Tatwabodha gives us a total analysis of this whole universe, god and its constituents—human beings in the most clear manner that we will make no mistakes about what is what in our whole personality and relationhips.
Sri Adi Sankaracharyaji, having described the components of the universe and its connection with the human being with respect to the qualities of sattva and rajas, now goes on to explain the composition of the human body from inert nature of the five elements of space, air, fire, water and earth—tamas.
The sattvic and rajasic aspects of the five elements do not mix with each other in forming the sense organs of perception, action, intellect, memory, and ego. Nor do they help form the five functions of energy called the prana, apana, samana, vyana, and udana. But when it comes to the formation of the human body, both the aspects mix up in an organised manner called quintuplification or pancheekaranam.
In pancheekaranam, the ration of mixing up is clearly mentioned. At first all the five elements divide themselves into two equal parts—space, air, fire, water and earth remain in their original nature for 50 per cent of their content. The remaining half—50 per cent—is divided into four parts. If that remaining half is taken as 100 per cent, it divides itself into four quarters of 25 per cent.
Each quarter of an element lends itself to the remaining four other elements. A quarter of space goes each to air, fire, water and earth. A quarter of air goes to space, fire, water and earth, a quarter of water goes each to space, air, fire and earth, a quarter of fire goes to space, air, water and earth, and a quarter each of the four quarters of the remaining half of the earth element goes to space, air, fire and water.
This perfect mixture of the five elements in this proportion constitutes our physical body which is made up of the five elements. Inertia is the nature of tamo guna. It cannot know itself and it cannot illumine other objects. Where does this knowledge take us? It only brings the understanding that how much ever beautiful or ugly a person may be, whatever be the colour of the skin, whatever the height and weight or whatever singular difference a human can have over the other—they are not true.
The only reality is that all the physical bodies are made up of the permutation and combination of the five elements and they are the same in all humans, animals, plant and insect species. This understanding can indeed help to bring great peace and harmony in our relationships with each other and with the whole universe.