Rivers in Ancient India (study)

by Archana Sarma | 2019 | 49,356 words

This page relates ‘Various other rivers in the Puranas’ of the study on the rivers in ancient India as reflected in the Vedic and Puranic texts. These pages dicsusses the elements of nature and the importance of rivers (Nadi) in Vedic and Puranic society. Distinctive traits of rivers are investigated from descriptions found in the Vedas (Samhitas), Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads and Puranas. The research is concluded by showing changing trends of rivers from ancient to modern times.

10. Various other rivers in the Purāṇas

Puṣpabhadrā:

According to the Bhāgavatapurāṇa, it is in the northern part of the Himalayas.[1] It appears that this river flows near the hermitage Badari from the context of Mārkaṇḍeya legend. The name of this river is just mentioned in the Garuḍapurāṇa also.[2]

Dṛṣadvatī

Dṛṣadvatī is also a famous river in the Purāṇic age. Lord Kṛṣṇa, as described in the Bhāgavatapurāṇa, reached pāñcāla by crossing the rivers Sarasvatī and the Dṛṣadvatī.[3] The river Dṛṣadvatī is usually identified with Citrang, Citang, or Cautang in modern time which runs parallel to the Sarasvatī; but some writers prefer its identification with the Rakṣhi that flows by the southeast of Thaneswar.[4]

Śatadru

Śatadru is a familiar river in the Purāṇic literature.The Purāṇic name of the Indian river now called Sutlej. The Bhāgavatapurāṇa describes it as a river of Bhāratavarṣa.[5] It is stated in the Viṣṇupurāṇa that this river has its course from Himalayas.[6] The river Śatadru or the Sutlej appears from the western region of the western lake of the Manas Sarovara. It is a feeder of the Indus in the East.[7]

Sarayu

Sarayu is a very famous river in the Purāṇas. Seven tributaries of Gaṅgā originate from the golden peaks of the Himalayas and Sarayu is one of them. In the Purāṇa, it is said that those who bathe in the river will be absolved from all sins.[8] In modern times, the river Sarayu is known as Ghargharā.

Vipāśā

According to Bhāgavatapurāṇa, it is a stream of northern India as Balarāma had reached Gayā by crossing the river Gaṇḍakī, Vipāśā and Soṇa[9]

Chandrabhāgā

The Chandrabhāgā river is a major river that flows in India and Pakistan and is one of the five major rivers of Punjab region. The river is formed by the confluence of two rivers, Chandra and Bhāgā, at Tandy, eight kilometers southwest of Kyelang.The Viṣṇupurāṇa refers to it as having come out from the Himalayas.[10]

Tāptī

According to the Bhāgavatapurāṇa, this is a river of southern India.[11] The Viṣṇupurāṇa describes it as flowing from the Ṛksa Mountain.[12] Nowadays, this river is known as Tāpī.[13]

Lauhitya

There is the great Mountain Lohita to the southern-eastern direction of Kailāsa. It is radiant like the sun and has peaks of gold. It is adjacent to the heavenly Mountain Piśaṅga that abounds in red arsenic. It is abundant with auspicious animals and medicinal herbs. At the foot of Lohita Mountain, there is a great divine lake called Lohita. From that issue out the sacred river Lauhitya. It is the modern Brahmaputra.[14]

Vaitaraṇī

The river Vaitaraṇī is found in the Purāṇas and it is full of pus and blood. This is a mighty river at the threshold of yama’s city and it is hundred yojanas wide. The river is impenetrable and foul-smelling. It is terrifying river even at the first sight for the sinner. In the Purāṇas, it is stated that the river is full of decayed blood with sediments and marshy deposits of flesh. In the Purāṇas, it is stated that on seeing a sinner it assumes the form of melted ghī in a vessel. It abounds in worms and flesh brought by vultures.[15]

Virajā

This river flows in between the spaces of ether and spreads over five yojanas all round. It is the most sacred river that wards of rebirth. Those who bathe herein go to Brahmaloka where they rejoice with the four-faced Brahmā. Those who take bath in the Virajā river abandon their subtle bodies and attain liberation. Those alone who have realized the Self and abide in Brāhmaṇa can cross the Virajā river. The river Virajā does not disappear even at the time of dissolution. The river Virajā is identical with Lakṣmī and it has the function of destroying the subtle bodies.[16]

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

te vai tadāśramaṃ jagmurhimādreḥ parśva uttare | puṣpabhadrā nadī yatra citrākhyā ca sila vibho || Bhāgavata Purāṇa.,12.8.17

[2]:

astādaśedine tārkṣaya tatpuraṃ prāpnuyādasau | puṣpabhadrā nadī yatra nyagrodhaḥ priyadarśanaḥ || Garuḍa Purāṇa,5.97 (Preta Khaṇḍa)

[3]:

tato dṛṣadvatiṃ tīrtvā mukundo’tha sarasvatīm | pañcālānatha matsyāṃśca śakraprasthamathāgamat || Bhāgavata Purāṇa., 10.71. 22

[4]:

Vide.,Sircar, D.C., Studies in the Geography of Ancient and Medieval India, p.50

[5]:

atāsāmpo bhāratyaḥprajā nāmabhireva | punantīnāmātmanā copaspṛśanti || Bhāgavata Purāṇa.,5.19.17

[6]:

seda smṛtisukhādyāśca pāripātrodbhavā mune | narmadā surasādyāśca nadya vindhyādirnirgataḥ || Viṣṇu Purāṇa, 2.3.10

[7]:

Vide., Bhagavati,Ghana kanta, Bhagawat Purāṇa, A Socio-cultural Study, p.326

[8]:

atha tairabhyanujñātaḥ kauśikīmītya brāhmanaiḥ | snātvā sarovaramagādyataḥ sarayūrāsravat || Bhāgavata Purāṇa.,10.79.9-10

[9]:

gomatīṃ gaṇḍakīṃ snātvā vipāśāṃ śoṇa āplutaḥ | gayāṃ gatvā pitṛniṣṭhvā gaṅgāsāgarasaṅgame || Ibid.,10.79.11

[10]:

Viṣṇu Purāṇa, 2.3.10

[11]:

āryāṃ dvaipāyanīṃ dṛṣṭvā śūrpārakamagādbalaḥ | tāpīṃ payoṣṇīṃ nirvindhyāmupaspṛsyātha daṇḍakam || Bhāgavata Purāṇa.,10.79.20

[12]:

tāpī payoṣṇīnirvindhyāpramukhā ṛkṣambravāḥ | godāvarī bhīmarathī kṛṣṇaveṇyādikāstathā || Viṣṇu Purāṇa, 2.3.11

[13]:

indratīrtha kurukṣetraṃ yatra prācī sarasvatī | tāpī payoṣṇi nirvindhyā malayaḥ kṛṣṇaveṇikā || Garuḍa Purāṇa,6.65(Preta Khaṇḍa)

[14]:

lohito hemasṛṅgastu giriḥ sūryaprabhomahān | tasya pāde mahaddivyaṃ lohitaṃ nāma tatsaraḥ | tasmātpuṇyaḥ prabhavati lauhityaḥ sadano mahān devāraṇyaṃ viśokaṃ ca tasya tīre mahāvanam || Bhāgavata Purāṇa.,47.10-11

[15]:

bhagavandevadevesa kṛpayā parayā vada | dānaṃ dānasya māhātmyaṃ vaitaraṇyāḥ pramāṇakam || yā sā vaitaraṇī nama yamamārga mahasrit | agādhā dustarā papirdṛṣṭamātrā bhyāvahā || pūyaśoṇītatoyāḍhyā māṃsakarddamasaṃkulā | papinancagatāndṛṣṭvā nānābhayasamāvṛtā || kvathyate satvaraṃ toyaṃ pātramadhye ghṛtaṃ yathā | krimibhiḥ saṅkulaṃ pūyaṃ vajratuṇḍaiḥ samāvṛtam || Garuḍa Purāṇa,47.1-4(Preta Khaṇḍa)

[16]:

aṣṭamāvaraṇaṃ vyomnoraṃtarā virajā nadī | pañcayojanavistīrṇā saṃtātparidhīkṛtā || aparokṣadṛśāmevaṃ brahmaṇā saha gāminām | virajātaraṇaṃ viddhi nānyeṣāṃ vinatāsuta || tepi pratyekaśaḥ saṃti hyanaṃtāśca pṛthaggṇāḥ | pṛthakpṛthak ca taih sākaṃ mokṣa yogyāḥ khageśvara || Ibid., 10.17-20,24,25,26,27

Let's grow together!

I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased sources, definitions and images. Your donation direclty influences the quality and quantity of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight the world is exposed to.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: