Balancing the Big 5

Greed, lust etc. of humans cause disturbance in the human body as well as in nature. To keep nature’s elements in balance, we need to keep the senses in check.

Balancing the Big 5

It is said that there was a time when there was neither existence nor non-existence. Then God created the universe at His will. He created the cosmos having the PanchMahabhootas (5 elements) in it. They are Akash (space), Vayu (air), Agni (fire), Jal (water) and Prithvi (Earth).

First of all God created Space/Akash having one attribute i.e. sound. The nature of space is expansive. The sound of space is OM. If we close our eyes and plug our ears with our fingers, we can hear the sound of OM reverberating inside us.

Next God created Air/Vayu having two attributes i.e. sound and touch. The nature of air is non attachment. Air moves around but does not get attached anywhere. It’s available to all equally. When the wind (strong gust of air) blows, we can hear it as well as feel it. Air is present in humans as the breath.

Thereafter God created Fire/Agni having three attributes i.e. sound, touch and form. Its nature is to reach higher. A flame always goes up. Fire burns and gives heat and light to others. It is a purifier as well as a conveyor in many ways. Fire is present in humans as the digestive fire.

Next in turn was created Water/Jal with four attributes i.e. sound, touch, form and taste. Its nature is humility. Water always flows downwards. Almost three quarters of the human body is water.

Lastly God created Earth/Prithvi having five attributes i.e. sound, touch, form, taste and smell. The nature is of the Earth is forbearance. It constitutes the visible mass in our body.

The five elements are in perfect balance and harmony in God’s creation. The greed of man makes him exploit nature, causing ecological imbalances, disturbance in nature and natural calamities.

On a micro level, the human body too is composed of these 5 elements. Is it estimated that the human body comprises of 72% water, 12% Earth, 6% air and 4% fire. The rest is space. Having created the gross body with the five elements, the Param-Atma put in a small part of himself, the Atma, to infuse life in it. The five elements need to be in balance and harmony for the body to be healthy. Let’s delve further.

Air- We need an optimum amount of air to be comfortable. Too much air causes bloating. Too little, causes breathlessness or suffocation.
Water- Excessive water in the body causes water retention or urine retention. Inadequate water in the body causes dehydration.
Fire- Excessive heat in the body causes fever or heat stroke. If the heat becomes too less it may cause hypothermia and fainting.
Earth- The body needs to have a reasonable weight as per the height. Too much leads to obesity. Too little is termed as malnutrition.
Space- If we stuff ourselves with too much food we feel nauseated and uncomfortable. If our stomach is empty we may feel faint. The right amount of vacant space is needed. While eating we must fill our stomach up to 50% with food and 25% with water. The rest of the stomach should be left empty, for smooth digestion.

Humans have 5 sense organs: ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose. We absorb sounds, feelings, sights, tastes and smells through them. Thoughts are consumed, just like food. Wrong thoughts lead to wrong actions. All content consumed through the five sense organs, be it through books, TV, social media, newspapers, music, YouTube etc. forms an essential part of our food. Sri Sathya Sai Baba says, “If the senses are fed with polluted stuff, you cannot become pure merely by taking milk and fruit. You must take in pure Satwic food through all the five sense organs.”

Greed, lust etc. of humans cause disturbance in the human body as well as in nature. To keep nature’s elements in balance, we need to keep the senses in check.

The article has been published in The Hindustan Times on 31.03.2024. It can be viewed here