Close

Multidimensional Attributes of Water: Perspectives from Purāṇa-s


Introduction:

In this creation, everything is classified to be made up of a combination of the five elements (mahābhūtas) in different ratios and proportions.  Among these, water is given primary importance.   We also know that without water no one can survive on this earth.    India is a spiritual country with a diversified culture where water is considered as holy and believed that it has the power of liberating the soul.

The Vedas consider the natural resources as Gods.  They are worshipped for their grace.  This thought is carried forward during the time of Purāṇas.  All the natural resources are always respected and worshipped as they make life on the earth.  Water arrives on the earth in the form of a rain and river.  It is divine as it arrives from the celestial level.  Water has got many facets like purity, divinity, associated with healing power, quenching the thirst of the smallest to the huge creature on the earth etc.  In some Purāṇa-s water is treated equal to a Mother, in other Purāṇa-s is respected as a Goddess.  In some places is described as a healer, in some other places is portrayed as a remover of sin.  In this research paper an attempt is made to throw light on the multidimensional properties (attributes) of water as depicted in the Purāṇa-s.

Water Deities

Since the olden days the natural resources are considered as gods and were worshipped for their blessings and favourable natural environment for the growth and benefit of the society.  Looking back in the Vedic literature, it is seen that the ṚV attributes several Deities to water.  Āpaḥ, which is addressed in several Sūktas, is the God of waters.  Indra, Varuṇa and Parjanya are also directly or indirectly related to water in the texts.

Parjanya:
Parjanya represents water in the form of rain, which sustains life on the earth.  The deity Parjanya is a supreme god of rain which generously showers on the earth by which the plants fertile, germination takes place and plants shoot up and food springs abundantly for all the living beings.   With the rain and the heat of the sun, the earth is softened and delighted with the moisture by which she is blessed to benefit the entire world.  ‘पर्जन्यं शतवृष्ण्यम्’- rainwater is hundred times powerful than the other waters.

Different types of rainwater harvesting are prevailing since long for the supply of water throughout the year. India being an agricultural country, rain is the most important source of the supply of water since ancient times and the cultivation depends on the yearly rain at regional level.  There have been developments for the storage of our water resources since ages.

Indra:
Indra is very much related to the release water to the earth as rain.  He is a personification of thunder which destroys the darkness name Vṛtra.  He is the chief agent of the act of destroying Vṛtra and the consequent release of “waters” and “cows”.  Killing of Vṛtra and the liberation of Āpaḥ and go are the chief achievements of Indra a warrior god.

Sarasvatī:
The Sarasvatī is described as mahā arnaḥ (great ocean), closely related to āpaḥ in the famous hymn of the first mandala of the Rgveda (1.164) and is characterised as apasām āpaḥ tamā, or best among waters.

In Rgveda the term āpaḥ, arṇaḥ, sindhu and nadī are closely related to Sarasvatī, the deity of divine speech and wisdom.  The term Sarasvatī means both a river and divine speech.  She is a personified deity.  The relationship between waters and speech- which is clearly indicated in various hymns of Rgveda– the speech has the characteristic to flow and water also has the characteristic to flow.  Thus characteristic of water and speech is to flow.

Varuna:
Associated with oceans and waters, aquatic animals.  He sends celestial water on the earth in the form of rain.

The Creation, dissolution, and the water:

It is described in the Nāsadīya Sūkta as “तम आसीत्तमसा गूळ्हमग्रे प्रकेतं सलिलं सर्वमा इदम्” – unillumined cosmic water was lying everywhere.  According to the Vāyu Purana, there is the ongoing process of creation and dissolution.  When creation takes place, there is a dissolution of all that happened before.  This dissolution has a long process.  At the end everything is merged in the water, Brahmā puts an end to his creation. Everything is absorbed in himself.  There is water everywhere.

The Veda mentions the hiraṇyagarbha, the golden egg which is the source of the creation of the universe.  The theory of seven sheaths protecting the Cosmic Egg is a popular Purāṇic concept.  This Purāṇic concept shows the influence of Sāṅkhya theory of cosmic evolution, where the creation happens with the help of the Prakṛti and Puruṣa, with the disequilibrium of the tamas and rajas among the three guṇas.  When these two guṇas happen to be into an equilibrium state, the dissolution happens.

Agni P describes that the creation of universe, is the sport of Viṣṇu.  Brahmā the unmanifest, is the existent being, becomes desirous of creating different things, he creates the water first.  The waters are referred to as nārāḥ because they are the creation of the Supreme spirit.  Since his motion was first in them, he is known as Nārāyaṇa.

In the Visnudharmottara-Purana it is said that, after creating this world or the Creation, he (Nārāyaṇa) plunged Himself into the ocean on the śeṣa-nāga and slept there.  He with goddess Laxmi protects all this creation, keeps a watch on all activities, and at the end time he becomes “Hara” and destroys creation.

According to Garuda Purana,

  • The earth is situated like a boat floating on water.
  • There are seven islands. Each of these islands is surrounded by seven oceans.
  • The ocean is twice the island in area it encircles.

The incarnation of lord Viṣṇu is related to aquatic animals, like boar, fish, tortoise.  According to the Śathpatha Brāhmaṇa, Viṣṇu’s incarnation as fish symbolizes the origin of the life in water.

In the Vāmana avatāra, Viṣṇu incarnated himself as a dwarf.  In his three giant strides, he spanned the earth and heaven.  Gaṅgā originated from the feet of lord Viṣṇu.  Brahmā washed Viṣṇu’s foot, then this water transformed into the celestial Gaṅgā (ākāśgaṅgā). According to Nārada Purāṇa the water is known asसर्वतीर्थोदक’।

The celestial water:

The water transformed into the celestial Gaṅgā (ākāśgaṅgā), the epics and Purāṇas mention the source of the celestial water as the Viṣṇupada.  Since this water flows as if from the Viṣṇu’s foot, it is the purest water.  This sacred water is the celestial river, the water is sweet and transparent, spread in the sky, resorted to, by many luminary bodies, with thousands of stars.  The uncountable stars of the milky way, which are seen very close to each other and which glitter brightly at night are nothing but the goddess Gaṅgā.  Her flow covers the firmament for sixty thousand yojanas, by the fiery wind its water currents are split in different directions.  This glorious river falls on the peaks of the Meru.  Having flowed through the sky and heaven, the goddess arrives on the earth.  Her waters then split into different branches, after flowing through thousands of mountains this pure water irrigates different places and finally, it flows into the oceans.

All waters of these rivers are sacred, and these rivers are the mothers of the world and are declared as removers of the sins of the world.  Any river water is always considered as holy and respected by everyone.  Vāyu P further says the Moon, Venus, Mars, Bṛhaspati, Saturn are full of water.

Divinity of Water

Water is present in all living beings in the form of liquid in some proportion.  Hence, we give due respect to all living beings. Also, any kind of water bodies like rivers, streams, lakes are considered pure and divine.  Therefore it is said that we should give due respect to these water bodies by not bathing into it in a naked form.

In the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, in the cīra-haraṇa episode, Śrī Kṛṣṇa advises Gopīs to not to take a naked bath in the river as the divinities residing in the water are disregarded.  With the similar note, one should not evacuate bowl in any water bodies, should not pass urine in waters, shall not spit in waters, should not perform head-bath.

Water, River, Divinity

Water in the form of rivers is the life force of all living beings on the earth.  It is holy, divine and pure.  Ṛgveda (ṚV) says ‘आपो अस्मान्मातरः’।  Also the Yajurveda (YV) says ‘आपो अस्मान्मातरः शुन्धन्तु’- As water purifies from all impurities it is considered as Mother.  Water originated in the celestial region and when it arrived on the earth, it poured on the mountain heights first and the flowing water formed rivers.

According to Anne Feldhaus in Water and Womanhood, Rivers are feminine and have gotten extraordinary importance in the Indian culture, except certain rivers like Brahmaputra and Indus- which are not feminine.

These rivers are connected to the great gods, Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva.  The water originated from the feet of Viṣṇu and turns into a river that falls on the earth and one part of it is called as Gaṅgā.    The civilizations developed on the banks of the rivers.  The rivers that flow from different regions, nourish nature and serve mankind.  The presence of the river allows the growth of vegetation and settlements.  Living beings get food and shelter and all kinds of support to live their lives.

The Indus river has unique importance in the history of India.  On the bank of this river the Indus valley civilization took birth.  Our country obtained the name India from this river only.

Sage Kapil in Siddhpur, Sage Bhrugu on the bank of Narmadā river and Sage Mārkaṅḍa on Tāpī river developed their hermitages. This shows that the rivers have spiritual importance and are considered holy places.

Due to such divinities attached to the rivers, people worship rivers, consider them as auspicious, as goddesses, doing certain rituals on her banks to obtain boons, salvation, removal of sins etc, and do offerings of food, charity in return as rivers give life and growth.  There are many stories that appear in the epics and Puranas for different rivers and their divinities where goddesses and apsaras from heaven become rivers on the earth as a part of their service to mankind.

Gaṅgā:

The most important river Gaṅgā appears on the earth to remove sins.  She is the river flowing in heaven, on earth and in the netherworld.  She originates from the foot of Viṣṇu, falling off the head of Śiva, touching the earth on top of the highest mountains, Mount Meru, and then generously splitting into four channels that flow in four directions, watering the whole earth with streams of blessing.

The Mahābhārata (3.85.88-97) describes the Gaṅgā as the savior of life.  Because of her grace, compassion and motherly bliss, the Gaṅgā descended from heaven to earth, carrying with her the blessings of renewal to the weary and life to the dead.  It was the Bhagīratha who brought the Gaṅgā from the heaven to the earth.

Gaṅgā Mahātmya in Vana Parva describes the greatness of Gaṅgā.  The Femininity of the Gaṅgā is seen as she is personified. In the Mahābhārata, she is a wife of Śāntanu and a mother of great heroic warrior Bhīṣma.  When Bhīṣma is mortally wounded in battle, she appears out of the water in human form and weeps uncontrollably over his body. She also carries a seed in her womb of Kārtikeya.  

Śiva is depicted as Gaṅgādhara, the “Bearer of Gaṅgā”, with Gaṅgā, shown as spout of water, rising from his hair.

Purāṇas give information on various aspects about the Gaṅgā, its descent, its source, various currents/streams of the river Gaṅgā, geographical details, various names of the Gaṅgā (Jahnvī, Bhagirathī, Nandinī, Nalinī, Dakṣa, Pṛthvī, Vihagā, Amṛta, Śiva etc), tributaries of the Gaṅgā, etc.

Most of the Purāṇas deal with one or the particular aspect or aspects about the Gaṅgā. Skanda, Padma, Vāyu, Varāha, Matsya Purāṇas etc. give detailed information and the importance of the Gaṅgā from various viewpoints.

In the Nārada Purāṇa the word “tīrtha” is described, and its importance can be seen.  It is a religious place which is associated with some God, Goddess, sage, saint, holy rivers (Gaṅgā, Yamunā, Narmadā etc), lakes (Bindusāra, Nārāyaṇsāra etc.).  It is believed that tīrtha is the road for crossing the worldly ocean.  At the tīrtha, devotees take a bath, perform religious ceremonies, make charities, resort to Sat-sung, listen to religious discourses etc.  resorted to by sages and gods. Gaṅgā liberates men on the earth, Nagas in the pātāla, gods in the heaven, hence she is called त्रिपथगा.

Like Gaṅgā, every nearby river becomes mother to all as the regional growth depends on her.  Many stories related to rivers are known that describe the femininity and holiness of the rivers.  Lot of rituals are being performed and the blessings are taken from such rivers.  Gaṅgā Māhātmya, Godāvarī Māhātmya, Narmadā Māhātmya, many rivers describe their uniqueness and the divinity, rituals attached to it.

Some rivers are considered to be married and according to that rituals are performed in her worship like oṭī bharaṇaṁ with coconut, blouse cloth, haldiKuṁkuṁ with grains of rice or wheat which is done to suhāsinī, spreading saree at the banks of the river and many more.  Since rivers are the reservoirs of water and during the rainy seasons with a lot of rain they flood and destructions happen.  During the severe summer the drought takes place.  The supply of the flowing water is diminished and people and nature face this difficulty.

People, by worshipping her, take her blessings and request her to stay calm and supply water throughout and take care of them like a mother to her own children.  Ascetics stay at the bank of rivers and perform penance and daily rituals for the welfare of society.  Also, people visit and make offerings at the river banks and temples for good health, long life, for marriage, children, wealth, success, progress etc.

Kuṁbha Melā on the river Gaṅgā and Narmadā parikramā are some very famous Hindu rituals that are carried out by a large number of people from a long time.  Spreading a saree to both the sides of the river Narmadā is prevalent even now.

The rituals are performed at the banks of the rivers for the ancestors such as srāddha, piṇḍadāna, tarpaṇa.  Different rivers are famous for such rituals like Gaṅgā, Narmadā, Godāvarī, the confluence or saṅgam of different renowned rivers.  Tarpaṇa can also be performed for different gods and sages in the waters of the rivers.

But when we look at the river Gaṅgā and her uniqueness, she has become more prominent since the epics and the Purāṇas.  Her divinity and purity come from the celestial level and after arriving on the earth.  Her purpose is to wash away our sins and to liberate all living beings who ever come under her shelter as she is associated with liberation and death and their journey further.  One of the etymologies says ‘गमयति भगवत्पदमिति गङ्गा’ – she takes the one who bathes in her water to Bhagavat.  Further it says, ‘गम्यते प्राप्यते मोक्षार्थिभिरिति गङ्गा’ – the one desiring liberation will goes to Ganga.  She is the goddess who removes all sins and bestows prosperity to the world.  She is the refuge of all created beings who aspire for a good journey after their life on earth.

According to Gaṅgāvataraṇa the motive of the descent of the river Gaṅgā on the earth was to purify 60000 Sagarids.  Then she continues this activity which later turned into a beginning of pilgrimage or tīrthayātrā and the final liberation of the dead in the waters of the Gaṅgā began.

There is a close connection of the descent of this river Gaṅgā and the rites of the dead.  Even today, it is seen that the dead are brought to the banks of the river Gaṅgā for cremation and their ashes are cast into its waters.  Thousands of people visit the river Gaṅgā and purify themselves by bathing in its waters and it is believed that the dead attain salvation.  The Indian philosophy believes in the attainment of mokṣa after death and pursuing the joys of the heavenly world.  Also, the journey of the births and deaths of the soul continues till it achieves the state of liberation.

This way water in the form of the river Gaṅgā helps the soul to reach the heaven.  She connects the mortal and immortal world.  Many other rivers are also important.  It is said that just by having a glance at the river Narmadā sins get washed off.  Puranas also describe the development of other rivers like Sindhu, Kāverī, Narmadā, Godavarī, Yamunā, Gaṅḍakī and many more.

Gaṅgā and the Diseased 

This way there is a close connection between the dead and the death rites and the river Gaṅgā.  According to the Vāyu Purāṇa, this river comes from the moon.  The other Purāṇas consider her source in the crown of heaven or Viṣṇupada as seen earlier.  Arising from here, she flows on the moon before falling on Mount Meru.

But the Kauṣītakī Upaniṣad mentions that the sphere of the moon is the world of the manes where they repose.  Since the river Gaṅgā flows through the world of fathers, the dead on the earth can reach this abode on the moon through the support of her waters.  Kauṣītakī Upaniṣad further says those who all quit this world go to the moon.  We see the moon’s waxing and the waning, which is related to the arrivals of the dead and the departures of the souls to the earth as their new incarnation.  It swells as the dead souls arrive at the moon and wanes when souls are released for their new incarnation on the earth.  The gods drink the nectar (amṛta) of the moon also, they set aside nectar for the fathers.

Several Purāṇas indicate that the dead travel to the moon either through the pitṛyāna or devayāna.  The moon is led (drunk) in accordance with their desire by Devas and Pitṛs.  The deities nourish when they have finally drunk all and depart when one-sixteenth of the moon with a thin crescent remains and the fathers are then permitted to partake that one-sixteenth which is leftover and satiate themselves for a month.

By entering into the waters of the moon, the fathers further derive into the path of reincarnation (pitṛyāna).  When these waters of the moon fall on the earth in the form of rains, they get entry as a life force in the plants and animals.  These plants and animals become a path to enter into mankind in the form of food.  This way the life force of the dead soul enters into humans and takes a new birth from that nourished sperm of the human body.  The souls who travel through the devayāna reach the moon but do not remain there.  They further head towards the Sun and ultimately reach the Absolute, the world of Brahmā as they are the liberated souls.  Thus, both the paths leading through the moon explain how intimately the dead are associated with the moon.

Since the Gaṅgā is the water of the moon, it becomes clear according to Gaṅgāvataraṇa, why only lord Śiva can hold her on his head to break her ferocious force.  It also explains why he held her on his head.  Śiva bears the moon on his head which is a slender crescent moon and not a full or a half-moon.

Water as a Healer

The Śiva Liṅga in the temple has a water dripping from a kalaṣa symbolizes the cooling effect of water.  The dripping water reduces the heat in his body and soothe his pain as he has drunk the halāhala poison that came out from the pot at the time of amṛta maṅthana.

There are a lot of water healing therapies that are prevailing and becoming more and more famous day by day which cool down the mind and concentration is improved.  The mental stress is relieved.  Whenever there is any muscle damage in the body the cold and hot water therapy is very common in every house.  It is believed that delivering a baby inside water is very good for the baby’s health.  Water is a requirement to stay alive.  Consuming warm water in the morning and throughout the day can detoxify the body and boost energy levels.

Sitting in a warm bath, in a mineral spring, relaxing in a thermal pool or going to a health spa or sauna bath are some of the latest and easily available water therapies in cities whereas it is always soothing, pleasing and refreshing just to sit near a stream or river.  Water bodies have that healing power.  A lot of rituals came into existence to get the blessings and healings from the water bodies.  Consuming flowing water, drinking of water stored in mud pot and metals like silver, copper are very commonly followed.

Benefits of water therapy:

  • Improves digestion
  • Improves stress, tension, muscle pain
  • Improves physical fitness
  • Hot water therapy is used for nasal congestion, improves respiratory system
  • Calms the nervous system and boosts immunity

Water as a purifier

Due to the development, increased population, a diversified culture and a behaviour of a common man and a society at large, the water purity is a dealing problem nowadays.  Still it is believed that the water has a tendency to remain pure for a longer time in a natural environment unless it is polluted deliberately.  Since ages it is believed that flowing water is always pure.  The stored water can be used for a longer period.  Since ancient period the system of throwing a copper, metal coin in the water, well, lakes, rivers, was to destroy the bacteria and virus but today people throw it because others have thrown it without trying to understand the reason behind it and also throw unnecessary things into it which tend to harm the purity of the water.

Modern methods of purifications

In a modern world the water is purified with different processes, using water purifier for drinking water which is very common in every house, earlier soft cotton cloth material was  used for a simple filtration of water, the water can be purified with certain chemicals like iodin, bleach, pine tree is considered best to remove bacteria and viruses from the water, cilantro is excellent in removing the heavy metals (lead and nickel) from water, boiling of water is very commonly followed for obtaining a pure water which helps to kill bacteria, viruses and parasites from the water, the contaminated water can be stored for certain hours and the heavier particles settle down at the bottom and the upper layer of water can be re-filtered and used.

Groundwater extraction is very common nowadays and people extract groundwater for various purposes for personal as well as at large level usage, this water can be considered the water of the sacred river Sarasvatī.

The purification rites are performed after a certain ritual, like attending a funeral, touching a corpse, also, women take head baths after their menstrual cycles.

The bath is performed daily in the morning before performing the daily rituals at home.  Water is sprinkled to purify a place- be it a home, an office, a factory- periodically to drive away negativity and make the area pure.  Sprinkling of water is connected to the giving of a boon and even to the giving of a curse.  It is also seen that a drop of Gaṅgā water is put in the mouth of a dying person or after the death.

New light on old-Stories

  • The episode of amṛtamaṅthana describes the value of life and death is possible from water only.  The amrita and the poison both came out, if we use water in the right way, it will behave like amrita and if we abuse water, the very same water can become halāhala, or the deathly poison.
  • Ganga river has the power to liberate souls, we come to know this from the episode of the eight Vasus- to liberate them, the river gave birth to those souls and left them in her water to liberate them from the cycle of life and death.
  • In the story of Kāliya mardana in river Yamunā, people had taken steps to purify the river water, and removed the dangerous Kaliya nāga who was polluting the water.  This can be related to the way people dump unnecessary things into rivers like plastics, tins, bottles, even dead bodies, thus polluting the river water. This makes it unfit for consumption. Such things act as kali nāga and should be removed from the water to maintain its purity and divinity, this awareness should be generated.
  • The gopīs episode of cīra haraṇa mentioned above teaches us that rivers are equal to god, we shouldn’t abuse the water.

Water, Rivers and the Gods

Water and rivers are associated with gods. Her divinity is to be appreciated in a way to care for nature and natural resources and to protect it.

In the post-Vedic times, Viṣṇu is considered as the divine deity by whom the cosmogonic act of letting waters flow took place. In the Vāmana avatāra, Viṣṇu incarnated himself as a dwarf.

In his three giant strides, he spanned the earth and heaven.  Viṣṇu’s strides were responsible for the creation of the Gaṅgā, upon the contact with his foot, the water of the Kamaṅdalu of Brahmā.  Brahmā washed Viṣṇu’s foot then this water transformed into celestial Gaṅgā (ākāśgaṅgā).  After travelling in the heaven, she splits herself into various tributaries on the Mount Meru and fell on the earth as Gaṅgā.

In the Vāyu Purāṇa it is said, a devotee should perform his ablution at the place where the Prabhāsa mountain meets the great river.  Rāma had his bath here in the company of the gentle lady Sītā.  Hence this is remembered as ‘Rāmatīrtha’.  Here Rāma was requested by the great river to take bath in her waters.  Since then, it has become well known in the three worlds as ‘Rāmatīrtha’.

It is said in the Vāyu Purāṇa that the ferocious flow of the river Gaṅgā was seen by lord Śiva, He held her with his Yogic Māyā power by understanding her plan of sweeping away god Śiva.  Having come to know her intention, lord Śiva kept her in his matted locks and did not let her flow further.  But at the request of king Bhagīratha who was already struggling for her arrival at the place of ashes of Sagarids, lord Śiva released her slowly.  She then flew in seven different currents.

This is how we come to know that the water and the river both are related to the three main gods Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva.

Conclusion:

The divinity, purity, healing power, motherhood, goddess, are all different facets of water seen in the Purāṇa-s, where it is seen that the very same water sustains life on earth and uplifts departed souls for their further journey.  The very same water is present during creation, during and after the dissolution of the universe.  The divinity attached to the great gods, the rituals followed by people in the grace and different attributes of water gives it importance which is unimaginable and very unique.  Water serves mankind, becomes a ladder of growth for society that must be respected for the benefit of society, peace and progress.  Thus, the various aspects of water are elaborated in the Purāṇa-s.

Click here to watch the video presentation of the paper.

References:
1. Atharva Veda, I.3.1.
2. A. Ramamurty, The Central Philosophy of The Rgveda, D. K. Printworld (P) Ltd. First edition 1991, second edition 2012.
3. A. Ramamurty, The Central Philosophy of The Rgveda, D. K. Printworld (P) Ltd. First edition 1991, second edition 2012.
4. Ṛgveda 10.129.
5. THE AGNI PURANA PART 1, TRANSLATED AND ANNOTATED BY N GANGADHARAN,
MOTILAL BANARSIDASS, DELHI, FIRST PUBLISHED 1984, p. 39.
6. Dr. Priyabala Shah, Visnudharmottara Purana-, PARIMAL PUBLICATIONS, DELHI, 2005.
7. Garuda Purana I-54 in the chapter Bhuvana-Kośa-Page 183.
8. The Vayu Purana Part I, Part II.
9. Bhāgavata Purāṇa, Part-IV, 1955, Motilal Banarasidass- Delhi, X. 22. 19-20, p. 1398, 7ff., Āśvalāyana Gṛhya Sūtra. III. 9.6,8- न नग्नः स्नायात्।, Skandha Purāṇa, II. 124, Also see- Mahulikar Gauri, Vedic Elements In Purāṇic Mantras And Rituals, 2000, Nag Publishers, Delhi, p. 240.
10. Ali M. S, The Vayu Purana Part I, 1960, Motilal Banarasidass- Delhi, pp. 42-43.
11. Anne Feldhaus, Water And Womanhood, Religious Meanings of Rivers in Maharashtra, Oxford University Press, New York, 1995.
12. K. Suchak, Sthaptya Gurjari, N M Tripathi, 1997, p. 13.
13. Singh P. B- Rana, Hindu Tradition of Pilgrimage Sacred Space & System, New Delhi, Dev Publishers and
Distributors, 2013, p. 166.
14. Singh P. B- Rana, Hindu Tradition of Pilgrimage Sacred Space & System, New Delhi, Dev Publishers and Distributors, 2013, p. 166.
15. Ibid., p. 166.
16. Anne Feldhaus, Water And Womanhood, Religious Meanings of Rivers in Maharashtra, Oxford University
Press, New York, 1995.
17. Bharatiya Sanskrit Koṣa, Khanda 2, p. 667.
18.  Ibid.
19. Heinrich Von Stietencron, Ganga and Yamuna Rivers Goddesses and their Symbols in Indian Temples, 2010, Permanent Black, Raniket, p. 40.
20. Padma Purāṇa, ‘Trisrotas’-three streamed, 6. 267. 47, Heinrich Von Stietencron, Ganga and Yamuna Rivers Goddesses and their Symbols in Indian Temples, p. 42.
21. The Vayu Purana Part I pp. 349-21.
22. Bhāgavata Purāṇa. 8, 7,20- ‘चन्द्रमण्डलम् आप्लव्य…’, Bhāgavata Purāṇa 5, 17, 4- ‘इन्दुमण्डलम् आवार्य’
Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa 53. 1-2, ‘ततः प्रवृत्ता या देवी गङ्गा त्रिपथगामिनी । सा प्रविश्य सुधा योनिं
सोमम् आधारम् अम्भसाम्’।।, Viṣṇu. Purāṇa 2, 2, 31- ‘प्लावयित्वेन्दुमण्डलम्’।, Kūrma Purāṇa, 1,
45, 28.
23. Kauṣītakī Upaniṣad, 1, 2- ‘ये वै के चास्माल् लोकात् प्रयन्ति चन्द्रमसम् इव ते सर्वे गच्छन्ति’।
24. Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa, 2, 4, 4, 15, Chāndogya Upaniṣad, 5, 10, 4, Ganga and Yamuna Rivers Goddesses and their Symbols in Indian Temples, pp. 42-43.
25. Viṣṇu. Purāṇa 2, 11, 22-3, 2, 12, 10ff, 34-5, Matsya Purāṇa 126, 40ff, Vāyu Purāṇa 52, 49ff.
26. The Vāyu Purāṇa Part I pp. 357-359.
27. Chāndogya. Upaniṣad. 5, 10, 3-6, 1, 2, Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa. 8, 28,15; ‘चन्द्रमसौ वै वृष्टिर् जायते’।
28. Chāndogya. Upaniṣad. 4, 15, 5; 5, 10, 1-2, Kauṣītakī Upaniṣad.1, 2-5, W. Ruben, Die Philosophes der Upanishaden (Bern 1947), p. 226.
29. Heinrich Von Stietencron, Ganga and Yamuna Rivers Goddesses and their Symbols in Indian Temples, pp. 43-45.
30. Heinrich Von Stietencron, Ganga and Yamuna Rivers Goddesses and their Symbols in Indian Temples.
31. Taittīriya. Brāhmaṇa 1. 2, 6, Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa 1. 1. 2, 13, 1. 9. 3, 9, 3. 6, 3. 3, Taittīriya Saṃhita 2. 4, 12.
3, Brahma Purāṇa 104. 73-98, Vāyu Purāṇa 98. 75-87, Viṣṇdharmottara Purāṇa 1. 22, Matsya. Purāṇa 246-51,
Vāmana Purāṇa 31-, Kūrma. Purāṇa 17, Brahmāṇda Purāṇa 2. 73, 75-86.
32. Nārada Purāṇa- ‘सर्वतीर्थोदक’
33. Bhāgavata Purāṇa. 8.15-23. Padma Purāṇa 6, 267 (ASS)=6, 239-40.

Bibliography

  • Ṛgveda Saṃhitā, Vaidik Saṃśodhana Maṇḍal, Poona.
  • Yajurveda
  • Atharvaveda
  • Taittirīya. Brāhmaṇa, ASS, Poona.
  • Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa, edited A. Weber, reprint edition, CSS, Benares, 1964.
  • Taittirīya Saṃhitā
  • Āśvalāyana Gṛhya Sūtra
  • Chāndogya Upaniṣad, Swami, Swahananada, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras, 1987.
  • Kauṣītakī Upaniṣad, Vaidik Saṃśodhana Maṇḍal, Poona, 1958.
  • Padma Purāṇa, Nag Publishers, Delhi.
  • Vāyu Purāṇa, Part I, Tagare V. G, Motilal Banarasidass, Delhi, 1987.
  • Bhāgavata Purāṇa Part I, Motilal Banarasidass, Delhi, 1988.
  • Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Pathak M. M, Oriental Institute, Vadodara, 1997.
  • Vāmana Purāṇa, Veṇkaṭeśvara edition, Bombay, 1903.
  • Varāha Purāṇa, Motilal Banarasidass, Delhi, 1960.
  • Kūrma Purāṇa, Benares, 1968.
  • Nārada. Purāṇa, Tagare V. G, Motilal Banarasidass, Delhi.
  • Matsya Purāṇa, Gita Press, Gorakhpur.
  • Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa, Wadekar M. L. Oriental Institute, Vadodara.
  • Brahmāṇḍa. Purāṇa, Motilal Banarasidass, Delhi.
  • Brahma Purāṇa, Motilal Banarasidass, Delhi.
  • Skandha Purāṇa, Edited by G. P. Raverkar, 1909-1911.
  • Viṣṇdharmottara Purāṇa, Veṇkaṭeśvara edition, Bombay, 1912.
  • Heinrich Von Stietencron, Ganga and Yamuna Rivers Goddesses and their Symbols in Indian Temples, Permanent Black, Raniket, 2010.
  • Ancient Indian Tradition And Mythology Series (Puranas in translation) The Vayu purana, Part II, Tagare V. G, Motilal Banarasidass, Delhi, 1988.
  • Tagare V. G, The Vāyu Purāṇa, Part I, Motilal Banarasidass, Delhi, 1987.
  • Ali M. S, The Vāyu Purāṇa, Part I, Motilal Banarasidass, Delhi, 1960.
  • Mahulikar Gauri, Vedic Elements In Purāṇic Mantras And Rituals, Nag Publishers, Delhi, 2000.
  • V.M Apte, Social and Religious life in the Gṛhya Sūtras, 2nd edn, Bombay 1954.
  • Anne Feldhaus, Water And Womanhood, Religious Meanings of Rivers in Maharashtra, Oxford University Press, New York, 1995.
  • Dr. Lal S. K, Rivers in Hindu Mythology and Ritual, Bharatiya Kala Prakashan, Delhi, 2007.
  • Ranjana Date, WATER-MANAGEMENT IN ANCIENT INDIA, 2008-2009.
  • Govindasamy Agoramoorthy, Sacred Rivers: Their Spiritual Significance in Hindu Religion, 2015
  • The Churning of the Ocean of Milk— myth, image and ecology, 2002.
  • Hemlatha N, Water a multifacted phenomeon in Vedas, 2005.
  • Durga Parameshwari S., Cosmology in the Puranas, 2015.

This paper was presented as a part of a Conference on Puranas and Indic Knowledge Systems, organized by Indic Academy on 26th and 27th March 2021.

(Image credit: gangaaction.org)


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article belong to the author. Indic Today is neither responsible nor liable for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in the article.

Leave a Reply

More Articles By Author