The 5 M's of Hindu Tantra

In Hindu Tantra, Pancha Makara is also known as the Five Ms. It is a term in Tantra Yoga that refers to the 5 substances used in a puja or sadhana (spiritual practice).

They are as follows:
  • Madya: This means wine. However, in a subtler sense Madya is said to represent the divine nectar also called Amrita.

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  • Mansa: This, literally, means meat. However, in a subtler sense control Mansa stands for control of speech.
  • Matsya: This, literally, stands for fish. However, in a subtler sense control it also refers to the Ida and Pingala Nadis that are controlled by the sadhaka (spiritual seeker) through the practice of Pranayama.
  • Mudra: This has no crude meaning. However, in a subtler sense control it directs the sadhaka (spiritual seeker) to keep spiritual company. The Sanskrit term for this is Satsang. In the same breath it exhorts the seeker to avoid negative company.
  • Maithuna: This is the most misunderstood concept of the Pancha Makara in Hindu Tantra and Tantra Yoga. Maithuna, literarily, means union, but in a crude sense it stands for sexual intercourse.

    However in a spiritual sense Maithuna represents the union of the Individual Mind with the Cosmic Mind. In that sense Maithuna means Samadhi.

According to the Pancha Makara philosophy, there are, 3 classes of people. These say Hindu Tantra, are Pashu, Vira, and Divya. The workings of the Gunas (attributes) that engender these affects on the gross physical plane are the animal tendencies. They, over a period of time manifest in the 3 main physical functions. They are eating, drinking and sexual intercourse. These functions are, in fact, subjects of the pancha tattwa or Pancha Makara (the five Ms"). Unfortunately, they are vulgarly called Madya (wine), Mansa (meat), Matsya (fish), Mudra (parched grain), and Maithuna (coition) without the benefit of their subtle meanings, which is a gross misinterpretation of the truth.

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