Notes on tanmatras

Meaning: The term comes from the Sanskrit, tan, meaning “subtle”; and matra, meaning “elements.” They are 5 in number and are called panchatanmatra.

Another translation of tanmatra is “mother of matter,” meaning that the pancha tanmatra represents the mother energy of the world. The pancha tanmatra comprise the information through which we sense or experience the external world.

Pancha tanmatra are the five perceptions or subtle elements that are the objects of the five senses. The pancha tanmatra are: rupa (form and color), gandha (smell), sparsa (touch), rasa (taste) and sabda (sound).

Irrespective of how many types and forms of material exists in the world, the human body has only 5 senses. Because our knowledge of the world is established based on these 5 senses, at least five basic elements are needed to explain this experience.

The tanmatras are related to the five cognitive sense organs called pancha jnanendriyacaksu (eyes), ghrana (nose), tvak (skin), rasana (tongue) and srotra (ear).

Both the pancha tanmatra and the jnanendriya are among the 36 tattvas, or aspects of nature, in Saivism.

According to the Vedic theory of creation, the tanmatras are the basis of all corporeal existences because from them evolve the Bhutas, the building blocks of the perceptible universe.

The pancha tanmatra also combine to produce the gross elements that comprise the universe:

  • Prithvi: Sabda, sparsa, rupa, rasa, gandha
  • Jala: Sabda, sparsa, rupa and rasa
  • Agni: Sabda, sparsa, and rupa
  • Vayu: Sabda and sparsa
  • Akash: Sabda

Reproduction from “Principles of Ayurvedic Medicine,” by Dr. Marc Halpern

“The first building block is actually the “potential” for a building block. These potentials are called tanmatras. They provide the potential for all existence. Tanmatra means “essence” or “potential.” These are the root energies of the five elements. They are the most subtle form of energy and it is only because of the tanmatras that everything comes into creation. This includes the mind, senses, and organs of action. Although the tanmatras are named after their related sensory experiences, their influence is not limited to the senses. 

Being so subtle, the tanmatras are difficult to understand at first. Tanmatras are the most subtle form of energy, the root energies of the five elements. They provide the potential for all existence. The following information helps to round out the student’s understanding of the tanmatras. Refer to the section on Sankhya Philosophy for additional information. The following description brings in concepts that are described later in the text. Interested students are encouraged to come back and read this appendix only after reading the rest of the textbook. 

The origin of the ether element is the tanmatra of sound called shabda. Shabda tanmatra is the primordial, unmanifested form of sound. Shabda is the primordial space from which vibration emerges long before it takes the form of sound in the ear. Sound and ether are inseparable. Because of their intimate relationship, the ear is considered the associated sense organ of the ether element, and voice (mouth) is its organ of action. Hearing loss and loss of the voice are difficulties that are often due to vitiation of the ether element in the body. 

The origin of the air element is the tanmatra of touch called sparsha. Sparsha tanmatra is the primordial, unmanifested form of touch. Sparsha is the potential of the touch experience, expressed in its most subtle form. Touch and air are inseparable. Because of their intimate relationship, the skin (through which we receive touch) is considered the associated sense organ of the air element and the hands (through which we reach out and touch the world) are its associated organs of action. Hence, disorders of tactile perception and those of grasping are the result of disturbances in the functions of the air element. 

The origin of the fire element is the tanmatra of vision called rupa. Rupa means form or color. Both form and color are the result of perception. Rupa tanmatra is the primordial, unmanifested form of perception, light, vision and, thus, the fire element. Fire and the visual sense have a special relationship. Fire provides the light for perception. The eyes are the vehicles through which light is digested and perception takes place. Hence, disorders of visual perception are primarily those of the fire element. 

The origin of the water element is the tanmatra of taste called rasa. Rasa in this context is the primordial causation of the experience of taste. Rasa tanmatra is the causal energy that provides the potential for the experience of taste to occur. It is not the taste itself. However, since taste depends upon the water element for its manifestation, disorders of the ability to taste are due to an imbalance of the water element. 

The origin of the earth element is the tanmatra of smell called gandha. The state of the earth element in the body and the capacity to smell are deeply connected. Gandha tanmatra is the primordial cause of the experience of smell. It is the seed energy or potential, emerging from the causal body, which sprouts into the earth element. The earth element then builds the potential for the experience of smell in the subtle body and the structures through which smell can be experienced in the physical body. Thus, the gandha tanmatra is not the smell itself but smell is dependent upon it. Disorders of the ability to smell reflect an imbalance of the earth element.” 

Implications:
1. Number of tanmatras is equal to the number of sense organs
2. Each human sense organ is powered by a tanmatra
3. The tanmatras create the panchabhutas. Panchabhutas create the world.
4. If one tanmatra, say rupa (form and color) is taken out, then the indirya called chaksu (eye) cannot function. Also, the elements such as agni, jala and prithvi will lose their ability to be seen.
5. The sharpest eye cannot create vision if light did not exist. The brightest light cannot create vision if the eye did not exist. Even together, the light and the eye cannot create vision, if the ability to see did not exist.
6. The tanmatra is the subtle element that ties the sense organ called the eye, to its ability to see and to the external reality of color.
7. The tanmatra is the binding rope that creates the ability to experience this universe by creating a triad of (a) The sense organ (b) Ability of the sense organ to function and (c) An aspect of external reality that can be sensed by the organ. It is by endless Mercy that a lifeform is blessed with all the three.

Sadhana

Sadhana is a practice; it is a discipline; it is a manner of streamlining one’s life – conducting oneself in daily life in a specifically ordered and scientific way. Doing anything that one thinks, going anywhere one likes – that is not a disciplined life. Even if it is necessary for you to do varieties of things in a particular day, those varieties have to be beautifully blended into the pattern of a unity, which is the day for you. The whole day is a unity of purpose. In every act of ours, every day, we are expected to take a further step of advance towards the realisation of Truth, an advance in the direction of Reality, which means to say an effort in the direction of imbibing in one’s own personal life those characteristics which are to be found in Reality Itself.

Swami Krishnananda

Yeh Kaun Chitrakaar Hai

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Singer(s): Mukesh
Lyricist: Bharat Vyas

हरी हरी वसुंधरा पे नीला नीला ये गगन
कि जिसपे बादलो की पालकी उड़ा रहा पवन
दिशाएं देखो रंग भरी चमक रहीं उमंग भरी
ये किसने फूल फूल पे किया श्रृंगार है
ये कौन चित्रकार है ये कौन चित्रकार

तपस्वियों सी हैं अटल ये पर्वतों की चोटियां
ये सर्प सी घुमेरदार घेरदार घाटियां
ध्वजा से ये खड़े हुए हैं वृक्ष देवदार के
गलीचे ये गुलाब के बगीचे ये बहार के
ये किस कवि की कल्पना का चमत्कार है
ये कौन चित्रकार है ये कौन चित्रकार

कुदरत की इस पवित्रता को तुम निहार लो
इसके गुणों को अपने मन में तुम उतार लो
चमका लो आज लालिमा अपने ललाट की
कण कण से झांकती तुम्हें छवि विराट की
अपनी तो आँख एक है उसकी हजार है
ये कौन चित्रकार है ये कौन चित्रकार

Bouletcorp’s quantum pixel

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A French man tired of the illusory nature of the real world that is trapped between relativity and quantum theory takes refuge in a 2D electronic world only to meet Stephen Hawking there who explains to him that the chaos does not end by cutting out a dimension.

quantum-pixel-image1

quantum-pixel-image2

quantum-pixel--image3

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The ultimate abstraction takes place in mathematics where…

The ultimate abstraction takes place in mathematics where words are replaced by symbols and where the operations of connecting the symbols are rigorously defined. In this way, scientists can condense information into one equation, i.e. into one single line of symbols, for which they would need several pages of ordinary writing.

―Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics

Jo Dise So To Hai Nahin What is…

Jo Dise So To Hai Nahin,
What is seen is not the Truth

Hai So Kaha Na Jayee
What is cannot be said

Bin Dekhe Parteet Na Aave,
Trust comes not without seeing

Kahe Na Koyee Patiyana
Nor understanding without words

Samajh Hoye To Rabeen Cheenho,
The wise comprehends with knowledge

Achraj Hoye Ayana
To the ignorant it is but a wonder

Koi Dhyave Nirakar Ko,
Some worship the formless God

Koi Dhyave Aakaara
Some worship His various forms

Ja Bidhi In Dono Te Nyara,
In what way He is beyond these attributes

Jane Jananhara
Only the Knower knows

Woh Raag To Likhia Na Jayee
That music cannot be written

Matra Lakhe Na Kana
How can then be the notes

Kahat Kabir So Padhe Na Parlay, Surat Nirat Jin Jana
Says Kabir, awareness alone will overcome illusion

-Kabir

Janaka and Ashtavakra

In ancient India there was a King called Janaka, who was also a sage. One day Janaka was taking a nap
on his flower-strewn bed with his servants fanning him and his soldiers standing guard outside his door.
As he dozed off, he had a dream in which a neighboring King defeated him in battle, took him prisoner,
and had him tortured. As soon as the torture began, Janaka woke with a start to find himself lying on his
flower-strewn bed with his servants fanning him and his soldiers on guard.

Once again he dozed off and had the same dream. And once again he woke up to find himself safe and
comfortable in his palace.

Now Janaka began to be disturbed by several thoughts: While he was asleep, the world of his dreams
had seemed so real. Now that he was awake, the world of the senses seemed real. Which of these two
worlds is the real one, he wanted to know.

None of the philosophers, scholars, and seers he consulted could give him an answer. And for many
years he searched in vain, till one day a man called Ashtavakra knocked at the door of the palace. Now,
Ashtavakra means “entirely deformed or crooked,” and he got that name because that is exactly what his
body had been from birth.

At first the King was not disposed to take this man seriously. “How can a misshapen man like you be the
carrier of a wisdom denied to my seers and scholars?” he asked.

“Right from my childhood, all avenues have been closed to me – so I avidly pursued the path of wisdom,”
was Ashtavakra’s reply.

“Speak, then,” said the King.

So this is what Ashtavakra said: “O King, neither the waking state nor the dream state is real. When you
are awake, the world of dreams does not exist and when you dream the world of the senses does not
exist. Therefore, neither is real.”

“If both the waking and the dream states are unreal, then what is real?” asked the King.

“There is a state beyond these two. Discover that. It alone is real.”