Prayag in Allahabad is the place of confluence of Ganges, Yamuna & Saraswati rivers. The place is revered by Hindus and is one of the four places where a great fair called “Kumbh Mela” is held which is attended by many hundred thousand pilgrims.
It is believed that a holy dip in the confluence waters purifies a person washing all his sins. These are beliefs and metaphors because the sins and good deeds do not cling to the body like grime or clothes which even a good scrubbing and soap bath washes away. These are the things which depend upon individuals way of taking it.
Most of the Indians are gullible and of herd mentality. This is evident from the blind faith they put into the so called innumerable holy men who take them for ride. Every other day we hear stories about their deeds of corruption, twisting of law, grabbing of lands, silent rapes committed by them in their Ashrams.
Public memory being short, these events are easily forgotten. Second reason is that the followers don’t question or do the logical analysis of whatever is said, neither do they tolerate to hear anyone questioning these ideas.
Let us come back to the main subject after this detour. It is not impossible since we have not gone too far. So we are talking about the great river Ganges which is not only considered as a body of water but also a Goddess.
She was brought to earth for the salvation of the land and sons of Bhagirath. Though not happy to condescend and come down to earth, she was nevertheless bound to obey the orders, she had to come down to earth. Seeing her fury, the Shiva: the savior of Gods and life, took all the impact of Ganges on his head and smothered her to become less aggressive and benevolent stream.
Even from the physical point of view, it sustains and nourishes almost all of India in the North from West to East. It enriches the soil and makes it so fertile to grow crops in plenty.
On reaching the end of its journey near Calcutta, where it splits into many parts and along with Brahmaputra, the only river with masculine name, which also reaches the final destination, it forms the world’s biggest and most fertile delta called Sundarbans.
Similarly, many great rivers flow into the plains of Punjab and Sind. They also originate in the Glaciers of Himalayas but flow towards Arabian sea. These are five rivers namely Jhelum, Ravi, Chenab, Beas and Sutlej.
In fact the name Punjab is derived from two words namely Panj and Aab, meaning five and rivers respectively. So Punjab is the land of five rivers. These rivers are not so mighty as Ganges. These rivers also join successively to one another. One branch is formed by joining of Jhelum, Chenab & Sutlej and becomes Chenab, the other two acting as tributaries. Second branch is formed by merging of Beas into Sutlej.
On proceeding south west, these two branches join at a place called “Panjnad”, which literally translates to five rivers. This confluence should have been as important from the religious point of view as the confluence of Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati at Allahabad. Why this has not happened, I don’t know.
Although as we know the great civilization of Indus Valley flourished in Punjab and Sind areas mainly. In fact, Harappa and Moenjodaro were the most important centers of this civilization situated on the Indus river. But research has shown that it was spread all over Punjab, Sind and Gujarat up to Ganges in the Western Uttar Pradesh.
Flowing further south, Panjnad the joins another great river Indus and their confluence is called “Satnad“, the seven rivers. Just before joining with Panjnad, Indus also receives water from another tributary called Afghan river. This place should have been even more importance. From here Arabian sea is waiting to receive this great river which forms Indus delta before falling into the sea.