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Elements & the being

Elements or tatwas are a basis for the physical manifested creation; these elements are present in every aspect of creation in various permutations and combinations and in various ratios and proportions. A slight change in the ratio of one element and a man could look like a monkey. It is these elements that make one woman look pretty and another ugly the difference is just a fractional change of ratio in one of the elements.
The science of yoga helps a being to come to an optimal balance at the level of these elements; it is this slight correction, which makes a yogi the centre of attraction for everybody.
Every chakra in the etheric body has five layers associated with it. At the level of the physical it controls certain organs or systems in the body. At the pranic level, it has certain characteristics or properties attached to it, which define its characteristics. Every chakra is associated with a colour and a frequency of sound, which is called the beej mantra of that chakra. The core represents the element associated with each chakra. The five elements, which constitute the entire physical creation, have their seats in the core of the five major chakras in the etheric body of a being. Normally for a human being the ratio of the five elements are 5:4:3:2:1, where five is earth, four is water, three is fire, two is air and one is ether.
When one element increases, one or all of the others decrease accordingly, as the sum total is always constant. The difference in a yogi and a businessman is that a yogi vibrates at a subtler frequency and has more of the ether element and a businessman more of earth, because of the prevalent qualities pertaining to his composition.
The five elements in our body are: Prithvi (earth), which is the grossest and heaviest of the five and forms the foundation of the physical body of a being. It is the element of the mooladhar chakra; ap (water) is the element of theswadhishthan chakra; agni (fire) is of the manipoorak chakra; vayu that is air, which is the most mobile of all elements, is the element of the anahat chakra;and akash (space or ether) is the element of the vishuddhi chakra. 
Of all the elements, agni or fire is the most distinctive. While it is possible to pollute the other elements, fire is one element that cannot be polluted. Instead it purifies whatever comes in contact with it. Its importance to the Vedic rishis was supreme as it was through agni that they communicated with the devtas.In practices like the Sanatan Kriya techniques like the chakra santulan pranayam help you balance all the chakras and the elements associated with them. Thus taking a being towards nature or prakriti and away from vikriti. In the next column we will consider the elements or tatwas in detail.

Wheels of fire

My last column considered how the elements form the basis of the physical manifested creation (Elements & the being). To recap, the five elements in our body are prithvi, ap, agni, vayu and akash — earth, water, fire, air and ether respectively.
Earth, which is the grossest and heaviest of the five, forms the foundation of the physical body of a being. It is the element of the mooladhar chakra. Ap (water) is the element of the swadhishthan chakra; agni (fire) is the element of themanipoorak chakra; vayu (air), which is the most mobile of all elements, is the basis of the anahat chakra; and akash (ether or space) is the element of thevishuddhi chakra.
The manipoorak chakra — the centre of power located at the point corresponding to the navel in the physical body — is the chakra that carries the agni tatwa. Of all the elements, agni is the most distinctive.
While it is possible to pollute the other elements, fire is one element that cannot be polluted. Instead it purifies whatever comes in contact with it. In certain practices, like the Sanatan Kriyaagni from the manipoorak is channelised to effect certain changes and transformations.
In yogic philosophy everything has existence in various layers or aspects. It applies to every object in the creation. Similarly, there are many aspects to the element agni too, and every aspect is responsible for a specific function. One of the main functions of agni is to transform, which it does by breaking down matter and changing its form. The other function of agni is providing heat. The heat form of agni has different aspects: jattharaagni (or the digestive fire) and kamagni, for example. The digestive fire operates on or regulates the metabolic processes in the digestive system. Those with a greater proportion of this aspect of agni have strong appetites. Kamagni controls the carnal desire of a being. And then there is light, which is the subtlest aspect of agni. In this aspect agni illuminates; it enables us to see and dispels ignorance. In other words, this tatwa has to do with enlightenment.
Agni does not discriminate in its role of transformation, no matter who or what comes in contact with it. In order to transform into something else, first what “is” has to be destroyed. This is why it is often said that agni destroys. But agni actually transforms. For instance, when an offering is made to agni during ahavan, the offering is broken down into different parts and each part is sent to its relevant dimension or domain. The offering includes not only the physical substance but also the reverence with which the offering is made, including the purity of thought and purity of the mantra being chanted. This explains why sitting through certain havans is an agonising experience, with its associated smoke and discomfort, while taking part in some other havans can be a most intense and liberating experience.


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