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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Karmendriyas literally means ‘organs of action’.

Every human being is endowed with eleven indriyas or sense-organs. These organs are five jñānendriyas, five karmendriyas and a mind.

The five karmendriyas or organs of action are:

  1. Vāk - speech
  2. Pāṇi - hands
  3. Pāda - feet
  4. Pāyu - excretory organ
  5. Upastha - organ of reproduction

These have been called ‘karmendriyas’ because they are the indriyas or sense organs responsible for karma or action.

Root of Karmendriyas[edit]

Karmendriyas are the products of the rajas aspect of the five tanmātras[1] as follows:

  • Ākāśa or ether or space gives rise to vāk.
  • Vāyu or air gives rise to pāṇi.
  • Agni or fire gives rise to pāda.
  • Āpas or water gives rise to pāyu.
  • Pṛthvī or earth gives rise to upastha.


  1. Tanmātras are the subtle elements.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore