The name given to the great Elements in Nature is Bhutas. The term refers to the universal cosmic elements of Fire, Earth, Air, Water and Ether as well as the human response to these powers and energies through individual expression of them in our bodies, personalities and our character.
Natural therapists of various schools and cultures work with and have a degree of understanding in the application of the different elements in healing. This is particularly evident in the Chinese, Indian and Unani schools although some variation may occur in either theory or practical application.
In relation to Raja Yoga, we are interested in applying awareness and knowledge of the natural agencies to the fundamental nature of the human psyche and to ultimately advance to better understand the greater spiritual role the elements play in the universe.
The element Earth is taken as the energy that manifests as material substance and possesses the quality of practicality and stability. This is fundamentally incorporated into the Hatha Yogic system building physical health.
Within the emotional nature Water is applied to the balance of the emotions and their harmonious expression through Bhakti Yoga. It is revealed in the adaptability and flexibility in our feeling nature, whether physical or psychological. Its urges us to focus upon the heart and it expression of loving kindness.
The element Air corresponds to the limitless spheres of the mind and so is the main focus in the study of psychology, philosophy and creative thought processes within Raja Yoga. It possesses the quality of freedom and expresses itself through the intellect and our ability to communicate.
Fire is seen as the magical invisible element that is expressed either through the spiritual injection of new life in conception that result in a new body for an incoming soul, or in the flash of inspiration that conceives new ideas.
These are the obvious 4 elements at work on all our planes of consciousness. But the final contribution is most vital. It is the Fifth element that remains somewhat mysterious and may be rather differently interpreted by scientist or philosopher as ‘ether’ in the former, or as ‘love’. It is the element that blends and combines the other traits, qualities and energies and integrates them into a successful unit and wholeness beyond real analysis. It completes each life entity and protects each living creature as determined by Natural Law.
In a nutshell, the elements are best understood as simple reminders that we all need in the art of living.
… maintain practical disciplines in self development, health and physical culture as we must know the value of the body and of material things (Earth).
… maintain flexibility within our own nature and live in sympathy or empathy with others through constructive use of our feelings (Water).
… test our mental wings through study and both rational thought and imagination in a committed ultimate quest for truth ( Air).
… apply fervour and enthusiasm to what we act upon, whether it is duty or pleasure, motivated by a desire for excellence, accomplishment and a joy in creative living (Fire).
It is the fifth element, upon which success and happiness possibly depend, that reminds us of both the importance of our microscopic personal efforts within the unit of humanity as a whole, yet urges us to find the answer to our role in the macrocosmic universe by seeking our spiritual identity (Ether).