The divine water (తీర్థము) destroys three types of troubles (తాపత్రయము)
Water stored in plastic bottle is neither safe for the environment nor for our health (according to studies by WHO). On this note, here is an interesting observation. If water can turn unhealthy because of the way it is stored and processed, can the same water become healthy by “processing” or “qualifying” it in a Vedic way? This is exactly why we take theertham.
In a temple or home, one offers services to the Deity form such as cleansing the lotus feet of God or bathing Him etc. Theertham, or holy/divine water is that water which is utilised in such services to God. What does this theertham do? Why do vedic scriptures talk about taking theerthamthree times?
Most of our worries/troubles are caused by the below three factors:
A:di bhowthika – Living beings such as enemies, wild animals, snakes etc. Example: your colleague or friend might hurt you with words, and that troubles you.
A:di daivika – Unseen forces such as the impact of time, displeased spirits etc. Example: old age, or falling under the influence of a sinful being without their knowledge and begin to suffer.
A:di a:tmika – One’s own mind, Example: one may feel jealous of another and feel unrest.
When one takes this ‘qualified’ water three times, one will begin to feel free from the three types of troubles.
We may ask: What does it mean to ‘qualify’ water?
Qualifying water simply means to realise that the water (in fact anything and everything) is only a result and part of God’s beautiful creation. Everything exists for a certain purpose. Thus, it becomes our responsibility to utilise it properly (not misuse or abuse). Above this realisation, this water has touched the divine body of God who is accessible to us in Deity form! It is therefore beautifully pious and powerful!
What does it mean to feel free from the three types of troubles ? Does one get protected from these troubles when one takestheertham?
When one takes the theertham, the power of the Supreme works and the ignorance begins to fade. When one is free from ignorance and under the protection of that Supreme power, the three types of troubles cannot hurt such person.
How can water protect us from those three types of troubles?
That theertham is no longer plain water. Remember, we said – the way water is stored and processed can make it unhealthy for us. This water is now qualified as theertham and thus carries the grace of the Supreme power. We are making a conscious effort to recognise the water as an element created by that Supreme power and taking it after utilising it in service of the Deity. And this maturity in thought, and the corresponding action makes us rightly knowledgeable. This alleviates us from those troubles.
There is nothing in this world that does not belong to God. Therefore, Qualifying water does not mean that we impart any change in physical properties to water. It means that we understand how each element (in this instance, water) exists as a part of His creation.
Thus, when we go to temple and take theertham – werealise this fact. And for the rest of the day, we remember this fact. Now, every drop of water that goes into your body throughout the day becomes theertham. We will treat water with respect, and never misuse or abuse it.
If every drop we take becomes theertham, then why do we offer it to Deity?
Deity form of God is the most accessible one. Thus, we offer it to that form to tell Him that we realise the fact that everything in the world is His creation and be grateful to Him. Out of love, we add thulasi, cloves and cardamom to the water. Thulasi being fully fragrant from root to leaves indicate complete devotion to God. Cloves and cardamom add fragrance to enhance the joy of serving Him.
– From the discourse of Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji – 06th Feb, During Initiation Event