Panchbhoutic Siddanth and Purusha



To understand physiology, pathology and pharmacokinetics of ayurvedic therapeutics the concept of panchbhoutic siddanth is of vital importance. Phrithwi, Aapa, Teja, Vayu and Akasha are the five (Pancha) basic elements that are the constituents of all living matter. Together these five are called Panchamahabhoota. These five elements are the building units of every thing, including medicines and living beings. Depending on the majority of the content, the matter is classified as Parthiva, Apya, Taijasa, Vayaviya and Akashiya respectively. The permutation and combination of these elements and its quantum in a given matter decides its properties. Mahabhoota is the smallest divisible unit of any matter.

The space without which exixtence of any matter is impossible is called the Akashamahabhoota that was first evolved from the akasha-tanmatra (only Akasha element). The Sound (Shabda) is the main sense attribute and Apratighatatwa (Nonresistance?) is its main property. Next to evolve from Akashamahabhoota. Sparsha (touch) is Vayumahabhoota that inherits attribute of Shabda. Chalatwa as its main property. From Vayumahabhoota the next to evolve is Agnimahabhoota. The main sense attribute of Agni is Roopa (Vision) and the main property is Ushnatwa (heat). It also inherits the sense attributes of Shabda and Sparsha from the earlier Mahabhootas.The next in line to evolve from Agnimahabhoota is Aapamahabhoota (Jalamahabhoota). Rasa (taste) is its main sense attribute and Dravatwa (liquidity) is the main property, along with that inherited from earlier Mahabhoota.

The last to evolve is Prithwimahabhoota. Kharatwa (roughness) is the main property and Gandha (Smell) is the main sense of this Mahabhoota along with properties inherited from the earlier once.

All this ayurvedic knowledge of the panchamahabhoota can be summarized as:

Mahabhoota Sense Attributes Main Property
Akasha Shabda Aapratighata
Vayu Shabda, Sparsha Sparsha Chala
Agni Shabda, Sparsha, Roopa,Sparsha, Roopa Ushna
Aapa (Jala) Shabda, Sparsha, Roopa, Rasa Drava
Prithwi Shabda, Sparsha, Roopa, Rasa, Gandha Khara


The "Soul" lives in the body so it is considered as purusha, as anyone who live in this home i.e. body is called purusha. In ayurveda the body has no meaning without purusha (soul). Two meanings of soul are to be considered the ayurvedic concept regarding the purusha: First meaning is considered for "Jeevetma" (soul)) which is called as "shuddha purusha".

Second meaning is considered for body along with soul (living body) which is named as "karma purusha". The living body is responsible or required for performance by the purusha or Jeevetma, hence the body along with purusha (soul) is named as "Karma Purusha".

Whole ayurveda is compiled for the betterment of karma purusha and thus it holds great importance in ayurveda.

Different Classification of Purusha
On the basis of the constituents karma purusha are classified as the following categories:

Ek dhatwatmak Purusha (one constituent)- Jeevatma (soul) is considered as a Ek dhatwatmak Purusha (One constituent Purusha). It is also called as shuddha (Pura) Purusha.

Karma Purusha- The body along with its soul is considered as Karma Purusha.

It is classified as followed on the basis of its constituents.

Dwi dhatwatmak Purusha(Two constituent)- Combination of shuddha Purusha (Jeevatma i.e. Soul) and body. Purusha + body

Tri dhatwatmak Purusha (Three constituent)- Combination of shudha Purusha and body connected by satva (Mana i.e. mind)

Panchadhatwatmak (Five constituents)
This indicates the constituent of body only because it is the only visible part in the (Karma Purusha). This body is made up of panchamahabhoota.

Shad dhatwatmak Purusha(Six constituents)
According to this Karma Purusha has six constituent i.e. Panchmahabhoot and Atma.

Sapta dhatwatmak Purusha (Seven constituent)
It has two theory, the first implies that it is composed of panchmahabhoot. Mana and Atma. Second implies that it is made up of seven dhatus of the body which are responsible to maintain the Seven dhatus are Ras, Rakta, Mansa, Meda, Asthi, Majja & shukra.

Chaturvinsati dhatwatmak Purusha (twenty four constituents)
According to this theory of evolution of the universe ' Avyakt' gave rise to 'Mahat'. From 'Mahata' arose Anhankara. 'Anhankara is considered to be of three types, namely- Satvik, Tamsik and Rajasik. Satvik ahankar along with tamasik anhakar give rise to Pancha gyanindriya i.e. Pancha Karma indriuya and one ubhaya indriya (Mana). Whereas Tamasik ahankar with Rajsik ahankar give rise to five tanmatra. These matras develop panchamahabhoota. All these constituent from Avyakta to Mahabhoot count to twenty-four. These constituents are categorized into two groups i.e. Prakruti and vikar. There is a further classification of eight constituents that fall under parukruti, namely: Aviakt, Mhat, Ahankar, Five tanmatra (Sabde, Sparbhe, Rupa, Rase & gandha).

There are sixteen Vikratis, these vikratis are the by product and cannot generate new things: Five gyan indriya, Five Karma indriya, one mana (Ubhaya indriya) and Five maha bhootas.

Twenty five dhatwatmak Purusha(Twenty five constituents)
The combination of atma (sadha purusha) and the twenty four constituents of karma purusha it becomes twenty five constituents of karma purusha. It is now that the development takes place but with the increase in age this force decreases and hence death occurs.

In ayurveda the body (sharir) is known as the deha and is defined as the the adhisthan (home place) of Chatra (Soul) which is composed of Pancha Mahabhoota and its vikar (By Product). Dhatu, which forms the main infrastructure of the body is concerned with the word vikara, the doshas, dhatus & mala are the byproduct of pancha mahabhoota. According to shushruta.

The sharir is thus defined as the mixing of Shukra and Ova along with Atma (soul), Prakruti.