Everything in nature is made up of five basic elements (Pancha Bhuta): Earth (Prithvi), Water (Jala), Fire (Agni), Air (Vayu), and Space/Ether (Akash) and each of the nine planets are connected to an element, as are all the signs.
The elements have their own qualities. For example, Earth grounds us by helping us to be present in our lives, however too much Earth makes us stuck and Air brings creativity, but too much makes us ‘airy-fairy’. We need space for each of the elements to flow and function properly.
When you honor the five elements daily you balance and cleanse the elements.
We are all made of cosmic energy manifested into physical form using the five elements.
Clearing negative energy using rituals can move and transform stagnant energy that is causing blocks in our body, mind and life in general. Much like clearing out a murky pond that has had no fresh water.
With rituals and remedies we can honor the five elements and in turn dissolve and release these negative energies that are holding us back, which can affect our health and quality of life.
The science behind the elements and their relationship with each other and their presence and involvement in every aspect of our lives is vast and complex. There are however a few generic things you can do to balance the five elements.
Here are rituals that you can incorporate into your daily or weekly routine to cleanse and purify yourself from negativity for each element and for all the elements together.
Honor the Earth (Prithvi) element
The Earth element is the most powerful of all elements. It is our source of stability and represents balance.
Mother Earth is the embodiment of compassion and patience, she carries us through our evolutionary journey – Mother Earth is the mother of every life.
Ritual: For this reason we remind ourselves with this ritual of everything that she does for us and seek her forgiveness for touching her with our feet.
Just as you’re about to get out of bed, before your feet touch the ground, close your eyes and either say the following words out aloud or in your head. “Dearest Mother Earth, you are so precious and I appreciate everything you do for me, I am about to put my feet on you, so please forgive me.”
Alternatively you can chant the Sanskrit version, known as the Samudra Vasane: Samudra Vasane Devi, Parvata Stana Mandale. Vishnupatni Namastubhyam, Paada Sparsham Kshamasva Me. Which translates as: O! Mother Earth, who has the ocean as clothes and mountains and forests on her body, who is the wife of Lord Vishnu, I bow to you. Please forgive me for touching you with my feet.
Make sure that you also thank Mother Earth wholeheartedly during this process. Thank her for keeping you grounded and make sure for at least some part of the day your bare feet touch the ground below you and be in touch with the physical experience of walking or standing.
Honor the Water (Jala) element
The Water element is a huge life force and is also known to have healing and nurturing powers. Almost 70% of the earth and our bodies are made up of water. Water pulls out negativity, balances our emotions and makes us feel calm and centred.
Ritual: Drink lots of water throughout the day and if possible fill a copper container of water and leave it overnight (to pull out it’s positive energies) to drink the next morning.
Water relaxes us, think hot shower, a swim or a warm bath, so doing any of these will help you connect and balance the water element in your body and mind.
Water your plants and splash a little water on sacred items or deities and listen to sounds of water either online or if you’re lucky enough to have access to the real sound of natural flowing water better still.
Honor the Fire (Agni) element
Fire induces power and confidence and helps destroy doubts and negative thoughts and is represented by the Sun which sustains, brightens and illuminates life. Fire can also result in negative traits such as anger, greed and hatred. Fire is one of the strongest elements, it is the hardest to balance.
Ritual: Honor the power of Fire in any form during the day. Thank the Sun for giving you the energy to get through the day and face East, the direction of the Sun and absorb its rays, even if they are not visible.
Burn incense, diyas and/or candles in your home and when you feel negative emotions rise, find healthier ways to burn off the steam, such as going for a brisk walk.
Honor the Air (Vayu) element
Air represents growth and is associated with happiness. When balanced, Air induces courage and perseverance to achieve your goals and the mind is peaceful. It can also bring nervousness and agitation but once balances can bring positive new insights.
Ritual: Air is prana, the life force and when we do breathing techniques, such as Pranayama, it automatically purifies us and increases both our lightness and our inner power. We can also purify the air around us through the burning of incense.
Be conscious of the air that you are breathing. Honor and follow the air going in and out of your lungs and go outside and fill them up with fresh air – connect with the cosmic energy in this way along with meditation and prayer to help solidify the feeling of centredness and peace.
Set yourself a good, consistent, daily routine that involves waking up early and winding down properly at the end of the day for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Honor the Space/Ether (Akash) element
Space is the mother of the other elements. It is one of the most important out of the elements which none of the other elements can exist without. It expands and enhances and influences the mind and the heart.
Ritual: Appreciate the vastness of the space we live in, from our home, to our city, to our country, to our planet Earth, to our solar system, to our galaxy, to our universe, everything – feel the expanse of Space (you can even try the Space meditation on the Sattva Meditations and Mantras app by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar). Think about the larger purpose of life.
Ether is associated with flowers – offer flowers to loved ones, deities or just keep some around your home.
Honor all the elements together
Chant Om Namah Shivaya
The most purifying and healing vedic mantra to do this is “Om Namah Shivaya”. Often referred to as the five syllable mantra, evoking the five elements of existence, Om Namah Shivaya honors Shiva, the lord of destruction and transformation and one of the primary gods of the Hindu Trinity.
Close your eyes and chant the mantra “Om Namah Shivaya” either out aloud or in your mind, as you bow down to the unknowable and unimaginable path of transformation as guided by Lord Shiva.
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says: “The Shiva principle is like the air, the space, like the warmth that you feel, or the coolness of the water that you feel. The five elements around you is Shiva. Namah Shivaya – the five letters- represent the five elements. That which is governing the five elements is Shiva. That which is permeating the five elements is Shiva. What scientists today call dark matter and dark energy”.
Listen to or chant the sacred Rudrabishekam
Rudrabhishek is an ancient chanting which was downloaded from the Akasha (space). When the ancient sages sat in meditation, they heard the sounds of the mantras and started transferring what they heard to other people and that is how the Rudrabhishek was “downloaded”.
When done on Mondays it is even more special as Monday is the day of the Moon, and the Moon and mind are connected. Mantras, mind and the Moon are all connected.
Conduct a pooja.
All the five elements are used in pooja. Pooja means honoring all the elements. So, fire, water, incense sticks, fruits, flowers, rice, whatever nature has given to us, those things are used (for worship) along with the chanting of mantras.
“All the five elements remind you that there is consciousness that creates orderliness. Anything that points towards something big, something that is inexpressible, something that is intangible, truth that is beyond all expressions, is expressed in five the elements.”
~ Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar