Pancatattva

There are as already stated, three classes of men – Pasu, Vira, and Divya. The operation of the gunas which produce these types affect, on the gross material plane, the animal tendencies, manifesting in the three chief physical functions – eating and drinking, whereby the annamayakosa is maintained, and sexual intercourse, by which it is reproduced. These functions are the subject of the pancatattva or pancamakara (“five m’s”), as they are vulgarly called – viz : madya (wine), mamsa (meat), matsya (fish), mudra (parched grain), and maithuna (coition).

In ordinary parlance, mudra means ritual gestures or positions of the body in worship and hathayoga, but as one of the five elements it is parched cereal, and is defined (1) as

Bhristadanyadikam yadyad chavyaniyam prachaksate,
sa mudra kathita devi sarvesam naganandini.

The Tantras speak of the five elements as pancatattva, kuladravya. kulatattva, and certain of the elements have esoteric names, such as karanavari or tirthavari, for wine, the fifth element being usually called latasadhana (2) (sadhana with woman, or sakti). The five elements, moreover have various meanings, according as they form part of the tamasika (pasvacara) rajasika (viracara), or divya or sattvika sadhanas respectively.

All the elements or their substitutes are purified and consecrated and then, with the appropriate ritual, the first four are consumed, such – consumption being followed by lata-sadhana or its symbolic equivalent. The Tantra prohibits indiscriminate use of the elements, which may be consumed or employed only after purification (sodhana) and during worship (3) according to the Tantric ritual. Then also, all excess is forbidden. The Syama-rahasya says that intemperance leads to Hell, and this Tantra condemns it in Chapter V. A well-known saying in Tantra describes the true “hero” (vira) to be, not he who is of great physical strength and prowess, the great eater and drinker, or man of powerful sexual energy, but he who has controlled his senses, is a truth-seeker, ever engaged in worship, and who has sacrificed lust and all other passions. (Jitendriyah, satyavadi, nityanusthanatatparah, kamadi-balidanasca sa vira iti giyate).

1. Yogini-Tantra (chap. vi).
2. “Creeper” to which woman. as clinging to the male tree, is likened.
3. See Tantrasara, 608. citing Bhava-cudamani. As regards maithuna, the Brhannila-Tantra (chap. iv) says: Paradaranna gaccheran gacchecca prajapedyadi (that is, for purpose of worship) and similarly the UttaraTantra :
Pujakalam vina nanyam purusam manasa sprset
Pujakaleca devesi vesyeva paritosayet.
The same rule as regards both madya and maithuna is stated in the Kulamrta as elsewhere.