How many senses does a human have? Many would readily come with an answer, SIX. This was really an interesting question and I went in search if some more could be found. Then I hit with something quite interesting and intriguing too! As usual, Thirumoolar had the answer to this interesting question and I was really amazed at his classification and the visualisation of the senses, which he did thousands of years back. Well, let us not prolong the suspense anymore. Thirumoolar in his masterpiece Thirumandhiram states that humans have 10 senses, yes T…E…N, ten senses. His classification is quite awesome and true indeed, that we would agree that his classification of senses is rather true. Well the song goes like this

“Uttrarivu Aindhum Unarndha Arivu Aaru Yaezhum
Katrarivu Yettum Kalandha Arivu Onbadhum
Patriya Paththum Palavagai Naazhigai
Attradhu Ariyaadhu Azhigindra Vaarae”

meaning, The five senses, Sight, Hearing, Touch, Taste and Smell are the inherent ones. The sixth and the seventh senses are those that are realised – Common sense and the sense that we get out of Experimenting. The eighth sense is the one that we get out of our Experience. The ninth sense is the one that we get out of our Public Relations. And the tenth one being the realisation of the Supreme Being. Getting all these ten senses will take a long time, but normal people perish without realising and acquiring these senses

Uttra – Inherent
Arivu – Sense
Unarndha – Realised
Aaru – Six
Yaezhu – Seven
Katra – Learnt, Experienced
Kalandha – Mixed, Relating
Onbadhu – Nine
Patriya – Grasping the hold (of the Supreme Being)
Paththu – Ten
Palavagai – Lots of types (in this context, lots of amount of time)
Naazhigai – in a general sense, time. Otherwise it refers to a unit of time that is equal to 24 mins. 60 Naazhigai’s make one day
Attradhu – Word that refers to the above senses
Ariyaadhu – Without knowing or realising
Azhigindra – Perish, get destroyed
Vaarae – Hence

To think beyond the usual classification of six senses, requires some great thought. Though we might contain the others senses as being a part of common sense. However, the way Thirumoolar perceives is that they are distinct on their own, that those senses deserve to be separate on their own. Lets take the case one by one. We will consider the senses that have been listed after common sense, that is 7 to 10.

Sense got by experimenting, unless you have put your fingers in a candle flame you would not have the sense of how fire is. Or even take the case of an electric shock, you would not have known until you have experimented with those by yourselves.

Sense got by experience, I guess this does not require much of an explanation. Experienced people in any field can do things more or less instinctively than the new ones, so we can classify it as a separate sense. For eg, driving, after a point in time, you do that instinctively as you have more experience in driving and the rest is history.

Sense got by mixing with people, Public relations. In day to day life you need to mix with a lot of people, so you are able to judge people, work with them, etc in your daily routine. So that knowledge serves to be what is know as Public Relations, Customer Relationship, etc.

The tenth sense is a bit complex to explain, rather many people have tried to explain and have not been able to explain it more clearly. It is realising the Supreme Being, God. You cannot explain verbally about it. You have to experience it yourself. In simple terms, all objects that exist in the world are manifestations of the basic form – matter. Their shape and composition varies, but the matter inside it is the same. And so is the Universal Being. Realising God, takes a few more steps that people need to put in their effort. Until then they have not opened that sense.

And as Thirumoolar rightly says, most people perish even before they realise that these senses are there and can be attained. And a man is complete only if he has all these 10 senses. We need to think, how many of these senses we have acquired so far and what we need to do to acquire the others too.

More to come, until then…