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Knowledge of Ancient Hindus Regarding Purity of Water and Air

It is evident from various Hindu scriptures that the ancient Hindus had a clear insight into various aspects of the environment that are conducive for health and happiness of all life forms including the purity of water and air.

Charaka (4th century BC) and Sushurta (6th century BC) show intimate knowledge of the purity of water and air and its importance for human life. Some of the important observations of these ancients seers of Hinduism are:

Knowledge of Ancient Hindus Regarding Purity of Air 

Charaka held that the air, which is not in accordance with the season is not conducive to good health. Air that is excessively moist, harsh, speedy, cold, hot, rough or blocking, terribly noisy, whistling, smelling unsuitably or contaminated with particles from poisonous flowers (pollen), gravel, dust or smoke, etc., is unwholesome and is responsible for diseases and epidemics.

Knowledge of Ancient Hindus Regarding Purity of Water

Details of diseases that spread through poor quality of water are included in Ayurvedic texts like Charakasamhita, Sushrutasamhita, Ashtangasamgraham, Bhavaprakasham and others.

Water, which is vicious or oily, contaminated with worms, micro-organisms, leaves, moss and mud, spoiled in taste and color, has been described as polluted and unhealthy.

Contaminated water according to Vaghabhata causes diseases pertaining to throat and the alimentary canal, indigestion, flatulence, cough, fever, goiter, skin diseases, etc.

Heating, boiling and filtration methods of water purification are suggested both by Sushruta and Vagbhata.

Bhavamishra observes that water which is constantly in touch with the sun’s rays during daytime and moon’s rays during night can become wholesome and palatable.

Bhavamishra recommends that plant derived aromatic compounds, certain minerals and metals like copper can purify and improve the quality and palatability of water.

Bhavamishra also describes in detail the seasonal variations in the quality and properties of rain water.