The tatwas are the five modifications of the great Breath. Acting upon prakriti, this Great breath throws it into five states, having distinct vibratory motions, and performing different functions. The first outcome of the Evolutionary State of parabrahma is the akasa tatwa. After this come in order the vayu, the taijas, the apas and the prithivi. They are variously known as mahabhutas. The word akasa is generally translated into English by the word ether. Unfortunately, however, sound is not known to be the distinguishing quality of ether in modern English Science. Some few might also have the idea that the modern medium of light is the same as akasa. This, I believe, is a mistake. The luminiferous ether is the subtle taijas tatwa, and not the akasa. All the five subtle tatwas might no doubt be called ethers, but to use it for the word akasa, without any distinguishing epithet, is misleading. We might call akasa the sonoriferous ether, the vayu the tangiferous ether, apas the gustiferous ether, and prithivi the odoriferous ether. Just as there exists in the universe the luminiferous ether, an element of refined mater without which it has been found that the phenomena of light find no adequate explanation, so do there exist the four remaining ethers, elements of refined matter, without which it will be found that the phenomena of sound, touch, taste and smell find no adequate explanation.
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