Q: You have said that most basic form of yoga is bhuta shuddhi or cleansing of the elements within the system. If the elements are the fundamental building blocks that everything is made of, how can they become impure?

Sadhguru: If you pick up some water from the gutter, you may think it is impure, but it is not. Actually, it is more conducive for life – many lives – than the so-called pure water. If you take gutter water, there is much more life in it than the water you drink from the bottle. It is just that it is not conducive for you. In human understanding, in our language, we express it like this – only that which is conducive for us, we call that pure water. Gutter water is very pure for many, many lives. With the so-called pure water, you killed all that life. All those other creatures do not think your bottled water is pure water. They think it is lifeless water.  

Purification essentially is in the context of human beings, not in terms of the element itself.

Similarly, some of you may know, for many chemicals that are used as pharmaceuticals and various types of medicines, there is an industrial version and a medical version because what is meant for human consumption and what is used for other purposes are different. This does not mean the industrial version is impure. It is just that it is not in a condition which would work best for this piece of life.
So, when we refer to the elements, we are speaking in the context of what is more conducive for us. In that context, we need to purify the elements. These five elements have to play so much mischief and take on trillions of manifestations. It would not be possible if they did not acquire other qualities or possibilities. They are naturally receptive in nature. The air that you breathe, the food that you eat, the water that you drink – let’s leave out the other two because they are not in your experience much – can be influenced with just thought, emotion, intention or energy.

Freedom from Karmic Substance

The five elements within you that make this body are deeply influenced. A layer of information, generally referred to as the karmic substance, gathers. Without it, the elements would not behave in a particular way within you. Every human being would have been the same if there was no specific information.

Cleansing the elements is about making them free of the accumulated information or karmic substance.

For example, let’s say a woman eats a banana. In a few hours, the banana becomes a woman. If a man eats the banana, it becomes a man. If a cow eats it, it becomes a cow. It is the same banana. The banana is not so intelligent to make itself into a man, woman, cow or whichever animal consumes it. It is a certain amount of information within you, which transforms a banana into a woman or a man or a cow or whatever. What you call as “myself”, is essentially a certain volume of information. And the fundamental way that it is stuck on to you is through the elements because there is nothing here apart from the elements.

Cleansing the elements is about making them free of the accumulated information or karmic substance. If this is not done, you will be a strong individual but you will never know how to breach the boundary that you have set for yourself. This is not a boundary set by the existence. This is a boundary that you have set for yourself. If you cannot cross the boundary that you set up, that is a foolish way to live. You set up a boundary without knowing why and you can’t cross it after sometime and you start claiming “This is how I am!” This is a common statement you hear everywhere. If you ask somebody to cross some limitation, they say, “No! This is how I am.” This is not how you are, this is what you made yourself to be.

So, when we talk in the human context, yes, purification is needed. You don’t just go out and eat earth, isn’t it? But the earthworms and many other creatures are eating it and flourishing. But human beings do not eat the earth like that. It has to transform itself into a vegetable or a fruit or something else for you to consume it because it has to become conducive for the human system. But there are many other creatures who are happy with the earth as it is, happy with the water the way it is, happy with the air the way it is. So, purification essentially is in the context of human beings, not in terms of the element itself. 

Editor’s Note: Every month, through a powerful process known as Pancha Bhuta Aradhana, Sadhguru opens up a unique opportunity for devotees to benefit from the powerful yogic science of bhuta shuddhi, which would otherwise require intense sadhana.

On the 14th day of every lunar month, known as Shivaratri, and especially on Mahashivratri, there will be an opportunity to experience the Pancha Bhuta Aradhana at the Dhyanalinga between 5:40 pm and 6:10 pm.

For registration, please contact:
Phone No: +91 422-2515425
Mobile No: +91 9487895878
Email: pba@ishafoundation.org