By Swami Harshananda
Jñanendriyas literally means ‘organs of knowledge’.
The base of life is the acquisition of knowledge, both temporal or spiritual. Though spiritual knowledge is essential for attaining liberation from sansāra or transmigratory existence, temporal knowledge can never be ignored. It helps us to live in this world. If properly utilized, it can be an asset for spiritual life also.
Jñāna or sensory knowledge is acquired through five sense-organs like:
- Cakṣus - organ of sight
- Śrotra - organ of hearing
- Ghrāṇa - organ of smell
- Rasanā - organ of taste
- Tvāk - organ of touch
Since the jñāna is acquired through these organs, they are termed as jñānendriyas. Hence these sensory organs are the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue and the skin. They are the evolutes of the sattva-part of the five primordial elements or tanmātras according to Vedānta. These are the subtle sensory organs located inside the physical organs.