Question: Could you explain what you mean when you say that the physical sheath is made of earth, air, fire, water and ether?Sri Chinmoy: When a house is built, we need bricks, sand, wood, cement and many other things. Similarly, according to God’s plan the physical body is composed of five elements. In Sanskrit we call them kshiti, maruth, tej, av, vyom. In English you say earth, air, fire, water, ether. This is how God’s plan works. In the near or distant future, if God ever wills to change His plan, then the physical sheath can easily be composed of other principles. But right now He uses these five earthly elements to form the gross physical sheath. If God changes His plan, then perhaps we will not have this physical body with its constant problems.
Sri Chinmoy, AUM — Vol.II-4, No. 4, 27 April 1977, Vishma Press, 1977