In Bharatiya tradition, when a large river in the course of its flow forks out clearly enough into two streams, either one or both of which being named differently from the mother river, the forking spot is considered a holy place and the waters there are called a sangama or triveni. If one or more small rivers join a bigger one and flow along with it thereafter, losing their individual identity, then too we have the same sanctity and nomenclature. Where a river joins the sea you have a sangama too with slightly less holiness attributed to it.
There are two special Trivenis in India both involving two minor rivers joining a major river, of considerable sanctity, where Sanatanists would dearly love to carry out ancestral worship tarpanas on Soma Amavasya days (When a new moon day happens to be also a Monday). In both of them, the river Sarasvati is involved as a participant in the confluence.
Most Indians have visited or definitely heard of the city of Prayag/ Allahabad, where the Yamuna joins the Ganga and where Sanatanists believe that a third river with sub-terranian flow up to the point, the Sarasvati also joins the two. People of Gujarat and others who have read the Bhagavatapurana have heard of the other Triveni in Prabhasapattana, a part of the famous city of Somnath, where the rivers Hiranya and Kapila are believed to join the Sarasvati before the latter flows on to meet the ocean. We have only one river named Hiranya in the place these days. But pilgrims know exactly where the triveni confluence takes place. The Bhagavata Purana had told them that their beloved Lord Krishna had chosen that place for ending his mortal avatara.
The mighty river that was Sarasvati is no longer a myth thanks to the large volume of recent excavations that have been made close to where it had flowed a few millennia ago and any number of artifacts indicating the river to have been large enough to accommodate large vessels transporting the products of busy metalworking artisans and traders who flourished in the area. Scholars curious about these developments will benefit immensely by perusing the prolific writings of Dr S. Kalyanaraman, Director, Sarasvati Research Centre, Chennai. They should definitely begin their studies by going through the proceedings of the Conference held in October 2008 at India International Centre, New Delhi on ‘The Vedic River Sarasvati and Hindu Civilization’, which had been edited ably and presented with an illuminating Foreword by Dr Kalyanaraman.
More posts by this author:
- Dr Kalyanaraman’s Eureka Moment
- Kesava Sagara
- Rama meets Sharad in the Woods
- A video seminar at Jain University, Bangalore on Vedic Irina and the Rann of Kutch
- The black Bamboo
After R & D and technical management experience of over three decades in petroleum and organic chemical industry, have been devoting the past fifteen years to the study of Tamil and Sanskrit classics, including dharmic works and doing some serious translation work. Have been a significant contributor to the medha journal almost since its inception upto 2013 and expect to continue my association with it.