PANCHATATTAVA, also called the +quot;Ritual of the Five Great Elements,+quot; or the +quot

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PANCHATATTAVA, also called the "Ritual of the Five Great Elements," or the "5-M Rite." The Panchatattva is the highest form of Tantric ritual. It has been acknowledged to some degree by the west, mainly in the "5-M Rite" form (five stages make up the ritual, each of the stages having a Sanskrt name beginning with the letter MM). It is in Panchatattva, especially, that the three vital forms of action must be kept in mind: literal, allegorical, and spiritual. Ritual sexual intercourse was practiced in ancient Indian, as in many cultures of both east and west, mainly as a fertility rite. The Tantric texts were the first to really, fully elevate ritualized sexual union to the highest spiritual realm; its proper place. It's also worth nothing that in the Panchatattva, (hereinafter referred to as Ritual of the Five), the second and third forms (allegorical and spiritual) could be practiced alone, without the literal (i.e., intercourse), but as the beauty and depth of Tantra is its use of the body as vehicle toward liberation, and the destruction of the body/mind/spirit compartmentalization, my personal opinion is that the three taken together are most meaningful. In ancient times, and ideally, according to many modern Tantric teachers, still today, when the Ritual was to be undertaken, the Initiator/Initiatress of Official Recognized Status was to remain present; whether as part of the Rite (direct Sexual Initiation), or as Sexual Guru; to serve as a focusing point and assist the couple to remember the spiritual nature of the physical act, thus by Will and Intent elevating the mundane to the level of sacrament. At any rate, the role of Tantric teacher is to explain the symbolism behind each of the five elements to the student before the student partakes of the ritual, and to ensure that full understanding has been achieved. The Ritual has been called "The Tantric Eucharist." First, I'll give the literal meaning of the "five M's," their Sanskrt names and English translations, then delve into the symbolism more deeply. A most basic chart could be written thus: INGREDIENT ENG. TRANSLATION ELEMENT Mudra Grain Earth Matsya Fish Water Madya Wine Fire Mamsa Animal flesh Air Maithuna Sexual union Ether The texts teach, in their simplest form, that the five elements and the ingredients which represent them make up the phenomenal universe. Grain, fish, and animal flesh evoke the living things which grow from the earth, swim in the sea, and walk on the land. Wine is given the representation of 'fire' rather than water, as it stimulates the 'inner fire' and arouses the passions and elevates the senses. The assignment of animal flesh to the air element has been interpreted as obvious: that without air, all animal life would cease to exist. Maithuna, or sexual union, when undertaken for the purpose of enlightenment, leads one to Ether, or Space, or Beyond the phenomenal world. (The multiple meanings of the word "Mudra" should be mentioned here as well: it can signify grain and the earth element; a mystic hand gesture; or the woman herself during the ritual act of intercourse) The symbolic or allegorical meaning of the 5-M's is more complex; and the "ingredients" are elevated to the "Five Great Sacraments;" and the meanings to specific yogic activities to be mastered. A simple chart might look like this: SACRAMENT ELEMENT MASTERY OF: Mudra Earth Detachment from worldly concerns, things of 'this earth.' Matsya Water Control of breath-Pranayama Madya Fire Purification of mind and senses Mamsa Air Control of sound-matrix; Mantrayama Maithuna Ether Control of sexual energy; proper direction of physical lust to spiritual lust. Again, at first glance, some of the masteries may seem a little off, but upon closer examination, found to make perfect sense, i.e., one might be tempted to place Pranayama with the element of Air; but Water and Matsya (fish) would represent control of the breath quite accurately. The 'inner' fire purifies the senses and burns up the obstacles to spiritual progress; the air element vibrates and resonates with the mantra and unmanifest sound. The most highly refined spiritual table would look something like this: SACRAMENT HIGHEST MEANING Mudra Displaying the mystic gestures to the gods; recognizing the non-duality between the Self who makes the gesture and the Self which receives it Matsya Catching and cooking the 'fish' of deceit, envy, and obstacles to progress Madya Drinking the wine, or Elixer of the inner moon, becoming inflamed with passion for spiritual bliss Mamsa Hunting and killing the 'animals' of delusion the 'beasts' which hinder the Self Maithuna Lustful, passionate union of Kundalini with each chakra upon Mt. Meru, culminating with Ananda as she embraces Lord Siva at the peak of the Holy Mountain. The Five-M Ritual is ordinarily the first Sexual Initiation, and careful measures are prescribed before commencing therewith. It is, of course, *vital* for the participants to truly see each other as Siva and Sakthi personified. The ritual, practiced without reverence and understanding of its inner meanings, is no more than a highly ritualized form of mere physical release. It may provide variety and stimulate through its *different* nature, but will not be the sacrament of spiritual/sexual union; the goal of Tantra. Each partner partaking in the rite should bathe beforehand--before even commencing to prepare the various food and drink, the "5 M's." While bathing, the Tantrikas should focus on purifying not only the body, but the mind and spirit as well. Marijuana (Bhang), a more modern "M" was often used in the ancient rite as well--sometimes brewed as tea, and used as a substitute for the Wine; other times simply smoked apart from the five great elements. The assumption is made that both Yogi and Yogini have already perfected the control of breath, body, and mind through the yogic practices described above. The literal and allegorical meanings of maithuna are the same: a return to non-duality, re-integration, and reunion of the solar and lunar principles. However, for celibate Tantrikas (yes, there are such things!), the sexual union, on a symbolic level, refers to processes taking place within the physical and Subtle bodies of the Yogi or Yogini. Sir John Woodruffe, in _A Garland of Letters_ describes this process in detail, using the 'two lips' of the Yogi/Yogini as representations of Siva/Sakthi, and each of the elements springing therefrom. During physical consummation, the Hevajra Tantra teaches that the Yogi symbolizes Prajna (wisdom), and the Yogini Upaya (Means). These are but other terms for Siva (pure consciousness) and Sakthi (pure energy). After bathing, the Yogini traditionally prepares small amounts of grains, fish, and animal flesh, and pours wine or Bhang-tea into brass goblets. The best time for the beginning of the actual ritual is traditionally dictated as midnight, the dark of the moon, the time between one and the other. An open fire of some sort should be prepared: modern Tantrikas would have no reason not to use grills, Hibachi's, etc. With Yogi and Yogini nude, the Sakthi principle is given homage, both within the Yogini as Sakthi personified, and as the 'inner woman' or Kundalini within the Yogi himself. The couple, from this point on, lose their respective identities, and literally and allegorically BECOME Siva/Sakthi. They must endeavor to hold this truth in mind throughout. The presence of Initiator/Initiatress can be vitally important here, as long as everyone is adult enough to forego any sense of voyeurism, or shame or embarrassment in the presence of a non-participating observer. Solar-lunar synchronized breathing and mantra are employed before the commencement of the ritual, about which more later. The Yogi should gaze into the fire, then look upon the Yogini's body. He should apply perfumed oil (musk, sandalwood, patchouli and jasmine being preferred) to the Yogini's pubic area, navel, heart region, throat, forehead and the crown of her head, while stating an ancient aphorism: "Woman *is* fire. Sexual energy is the fuel, her Yoni the flame, her pubic mound the smoke, penetration the sacrifice, lust the sparks. In this Fire, Lord Siva takes his pleasure and releases his seed. From this offering, every Being comes into Existence." Maintaining constant focus, the Yogi then traditionally places a garland of red, or red and white, flowers about the Yogini's neck and flowers in her hair. The Yogini then applies sandalwood paste to the body of the Yogi, honoring him as Siva personified, culminating by anointing his Lingam with fragrant oil, honoring it as the original Siva Lingam, symbol of the Supreme Yogi. Traditionally, the rite begins with the Yogini seated to the Yogi's right side--just prior to lovemaking (maithuna) she moves to his left, reversing her role as passive/initiated (right side) to active/initiatress (left side); or from Parvati to Kali. Once the consecration of each partner and recognition of Siva/Sakthi has been performed and fixed, Yogi and Yogini should 'consecrate' the food and drink by encircling the altar or table upon which the first four 'elements' are set with flaming sticks of sweet incense, 'empowering' it. After that, Yogi and Yogini each take a small portion, first of the grain, and offer it to the fire, reciting the seed-mantra SWAHA (*the realm of Eternity*). This assists in fixing the solemnity and holiness of the moment in their minds. Then the rest of the grain should be consumed, each feeding it to the other. The consumption of all the foodstuffs and drinking of the wine is to be done in a certain manner, specified later herein. Next, the fish is offered to the fire, again repeating SWAHA as it is done; the rest consumed; and then the procedure repeated again with the meat, the animal flesh. Traditional Hindu music is recommended for the initial Sexual Ritual, not simply for sake of tradition, but because *all* sacred Hindu music is designed specifically with a frequency of seven to eight cycles per second--identical to the resonance of the earth, the frequency at which the aroused Kundalini vibrates, and the human brain wave patterns during REM sleep. During Maithuna, it is said that the entire bodies of the couple will vibrate at this frequency. Sitar, tabla, and vina are the traditional Hindu instruments utilized in sacred music, or Bhajans. After the Agni-puja, or offering of the foodstuffs to the fire, the couple should acknowledge and meditate upon the elements contained within, while feeding each other. First, the grain is consumed, while Yogi and Yogini honor the vegetable kingdom, upon which most life is dependent to one degree or another, and the earth element from which the grains are produced. When the fish is shared, the water element is honored, for without water, all life would perish; the control of breath is meditated upon, and homage given to the creatures of the sea. The couple, while eating meat, should meditate upon the animal world, recognizing the animal nature inherent within all, including humans, and upon the element of air, without which all animals would immediately die. After that, the wine is shared, for the delight and stimulation of body and mind. The wine should be thought of as Elixer, the wine of the divine, and the fire element meditated upon, as the primordial from which all life emerged and to which all existence will ultimately return. It has been recommended that the Yogi sip from his glass, and kiss the Yogini deeply, transferring the Sacred Elixer to her mouth in this manner; and she to him thusly as well. Thereafter, Maithuna is practiced. However, Maithuna as first Sexual Initiation is so complex and ritualized, that it requires a text file itself, as it involves the four joys, four moments, and many explanations of symbolic imagery. This file will be forthcoming very soon. For now, I leave you with a quote: "A Tantrika enjoys wine, fish, flesh, grains, and women. In the Goddess seekest I refuse! To the line of Gurus am I devoted! I am Siva! The terrific! The transcendental! She is Sakthi! The sensual! The liberator!" --RUDRA YAMALA TANTRA D. Yogini Padma Ushas Suryananda, other sources as cited.


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