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By Swami Harshananda

pañcikarana (‘the process of quintuplication’)

This is a technical term specially found in the treatises on Advaita Vedānta.

The process by which each of the pañcamahābhutas (five great elements) is formed out of the pañcatanmātras (five

primordial elements) is called ‘pañcī-karaṇa’. Each former element—because of this—contains half of the corresponding tanmātra and one-eighth of each of the other four. For instance, one unit of the mahābhṅta pṛthvi = 1/2 pṛthvī tanmātra + 1/8 of ap tanmātra + 1/8 of agni tanmātra + 1/8 of vāyu tanmātra + 1/8 of ākāśa tanmātra. Because of this pañcīkarana, each of the mahābhutas contains a part of the other four bhutas and hence their characteristics.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore