So, what is a tanmātra? A tanmātra is a subtle element, which is itself the essence of potential. There exist five sense perceptions. For example, seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling. There are five tanmātras (śabda, rasa, gandha, rūpa, sparśa), which connect with these five sense perceptions and sense organs.

The tanmātras blend together to become the primary elements or Mahā Bhūtas: Earth, water, fire, air, ether. The tanmātras give rise to these Mahā Bhūtas, which are the essential building blocks of the manifested universe. The five Mahā Bhūtas make up the senses, which is an important and integral part of an indiviual. In essence, you are made of the Mahā Bhūtas and the Mahā Bhūtas are made from the mixing of the tanmātras.

Manorama’s Tips: Tanmatra

~ When considering tanmātra through the lens of Yoga, consider the idea of essential energy. Focus your attention on the energy that makes up the elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether.

~ When viewing this word in the context of Ayurveda, consider your body as a manifestation of tanmātras, subtle elements, and subtle energy.  

Manorama’s Sanskrit Pronunciation Tips

  1. Connect with your breathing
  2. Feel your feet underneath you
  3. Say the ‘ta’ in tan from the 4th mouth position ‘ta’
  4. Next say ‘tan’ (hold for an accentuation here when saying the word)
  5. Next say at the 5th mouth position ‘mā’
  6. And finally say ‘tra’ which is a movement from the 4th mouth position to the 3rd.
  7. Put it all together: Tanmātra – subtle element –  Great!
  8. Don’t forget to enjoy the feeling of saying Sanskrit words. Sanskrit words are particularly pleasing to hear and say. Let the feeling of the word meet you.

In the next Quick & Sacred Sanskrit post, I’ll be sharing about the Tanmātra: Sparśa.

©2017 Manorama, Sanskrit Studies & Luminous Soul

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