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The Classical Elements are foundation elements for Material Universe, every object in physical realm has some configuration of these five elements viz:

  1. Space/Aakash : most subtle and difficult to understand.

  2. Water/Jal : more subtle than water Manu Smriti describes creation in water.

  3. Air/Vayu : not just atmospheric air more subtle meanings/forms exist.

  4. Fire/Agni : related with every thing that burns including acid in stomach.

  5. Earth/Bhoomi : anything which is solid.

There are certain situations in which these elements are(said to be) contaminated, like when impure woman touches fire/water, when someone eats food(mainly associated with earth and water element) prepared by impure person etc.

Question : Is there any proof in Hindu scriptures about this contamination concept?

If I am correct fire gets contaminated for sure, because Girija(Godess Parvati Shiva's consort) cursed Agni (that he will be impure and surrounded by black smoke) at the time of Skanda/Murugan's birth, which is mentioned in Skanda Purana.

  • the order of creation is - akash(space, sound) -> vayu(air, sound+touch) -> agni(fire, sound+touch+sight) -> aap (water, sound+touch+sight+taste) -> prithvi (earth, sound+touch+sight+taste+smell). During pancheekaranam, ParaBrahmam creates this raw material of pancha bhootha from the previous bhootha, so that each one has a new characteristic along with characteristics of its 'parent' bhootha. Then he asks Brahma to start creation using these raw materials – ram Apr 23 '17 at 19:04
  • Now, regarding contamination, when Indra got BrahmaHatti Dosha, he divided it among water (bubbles water is impure), earth (deserts are uninhabitable), trees (sap is inedible) & women (periods are unclean) - harekrsna.com/philosophy/associates/demons/indra/visvarupa.htm – ram Apr 23 '17 at 19:05
  • if you look in manu smriti etc. there are various rules for what gets contaminated when e.g. it says you should not eat food in vessel touched by sanyasi, or water given by chandalas etc. that's why even now, strict brahmins use water only from the well in their own homes, not metro water etc. – ram Apr 23 '17 at 19:07
  • @ram Yeah that's the correct order of Creation of Pancha Mahabhutas, I don't like your logic of water earth being contaminated. Why is water impure due to bubbles they are just natural surface tension phenomenon because of air trapped inside water, deserts may be marubhoomi but how does it prove impurity of earth. – Yogi Apr 23 '17 at 19:15
  • i'm not using logic (Tarka shastra).. i'm quoting bhagavatam. You can question anything using 'logic' - why are women considered unclean during periods, or why should tree sap be avoided. I'm sure shastras have reason for all this, I don't know them, but I can guess - deserts are unclean in the sense that life doesn't exist there. Air bubbles could be due to gas which could be methane or hydrogen sulphide (H2S) which smells bad. Women bleed during periods and blood/pus is infectious, and maybe tree sap is unhealthy/poisonous. – ram Apr 23 '17 at 19:20

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