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Religion & Theology
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Topic:

Rivers in Hinduism (Essay Sample)

Instructions:
Rivers in Hinduism - their divinity, river goddesses, the issues of eco-dams etc etc. Paper must have a thesis, must be a persuasive, argumentative essay. source..
Content:

RIVERS IN HINDUISM
Thesis
Indian rivers play an important role in the economic development, but the most important role played by Indian rivers lie in the mythology of Hinduism, where they are considered as being very sacred, purifier of the mortal souls, conveyor of souls, and the giver of life. This is the reason as to why the rivers are worshipped and very important during rituals (Kapoor, 2007).
Divinity of Rivers
According to Hinduism, rivers have been associated with their history as well as civilization. Rivers have been considered a twin of spirituality and philosophy. Hindus usually consider areas closer to rivers as being sacred. As a result, since time immemorial, Hindus have been worshiping rivers as personification of divinity, a process that is termed as ‘Pushkaram’. This is usually done with the aim of ensuring that people do understand the significance of water, mainly as a life sustaining force (Huston, 1991).
In Hinduism mythology, rivers are usually given divinity position. It is believed that the Indian Civilization originated from basin of river Ganga as well as Jamun, the two are considered as being the spirit of Indian history. As a result, from ancient times Hindus have been worshiping the two rivers and consider them as being very sacred. For a very long time, it has been believed that “Ganga (Gange river) has the powers to purity and divinity and the Hindus believe that a bath in her waters cleanses one of all sins” (Berwick, 1987). On the other hand, Jamuna is famous due to her devotion. Apart from the two rivers, there are others like river Saraswati which was worshiped long ago when Aryans were still the occupants of Punjab. However, as time went by, the river changed its route and ended up disappearing in the Rajasthan desert. Other sacred rivers in India include “Godavari, Narmada, Sindhu, Kaveri, Saryu, Gomti, Gandaki, Sabarmati, Tamsa, Chandarbhaga, Shipra and Kratmala” (Berwick, 1987).
It is believed by Hindus that everywhere along Gange river is sacred and that is the reason as to why all along her, Hindus bathe in it. Due to its purity, Hindus pay homage to their ancestors as well as to their gods by taking Gange (her) water into their bare hands, lift it up, and then leave it to fall back into the river. They also offer flowers as well as rose petals and floating shallow clay dishes that are filled with oil and lit with wicks. When going back home, they usually carry little amount of Ganges waters with them that they use in rituals. When one of their loved ones passes away, Hindus go back to “Ganges to consign the ashes to her custody” (Wangu, 2003). Therefore, based on spirituality, Hinduism are among the few religions which have connected waters with death.
In the Vedic science, rivers of Hindus are personified sacred waters in the mythology of Hindus. On the other hand, apart from the main Gange River, local rivers are also called local Ganges; as a result, there are Southern Ganges and the Central Ganges. Whenever water is being used in Hindu rituals, the rivers like Gange are invoked, hence present in all water that is sacred. The religious and symbolic significance of rivers like Gange is one thing that Hindus, their sceptics and science agree upon. For instance, Jawaharlal one of the Indian individual not belonging to Hinduism requested his ashes to be thrown in the river. Moreover, in his will, Ganaga wrote “is the river of India, beloved of her people, round which are intertwined her racial memories, her hopes and fears, her songs of triumph, her victories and her defeats. She has been a symbol of India's age-long culture and civilization, ever-changing, ever-flowing, and yet ever the same Ganga” (Richman 1988). This emphasizes the importance of rivers in Hindu community during rituals.
Every year, between May and early June, H...
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