfire or smell the particles of smoke that reaches us. We don’t see air but we can feel the breeze on our skin. Water sustains the very life on earth. So, in some form or the other we have all experienced the nature around us.
Now, let’s look within. Each of us occupies a certain space and we can see or experience the body in its solid form. Thus, we can understand the earth element easily, looking at our solid arms or legs or even our solid organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys. We also know that the human body is composed of roughly 50-60% water. Without water, we would get dehydrated. We have to drink fluids to keep our body functioning optimally. Our breath is air and we need this element to exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide in our lungs. Our digestive juices represent the fire element. We have to maintain a certain temperature to be able to work at a cellular level. Therefore, we notice here that the 5 elements are both internally and externally present.
If we further explore each life on the planet, we could see these elements in various forms. Now, let’s take this philosophy to the next level. Can we say that everything on this planet whether it’s alive or not is comprised of at least one of these 5 elements? It’s fascinating to think that what is outside is inside! Therefore, if life itself is a connection of internal and external environments, both of which are structurally the same, it makes common sense to live in sync with nature. This knowledge is fundamental to understand Ayurveda and its principles.
It’s fascinating to think that what is outside is inside! Therefore, if life itself is a connection of internal and external environments, both of which are structurally the same, it makes common sense to live in sync with nature. This knowledge is fundamental to understand Ayurveda and its principles.
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