According to various Indian schools of philosophy, tattvas (Sanskrit: तत्त्व) are the elements or aspects of reality that constitute human experience. In some traditions, they are conceived as an aspect of deity. Although the number of tattvas varies depending on the philosophical school, together they are thought to form the basis of all our experience. The Samkhya philosophy uses a system of 25 tattvas, while Shaivism recognises 36 tattvas. In Buddhism, the equivalent is the list of dhammas which constitute reality, as in Nama-rupa.
Tattva (//) is a Sanskrit word meaning 'thatness', 'principle', 'reality' or 'truth'.
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Main article: Samkhya
The Samkhya philosophy regards the Universe as consisting of two eternal realities: Purusha and Prakrti. It is therefore a strongly dualist philosophy. The Purusha is the centre of consciousness, whereas the Prakriti is the source of all material existence. The twenty-five tattva system of Samkhya concerns itself only with the tangible aspect of creation, theorizing that Prakriti is the source of the world of becoming. It is the first tattva and is seen as pure potentiality that evolves itself successively into twenty-four additional tattvas or principles.
Main article: Tattva (Shaivism)
In Shaivism the tattvas are inclusive of consciousness as well as material existence. The 36 tattvas of Shaivism are divided into three groups:
Within Puranic literatures and general Vaiśnava philosophy tattva is often used to denote certain categories or types of being or energies such as:
Main article: Pancha Tattva (Vaishnavism)
In Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy there are a total of five primary tattvas described in terms of living beings, which are collectively known as the Pancha Tattva and described as follows:
"Spiritually there are no differences between these five tattvas, for on the transcendental platform everything is absolute. Yet there are also varieties in the spiritual world, and in order to taste these spiritual varieties one should distinguish between them".
In Hindu tantrism there are five tattvas (pañcatattva) which create global energy cycles of tattvic tides beginning at dawn with Akasha and ending with Prithvi:
Each complete cycle lasts two hours. This system of five tattvas which each can be combined with another, was also adapted by the Golden Dawn (→Tattva vision).
Arthur Avalon (1918)  affirms that the five nectars of Tantra, Hindu and Buddhist traditions are directly related to the mahābhūta or Five Elements and that the pañcamakara is actually a vulgar term for the pañcatattva and affirms that this is cognate with Ganapuja:
Worship with the Pañcatattva generally takes place in a Chakra or circle composed of men and women, Sadhakas and Sadhikas, Bhairavas and Bhairavis sitting in a circle, the Shakti being on the Sadhaka's left. Hence it is called Chakrapuja. A Lord of the Chakra (Chakreshvara) presides sitting with his Shakti in the center. During the Chakra, there is no distinction of caste, but Pashus of any caste are excluded. There are various kinds of Chakra -- productive, it is said, of differing fruits for the participator therein. As amongst Tantrik Sadhakas we come across the high, the low, and mere pretenders, so the Chakras vary in their characteristics from say the Tattva-chakra for the Brahma-kaulas, and the Bhairavi-chakra (as described in Mahanirvana, VII. 153) in which, in lieu of wine, the householder fakes milk, sugar and honey (Madhura-traya), and in lieu of sexual union does meditation upon the Lotus Feet of the Divine Mother with Mantra, to Chakras the ritual of which will not be approved such as Cudachakra, Anandabhuvana-yoga and others referred to later.
"Chakrapuja" is cognate with Ganachakra or Ganachakrapuja.
Main article: Tattva (Ayyavazhi)
Tattvas are the 96 qualities or properties of human body according to Akilattirattu Ammanai, the religious book of Ayyavazhi.
Main article: Tattva (Siddha medicine)
The Siddha system of traditional medicine (Tamil: சித்த மருத்துவம், Citta maruttuvam) of ancient India was derived by Tamil Siddhas or the spiritual scientists of Tamil Nadu. According to this tradition, the human body is composed of 96 constituent principles or tattvas. Siddhas fundamental principles never differentiated man from the universe. According to them, “Nature is man and man is nature and therefore both are essentially one. Man is said to be the microcosm and the Universe is Macrocosm, because what exists in the Universe exists in man.”
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Main article: Tattva (Jainism)
Jain philosophy can be described in various ways, but the most acceptable tradition is to describe it in terms of the tattvas or fundamentals. Without knowing them one cannot progress towards liberation. According to major Jain text, Tattvarthsutra, these are:
Each one of these fundamental principles are discussed and explained by Jain scholars in depth. There are two examples that can be used to explain the above principle intuitively.
This simple scenario can be interpreted as follows:
In Buddhism the term dhamma/dharma is being used for the constitutional elements. Early Buddhist philosophy used several lists, such as namarupa and the five skandhas, to analyse reality. The Abhidhamma tradition elaborated on these lists, using over 100 terms to analyse reality.
Mahattattva (महत्तत्त्व) or simply Mahat refers to a primordial principle of the nature of both pradhāna and puruṣa, according to the 10th century Saurapurāṇa: one of the various Upapurāṇas depicting Śaivism.—[...] From the disturbed prakṛti and the puruṣa sprang up the seed of mahat, which is of the nature of both pradhāna and puruṣa. The mahattattva is then covered by the pradhāna and being so covered it differentiates itself as the sāttvika, rājasa and tāmasa-mahat. The pradhāna covers the mahat just as a seed is covered by the skin. Being so covered there spring from the three fold mahat the threefold ahaṃkāra called vaikārika, taijasa and bhūtādi or tāmasa.