Water is one of the important substances for the survival of plant as well as animal kingdom. It is one among the Maha bhutas according to Ayurveda & Indian philosophy. Modern scientists identified it erroneously as an element in the earlier days.
Shree Adi Sankaracharya quoted that "the water comes from the heavens and gets collected in the form of sea on the earth" .
Charaka considered Jala as the base for taste.
Water is essential in health as well as in disease. Conditions like diarrhoea, dehydration, dysuria, fever etc are treated mainly with water. Hence, intake of water can never be prohibited.
Harita mentioned that "thirst is a major clinical condition which may also result in death".
Identifying the importance of water in day to day life, several categories of water is described in the ancient texts.
Different types of water:
There is Eight types of water discribed in Ayurveda,
- Kupa jala (well water)- ksara guna, pitta vardhaka
- Sarasi jala (lake water)-madhura, Isat vatakara, agni dipana.
- Tatak a jala (pond water)- guru guna, vata vardhaka
- Choundya jala (pool or tank water)-: pitta vardhaka
- Prasravuna jala (spring water)- madhura rasa, laghu guna
- Udbhida jala (stream or canal water)- tridosa hara
- Vapi jala (deep well water)- madhura, pitta samaka
- Nadi jala (river water)- vata vardhaka, r iiksa guna, katu rasa
Among all Rain Water is considered to be the best. Rain water should be collected in a golden, silver, copper, quartz, glass or earthen vessel. This water is filtered through fine cloth and used.
Certain guidelines for water consumption:
If consumed before meal results in emaciation and if consumed after meal results in obesity. Therefore, water should be taken along with the meal.
Intake of water should be allowed only after the water consumed earlier is totally assimilated.
Scientific perspective of water
Water constitutes nearly two thirds of total weight of the body, 79% blood, 80% of brain & muscles and 10% even of bones. It is required both for internal and external cleanliness of the body. Usually it is utilized as a solvent and diluents in the body.
Its main function are:
- Replaces loss of fluids from tissues.
- Maintains the fluidity of blood and lymph.
- Helps elimination of waste materials of the body.
- Acts as a vehicle for dissolved food.
- Helps in the secretion of digestive juices.
- Regulates body temperature and acts as a distributer of body heat.
The minimum amount of water required for drinking and cooking per head per day is 4.55 Litres aprox) .
Sources of water
Water is primarily derived from ocean. In tropical regions, evaporation of water into air is about 700 gallons (3182.20 litre) per minute per each square mile of ocean surface. Water reaches earth again in the form of rain, hail, snow, dew or mist, from water vapours in the atmosphere, derived mainly from
Evaporation of the sea, from lakes, rivers and other waters of the land .
The chief sources of water supply are:
- Rain water or snow water and artificial lakes
- Surface water i.e. streams, canals, rivers, tanks & ponds
- Upland surface water & lakes
- Ground water i.e. wells & springs
- Sea water