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Title: Panchamakara  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Vaishnava-Sahajiya, Worship in Hinduism, Maithuna, Biruda, Vamachara
Collection: Tantric Practices
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Panchamakara, also known as the Five Ms, is a Tantric term referring to the five substances used in a Tantric practice.

Taboo-breaking elements are only practiced literally by "left-hand path" tantrics (vāmācārins), whereas "right-hand path" tantrics (dakṣiṇācārins) oppose these.(Rawson, 1978).


  • Interpretations of the Panchamakaras 1
    • Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe) 1.1
    • Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar 1.2
    • Dakṣiṇācāra 1.3
  • See also 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4

Interpretations of the Panchamakaras

Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe)

In the introduction of his translation of the Mahanirvana Tantra, Sir John Woodroffe, under the pseudonym Arthur Avalon, describes the Panchamakara thus.

There are, as already stated, three classes of men: Pashu, Vira and Divya. The operation of the Guna which produce these types affect, on the gross material plane, the animal tendencies; manifesting in the three chief physical functions: eating and drinking, whereby the Annamayakosha is maintained; and sexual intercourse, by which it is reproduced. These functions are the subject of the Panchatattva or Panchamakara ("five Ms"), as they are vulgarly called--viz.: Madya (wine), Mangsa (meat), Matsya (fish), Mudra (parched grain), and Maithuna . In ordinary parlance, Mudra means ritual gestures or positions of the body in worship and Hatha Yoga but as one of the five elements it is parched cereal and is defined as 'Bhrishta-danya dikang yadyad chavya-niyam prachaks-hate, sa mudra kathita devi sarvves-hang naganam-dini'. The Tantras speak of the five elements as Panchatattva, Kuladravya, Kulatattva and certain of the elements have esoteric names, such as Karanavari or Tirtha-vari, for wine, the fifth element being usually called Lata-sadhana (Sadhana with woman or Shakti). The five elements, moreover have various meanings, according as they form part of the Tamasika (Pashvachara), Rajasika (Virachara) or Divya or Sattvika sadhanas respectively.

Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar

According to the spiritual leader Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar[1] the five M's have dual meanings.

  • Madya - wine, allegorically the divine nectar amrita.
  • Mamsa - meat, allegorically control of speech.
  • Matsya - fish, allegorically the ida and pingala nadi, which are controlled through pranayama.
  • Mudra - gesture, allegorically spiritual company (satsang) and avoiding negative company.
  • Maithuna -Abstain from sex


The Panchamakaras have deep Esoteric meanings in the Dakshinachara or Right-handed path of Tantra.

  • Madya means the heavenly Amrit that drips from the glands in brain onto the tip of tongue when it touches the interiors in Khechari Mudra.
  • Mamsa means swallowing the tongue (eating meat). It symbolizes the Khechari Mudra in which the tongue is swallowed back simulating eating meat.
  • Matsya (twin fish) is the activation of Ida and Pingala Nadis in the backbone. They are like 8-shaped structure intertwining like two fish.
  • Mudra is the different gestures the hands and body take when the Kundalini is activated and pass up through the central channel.
  • Maithuna

See also


  1. ^ Anandamurti (1985) and Anandamurti (1993)


  • Anandamurti, Shrii Shrii (1993). Discourses on Tantra. Ananda Marga.
  • Anandamurti, Shrii Shrii (1985). Namah Shiváya Shántáya. Ananda Press.
  • Avalon, Arthur (Sir John Woodroffe). Mahanirvana Tantra. online text
  • Rawson, Philip (1978). The Art of Tantra. Thames & Hudson Ltd.
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