The reason why I chose to write about this is to better understand this word ‘ Jyaanendriyani’ which is loosely translated as ‘five sense organs’ in English. This is due to lack of any word in English for this term as the concept has yet not been explored in western world.
Understanding Golakas :
The appropriate word in Sanskrit for five sense organs are called Golakam . Golakas are like a physical box to hold something, some tool inside. The physical equipment is necessary or important for any physical transaction but the real importance and value of these physical sense organs or equipment is the function or faculty or power or principle they express. This helps us understand the meaning of Indriya, the principle or power belonging to universal mind.
Understanding Jyanendriyas :
Simply put, Jyaanendriya means the faculty or principle that helps us to perceive the world outside.They are five in number and the first one is called chaksuh – the power or faculty of sight or vision , the second one is shrotrah – the power or faculty of hearing , the third one is ghraanah – the power of smell, the fourth one is rasanaah – the power or faculty of taste, and the last one is tvak – the principle of touch. Indriyas are the actual tools in the toolbox of sense organs.This piece of knowledge is quintessential to understand the concept of various devataas (gods) mentioned and glorified in Vedas.
The ancient sages observed the nature and understood the unity of inner and outer world, the micro and macro, the individual and the total. Let’s take an example of sight or vision. They explored that they are not the only one who have the power of sight. The various creatures in the world holds this power in different magnitude, like eagles, owls, and cats have one of the best vision among the living creatures, and fish, shrimp, beetle, and crab have one of the worst vision among the living creatures. This observation and understanding led them to form the concept of devatas, the total cosmic power having a peculiar function .
So, when Vedas glorify Suryah as the deity for vision, they are not saying that the controller of physical eyes is the Sun that we see, what they mean that there is a principle that controls the total cosmic power of vision and my limited vision is a part of that total cosmic power, and hence I offer my salutation to that cosmic power to grace this individual self with the power of vision I enjoy.When Vedas say that eyes will go back to Sun, ears will go back to digdevata, etc. The real intent is to tell the fact that these limited power to see, touch, hear, taste, smell etc will finally merge back to the total cosmic power for vision, touch, hearing, tasting, and smell after the death.
How profound,humble, and wonderful way to live life in a spirit of absolute oneness!!!
Next time, when you read about a devata in a story, please read it with this understanding of total cosmic power manifesting to express a peculiar functions and all these powers ultimately comes due to universal consciousness alone.
Devatas ———— Golakas in human body ——————Cosmic Power
Suryah————eyes for the cognition of form ————Power of vision
Digdevatah——— ears for the cognition of sound ——— Power of hearing
Varunah— ——-tongue for the cognition of taste ————— Power to perceive taste
Aswin-kumarah——nose for the cognition of smell ——————Power of smell
Vayuh —————skin for the cognition of touch——————Power to feel touch
All Glories to the Supreme alone that resides in us all !!!