3 Mar 2012 - QA 7

Gurdev, are all the five elements equal, or is the space element superior to the other elements?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

Yes, among the five elements, the space element is a little different.
Space is just a witness – like the soul.
All other four elements exist within the space element. There is no Earth, Water, Air or Fire without Space. The basis of these four elements is the space element and the space element does not oppose any of these four elements.
If you see, there is a deep relationship between water and fire and they are also opposing in nature. Water puts out fire and fire converts water into vapour; fire dries up all the water.
Similarly, air fuels fire and air can also put out a fire.
If you look at it from this angle then you will find that the five elements are opposing in nature and they also complement each other.  One cannot exist without the other.
That is why the five elements are grouped together and called Prapanch.
So the space element which is the witness of the other four elements is untouched and unaffected. It is a witness. That is why the space element is synonymous of the soul.
Similarly, in human beings, mind, intellect, memory and ego; these four are present and the soul is a witness to all these.
These four are present in the soul and they function based on their nature. Sometimes there are disturbances in the mind and sometimes the mind and intellect get into conflict. Sometimes the memory and ego play games, but the soul is just a witness to all these.