India is a remarkable, diverse, vibrant country that I come across frequently in my exploration of the elements. It is a country that has developed philosophies, arts, medicine and sciences that use the elements as fundamental building blocks. Earth, air, fire, water, ether/sky – and consciousness – are abundantly expressed. So far I have touched on Praktri, mudras, Vastu Shastra (embedded in various posts), Ayurveda (ditto), Vikram Seth and other references to the elements in India. These posts draw on a range of books written by Indian and other authors. On a more immediate and intimate level the blog ‘Enchanted Forests‘ written by Mukul Chand has opened up a whole other world of India, and the elements.
The Rivered Earth contains four libretti written by Vikram Seth, a celebrated Indian novelist and poet, designed to be set to music by Alec Roth. The final libretti is called ‘Seven Elements’. It is a song cycle that includes seven poems – Earth, Air, Wood, Fire, Metal, Water and Space.
Nearly 50 years ago, Professor Bill Jackson published the paper ‘Fire, air, water, earth – An elemental ecology of Tasmania’. With a title like that, one could say he was ahead of his time.
The prayers, sacred mantras and symbols on Tibetan prayer flags have been carried by the wind for millennia. First Bon, then Buddhism. Always elemental.
Prakrti is a concept I was blissfully unaware of until beginning my exploration of the elements. Praktri has been translated from Sanskrit as ‘nature’ or ‘matter’. I have also seen it referred to as the source of material existence and the primal motive force. It is an important concept that I am pleased to have discovered. To my delight it came into my life through a five-volume work titled ‘Praktri: The Integral Vision’.