The panch mahabhutas of ether, air , fire, water and earth form the basic material constituents of both the universe and the human being.
These elements refer to the etheric, gaseous, radiant, fluid and solid states of matter and their respective principles of space, movement, light, cohesion and density. They are the prime substances from which different objects are made, unlike the gunas that are the qualities or ideas according to which they are made.
We grasp these properties through the corresponding five sense organs of the ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose. Each element similarly possesses a secondary property that can be felt through the skin. These are non resistance (ether), vibration (air), change of temperature (fire), fluidity (water) and shape (earth). The skin can feel the effects of all five elements indirectly. The five elements play a vital role in digestion, healing and health.