mahābhūtāny The five great elements. That is to say: earth, water, fire, air and ether, these are the five great elements; mahābhūtāny ahaṅkāro, the sense of egoism; buddhir, intellect and avyaktam eva ca the highest original state which is called Prakriti; indriyāṇi the sense. Five senses of knowledge and five senses of action: karmendriyā(s) and jñānendriyā(s); indriyāṇi daśaikaṁ ten of them (daśaika means eleven actually, they are ten plus one eka; what is eka, it is the manas; is the 11th sense: five senses of knowledge, five senses of action, plus manas, manas itself is the 11th; pañca cendriyagocarāḥ and the five immediate senses of the objects of the senses. Between these physical objects and our physical senses, there is an intermediate level, which are immediate objects of senses, usually we regard physical objects themselves as the objects of knowledge.
But Sri Krishna goes into subtlety and points out that there are pañca mahābhūtāny are not the five direct objects of knowledge. These are known through intermediacy of other objects of the senses namely: there is smell; there is taste; there is cohesion; there is hearing; and there is sight. These are the five direct objects of senses. It is through eyes that things are seen, there is a sight between the eyes and the objects which are seen, there is sight: if there is no sight you cannot see, so sight is the direct object of indriya(s). The taste is the direct object between the vegetable that you eat with taste and our own internal organ of the tongue.
So, for each organ of sense we have an intermediate direct object which actually gives you further knowledge of the objects themselves of pañca mahābhūta(s). So, pañca mahābhūta(s), ahaṅkāra, buddhi, and the original buddhi, namely the Prakriti itself which is in the first place avyakta, which is un-manifested therefore which described as avyakta. Five senses of action, five senses of knowledge and the mind manas, and the five objects of senses.
Question: What are the five senses of action?,
The five senses of action are the actions of the hands, actions of the feet, action of eating, action of evacuation, and action of generating: these are the five senses of action.
This is a summary of the entire theory of evolution which is attributed of Sankhya. In Indian philosophy there is among the 6 systems of Vedic philosophy, Sankhya is regarded to be one very, very important branch. The entire Bhagavad Gita cannot be fully understood without a very good knowledge of Sankhya.
There are three great words that you come across in the Bhagavad Gita: Sankhya, Yoga, Vedanta. The word Vedanta is not used, but the whole of Bhagavad Gita is an exposition of Vedanta and therefore the original book in which Vedanta is expounded in the forms of aphorisms is called Brahmasutra to which reference is just now made in the 4th verse, brahmasūtrapadaiś caiva: “All this knowledge is given in Brahmasutra.” Brahmasutra is nothing but an aphoristic statement ‘sūtra rūpa’, given in the form of Sutras, aphoristic statement of the knowledge contained in the Veda and the Upanishads. So, these three constitute one harmony among all the greatest books of knowledge in India. These three are regarded to be the most authoritative expositions of knowledge: the Veda, Upanishads, and the Brahmasutras.
Vedas are the first manifestations in Indian history of knowledge; they were re-stated by the Rishis of the Upanishads and they were philosophically expounded by Brahmasutras. The first two are not philosophy themselves, they are inspired revelations. Vedas and Upanishads are not philosophy, there may philosophy in them, but they are not themselves expositions of philosophy, because in philosophy there has to be the prominence of intellectual quest. In the Vedas and Upanishads, it is not intellectual quest but spiritual quest. Therefore, Vedas and Upanishads are not philosophies, but the statements of knowledge which are to be found in the Vedas and Upanishads can be expounded intellectually. Therefore, you can say philosophy is in them, but they are not themselves philosophies, they are manifestations of spiritual quest where knowledge is obtained by spiritual quest, by spiritual means: ātmanā ātmānam, the self is known by the self (not by the intellect); the self knowledge is possessed by the self’s own perception. But when you want to know it also intellectually, then there is an intellectual transcription of this knowledge, but then you have to follow the method of philosophy, method of intellectual groping, so the whole method changes, therefore the whole colouring of that statement is different: atha brahma jijñāsā, it starts with the quest of Brahman and then what is this jijñāsā? It is an intellectual jijñāsā. It is not atha mumukṣutvam; when it is a desire for liberation, it is a spiritual quest, but this jijñāsā starts with intellectual quest. Therefore philosophy is an answer to jijñāsā. Brahmasutra begins with this basic statement of the brahma jijñasā; it begins with the quest of Brahman. And then there is an intellectual exposition: how intellectually you can grasp that Reality. That intellectual exposition of the quest of the Brahman is ‘Brahmasutra’.