Episode # 134 – The concept of “Pancha-Agni-Vidya” in the “Upanishads” – King Yayaati explains!!!

In the previous episode, we had continued with the important discussion between King Yayaati and Sage Ashtaka, wherein we had witnessed the concepts of “Sthoola Deham” and “Sookshma Deham” and how they work in tandem. The “Sthoola Deham” is the one with which we live in this world, and the “Sookshma Deham” is the one the “Atman” takes after leaving this “Sthoola Deham” at the end of this lifespan. With the “Sookshma Deham”, the “Atman” travels to whichever “Lokha” it has to go to and then assumes another “Sthoola Deham” corresponding to that “Lokha” where the “Atman” lands up in. If we reach the “Svarga Lokha”, the “Sthoola Deham” of our “Atman” would be apt to enjoy all the luxuries and pleasures that are available there. Whereas if our “Atman” has to go to the “Naraka Lokha”, we would get another appropriate “Sookshma Deham” that could withstand all the drubbing that we would get there. After that tenure, when the “Atman” comes back to the “Manushya Lokha” again, it assumes another new “Sthoola Deham” inside the mother’s womb. This is exactly what King Yayaati is describing here, as Sage Ashtaka asks him the question whether he would fall down on to the earth again with the same “Deham” as he had in the “Svarga Lokha” or with a different “Deham”. 

King Yayaati gives a very important reply here. He says thus, “Oh Sage Ashtaka! Please do not compare my case with the others in the world. The process is different. In my case, as my “Punya-Karma” account is enormous, I’m falling down to the earth with the same “Sthoola Deham” of the “Svarga Lokha”. However, for normal people, they would be thrown out of the “Svarga Lokha” with the “Sookshma Deham”, on to the clouds that adorn this earth. These clouds then join with many other clouds and pour into the earth surface as rain drops or snow flakes. Thus, the “Atman” sticks to these rain drops and fall on the earth, which is responsible for the growth of plants. Thus now, the “Atman” is sticking to the leaf or stem or root of the plant, which is being consumed by the other living beings. For instance, if a male animal (It can be any animal – Dog or cat or lion or tiger or insects or human being) consumes that plant, the “Atman” gets into the stomach of the male animal. When this male animal gets into a union with the female animal, the “Atman” gets passed into the body of the female animal in the form of sperms. These sperms are thus responsible for the development of the egg inside the uterus of the female animal and thus, the “Atman” develops its new “Sthoola Deham” inside the womb of the mother! Once the mother delivers, the “Atman” comes out in the form of a child. This is the process through which the “Atman” reaches the “Manushya Lokha” from the “Svarga Lokha” or the “Naraka Lokha”. 

Thus, we can see here that King Yayaati talks about five important “points of contacts” through which the “Atman” travels from the “Svarga Lokha” / “Naraka Lokha” back to the “Manushya Lokha”. First point of contact is the cloud. Second point of contact is the raindrop. Third point of contact is the plant. Fourth point of contact is the male animal / human being’s stomach. Fifth point of contact is the female animal / human being’s womb where the “Atman” gets enclosed into the “Sthoola Deham” of the “Manushya Lokha”. This process through which the human being takes birth in this world is referred to as the “Pancha-Agni-Vidya” in the “Upanishads”. Only if one realizes the pain that he / she has to go through these five points of contact with the “Manushya Lokha” before taking birth here, he / she realize the importance of “Vaikunta” and the understanding of not coming back again to this world. Else, the “Atman” should always keep coming back to this world with different births at different times, without an end! 

So for today, let us understand this concept of “Pancha-Agni-Vidya” that is explained in the “Upanishads” clearly and let us hereby develop this aspiration that we should reach “Vaikunta” somehow, so as to escape these five points of contact with this world forever! We shall wait till the next episode to continue this important discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂 


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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