22ND MARCH: WORLD WATER DAY
In ancient Indian literature comprising the Vedas, Brāhmaṇas, Upaniṣads, Purāṇas, and Smṛtis, “Water” has been treated spiritually, philosophically, cosmologically, medically, and poetically.
Water is considered the prime substance from which the universe came into being.
Water occupies the highest place amongst the five basic and essential elements of nature, called “Panchamahabhuta”.
These five “bhuta” (5 Elements of Nature) constitute the physical universe. These are:
• Akasa means ether, substratum, space
• Vayu means air
• Agni means radiation, energy, or fire
• Apa means water
• Prithivī means Earth.
Some of the “Hindu Deities” associated with “Water” are:
- Lord Varuna
Lord Varuna is one of the most important and one of the oldest Vedic deities, described at length in hymns of Rig Veda.
The word, “Varuna” means “he who covers”. Hence, he is believed to be someone who embraces the whole world.
He is the controller of streams, lakes, rivers, oceans, and other water reservoirs, so, he is also known as the “God of the Oceans.”
- Lord Ganesha’s Visarjan
10 days of the Ganesh festival, tells us that, we are on this planet for a short time.
So, enjoy each moment, get people together, share food, travel, pray and dance to the beats of nature (as we do during the 10 days of Ganesh festival).
At the end (on the tenth day of the Ganesh festival) we all have to immerse into our main source- the water, just the way we immerse Ganesha.
The water makes up 72 per cent of our body, we all will immerse and be a part of this Earth.
Ganesha is immersed in the waters where we all belong.
- Krishna’s Birth
On the night, when Krishna was just born, a bright light had filled the prison in which Vasudeva, Krishna’s father was sleeping.
Vasudeva had a dear friend named Nandraja, who was the head of the Gopa tribe.
Incidentally, Nandraja and his wife Yashoda had also given birth to a baby girl that night.
The light and the divine voice woke up Vasudeva who was fast asleep in his prison.
The light and divine voice-guided Vasudeva to take baby Krishna across the Yamuna river so that Vasudeva could save his baby from the demon king Kamsa.
Vasudeva carried his baby (Krishna) across the raging Yamuna river secretly.
Just then Lord Vishnu’s giant multi-headed snake, named: “Shesh Nag”, came and helped Vasudeva carry Krishna safely across the river.
Vasudeva went to Nandraja’s house and had to exchange the babies.
Krishna’s birth is associated with River Yamuna.
- Shiva’s head: The Ganges
Shiva’s head is adorned with the Ganges. The source of the holy waters.
The Ganges is a sacred river and so is worshipped as a Devi / Goddess.
Bathing in the river Ganga particularly at the time of the “Kumbh Mela” is believed to wash one’s sins away and impart salvation.
It is also believed and followed that the cremation process with the help of the Ganga water sends the soul of the deceased to heaven.
Many believers store the water of the Ganges in small bottles and copper pots when they make the pilgrimage to Varanasi. This stored holy water is later used in various rituals throughout the year.
Shiva, the Supreme Soul, cures the deceased soul by the Ganga.
Hydro Therapy or Water Therapy
“Hydrotherapy” or “Water Therapy”, involves therapy using water as the medicine.
The largest festival on earth is the “Kumbha Mela”. It is held on the banks of the River Ganga. This shows the significance of water.
Many religions believe that water can wash away all their sins. Water when used in different methods or ways has the power to cure diseases.
As per Hindu mythology:
• Water was also used for “shrap” or giving curses.
• Water converts into atomic weapons with the incantation of mantras.
• Water is used to make things consecrated – giving land donations to Brahmins or giving a girl to a boy in a wedding ceremony, it is always done with water.
• Musicians were/are asked to learn music standing in neck-deep water to get good command over their voice.
• Mentally sick patients are advised to bathe under the waterfalls. The water pressure of the waterfalls increases blood circulation in the human body.
• Medicinal herbs are aquatic plants that grow in mineral-rich waters. These herbs are used as and in medicines to obtain good health.
• Water is also a “Prasad” which is given to devotees at the end of each Puja.
- Water is at the start, centre and end of human life.
- The nature of water is well described in the following verse from the Rig Veda:
Yaapo divya utava sravanti Khanitrima utava Ya Swayam Jaa |
Samudraartha Ya Soochayapaavakaasta aapo devi iha Maamvantu ||
The above verse can be roughly translated to:
“The waters which started from the heavens,
and the water which flows after the land is dug,
and even the water that erupts by itself,
and the bright pure water which flow to the sea,
may all these pure divine waters protect me.”