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Formation Of Five Basic Elements Of Nature As Per Advaita Vedanta

Advaita Vedanta describes the formation of the panchamahabhutas or the five basic elements of nature in an organic way by means of pachikarana (method of quintuplication). Sri Suresvara, the noted interpreter of implicitly suggested points of philosophical texts, detailed Samkara’s principle of panchikarana. According to Suresvara, each of the five great elements, from akasha down to earth, should be divided into two equal parts.

One of the halves should further be fragmented into four parts equally substantially, and one quarter of each of the rest must go into it in order to form a radical. Thus akasha, for example, consists of half of itself in its pure form added to other half along with the four collectively contributed parts of the other elements. This process is likewise applicable to other elements also. Thus each of the five elements will have one-eighth of the qualities of the other elements.

From the inception itself, it is clear that each mahabhuta, though apparently approximating an individual piece of existence, incorporates in its inward depth a trace of an organic pattern of the other four. Each part contains the whole; each individual particle is thus related to every other individual particle. The Samkhya school validates that nothing in the universe is entirely separate, alien or utterly sequestered. Rather, each particle, like each mahabhuta, represents an integration of total objectivity at its most subtle physical level.