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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

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:

  1. The Jñānendriya - organs of knowledge
  2. 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’.[1] Even the mind is considered as an indriya and termed as ‘antahkaraṇa’ or the inner organ.

Categories of Jñānendriya[edit]

The five jñānendriya are:

  1. Śrotra - ear
  2. Tvag - skin
  3. Cakṣus - eye
  4. Jihvā or rasanā - tongue
  5. Ghrāṇa - nose

The Jñānendriya-s are produced from the sattva part of the tanmātras or suksmabhutas or subtle elements.

Categories of Karmendriya[edit]

The five karmendriyas are:

  1. Vāk - speech
  2. Pāṇi - hands
  3. Pāda - feet
  4. Pāyu - organs of evacuation
  5. Upastha - organs of procreation

The Karmendriya-s are produced from the rajas part of tanmātras or suksmabhutas or subtle elements.


  1. Pañca means five.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore