Water in life & death

As life begins to stir in the womb, its communion with water also takes root. This communion becomes stronger, interesting & playful after the birth and in early years of life. Soon, the liberal presence of water in the surroundings; its regular use for cleansing and its comfortable availability for the child, make it the least cared for resource of all the resources that are made available to him or her for growth. So much so that the special significance that water should attract, is totally lost in the maze of other desires and longings that the child nurtures.

Until a few years of age, the child does not accord any greater importance to water and passes it off as any other commodity that is available to meet his or her basic needs. However, the child regularly keeps experiencing various characteristics of water ranging from its value to satisfy thirst, its power to clean & wash, its quality to create music as it rains, its salty taste as it streams down as tears & sweat and its energy in the dance of waves. The thought that we need to talk about water suddenly dawns on the child at a certain level of school education when the talk about oceans, rivers, wells, lakes & glaciers starts. Then commences the learning about water cycle, rains and different forms of water like liquid, vapor, snow & ice. Further education enhances the wisdom about commercial uses of water in agricultural, medical & industrial fields and with that springs the seriousness of the necessity to take good care of the depleting resources of water.

The mental horizons change with the growth of the body & the mind and so does the attitude towards water. The body begins to realize & experience the soothing & therapeutic uses of water whereas the mind starts capturing its intrinsic beauty in dew, droplets, icicles and the magnificent expanse of water that mesmerizes the landscape.

Slowly, the cultural heritage infuses the importance of water in rituals. But the young mind does not grasp its relevance. It is only when the mind matures and the inclination towards spirituality grows that the true significance of water in rituals, is understood.


Since ages, water has been a very important part of ritual purification in virtually all the religions across the world. Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shintoism and Sikhism etc. have all considered water as a symbol of purity. Water, in the form of oceans, symbolizes the infinite and is considered to represent the divine.

Water cleanses the body and purifies the soul. It is also thought to wash away the sins. It is, therefore, significantly used for cleaning of hands, feet, face and mouth before religious rituals. Water is sprinkled on the person and the person also takes a dip in it for baptism or initiation into religion. Water, especially holy water, becomes an important constituent of all vital ceremonies in life.

At the end of life, the body of the dead is bathed in water before cremation and water finds its use in different ways during funerals too. Even death seems worthless without precious drops of water.

On its final journey of salvation, the soul seems to be bestowed with contentment through the last few drops of water, generously showered upon it by the materialistic world.


( Also published in the coffee table book ‘Joy of Life’ in Sept. ’09)

34 Responses to “Water in life & death”

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  3. South of France says:

    GURU means the preacher who removes ignorance – darkness by emitting knowledge – light. The field of the context is important here. If you are ignorant of mathematics, a teacher may remove your ignorance about mathematics by teaching mathematics. Such a teacher cannot be called as Guru. Guru is the preacher who diverts you towards God by removing your ignorance about God. The final knowledge of God is to know that you are always ignorant of God, because God is unimaginable or ever unknown.

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