The power of 5 in India and elsewhere

Did you ignore Cinco de Mayo? Of course you did, because you had to get up early this morning.

And maybe it feels like yet another mostly made-up holiday that just serves our consumer appetite.

But there is plenty of power in 5, as Tim Miller helpfully notes this week in his blog:

As it turns out, 5 is a pretty special number in many traditions, especially in India, where we find:  The Pancha Tanmatras— The Five Sensory Potentials or Subtle Elements—Shabda (sound), Sparsha (touch), Rupa (sight), Rasa (taste), and Gandha (smell); The Pancha Jnanendriyani—Five Sense Organs–Ear, Skin, Eye, Tongue, and Nose; The Pancha Karmendriyani—Five Motor Organs—Mouth (expression), Hand (grasping), Feet (motion), Urino-genital (emission), and Anus (elimination); The Pancha Mahabhutani—The Five Elements—Earth (stability), Water (fluidity), Fire (illumination), Air (movement), and Ether (communication and self-expression).

He goes on to note some 5s that pertain specifically to yoga. And I’d add one he doesn’t seem to have listed: The five Pandavas from the Mahabharata.

And of course there is Panchamukha Hanuman, who hangs above our front door.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

One thought on “The power of 5 in India and elsewhere”

  1. And of course “8”!
    8 fold path, 8 limbs, …

    I think it has something to do with the sound. “Pancha” and “Ashta” sound sweet and blend in to verses.

    Also one never says just 100. It is always 101 or 1001 or 10001. Adds a bit of precision to a legend and sounds nice!

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