Indian agriculture had survived successfully all these ages, thanks to the understanding cultivated by the sages of the ways found in Nature.
The noted personalities associated with developing the science of detecting underground water ways are Manu, Saraswad and Bhaskara Suri. Their contribution to this science has been recorded by Varahamihira in 125 verses in the 54th chapter of Brihad samhita.
This is an interesting and educative information that I have long wished to record in my blog.
After reading Ms Satya’s post, Bhishmakund – Sri Krishna’s knowledge of Artesian Wells
I decided to write it down.
Arjuna quenched the thirst of Bheeshma in Kurukshethra by hitting an underground water vein (Jala naadi)
The way the water gushed out shows that it must have been the ‘Great vein’ that runs vertically upwards.
Springs gush out of such veins.
All the other veins run under the ground in different directions.
Of them those running in the four directions (East, west, north and south) bear abundant water. They never disappoint the seeker of water, if identified correctly.
There are 4 other veins that run through the corner directions such as NE,NW,SW and SE. They carry very less water only.
These 8 veins are known by the name of the 8 Directional lords.
The location of these veins can be detected by 4 means namely,
3) rocks and
4) colour and nature of soil.
A striking feature is that the entire landmass of Jambu-dweepa of which our country is a part, is laden with plenty of water veins.
This landmass was called as Jambu dweepa owing to the abundant growth of Jambu trees (நாவல் மரம் in Tamil).
And Jambu tree grows just 3 cubits (1 cubit = 1-1/2 feet) west of a water vein!
That shows that this entire landmass has had numerous water veins running underneath which get filled up in every rainy season.
Jambu tree with a water-body nearby.
Thinking of the drought conditions of today and lack of ground water potential, I think we are missing out somewhere. May be we are digging where the veins run dry. Almost all the trees (50 or so) identified by the sages are found in
The tamarind, neem and Vilvam are common trees found in most places of rural Tamilnadu. Wherever they are found, at a distance of 3 cubits from them, the water veins run below.
If an anthill is found near them, definitely the water can be tapped from a specific direction from that location.
Wherever such trees with anthills are found, one must mark the 4 directions and locate them with reference to the directions.
Always the Jambu tree grows to the west of a water vein. So if you find a Jambu tree, the ground can dug at 3 cubits away to the east of that tree. Water will be available at a depth of 10 cubits. If clay is seen as one digs down, there will be sweet water.
Similarly if an ant-hill is seen near a Jambu tree, there is no mistaking of water availability nearby. In such a place ant-hill generally grows in the Southeast to the tree.
Wherever anthills are seen, water will be available there.
It is no wonder that such places become worshiping areas for Hindus who respect every bounty of nature as God.
The Sloka of Ganesha, with the mention of “kapittha Jaambhoo phala” is nothing but the two water dependent plants whose fruits are sacred for Lord Ganesha.
“Kapittha” tree is the wood-apple tree known as “விளா மரம் ” in Tamil.
Wood-apple tree (ViLaa maram)
The விளாம் பழம் and நாகப் பழம் are to be offered as neivedhya to Lord Ganehsa.
Both these trees grow well near water veins that carry abundant water.
I wonder whether there is an ecological angle to make these fruits as special for Ganesha so that these trees can be preserved from felling The presence of these two trees are crucial for identifying the water veins.
The other popular trees that help in identifying water veins are
1) Rotang (பிரம்பு in Tamil). Water vein runs to the west of this tree 3 cubits away. One can find white frog (தேரை ) as one digs down
2) The Indian fig (அத்தி மரம் ) is another common tree found in the South. Water runs to the east of it. It is known as Udumbaara in Sanskrit. This tree is mentioned in Atharvana Veda as the tree capable of giving prosperity and for vanquishing enemies. The amulet made from this tree bark does this magic! This tree grows near water veins only.
3) The kadamba trees also grow near water veins. If ant-hills are nearby, water is assured in abundance to the north of that tree.
5) The 5-leafed chaste tree known as ‘நொச்சி ’ in Tamil grows to the east of water veins. In any open ground they can be seen.
6) The 7-leaved plantain also indicates water veins to the north at just 1 cubit away from the plant.
7) Palasa trees with white flowers show water nearby.
8) If the date tree has two tops, water runs nearby.
9) The Bilva, neem, Banyan, jujube etc grow near water veins only.
10) Special mention must be made about Arjuna tree.
This is known as மருத மரம் in Tamil. The Marudam
11) Where double jasmines are found and where short trees are there with their branches bent towards the ground, there are water veins.
Sage Saraswad gives lot of hints on identifying water veins in the desert regions. The Harappan sites on Sarawathi river seems to have thrived with the identification of those sites by the sage Saraswad. The river was running underground. It was by means of trees and anthills, the sage could have located the flow of the river underground and made the settlements possible. Perhaps he got his name Saraswad for having located the course of Saraswathy river. It must be noted that this river runs North-south – as the Soma- Yamya water vein carrying abundant water below the ground.
Sage Saraswad gives importance to the Peelu tree in the areas which have no habitation or vegetation around or which are desert-like.
(Peelu - Tooth-brush tree)
If there is an ant-hill to the north east of the tree, water vein can be located to the west that flows to North. If an ant-hill is located to the east of the tree, then water vein can be located to the south of the tree.
If a group of anthills are found in such a desolate place with 5 anthills in a cluster and the central one white in colour, there will be a water vein underneath the central one.
If different types of plantation – with no identical ones to each other- are found in such a desolate region, water veins are a certainty in that region.
Date, Kadamaba, Jammi and dharbha are also to be noted for locating water.
These are the tips given by sage Saraswad.
Sage Manu gives clues on rocks and color of soil.
Generally if the soil is kapila varnam (brown colour), there will be sweet water underneath.
Copper colourd earth contains water of stringent taste.
Pale white contains salty water.
Reddish earth that glows like sun will not have water below.
Colour of sun, fire, ash, camel of ass will not have water.
The rocks that look cloudy, bee colored or have the colour of barley or dark gram or brown will have abundant water underneath. One can find white frogs under those rocks.
In those days, wherever neem, banyan, mango, kadamba, Jambu were found in clusters, there people used to dig ponds or tanks.
With the loss of the tanks, the trees also are gone depriving us of the clues to water veins under the ground. They served as ecological balancing factors in recharging underground veins and keeping up the waterbed high. But they are all lost at the cost of humanity.
The only such tank I have seen is the Theppa-k-kuLam of
As I read this chapter of Brihad Samhita, the enormous loss of knowledge and denuding of the Nature saddens me.
We, the people of this Jambu dweepa were self sufficient on water needs for many a millennia.
The entire stretch of land to the south of Vindhyas was criss-crossed with water veins in all 4 directions.
The North of Vindhyas had river basins catering to the needs of the people that saw the growth of cities since Thretha yuga.
The south of the Vindhyas had forests where the sages set up their hermitages and led a calm life of penance in Nature.
It makes funny reading whenever I come across write-ups by AIT enthusiasts that people were driven to the South.
The truth was that whoever wanted to lead a peaceful life in Natural surroundings preferred the South. Rama came to this part of
But all this is part of the past. A country lost in the influence of invaders must arise at least now.
We must look around ourselves and rebuild Nature as it once existed.
For this to happen, a re-discovery of the knowledge of our sages is needed to be done.
The agricultural and meteorological experts must study these inputs and use them for the good of humanity.