Creation of Five Elements
The whole universe is made up of five essential elements-Building blocks that all life forms contain: Ether, air, fire, water and earth. We can easily see how life was created from the subtlest to the grossest matter. From eternity, the subtlest form of matter is ether. Ether mixing with eternity creates air, more observable or experiential element. As air moves, it eventually creates friction, which creates heat or fire. Heat produces moisture, thus creating water, the densest element; if one tries to walk through water, one is slowed by its density. Finally, water produces the densest form of matter, earth. Ayurveda says that all of the creations, including humans, are made up of the combination of all five elements. These elements are the subtlest aspects of human life, finer than the molecular, atomic, or subatomic levels. This is the level that Ayurveda healing works on. Focusing on the cause of the grosser levels of life, the denser aspects will be taken care of since they are made of these five elements. Just as a strong foundation supports a strong building, the five elements (the foundation of all matter) when strong and balanced in a person, they will automatically balance the more material levels. Thus, Ayurveda does not need to look at isolated parts of the human anatomy, or at the vitamin, chemical, or nutritional level of health. It simply balances the elements, and this balances the more physical levels.
A person diagnosed with a duodenal ulcer is an example of this balancing. Rather than creating a name for a symptom, Ayurveda identifies the illness as an excess of the fire elements. Acid is a by-product of heat. Ayurveda will look to see in what part of the patient’s life overheating occurs. It may be due to eating excessive fiery foods and spices like tomatoes and peppers. One’s career may be causing undue anger (i.e. hot temper). Perhaps the person drinks alcohol (fire water).
Once the cause is learned, suggestions for reducing a person’s excessive intake of fire are discussed. Simultaneously, the patient is advised to use more of the air and water elements to balance the heat with coolness (air cools heat, water puts out the fire).