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Every number has a certain power which is expressed both by its symbol to denote its representation and by its connection to universal principles. Numbers have relationships with all things in nature, thus making them supremely powerful symbolic expressions.

  • Muslims pray 5 times in a day.
  • Five major disasters – war, epidemics, famine, pollution and poverty.
  • Five Yamas (code of conduct as per Patanjali) – Ahimsa (nonviolence), Brahmacharya (abstain from sexual intercourse), Asteya (non – stealing), Satya (truth in words and thoughts) and Aparagraha (absence of avarice).
  • Five sacred symbols of Sikh religion as prescribed by Guru Gobind Singh known as Panj Karas or five ‘k’s are – Kesh (uncut hair), Kangha (comb), Kara   (steel bracelet), kachha (soldiers shorts) and kirpan (sword).
  • Five basic tastes – sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savouriness.
  • Panchopachara – five ways of offering daily prayer to the God – Gandha- The worshipper offers sandal paste to the deity, Pushpa – The worshipper offers flowers to the deity, Dhupa – Lighting of incense sticks and placing them in front of the deity. Deepa – Lighting a lamp and Naivedya – Offering of food to the deity.
  • Panchabhuta – Prthvi (earth), Ap (water), Tejas (fire), Vayu (air) and Akasa (ether) are the Pancabhutas (five elements) .
  • Panchabrahmasana – This is a divine cot with Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra and Isvara as its four legs and Sadasiva as the couch. Devi rests on this cot always.
  • Pancadevis – Durga, Radha, Laksmi, Sarasvati and Savitri are the Pancadevls.
  • Panchaksharamahatmya – . Namas’sivaya composed of five letters (Na-mah si va ya) is called the mantra of Pancaksara.
  • Pancamahayagya – For a Grhasthasraml (householder) the following five apparatuses are unavoidable : A sifter, a grinding stone, a broom, a wooden mortar and a water-pot. It is believed that a sin is committed when each of these is used and to remove the sins thus committed the ancient sages have prescribed five yajnas and these five yajnas are called the Pancamahayajnas. They are the Brahmayajna, Pitryajna, Devayajna, Bhutayajna and the Manusayajna. Reciting of Vedas is Brahmayajna. Pleasing the manes by offering rice or libations of water is called Pitryajna. Giving offerings to the demi-gods in the sacrificial fire is called Devayajna and religious offerings of rice to the crows are called Bhutayajna. Giving food for the guests is Manusayajna. One who does not do the Pancamahayajnas is no better than dead. Some scholars have classified the Pancamahayajnas as Huta, Prahuta, Brahmyahuta, Prasita and Ahuta.
  • Pancapranas-The five pranas (life breaths) of any living being are Prana, Apana, Vyana, Samana and Udana.
  • Panca mutra – urine of 5 female animals viz. cow, goat, buffalo, sheep and ass.
  • Panca ratna – a collection of 5 jewels or precious things viz gold, diamond, sapphire, ruby and pearl.
  • Panca lavana – 5 different kinds of salt viz kaca, saindhava, samudra, vida and sauvarcala.
  • Panca sugandhaka – a collection of 5 kinds of aromatics vegetable substances viz cloves, nutmeg, camphor, aloe wood and kakkola.
  • Panca suna – 5 things in a house by which animal life may be accidentally destroyed viz the fire place, slab for grinding condiments, broom, pestle & mortar and water pot.
  • Pancanga – 5 members or parts of a body.
  • 5 parts of a tree Viz root, bark, leaf, flower and fruit.
  • 5 modes of devotion – silent prayer, oblations, libations, bathing idols and feeding Brahmins.
  • A calendar of almanac treating 5 things – solar days, lunar days, nakshatras, yogas and karanas.
  • Panca pranama – obeisance made with arms, knees, head, voice and look.
  • Panca tantra – well known collection of moral stories and fables divided into 5 sections.
    • Mitrabheda – breaking the friendship – benefits of divide and rule policy between our enemies.
    • Mitralabha – acquisition of friends. Advantage of selecting your friends judiciously.
    • Kakolukiya – tales of crows and owls – this brings out the dangers of friendship between those who are natural enemies.
    • Labdapranasa –loss of what has been acquired – shows how certain weakness lead to loss of one’s own possessions.
    • Apariksitakaritam – results of inconsiderable actions – illustrates the general principle of haste makes waste.
  • Panca karma – 5 kinds of Ayurveda treatment viz. giving emetics, purgative medicines, sternutatories and enemas of two kinds: oily and not oily.
  • Panca kashaya – decoction made from the fruits of 5 plants – the jambu, salmali, vatyala, bakula and badara.
  • Panca gupta – protected or covered in a fivefold manner – like a tortoise drawing its feet and head.
  • Panca chaksu – 5 eyes of Buddha – Mamsa Chakshu (the carnal eye), dharma chakshu (the religious eye), prajna chakshu (the eye of intellect), divya chakshu (the divine eye) and Buddha chakshu (the eye of Buddha).
  • Pancajana – 5 classes of beings – gods, men, gandharvas & apsaras, serpents and pitrs.
  • Panchagni – the 5 fires to which an ascetic who practices self-mortification exposes himself Viz one fire towards each of the four quarters and the sun overhead.  
  • Panca tikta – 5 bitter things Viz nimba, amrita, vrisha, patola and nidigdhika.
  • Panca tirthi – 5 principal places of Hindu pilgrimage – Visrauti, Saukara, Naimisha, Prayaga and Pushkara.

Every number has a certain power which is expressed both by its symbol to denote its representation and by its connection to universal principles. Numbers have relationships with all things in nature, thus making them supremely powerful symbolic expressions.


Five is the symbol of human microcosm. No. 5 represents the human forms – the pentagon when arms and legs are out stretched. The pentagon is endless-sharing the symbolism of perfection and power of the circle. Five is a circular number as it produces itself in its last digit when raised to its own power.

Five is the number of balance. Five symbolizes man, health and love. It combines the female number two with the male number three. Five is the number of marriage. The Pythagoreans thought of five as “hieros gamos”, the marriage between heaven and earth.

  • Five – It is a symbol for man. On a figure of man, a line joining head to outstretched arms and legs forms a pentagram. It also represents Earth.
  • The number 5 is the fifth Fibonacci number, being 2 plus 3. 5 is also a Pell number and a Markov number, appearing in solutions to the Markov Diophantine equation.
  • Pentagon – A polygon with five sides is a pentagon.
  • Boron – The atomic number of boron is five.
  • The number of appendages on most starfish, which exhibit pentamerism.
  • Hurricanes – The most destructive known hurricanes rate as Category 5 on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale.
  • The most destructive known tornadoes rate an F-5 on the Fujita scale.
  • Fingers – Almost all amphibians, reptiles, and mammals which have fingers or toes have five of them on each extremity
  • Human body has five jnanedriyas(sense organs) and five karmedriyas (functional organs)
  • Five sense organs are ear, eye, nose, tongue and skin representing hearing, vision, smelling, tasting and touching.
  • Five karmedriyas are Hand, legs, mouth, genital and anus and does the functions of grasping, walking, speaking, procreation and excretion.
  • The Hindu calendar is called Panchang because it has five parts. They are Thithi (date), vara (day of the week), nakshatra (star), karana (half a thithi) and yoga(auspicious moments).
  • In Kamba Ramayanam (in Tamil), the significance of number five is beautifully narrated as follows: The son of one of the five (son of wind – that is Pavana Thanaya), crossed one of the five (water – the ocean), through one of the five (sky), met daughter of one of the five (daughter of the earth – Sita Devi), burnt down Lanka by one of the five (fire). Here five means the five elements. Therefore, it is considered auspicious to go around His idol 5 times.
  • Five tantric substances are called ‘panchamakara’. They are matsya(fish), mamsa(meat), madira(wine), maithuna(sexual intercourse) and mudra(parched cereals).
  • Panca Kanya – Five ideal wives as per Hindu scriptures are – Ahalya, Draupadi, Sita, Tara and Mandodhari.
  • Five Great sins (Panchamahapataka) as per scriptures are – Brahma hatya (killing of a brahman), Shishu Hatya (killing of an infant), Sura Pana (drinking alcohol), Swarna steya (stealing of Gold) and Guru Talpa Gamana (having sex with Guru’s wife).
  • Pancabana – Manmatha, the God of Love or lust is said to discharge five kinds of arrows of different flowers from his bow made of sugarcane stalk towards his victims to make them lovelorn.
  • Pancabhutalinga – The Sivalingas in the following famous Siva temples represent the 5 elements of nature – space, air, fire, water and earth.
    • Prithvilinga – Kanchipuram
    • Ablinga – Jambukesvara
    • Tejolinga – Arunachala
    • Vayulinga – Kalahasti
    • Akasalinga – Chidambaram.
  • Pancakosha – According to Yogic philosophy, the nature of human being encompasses physical and psychological aspects that function as one holistic system. The Kosha system refers to these different aspects as layers of subjective experience. Layers range from the dense physical body to the more subtle levels of emotions, mind and spirit
    • 1.Annamaya kosha, appearance due foodstuffs-sheath (Anna)
    • 2.Pranamaya kosha, appearance due energies-sheath (Prana/apana)
    • 3.Manomaya kosha appearance due mind-stuff-sheath (Manas)
    • 4.Vijnanamaya kosha, appearance due wisdom-sheath (Vijnana)
    • 5.Anandamaya kosha, appearance due bliss-sheath (Ananda)

Noble Thoughts

Excerpts of discussions between two sages in Mahabharata. While reading, please consider the fact that this was written 3000 years ago and how relevant it is even today!

What are the sorrows of human beings?

There are many instances of misery that are seen among men in this world! Life with persons that are disagreeable, separation from those that are agreeable and beloved, companionship with the wicked, these are the evils which human beings have to bear. The death of sons and wives, of kinsmen and friends, and the pain of dependence on others, are some of the greatest of evils. There is no more pitiable sight in the world than that of poor men being insulted by others. The acquisitions of family dignity by those that do not have it, the loss of family dignity by those that have it, are noticeable by all. How they who have no family dignity but have prosperity try to get what they want with their wealth.  What can be more pitiable than the calamities and reverses sustained by the gods! Good families suffer due to the actions of ill-born and the poor are insulted by the rich. What can be more pitiable than these? Innumerable examples of such contradictory dispensations are seen in the world. The foolish and the ignorant are cheerful and happy while the learned and the wise suffer misery!

What the joys of good people?

Earned by his own efforts, without having to depend upon any one, he who eats even fruits and vegetables in his own house is entitled to respect. He who eats in another’s house the food given to him in contempt, even if that food be rich and sweet is despicable. If after treating guests and servants and offering food to the forefathers a good person eats what remains, there can be nothing happier than that.

Man of Virtue

Men’s minds are at first bent on the acquisition of knowledge. That acquired, they indulge in their passions and desires, and for that end, they labour and set about tasks of great magnitude. Once success achieved they indulge in much-desired pleasures of beauty, flavour, etc. That is followed by fondness, envy, avarice and then extinction of all spiritual light. And when men are thus influenced by avarice, and overcome by envy and fondness, their intellect ceases to be guided by righteousness and they practice the very mockery of virtue. Practicing virtue with hypocrisy, they are content to acquire wealth by dishonourable means. With the wealth thus acquired they are filled with a desire to commit sins. And when their friends and men of wisdom remonstrate with them, they are ready with specious answers, which are neither sound nor convincing. They commit sin in thought, in word, as also in action. From their being addicted to evil ways, they are guilty of a threefold sin. They being addicted to wicked ways, all their good qualities die out, and these men of wicked deeds cultivate the friendship of men of similar character, and consequently they suffer misery in this world as well as in the next.

Practicing self-discipline is important for peaceful life and attaining spiritual wisdom. And this self-discipline can only be acquired by subduing the senses as heaven and hell are both dependent on our senses. When subdued, they lead to heaven; when indulged in, they lead to perdition. Our senses are at the root cause of our spiritual advancement as also at the root of our spiritual degradation. By indulging in them, a person undoubtedly contracts vices, and by subduing these, he attains salvation. The self-restrained person, who acquires mastery over the six senses inherent in our nature, is never tainted with sin, and consequently evil has no power over him. Man’s physical self has been compared to a chariot, his soul to a charioteer and his senses to horses. A dexterous man drives about without confusion, like a quiet charioteer with well-disciplined horses. That man is an excellent driver who knows how to patiently wield the reins of those wild horses – the six senses inherent in our nature. When our senses become ungovernable like horses on the high road, we must patiently rein them in; for with patience, we are sure to get the better of them. When a man’s mind is overpowered by any one of these senses running wild, he loses his reason, and becomes like a ship tossed by storms upon the high ocean.

Avarice and anger must be subdued by all means, failing which people can get into untold miseries in life. A man must preserve his righteousness from being overcome by the evil consequences of anger, his virtues from the effects of pride, his learning from the effects of vanity, and his own spirit from illusion. Leniency is the best of virtues, and forbearance is the best of powers, the knowledge of our spiritual nature is the best of all knowledge, and truthfulness is the best of all obligations. The telling of truth is good, and the knowledge of truth may also be good, but God realisation is the highest truth. Self-abnegation, peace of mind, renunciation of hope, and equanimity,–these are the ways by which spiritual enlightenment can always be secured; and the knowledge of self (one’s own spiritual nature) is the best of all knowledge.