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Jal Hi Jeevan Hai: Find out why Water is so Holy in Hinduism!

In Hinduism, water is believed to wash away impurities and purifies whatever comes to its contact, not only externally but spiritually as well

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A ritual in Hinduism. Image source: jacobbmurphy.wordpress.com
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Water undoubtedly has the paramount spot in the practices of virtually all religions, for three prime reasons. Firstly, because water is the essence of life. It’s the basic element of everything and it’s possible to imagine life without water. Secondly, because water cleanses. 

Water washes away impurities and purifies whatever comes to its contact not only externally but spiritually as well. The magnitude of water reveals itself differently in various religions and cultures but it is these prime qualities of water that makes it the basis of every culture and religion.

Holy Rivers

Water is the very essence of Hinduism, not only for its life preserving characteristics but also because of its extensive use in rituals and practices. River Ganga (the Ganges) is considered sacred and often personified as a goddess in Hinduism.

There are seven principle holy rivers in India namely the Ganges, Yamuna, Godavari, Sarasvati, Narmada, Sindhu, and Kaveri. Most rivers are feminine and are personified as goddesses. Despite the fact that Hinduism surrounds many different beliefs and customs, but still share the significance of achieving purity and cleanliness. This relates to both physical as well as spiritual prosperity.

Ganga Dashara,Haridwar via Wikimedia Commons
Ganga Dashara at Haridwar via Wikimedia Commons

Pilgrimage holds another importance spot in Hinduism. Holy places are normally on the banks of rivers or seashores. Sacred rivers are thought to be a great equalizer,in which a swim can make all sins fall away. Kumbhamela is the main pilgrimage of Hindu devotees and is held every three years. Funeral spots are always located near a river. After the cremation, the ashes are cast into the holy rivers.Certain spots on the seashore are also holy. Puri is considered sanctified to Vaishnavas, and Cape Comorin (Kanyakumari) is sacred to followers of Shiva and devotees of Rama.

Certain lakes and ponds are also seen as sacred. Particularly in the Southern part of India,where tanks (man-made ponds) are built so that worshipers can clean themselves before entering the temple.

Sacred water

Water plays a crucial role in all rituals in Hinduism.From cleaning the vessels before poojas (rituals) to bathing the Deities. Water is offered to the Deity and the water collected from bathing the Deities are often considered sacred. This water is offered as “Theertha” meaning a blessed oblation.

Poorna Kumba literally means a full pitcher, is a pitcher full of holy water with fresh leaves preferably from mango trees and a banana placed on the top.This symbolizes God and is often used during Hindu religious rites. The water in the jar is said to be sacred and a divine essence.

  • Many rituals in Hinduism begin with keeping a kalasa, which is a brass, silver or gold pot filled with water decorated with mango leaves and a banana.
  • Kalasa symbolizes the totality or the universe and becomes a crucial part of the Hindu rituals and poojas. The pot is believed to be the first vessel into which the Deities descend.
  • One of the religious rituals is Tarpana, which means to please the god in Hinduism. Tarpana is the practice of pouring water through fingers with the use of sacred grass as a symbolic gesture of showing, gratitude, and pleasing Gods.
  • During every purification rite, water is sprinkled on the object which is to be cleansed.
  • Before eating the meal,it is a tradition in Hindus to sprinkle water around the plate in which the food is served to thank and please the god.
  • In ancient period, Kings were sprinkled with water in order to purify them during their coronation to ensure an auspicious beginning to their reign.

Water is one of the sacred element in Hinduism, especially rivers. Hindus believe that bathing in the river helps in the forgiveness of sins. They immerse the ashes of the dead in the sacred waters of Ganges as a means to send the soul to heaven. In many cultures, water is also the fountainhead of inspiration and has been for many ages. People have adopted spiritual and traditional values that bind and support them in living a peaceful and a prosperous life. And of course ,this play a crucial role in water management as well.

– by Yajush Gupta of NewsGram. Twitter: yajush_gupta

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  • AJ Krish

    The purification properties of water are mentioned in many of our scriptures. This belief is even carried on to this day.

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Drinking Water Boosts Mental Skills in Elders Who Exercise

Drinking water may boost mental skills in exercising elderly

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Drinking water boosts mental skills in exercising elderly.
Drinking water boosts mental skills in exercising elderly. Pixabay

Older people who indulge in physical activity should increase their amount of water intake, to reap the full cognitive benefits of exercise, researchers suggest.

Dehydration has been shown to impair exercise performance and brain function in young people, but less is known about its impact on older populations.

The findings showed that hydration boosts performance on test of executive function that includes the skills needed to plan, focus, remember and multitask following exercise.

Exercise has been shown to improve intellectual health, including executive function.

“Middle-age and older adults often display a blunted thirst perception, which places them at risk for dehydration and subsequently may reduce the cognitive health-related benefits of exercise,” said researchers including Brandon Yates, of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, US.

An elderly woman exercising.
An elderly woman exercising. Pixabay

The study, presented at the American Physiological Society (APS) annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2018 in San Diego, explored the association between hydration status before exercising and exercise-enhanced cognition in older adults.

The team recruited recreational cyclists (average age 55) who participated in a large cycling event on a warm day (78-86 degrees F).

The cyclists performed a “trail-making” executive function test–quickly and accurately connecting numbered dots using paper and pencil — before and after the event.

Also Read: Why is water fasting NOT a good idea for weight loss?

The team tested the volunteers’ urine before they exercised and divided them into two groups — normal hydration and dehydrated — based on their hydration status.

The normal hydration group showed noticeable improvement in the completion time of the trail-making test after cycling when compared to their pre-cycling test.

The dehydration group also completed their post-cycling test more quickly, but the time reduction was not significant.

“This suggests that older adults should adopt adequate drinking behaviours to reduce cognitive fatigue and potentially enhance the cognitive benefits of regular exercise participation,” the researchers said.  IANS