According to Science, There are five elements of life – Oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon. When they are combined, they give form to water (h2o) , air(o2) , fire(p), earth(nitrogen with oxygen), and ether(an oxygen atom connected to two alkyl or aryl groups) in the form of a compound.
These are the Basis in Indian cosmic system creation as well. The human body is also formed by these 5 elements. Anyone who had witnessed Aarti followed in Temple must have observed the five elements in some forms.
Aarti signifies the ascent of diverse layers of creation in spirit. While doing Aarti, metaphors of five elements of life or The PanchBhutas are used.
𝙃𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙞𝙨 𝙢𝙮 𝙧𝙚𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙛𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙖𝙣 𝙖𝙧𝙩 𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙢.
is the first element of life out of five. In physics, Ether proposes a space-filling object or field for generating gravitational forces. Sometimes, it is also referred to as Space or Sky. Unlike other elements, it is eternal and has one specific character. It is the carrier of sound.
Here, I used Shankha for representing Ether as it has space. Also, One can alter the resonance of note while controlling the breath. In the temple, ether is represented by a yak tail fan during Aarti.
2) Fire or Agni: The second element of life.
Something in science, we will never forget in life would be the definition of Matter. Isn’t it?
The matter is the change of state from solid to liquid, liquid to gas(steam), and withdrawing fire recreate the solid-state. What triggers that part of nature is nothing but “Fire”. Fire is the creator of energy in the body like the sun which is the generator of energy for the earth. Fire represents a different source of energy like solar, hydroelectric, atomic, a petroleum derivative, and Fossil. It is the way of freeing energy from its source.
In the human body, Fire is responsible to form hunger, thirst, and sleep.
When the night is dark and full of terror, get enlightened by the fire to banish the darkness.
Fire is considered as god and is worshiped in different religions across the globe. In India people light Diya or candle during Diwali on the darkest night of the year to generate positive energy which also acts as a powerful cleanser for burning the impurities. In Hatha Yoga, various Asanas are there to regulate the fire element for demolishing diseases. Interestingly, Ghee or oil lamp represents the fire component during aarti. Also, Havan is another way to denote fire.
3) Water or H2O (H-O-H) :
is the third element of life(although a compound). Water is a very important component for living in all areas like; house, agriculture, industries, etc. All living beings require water for surviving as most of their body is filled with that. The human body contains almost 70% water. Water does not have color, odor, or taste. It is an unmanifested form yet so special for providing life to us. Water is accessible in numerous forms like vapor, glaciers, clouds, etc. The existing pattern of water on earth occurs through evaporation, precipitation, and other methods.
It plays an ingredient role in sustaining as holy water in different religions. In India, Different Rivers are worshiped during special occasions. The Ganges is one such holy river which is widely worshiped in the country. Adi Shesha Naag, the divine snake who forms the couch of Narayana, depicts water.
In the temple, we find water in the form of Shanti Jal(holy water) during aarti. A conch or earthen pot is used in a temple filled with water which is sprinkled over devotees in the form of Shanti jol. According to religious excerpts, Water plays a part in the cleansing and purification of the soul. After the cremation of the body, the remaining ashes are immersed in the Ganges for what we call as “mukti”.
Water gives life to trees and crops and they are a symbol of fertility. Groundwater volume is getting decreased day by day due to human activities. Also, Due to industrial pollution and increased population natural water is getting depleted. We should conserve it for future generations by wisely using it and taking some measures.
These drops of water hold a prime role in our lives. Mythologically and scientifically both!!!
4) Air (O2 and CO2 )or Vayu :
is the next element of life that we inhale and exhale for surviving. Air is the breath of life and the exchange of electrons or energy. This form of an element is responsible for biological functioning and acts as a catalyst for every cell to grow with the help of oxygen.
The world is badly impacted by Air pollution, Smog, and soot. The causes are many such as leap in automobile usages, coal burning, industrial activities, and so on. This has resulted in an increase in the percentage of Nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and other harmful air pollutants. According to researches, Humans face maximum health-related diseases due to bad air. For surviving and for the safety of our future generation, it is very much required to take some valuable steps to solve this problem.
Air is associated with touch as it can be felt. One can observe behavioral changes of air with seasons as well. This significant element is available in the human body and permits in digestion and removal of wastages from the body. Likewise, Air is keen on ensuring blood circulation in the human body. One can have control over the Mind with a steady and consistent breath by various Yoga Asanas or Meditation.
Vayu (air) or Pavan ( Wind) generates Prana ( Breath of Life), so it is also referred to as a deity of life. In Greek mythology, Aeolus was the divine Keeper of Wind. According to Hindu scriptures, Hanuman and Bhima are avatars of Vayu.
I have observed that the peacock fan movement is performed in the temple to denote air or wind during Aarti. So thought of using peacock feather for my content…
Air related issues need to be monitored well to drop the AQI. Otherwise, we will be living with masks forever. I reckon we aren’t ready for that.
5) Earth or Prithvi :
is the Fifth and last element of life. Earth comprises all the atoms of Carbon, Oxygen, Phosphorus, nitrogen, and so on. According to science, planet earth was formed from the sun after the big bang theory almost a billion years ago. In the cooling process of the sun, hydrogen and helium got converted into elements of Carbon and oxygen by which human bodies are formed. It was previously hot and without atmosphere which was later formed by the gaseous emissions from crust rocks.
Prithvi is basically referred to as calm and grounded which helps us in keeping the ego in balance and generates regulation energy for body tissues, muscles, and bones. This element is also responsible for catching any infection or inflammatory diseases in the body. This element of life can be touched and smelled too. After the death of the human body whether buried or cremated, all the atoms get fragmented to come back to the eternal form.
Here, I picked flowers to represent the Earth. It grows on earth and goes back to it after decay. Just like the human body which is meant to decay and go back to the Dharti or Prithvi. This was the most difficult one to represent in an art form. Although the globe was in the back of my mind as an option. I chose this because flowers are used during Pushpanjali or any auspicious occasion and for one more reason. I grew up watching TV serials where God showered flowers from heaven which fell on earth and take root to another form and eventually become part of the earth. During Aarti in the temple, you may find a handkerchief for representing earth. The element Earth represents humbleness as it accepts every species on it after its end without any discrimination. Let’s hope we go back to our Mother earth with the same humility and some good positive energy.