If we look behind the forms of Matter, we find Energy. Scientists tell us that all matter in fact is energy, and that matter and energy can be converted into one another. We have uncovered the secrets of the atom with the tremendous force of energy that also acts with incredible discipline to create Forms.
In trying to explain the formation of matter from a state of pure quiescent existence, the ancient seers described five successive states of matter, which were called the five elements. Each one represented, successively, a further solidification of the Force of creation. Starting with the movement of force or vibration in endless Space, we have the first element called Ether. Ether however does not have any aggregating principle so that it does not form solid matter. The next development was the element of air, characterized by force meeting counter-force and setting up the basis for material forms, but not yet fully accomplishing it. By adding a sustaining principle we add the element of fire. We begin to see forms developing but not yet in a stable platform. The fourth principle is that of water, the liquid state. We see further solidification here and the characteristic action of diffusion and the action of attraction and repulsion. Finally, we see the development of the fifth element called earth, the solid state, characterised by cohesion.
All forms of Matter we see in nature are developed, combined, and changed through the action of these five elements, and from these elements come the characteristic vibrations that correspond to the objects of senses and the action of the sense organs.
reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 10, Conscious Force
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