By Swami Harshananda
Indriya-s literally means ‘sense-organs’. They enable a human being to acquire knowledge from the external world and to react to it. They are generally grouped into two categories:
- The Jñānendriya - organs of knowledge
- The Karmendriya- organs of action
Since both the types of indriya-s have five sub categories, they are also called ‘pañcajñānendriya-s’ and ‘pañcakarmendriya-s’. Even the mind is considered as an indriya and termed as ‘antahkaraṇa’ or the inner organ.
Categories of Jñānendriya
The five jñānendriya are:
- Śrotra - ear
- Tvag - skin
- Cakṣus - eye
- Jihvā or rasanā - tongue
- Ghrāṇa - nose
The Jñānendriya-s are produced from the sattva part of the tanmātras or suksmabhutas or subtle elements.
Categories of Karmendriya
The five karmendriyas are:
- Vāk - speech
- Pāṇi - hands
- Pāda - feet
- Pāyu - organs of evacuation
- Upastha - organs of procreation
The Karmendriya-s are produced from the rajas part of tanmātras or suksmabhutas or subtle elements.
- Pañca means five.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore