Srimad Bhagavatam 11.22.21-23 - Reconciling differences in Opinion (download mp3)
by Purushottam Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
catvary eveti tatrapi
teja apo ’nnam atmanah
jatani tair idam jatam
Some philosophers propose the existence of four basic elements, of which three — fire, water and earth — emanate from the fourth, the Self. Once existing, these elements produce the cosmic manifestation, in which all material creation takes place.
atma saptadasah smrtah
Some calculate the existence of seventeen basic elements, namely the five gross elements, the five objects of perception, the five sensory organs, the mind, and the soul as the seventeenth element.
atmaiva mana ucyate
mana atma trayodasa
According to the calculation of sixteen elements, the only difference from the previous theory is that the soul is identified with the mind. If we think in terms of five physical elements, five senses, the mind, the individual soul and the Supreme Lord, there are thirteen elements.
According to the theory of thirteen elements, the sense objects — aroma, taste, form, touch and sound — are considered by-products of the interaction of the senses and physical matter.