Primitive man prays to the God, because he wants something badly, houses to live, rain for crops, a sword for victory over enemies. Varuna is Sovereign ruler of the universe. It is he, who makes the Sun to shine in heaven, the winds that blow are but his breath, he has hallowed out the channels of the rivers which flow at his command. Varuna represented in pictures as a white man sitting upon a fabulous marine monster called a makara. This animal has the head and front legs of an antelope and the body and tail of a fish. In the right hand he carries a noose. He is occasionally worshiped in seasons of drought and by fisherman as they cast their nets, but now a days no images of him are made. Although Varuna is described in the vedas as a holy being according to the teaching of the puranas, his heaven is a place of sensual delights. He sits with queen Varuni on a throne of diamonds, Samudra (The Sea), Ganga (The Ganges) and the Gods and Goddesses of different rivers, lakes, springs etc from his Court. Varuna is also known as prachetas (The Wise), Jalapati (The Lord of water), Yadapati (The Lord of acquatic animals), Amburaja (The King of waters). Pasi (The noose carrier).
The Aryan culture spread over the land through the river valleys of the seven important rivers viz., Sindhu, Saraswathi, Yamuna, Ganga, Narmada, Godavari, Kaveri and all these were considered to be especially holy. It is stated that all the rivers are without distinction. Amongst all the river Goddesses of India Ganga was given the highest place.
The External purity is ensured by regular baths and using other means of cleanliness. Internal purity implies purity of the mind. In the Atharvavedic list we also find references to deities such as Bhumi, Parvata, Nadi, Samudra, Sarovara, Trees and plants, which as we shall see later fronm part of widely distributed folk cults; and alsmost all of these have survived upto our own time.
The word Maha is of great importance in connection with the popular worship of these cult deities. The celebration of these festivals to deities was known as Maha and it took the form of a combination of folk elements and assemblage of which developed into a fair. Such fairs continued in popular tradition and once begun. They persisted through the ages. If a survey of the surviving fairs now known as ‘Mela’ was made it could be found that this centered mostly round some shine (or) holy place of a God (or) Goddesses.
Pushkara,should state at the outlet, is one of the most sacred Tirthas in all over India. It is said that Brahma having once performed a particular sacrifice (Yajan).The greatest sinner has only to bathe in them to be at once purified and rendered fit for admission to Brahma’s heaven (Brahma Loka). In the Tirtha – Yagna – Parva of the Mahabharata, the Precedence over all other places of piligrimage is given to pushkara.
The places of pilgrimage are distributed through the entire country and are called Tirthas and Kshetras. Tirtha is the name of a place of pilgrimage on the bank of a river, the thirthas, on the banks of rivers, lakes and on the sea-shore, at the confluence of rivers and estuaries, but also on hill tops and mountain slopes, in forests, groves and gardens, rear the abodes of the blest (or) hermitages in villages, towns and cities (or) in any other lovely place.
A temple therefore should be built where there is a pond on the left (or) in front not otherwise. If a temple is built on an Island, the water on all sides id ‘auspicious’. The presence of water is essential; but if it is neither available by nature nor by artifice it is present symbolically at the consecration of temple as image. Varuna, the presiding divinity (of the waters) and Siva, the Lord of the sacred Tirtha are worshipped; should neither river, lake nor tank be near, three jars of water are placed in the Brahmasthana, the centre of the Sacred site.
The state of Andhra Pradesh may be rightly as the land of rivers. Godavari, Krishna, Penna and their tributaries places in the state. A total of 34 major and minor rivers, streams notices. In South India the places of Godavari extends a distance of 1450 Kms and Krishna 1300 Kms.
The Godavari which is referred to as the river of Dakshinapatha originates in the Sahyadri hill ranges (or) the Western Ghats of Triyambakam (Nasik district of Maharashtra), traverse in North-Eastern direction enters at Basara, Adilabad district of Andra Pradesh. From here onwards the flow noticed in Eastern direction through Eastern Ghats. At Polavaram the Godavari valley extends quitewider. Near Rajahmundry in the lower part of Dhavaleswaram it enters into Godavari Delta area, popularly known as Kon seema.From here it divides into seven divisions known as Sapta Godavari in Vasistha, Vaiswamitri, Vamadevi, Gautami, Bharadwaj, Atreya, Somadagni, later the tributaries of Godavari are Manjira, Manneru, Pranahita, Indravati, Sabari etc.,
The river Krishna is the second important river. It is referred to in the epigraphs as Kannabemnna. The river Krishna literally means ‘of black hue’ as its waters are said to be black in colour. It takes its origin in the western Ghats. (Sahyadri ranges) and flow across the Penninsula from West to the East. Later it traverse through Maharashtra and Karnataka enters at Sangameswaram of Andhra Pradesh. The Krishna river at Pulichintala cuts the Eastern Ghats enters into the plain region. The tributaries of Krishna are Dindi, Musi, Polar, Munneru, Tungabhadra (joins at Alapur)
The river Pennar is the third principal river of this region. It is also known as penneru (or) Pinakini. It rises in the Nandidurga hills in the Karnataka state and extends upto 456 Kms, enters into the coastal district of Nellore. The tributaries of Penna are Chittravati, Papagni, Kunderu, Sagileru, Cheyeru etc.,
The sat stretch of Venkatadri Hill abounds in holy Theerthams in the from of lakes, waterfalls and tanks. A sacred dip in these Theertham is believed to confar all the benefits to othe devout and also washes away any sins committed.
Tirumala Tirupati Theerthams
Swami Pushkarini: This Sacred tank, is considered the most important of the holy Theerthams. Vishnu’s vahanam Garuda is said to have brought this Sacred tank from Vaikuntam (Heaven) to Bhoolokam (Earth). The waters of all holy rivers, including the Ganga, are believed to be present in this tank. The devout believe that by bathing in this Theertham, they wash off their sins, rid themselves of diseases and fullfil their wishes.
It is believes that on the occasion of Mukkoti Dwaadashi (the 11th day in the bright fortnight of the honour, month of Dhanur corresponding to December – January), more than three crore sacred Theerthams converge into the Swami Pushkarini on this occasion, the Lord’s Chakram is taken out in a procession and given the Sacred dip in the Pushkarini. The waters of 17 Theerthams are believed to merge into the tank.
Kapila Theertham: It is situated at the foot of Seshadri, this Theertham is fortified by a lingam known as Kapileswara. The small pond or Sarovar in front of the lingam is the Theertham. A holy dip here is believed to confer maximum benefit and rid the devoit of Sins.
Vajra Theertham: This is situated near Kapila Theertham. Gautama Maharishi had once crused Indra for his illicit relationship with the Rishi’s wife Ahalya. By taking a sacred dip here, Indra is said to have been redeemed of the curse.
Visvaksena Saras: Vishvaksena, son of Varuna, did severe penance and was blessed with a from identical to vishne and also to be the Lord’s commander – in – chief. Hence it ise considered very sacred.
Panchaayudha Theertham: They are five of them and are named after the five weapons of Lord Vishne – Shanku (conch), Chakram (discus), Gadha (club), Saaranga (bow) and Nandaka (sword). They are close to the Vishvaksena Saras.
Panchaayudha theertham : They are five of them and are named after the five weapons of lord vishnu -shanku(conch), Chakram(Discus),Gadha(club),Saaranga(bow) and Nandaka(sword). They are close to the vishvaksena saras.
Agnikunda Theertham : This is another sacred theertham but is not reachable.
Brahma Theertham : A did here is said to expel the sins of killings and other crimes.
Saptarishi Theertham : These are Seven Theerthams and are situated near the Brahma Theertham. They are named seven great sages – Kashypa, Atri, Bharadwaja, Vishwamitra, Gautama, Vasishta and Jamadagni.
Hindu Religion and Culture
The other holy waters include Kumaradhara Theertham phalguni Theertham, Sanaka Sarandhana Theertham, Jabali Theertham, Thumburu Theertham, Akasa Ganga and Papvinasanam waterfalls, Vaikunta Theertham; Sesha Theertham and Pandava Theertham.
Water plays a significant role in Tirumals. Later for the puja of Lord Sri Venkateswara comes from the Akasa ganga, water that is used for the forenoon puja, and in the evening puja, water is also used for the Brahma aradhana after the temple gates are closed for the night.
During the Thomalaseva water is offered to the Lord for his daily needs. Abhishekam is done to the Gold covers which adorn Mulavigraham as weel as to Bhoga Srinivasa. The abhishekam is accompanied by the chantings of hyms. Lord is the decorated with beautiful large strung flower garlands from which the name of Thomalaseva is derived.
The nityarchana then begins with the Aksaganga water being consecrated ritually and with some prescribed herbs and other articles mixed it.
Abhishekam to the Lord is done only on Fridays. On Friday early morning after Suprabhatam chanting. Thomalaseva and Archana are conducted.Everything is made ready for Lord’s Abhishekam by powdering Pachakarpuram, mixing wetted saffron paste, pressing musk with a few drops of civet oil, al of which are collected in suitable silver vessels and taken to procession to the accompaniment of music round the sanctum is a Vimana Pradakshanam.
A ball like paste of civet oil mixed with camphor is placed at the feet of the Lord. After this the Tiumanjanam abhishekam is made to the mula vigraham. This function takes about an hour (or) hour and half with chanting of othe mantras.
The abhishekam is done to the chanting of Purusha Sukta, Narayana Sukta, Sri Sukta and the prabhandams. The abhishekamstarts with Suddokam and then alternates with milk, watered chandanam etc. Abhishekam to the gold image of Sri Lakshmi hanging in a gold chain of the chart is done with chanting of Sri Lakshmi. That the Friday abhishekam became the usual weekly, routine is clear from an inscription of Sri Krishnadeva Raya of 1517 A.D. whose apart the sunkam of 1000 Varahas for Punugu Kapu on every 8th day. This makes it clear that the Tirumanjanam was on a weekly Friday.
The abhisheka from the body of the Lord with little refined camphor and saffron is also distributed among the devotees for purification of mind and body of the individual.
Thus water plays a major role in Hindu Religion and Culture. It is a well known fact that life originated in water is a Re-condition of life, various ancient Civilization of human beings are related to rivers.
Tags: agnikunda theertham, hindu religion, indian religion, kapila theertham, panchaayudha theertham, sacred river, saptarishi theertham, swami pushkarini, vajra theertham, visvaksena saras