In Hindu mythology, the river Ganga has a spiritual significance. The river is personalised as a Goddess Ganga.Millions of Hindus take a dip into it, to wash away all their sin. The emergence of river Ganga can be traced back from the Vedic period. For centuries, river Ganges in India has been revered for its “self-cleansing and special healing properties”. The self-cleaning property of the river has a scientific reason as well. The reason behind the self-cleaning property of the river is bacteriophage. Moreover, it has an extraordinary ability to retain oxygen.
What is bacteriophage?
Bacteriophage, informally known as phage is a virus that infects bacteria. It is as small as 10,000 part of a cm in size. It is covered with a protein shell termed as caspid. It can survive for thousands or lakhs of years without having food. The virus always attacks pathogenic or putrefying bacteria and destroys them. The bacteriophage is destroyed by boiling. Therefore, the water of holy Ganga must not be boiled.
The geographical emergence of river Ganga and its unique property of bacteriophage
The emergence of river Ganga is known as Gomukh. It is geographically proven that the Himalaya has emerged at a site where the Tethys Ocean once existed, as a result of a collision between the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates. Hence, it has been intriguing to find marine fossils high in the Himalayas.
Due to permafrost, a lot of sediments gushes out at the site of origin. The melting of permafrost forms the origin of Ganges. It is believed that the bacteriophages trapped at a much earlier timescale in the Himalayan permafrost as abiotic particles are being released gradually with the melting permafrost, thereby making a seed source of bacteriophage at Gomukh.
Ganga has a healing touch.
The water of river Ganga has antiseptic properties. A British physician E Hunbary Hankins in 1896, observed that the cholera microbes died within three hours but thrived in distilled water. The incident remained hypothetical to date.
It can fight diseases like tuberculosis, pneumonia, cholera and urinary tract infection, among others. In the 7th century, the British East India Company that had a trade with India and China preferred Gangajal for their 3 months voyage back to England. The water stayed sweet and fresh. Even the Mughal emperor, Akbar and the Maharajas of Jaipur carried the water in a huge urn for their personal use.
One more feature of this holy water is that it can retain oxygen 15–25 times higher than any other river in the world.
The Hindu mythology has many believe system that is correlated to science. The holy water is brought back to home by many Hindu people. It is often used to purify things. Even a little quantity of Ganga Jal when mixed to a normal water is believed to purify it. Though there has been a mention of Ganga in most of the mythological tales it has certainly to do with the bacteriophage.