(Answer) (Category) Hindu FAQ : (Category) In Hindu dharma and culture, why do we . . . :
Why do we partake Tirtha or Holy water or take dip in a holy river?
According to Hindus, all matter is composed of five elements :

sky (Akasa)

Wind (Vayu)

Fire (Agni)

Water (Apas)

Earth (Bhumi

Several Hindu rituals are related to water. Abhishekha or "Sprinkling (bath) ablution," for example, is bathing the deity with holy water - BATH. Water from Vessel is used to give bath to the idol of God. It is done like a steady current trickle of water, just like our love for God (Bhakti) should be like a stead unbroken stream towards God. Five Ingredients (Panchamruta) are mixed and offered also as a bath liquid. These are SATVIC (good, healthy and harmless items) ingredients like Milk, Honey, Ghee, Yogurt and Sugar. It symbolizes that pure thoughts are offered. Devotee's mind should contain only pure thoughts towards God.

WATER Offerings ( Padya, Arghya and Achamana) : This ritual is compared with washing of the hands and feet and also water in his mouth. Devotee (Puja performer) also is reminded to come "clean" before God and satisfy his thirst first. This body and mind preparing ritual is necessary for further relationship. The water used in this ritual - tirtha is then offered as prasad.

Most pilgrimage sites are either water bodies or have a lake or pond where the devotees take a purifying dip. Because water washes away physical dirt, Hindus give it symbolic value as a cleanser of souls. Taking a dip in the holy water of river Ganga and other auspecious rivers purifies the body and washes away the sin.

[Append to This Answer]
2000-Oct-18 8:29am
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