By Swami Harshananda
‘Madhu’ means honey. Since honey is a kārya or effect produced by the honey bees and being sweet and enjoyable is liked by everybody, anything that is liked by people can be compared to madhu or honey.
Since the five elements earth, water, fire, air and space or ether and other items of nature in creation like the sun, the moon, the lightning are effects and are necessary for our existence and sustenance, they are compared to madhu or honey. It is interesting to note that the Upaniṣad has included dharma (righteousness), satya (truth), mānuṣa (humankind) and the ātman in the list of madhus.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore