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Hindu Runners !

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Ancient Hindu kings gave much importance to holy rivers and seas. They believed that immersing themselves in holy rivers or ponds or seas would wash away their sins. They visited them on auspicious days and bathed there with their family members. We have lots of references to such holy dips in Tamil and Sanskrit literature. Tamil kings visited the Himalayas and on their way they bathed in the holy Ganges. Seran Senguttuvan did this twice two thousand years ago. He brought a stone from the Himalayas and bathed it in the Ganga water and sculpted a statue for a chaste woman called Kannaki.

On special occasions like Coronation of a king or consecration ceremony of a temple or a Pattabishekam of a head of a Mutt they brought holy river waters from different parts of the country. Some people have even boasted of getting waters from 108 holy rivers and four seas for such ceremonies. The great Gupta king Samudra Gupta boasts that his rule extended to both the seas. It was true he had access to the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. But Tamils kings are more specific about bathing. They said in the copper plates that they bathed in the waters of four seas on a single day. How is it possible?
Mayan Runners
Mayans in the Central America did not know the wheels. They had no carts. (They used wheels only in Children’s toys). So they used fast runners for different purposes for sending messages or medicines etc. They have even shown such runners in their paintings. They ran very fast like the Marathon runners.

A Cheran king Palyanai Selkezu Kuttuvan, who ruled Kerala 2000 years ago, made elephants to stand in a row to bring waters from the three seas, says Sangam Tamil book Pathtru Pathu. Another king Veerapandiya Kattabomman who lived just 250 years ago built Bell Towers to ring the bell as soon as the main Arti was done in his favourite Skanda Temple at Tiruchendur. When the temple bell rang for the morning Deepa Aradhana (Arti), the bells in the towers rang in succession. They were located at a distance of a furlong or so. Even today we can see the remnants of those towers. He was so devoted to God.
How did they do it?
Dalawaipuram Copper plates of Paranthaka Veera Narayanan of ninth century CE say that the Pandya king bathed in the waters of Four Seas on the same day. Many other Tamil kings also said the same thing. Gauthami Putra Sathkarni’s rule extended to the three seas.

A Marathon runner can run 13 miles per hour. So if the Pandya king hired relay runners each one can run 13 miles easily and pass the message or the product to another person. If he used horse riders each rider could have covered approximately 25 miles per hour. The holy waters from different seas would have reached his capital city Madurai in four to six hours. The three great kings of Tamil Nadu Chera, Choza, Pandya had their respective capitals in Vanji (Karur), Uraiyur and Madurai. All these cities are within 150 miles from the three seas (Bay of Bengal , Arabian sea and Indian ocean). More over in Kanyakumari, India’s southern most town, all the three seas meet and people thronged this place for holy dips from time immemorial.

In Kanyakumari district there are 12 important Shiva temples. On Shivratri day every year, thousands of devoted Hindus run 50 miles and cover all the temples at one go. They were given all facilities all along the route. They chant Govinda while running. This strengthens the unity between the followers of Shiva and Vishnu. There is a story behind this ritual linking Mahabharata and Purusha Mrugam.

Even today, Hindus bring Ganges waters in pots and use it on special religious occasions. Several temples in Tamil Nadu receive Ganges water in trucks on regular basis. Hindus believe that they have to visit Varanasi at least once in a life time and bring the holy Ganges water to Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and bathe the Shivaling with it. Such beliefs give not only mental satisfaction, but also generate a good income to tourist industry.

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