Żywioły ujarzmione. Pańćabhuta [pięć żywiołów] w doświadczeniach ekstatycznych jogi

Agata Świerzowska


Enthralled elements. Panchabhuta [five elements] in the ecstatic experiences of yoga

This text presents the concept of the five (and not, as in European tradition, four) elements in Indian thought, concentrating in particular on the philosophy and practices of yoga, whose aim is to use the elements on a path ultimately meant to lead to liberation. Earth (prithiwi), water (ap), fi re (agni), air (wata), ether (akasha), known in Sanskrit as bhuta or mahabhuta (terms which only overlap to a limited degree with the English terms like „element”), come from original materials, and mix together in given proportions. In this way they not only become the basis of the existence of the reality surrounding us, but also form, describe and to a certain degree determine the nature and functioning of the person. These fundamental elements, although they remain concealed and are not available for direct understanding, manifest their existence in many various ways: thanks to these it is possible for the five senses to work, constituting a determinant of the division of the human body into five parts, are at the basis of the five pranas of life and the so-called humours of the body (dosha). Lastly, they are manifested in the various chakras, the concept of which is so often invoked and even more often deformed in popular Western literature. Thanks to these subtle manifestations, it is possible for the various elements to be influenced in a given way, controlled, until complete enthralment –and this is not only in the microcosmic dimension (the person) but also macrocosmic (reality). The gradual enthralment of the elements designates the various degrees of the ecstatic journey towards ultimate liberation. The article is opened by a short description of the individual elements, and then the following are shown: the mechanism, selected ascetic-mystical practices (asana, pranayama, meditation of elements), the effects of transformation of elements and their role in achieving ecstatic states.

Słowa kluczowe: mahabhuta, yoga, guna, prakriti, kundalini, chakra, laya-yoga, tanmatra, prana

Kwartalnik "Studia Religiologica" ukazuje się w sposób ciągły on-line.

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