In our constant quest to understand the subtleties of the cosmos, we lose ourselves in its expansiveness. Its wings stretch far beyond black holes, stars, solar systems and galaxies–cosmos is an unfathomable entity indeed. In this mighty space, the planet Earth is just a speck of dust and human beings are a tiny little fraction. Carl Sagan rightly says in his book Cosmos, “We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.”
The cosmos reveals to mankind its glories through nature. And nature in itself is a mystery that we stare at with much wonder and awe. There is so much to nature that needs to be explored before we can even begin to say we understand it. To this end, let’s take a few steps back and break it down bit by bit.
When the process of evolution began, it began with the fundamental elements of nature. These elements are understood and applied differently by different cultures and disciplines. Ayurveda calls them Panchtatva. A Sanskrit word where Panch means five and Tatva indicates the elements of nature–earth (prithvi), water (jal), fire (agni), air (vayu) and ether or space (akash). Ayurveda practitioners believe that the alchemy of these elements is the basis of all life.
Existing in three states of matter–solid, liquid and gas–the origin of these five elements is as intriguing and mysterious as their characteristics. While some complement each other, others stand in contrast. For instance, fire and water can destroy each other, so can air and fire. On the other hand, earth and water nurture each other. However, any imbalance can wreak havoc causing calamities like volcanoes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and more.
While, the subtleties of these five elements still evade the logical mind, their effects are undeniable and the need to explore their power remains unsated.