Everything on this cosmos is simply a play of five elements–earth, fire, wind, water and ether. Water is believed to be the first creation among these elements. The Rigveda says, “In the beginning, everything was an ocean.” The Genesis of Judeo-Christian tradition explains, “The breath of God moves on the face of waters” and a verse from the Quran says, “Water creates every living thing.”
Water is also believed to be the most powerful for its supremacy over the other elements. Roman author and natural philosopher Gaius Plinius Secundus writes, “Water swallows up the earth, extinguishes the flame, ascends on the winds, and by stretching forth as clouds, challenges the heavens.”
Most faiths consider water holy and it is an intrinsic component in several rituals. Ritual purification or spiritual cleansing is a common rite found in many religions. It symbolises rebirth. During these rituals, removal of clothing represents shedding of the sinful self and immersion in the water body signifies the emergence of a pure being. Later, one may also sip consecrated water after reciting a prayer. Although water from any source is considered sacred across religions, spring water has a special connotation in the spiritual realm.
Just like life itself, the spring water knows not of its beginning or ending. Without a care for its destination, it strives for an extraordinary journey during its lifetime. It gushes out from the depths of an abyss and has the potential to reach the zenith. It is almost as if spring water is a messenger from the universe to mankind. Thus, spring waters are revered in several parts of the world. One such place is Bali.
The drinking of spring water is said to purify the body and especially energise the throat chakra. Soaking the head in water cleanses and invigorates the crown chakra.
‘The Island of Gods’ is laden with several hot and cold water springs for which it is also called the island of holy water. Water is central to the rituals here as exemplified by the ancient Pura Tirta Empul temple located at Tampaksiring. Legend has it that this cool mountain water spring was created by the Hindu deity Lord Indra. This water is believed to have curative and cleansing properties.
The ritual in the temple begins by draping yourself with a piece of cloth called Sarong. Sajen, a meditative form of prayer, is offered to Indra and the Sun God. The prayer and offering are done prior to taking a dip in the sacred water to wash away the negative energy. This, in turn, restores balance in the body, mind and soul. Devotees sip water, place their heads under the cascading water and finally chant Om – the sacred chant. The drinking of spring water is said to purify the body and especially energise the throat chakra. Soaking the head in water cleanses and invigorates the crown chakra.
Along similar lines is the Sanctuary of Lourdes in France. The Grotto of the Massabielle, which dispenses Lourdes spring water, is at its heart. According to a legend, Virgin Mary is said to have appeared before St Bernadette Soubirious at this very spot. Scientifically, this water is merely potable and has no special traces of minerals, but pilgrims throng this spring for its miraculous medicinal properties. To ensure the genuineness of such claims, Lourdes Medical Bureau supervised by a team of scientists and medical professionals was set up. Of several registered miracles, 69 cases were declared scientifically inexplicable by both the bureau and the church.
“Water is capable of thinking, fathoming, feeling, getting excited, and expressing itself.”
In a different part of the world, amidst the scorching deserts of Saudi Arabia, is the well of Zam Zam, located in the Masjid al-Haram of Mecca. Islamic mythology believes that this source of spring water was revealed to Hagar, the second wife of Abraham. According to God’s instructions, Abraham left his wife and son in the desert. Seeing her infant thirsty, Hagar searched for the spring water between the two hills of Safa and Marwah, running back and forth. Desperate for water, the infant scraped the ground with his feet and water suddenly gushed out. Even to this day, pilgrims visit the well while performing the Hajj or Umrah.
While several scientists have studied the waters of Zam Zam, the 15-year-long experiment conducted by Dr Masaru Emoto is one of a kind and truly fascinating. The Japanese researcher and doctor of alternative medicine, in his five-volume book The Hidden Messages in Water writes: “Water is capable of thinking, fathoming, feeling, getting excited, and expressing itself.”
Dr Emoto is further known to have said that when Quranic verses were read aloud near the water, perfectly shaped crystals were formed upon slow freezing. When 99 names of Allah were recited on the water samples, 99 uniquely beautiful crystals were formed when frozen. However, when cursed, this water neither crystallised nor produced any formation.
Although Dr Emoto’s method of conducting experiments is being debated and his discoveries are currently categorised as pseudoscience, his recordings and photographs certainly take mankind one step closer to spirituality. Perhaps, water does have memory and carries with it the burdens cast by humanity. We may never know for sure. “Water is the mirror that has the ability to show us what we cannot see. It is the blueprint for our reality, which can change with a single, positive thought. All it takes is faith, if you’re open to it,” writes Dr Emoto.