The 5 Elements of Existence Explained
Sadhguru looks at how the human body and the cosmos itself, is essentially made of 5 elements - space, air, fire, water and earth. He explains that every yogic practice is essentially about Bhuta Shuddhi or cleansing of the elements. He also explains that if we cleanse them enough, we can move into Bhuta Siddhi, or mastery of the elements.
Sadhguru: All yogic practices, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, whether you do asana, yama, niyama, pranayama, asana, whatever dharana, dhyana, samadhi, shoonya, whatever you may be doing, essentially all of it is coming from the fundamentals of bootha suddhi or cleansing the elements or if you cannot cleanse, if you’re such a hopeless case, transcending the elements. (Laughs) Vibhuthi – that’s why, beyond the elements. If you cleanse the elements you’ll live a wonderful life. If you are beyond that, the best thing is to transcend, forget about living a beautiful life just transcend the life because living a beautiful life is a more complex situation than transcending. Transcending means you’re beyond it. What's beyond is not bothered by so many complexities of the physicality. But if you want to be in the physical and still above that then it takes little more mastery over the physical. If you have no mastery over the physical you will get enslaved to the physical.
So bootha suddhi essentially means you want to first cleanse it so that slowly you come to a state which we call as bootha siddhi that means you have mastery over the elements. Everybody has some kind of capability with the elements otherwise you wouldn’t even live a normal life. Right now how well organized the five elements are in your system decides how firm and stable and organically strong this body is.
It's just… body is a play of five elements, so is the world, so is the universe. Everything is a play of five elements. In these five unless you want to explore mystical dimensions you don’t have to bother about the space. So there’re only four. Among the four seventy percent of your body is just water. Just shake and see, you’re just a water-bottle, three-fourth full, you know. You need to understand it is in sync with the planet; approximately seventy-two percent of the planet is water. You know this? Yes, that is how life is evolved. Whichever the way the nature of the planet is manifested in your body many many different ways. So about two-thirds of the planet is water, two-thirds of the body is water.
So when you eat food, you must always eat food where the water content in the food is about over seventy percent. This one thing the western societies are ignoring and paying a huge price. Now everywhere it's becoming like that, if you eat any vegetable it will be over seventy percent water. If you eat a fruit it’ll over ninety percent water. If you want cleansing to happen you must eat fruit. If you just want to maintain the body as it is, vegetable does this. Almost any Asian cooking usually has over seventy percent water naturally. That’s how traditions created it; they were aware of it. It's only western diets which are dry. You drink water, it doesn’t work like that. The food should have over seventy percent water content.
So seventy-two percent is water. Another twelve percent is earth, you know only twelve percent of your body is actually earth, largely it is water. So it's eighty-four percent. Another six percent is air; air is the easiest thing to manage and take charge of because there is breath and you can take charge of it in a certain way. Another four percent is fire. Taking mastery over fire could do many things to you but because you are house-holders living in family situation, you don’t have to take charge of fire. You can keep it as it is; sometimes you can burn somebody a bit. You need it right? You’re married (Laughs). Once in a way if you don’t burn them a bit, it may not work. Yes or no? The remaining six percent is space; you don’t have to bother about that unless you want to explore mystical dimensions of the existence. To live well four elements is enough, fifth one is not relevant for people who just want to live well.
Taking charge of this, there’s a whole system of practices – some are direct, others are round about. Bootha Suddhi can be practiced in a most simplistic way or in an highly sophisticated way. Taking charge of the elements is in many ways. One thing is how you consume these vehi…elements, how you treat these elements – the whole system of ancient cultures were about treating the four elements right. The four elements are the basis of your creation. If you have some, even a minor mastery over it, you will start living in ways that other people think it's magical. Nothing magical because right now you drink water; see how it is, does it look like you? Does it look like you? Hmm? Does it look like you? Is it resemble like any of you? But if you drink this it becomes you, isn't it?
Isn’t this magical? This itself… life itself is magical. There’s nothing in life which is not magical, isn't it? Just your some disease got cured, that is not the miracle. Look at this, this becomes you this is a phenomenal miracle, isn't it? Once you’re capable of performing this miracle, you should be capable of many other minor things – fixing an ailment or do on the, you know damage…you damaged something, fixing it all these things would be possible because you are creating the whole body from inside, isn't it? Using the four elements you are creating a whole body; unfortunately it's happening unconsciously that's all.
So bringing consciousness to how these four elements are becoming human body – when I say human body from this water you’re manufacturing a highly sophisticated mechanism, isn't it? Yes or no? What this amounts to is, if I just pour this water on the floor it became I-pad; what would you call that? Suppose this glass of water I poured it down and there this water became I-pad, what you call that? Miracle, isn't it? The same thing I drink this, this becomes I. This is not a miracle? I was… in the same trip and I came to de Gaulle airport and there was a grumpy looking security man. Hhe asked, ‘Any fluids?’ I said like this. He got irritated; he looked at me like this then he put my bag there, ‘computer!’ I said like this.
He burst out laughing. (Laughs) We’re too embarrassed impressed with what's happening around us, what's happening within us is too big, isn't it? Yes? All computers are a small manifestation of this, isn't it? We are enamored with that but not enamored with this. That is our problem. So looking inward itself is bootha suddhi. If that’s not possible for you there are simple processes. There are practices, there are rituals, there are elaborate systems as to how to take charge of elements or if you don't know how to do it; somebody can perform something from which everybody can benefit. There are bootha suddhi rituals, for example every month there is Pancha Bootha Aradhana happening in the Dhyanalinga. You don't know how to do it; somebody else will do it. You just sit there in the presence and benefit from that.