PANCHGUHA (The Five Caves)

Vedic Articles
  • Body is the holder, carrier as well as the representative of the soul. It is the proof of our existence. It is the medium for the fulfilment of our desires. The body in itself is also a complex organism.

    The philosophy of healthy living alone cannot provide a complete insight into it. On the one hand, it comprises five great elements and on the other hand, it functions like a living organism.

    It is enveloped in trigunas (raj – passion, sattva – truth or goodness and tama – darkness). The jiva and God reside in it. All these elements function at their own level. Our rishis have tried to get an insight into it. From among the body, mind, intellect and soul, it is the body that forms the first entrance to spirituality.

    There are several ways through which we can understand the composition of the human body. The principle of ‘panchkosha’ is one of them which analyzes both body and soul.

    The system of the six chakras explains the functions of living organism and the upward movement of energy. Ayurveda shows the way to a lifestyle in harmony with nature. An ordinary man does not require special knowledge. One needs knowledge that is befitting to his lifestyle. Neither more nor less will do.

    This fact is corroborated by the difference in theory and practice. In practice, we use several principles, but we need not know their meaning. The new changes that have occurred in education have linked the simple process of meaning to orthodoxy.

    According to scriptures, the body is best understood in the same order in which it is made and it functions. There are three ways to understand it : sat, a form of power that has a centre as well as a circumference: asat, that which has no centre and no circumference. The third form is sadsat, that is mixed one. In all these forms – mana, prana, vaak, though always together, keep changing and taking new forms. This is a fixed process and it is this factor that carries forward the extension programme of adhibhautik, adhidaivik and spiritual universe.

    In life we see them in the forms of knowledge, action and matter. Out of these, the source of knowledge is the mind, that of action is prana and that of matter is vaak.

    Living things are called ‘sat.’ Since prana does not contain any other prana, it is called ‘asat.’ The collective form of different pranas is called ‘deva.’ The prana group of the same category is known as ‘rishi.’

    The pranas that function in our body, work in a group of seven pranas. According to this principle, we have four caves in our body. In every cave seven pranas function in seven parts.

    Three of them function in couples and the seventh, the mouth prana works alone. Couples are composed of one negative and one positive prana. In siroguha, there are two ears, two eyes and two nostrils which form the seats of six pranas. The seventh seat is the mouth which is single. These are all organs of sense. The seventh, the mouth prana gives them power and is known as ‘indra.’ It is seated in brahmrandhra. It gives the power of knowledge.

    The second cave is known as uroguha. It contain two hands, two lungs, two breasts in the form of a couple and the seventh one is the heart which is single. The main source of power for them is the throat.

    It provides valorous power. Similarly, in the third cave udarguha, there are liver and spleen forming a couple, stomach and digestive system forming another couple and two kidneys. The seventh prana is located in the navel. Their central prana is seated in the heart, which is located in Uroguha. It provides the power to eat food and digest it.

    The fourth cave is known as the vastiguha. It has two feet, two openings for discharging urine and semen, two testicles and one anus. Their centre of power or ‘Indraprana’ is located in the navel, which is the last part of udarguha. Vastiguha is a means that provides power for excretion and pouring out.

    It is clear from the above description that our body is also divided in four categories like the four varnas, siroguha is ‘brahmin’ for it is a seat of knowledge. Uroguha with its valorous power is ‘kshatriya’ with its tendency to accumlate and distribute, udarguha is vaishya and vastiguha, which is given to service, and art is ‘shudra’. In every part of the body different pranas are located. The forms and functions of these pranas differ.

    The mind is known as Bhardwaj rishi (prana). The mind is made of food and food is termed as ‘waj’. That which fills with ‘waj’ is Bhardwaj, that is, the one for whom food is provided. Eyes have been called ‘jamadagni,’ that is, through which you know the world and which is also fire because of the light in them. The ear is vishvamitra which creates vishvamitra rishi. The world is made of vaak, therefore, vaak is known as vishvakarma, that whose job is to make the world.

    The chief pranas that function in our body are called rishi, pitra, deva or asura pranas. They are futher divided into Vasu (8), Rudra (11) and Aditya (12). When Indra and Prajapati are added to them, they make 33 devatas (pranas). It is said that these get expanded into thirty-three thousand devatas.