By Swami Harshananda
Karmendriyas literally means ‘organs of action’.
Every human being is endowed with eleven indriyas or sense-organs. These organs are five jñānendriyas, five karmendriyas and a mind.
The five karmendriyas or organs of action are:
- Vāk - speech
- Pāṇi - hands
- Pāda - feet
- Pāyu - excretory organ
- Upastha - organ of reproduction
These have been called ‘karmendriyas’ because they are the indriyas or sense organs responsible for karma or action.
Root of Karmendriyas
Karmendriyas are the products of the rajas aspect of the five tanmātras as follows:
- Ākāśa or ether or space gives rise to vāk.
- Vāyu or air gives rise to pāṇi.
- Agni or fire gives rise to pāda.
- Āpas or water gives rise to pāyu.
- Pṛthvī or earth gives rise to upastha.
- Tanmātras are the subtle elements.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore