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Kumbha – Water Pot In Hinduism - Reason - Symbolism - Meaning

Kumbha, water pot, is deemed the symbol par excellence of plenty, welfare and beatitude in Hinduism. A pitcher full of water signifies prosperity and fertility. Both in puja, ritual, art and festivals, a richly decorated pot full of water and covered with bunches of flowers and foliage is found. It is common to all regions of India and to all groups of Hindus.

Water pot of Hinduism is universally employed in embellishing houses, shrines, and monuments. The ritual act using the kumbha forms the nucleus of worship and offerings.
The symbolism of the pot is thus defined in Atharva veda: “ The Vase of plenty is laid on time. We behold it manifesting in diverse forms.

In early art on finds it shown in the set of eight auspicious sings as the support for Goddess Lakshmi; a symbol of Buddha’s nativity; as a decorative motif giving birth to vegetal growth and ornamental designs; sometimes a motif for the base or capital of a pillar; door frame decoration, and so on.

Water Pot In Hinduism is an iconographic attribute it is associated with river goddesses, Nagas, Lakshmi, Vasudhara, Kubera, Varuna, Dhanvantari and other divinities.

Both in Tantric and Smarta traditions a kumbha may form the symbol for a deity or deities, being invoked to appear there and receive worship.

The word Kumbha is also the name for Aquarius, the eleventh sign of the zodiac, and for an astronomical conjunction specified for a religious bath in holy rivers particularly at Prayaga, Haridwar, Nashik and Ujjain during Kumbh Mela.

The most famous incident associated with Kumbha in puranas is during the Samudra Manthan or churning of the ocean. The elixir or amruta appears in a Kumbha.

Bibliography:
  • A Sanskrit English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged With Special Reference to Cognate Indo European Language (200) - Monier Williams Monier - Motilal Banarsidass - New Delhi
  • Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume VI - page 177 - IHRF 



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