Panchamakara, also known as the Five Ms, is a Tantric term referring to the five substances used in a Tantric puja or sadhana:
The Hindu taboo-breaking elements are only practiced literally by left-hand-path (Vamachara) tantrics, whereas right-hand-path (dakshinachara) tantrics practice these in symbolic form only (Rawson, 1978).
In the introduction of his translation of the Mahanirvana Tantra, Sir John Woodroffe, under the pseudonym Arthur Avalon, describes the Panchamakara thus.
There are, as already stated, three classes of men: Pashu, Vira, and Divya. The operation of the guna which produce these types affect, on the gross material plane, the animal tendencies, manifesting in the three chief physical functions: eating and drinking, whereby the annamayakosha is maintained; and sexual intercourse, by which it is reproduced. These functions are the subject of the panchatattva or panchamakara ("five Ms"), as they are vulgarly called--viz.: madya (wine), mangsa (meat), matsya (fish), mudra (parched grain), and maithuna (coition). In ordinary parlance, mudra means ritual gestures or positions of the body in worship and hathayoga, but as one of the five elements it is parched cereal, and is defined as Bhrishtadanyadikang yadyad chavyaniyam prachakshate, sa mudra kathita devi sarvveshang naganam-dini. The Tantras speak of the five elements as pancha-tattva, kuladravya, kulatattva, and certain of the elements have esoteric names, such as Karanavari or tirtha-vari, for wine, the fifth element being usually called lata-sadhana (sadhana with woman, or shakti). The five elements, moreover have various meanings, according as they form part of the tamasika (pashvachara), rajasika (virachara), or divya or sattvika sadhanas respectively.
According to the spiritual master Shrii Shrii Anandamurti the five M's have dual meanings.
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