Living matter is made of five great elements of vital importance. They are Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space, and are known as Panchamahabhoota, and are units to build everything from medicines to human beings.
In Sanskrit, Pancha means five. Akashiya,Apya,Parthiva,Taijasa and Vayaviya are different classifications on the basis of majority of content. The property or quality of anything changes with different combinations and permutations of these five elements.
Existence of matter becomes impossible for the lack of space or Aakashamahabhoota with sound as its important sense attribute, and non-resistance as its important property.
Inheriting shabda or sound as an attribute and chalatwa as its important property, sparsha or touch is Vayumahabhoota. Next is Agnimahabhoota, whose attribute is vision, and property is heat.
Earlier mahabhootas have attributes of sense like, sound and touch are also inherited by Agni. Next is Aapamahabhoota with rasa or taste as its important attribute, and liquidity as important property. This inherits the earlier mahabhootas’ attributes. Prithvimahabhoota is the final one with roughness as important property and smell as its important sense attribute. Moreover, it inherits the earlier mahabhootas’ sense attributes.
Ayurveda summarizes the sense attributes and main properties of the five great elements into five categories. They are: Akasha Shabda Aapratighata ,Vayu Shabda, Sparsha Sparsha Chala ,Agni Shabda, Sparsha, Roopa,Sparsha, Roopa Ushna ,Aapa (Jala) Shabda, Sparsha, Roopa, Rasa Drava and Prithwi Shabda, Sparsha, Roopa, Rasa, Gandha Khara
The knowledge of concept of Panchabhoota would help one understand the wotking of Ayurveda as science. The first element in existence would be Aakasha. Its equivalence cannot be sky but space. It is essential to know and understand all the elements.
Ayurveda believes that Aaksh is originless and endless, that is, no beginning, no end, and exists everywhere and at all times. In short it is omnipresent.
Moreover, the logic is that all things and beings need space to be present, including the minutest particle called atom or cell.
The belief is that the outer space reflects the inner space, and thus the concept of omnipresence is proved.
As Aakasha is ever-existent, so is Shabda, the basic sense attribute, and the energy form of Aakasha.
The first shabda as per Hinduism is AUM. Mantra is formed by grouping many shabdas. Believing that it is divine form of treatment, Mantra chikitsa in Ayurveda is given importance. Mani chikitsa is the second followed by Aushadhi chikitsa.
To make us realize the nothingness of the space through movement, Vayu or air is very important. The main sense attribute of it is touch, or feeling something, and along with this, it carries the attribute of space, that is, sound. Anything that moves or has Chalatwa is only because of vayu or air. Motor or sensory nerve impulses, movement of food through gastro-intestinal tract, joint movements in human beings are possible only through vata dosha, a major constituent of vayu.
Vision is the main sense of attribute, and warmth is its important property. The biological humor Pitta dosha’s major constituent is agni. Apart from providing energy for all activities, it helps in viewing the creation of the world.
Jala helps in chemical, biological and biochemical bondings, and also enables bringing two things and keep them together.
It inherits all the attributes of other elements, and has smell as its main attribute. It helps in building the whole universe with its simple living and non-living blocks.