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The Rules of Inquiry and the Rule of Shraddha
Gerald: I have been studying Tattva Bodha, and I always assumed the element of speech was ether, which carries sound so you can hear what you are saying? But Shankacharya says it’s fire, and that the element of feet was fire, as in being able to see where you are going. I can’t really see the connection of speech to fire. I can understand feet and space, but by the same token we need space in order to have somewhere to take a crap as well, so the logic to me is fuzzy.
James: The element out of which the ears arise is ether, or space. Its property is sound. The ears are one of the perceptive organs. One property of fire is heat. You need friction – rajas – to speak. Speech is an active organ. Check the chart.
Gerald: Anyway, I’m sure it will come clear as I read on. It just seems out of order to me. Did this ever occur to you as well? Or is this type of question a violation of shraddha?
James: The connection between the elements and the organs is not always intuitive, Gerald. It’s really enough if you understand that everything in the creation is intelligently designed. For instance, there are five active organs, five perceptive organs, five elements and five pranas. Why aren’t there three active organs, seven perceptive organs, four elements and 16 pranas? The idea is that nothing is random or happenstance and that the whole creation depends on you, consciousness. As you keep reading, you will more and more understand the way the material world works. You can read the second chapter of Inquiry into Existence and other commentaries on Tattva Bodh to get a more complete understanding of the details if it is important to you. Once the big picture is cemented in your mind you will see that the organization of the elements is a relatively minor topic. The point is that the body is not you. Finally, it is not a violation of shraddha at all. In fact it is a violation of the rules of inquiry NOT to work it out to your satisfaction. Shraddha is faith pending the results of investigation.