Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Exploring modern Theravāda interpretations of the Buddha's teaching.
SarathW
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by SarathW » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:04 am

in places the Ganges which usually flows in southeasterly direction turns north or northerly for few miles,
What is the reason for this?
Aren't all rivers backflow in some places?
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chownah
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by chownah » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:58 am

SarathW wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:04 am
in places the Ganges which usually flows in southeasterly direction turns north or northerly for few miles,
What is the reason for this?
Aren't all rivers backflow in some places?
This is not backflow. Backflow occurs where some large rivers empty into the ocean. It happens when the tide is rising. The tide rises higher than the water flowing out and this causes water from the ocean to flow back up the river....in some cases for quite a ways...but not far enough to reach varanasi....I even looked at a map to see if varanasi was near the ocean...which it is not.
It can happen in unusual circumstances farther from the ocean.....for instance where two rivers meet if one river drains an area with a huge downpour and the other river drains an area with little or no rain (for instance if one river drains the rainy side of a mountain and the other river drains the dry side of the mountain. In cases like this the high water in one of them may be higher than the flow in the other one causing the flow to reverse in the one with the lower flow.
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by No_Mind » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:59 am

SarathW wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:04 am
in places the Ganges which usually flows in southeasterly direction turns north or northerly for few miles,
What is the reason for this?
Aren't all rivers backflow in some places?
Ganges turns north in places due to the slope of the land/terrain. I am sure north flowing rivers like Russia's Ob, Lena, and Yenisey rivers turn south in places due to same reason.

At least one other river is considered holy due to a northward turn it takes. There has to be many more.

Back flow of a large river is usually due to tidal reasons but back flow of a tributary may occur due to a cloud burst upstream along the principal river.

Your suspicion that the bowl may have floated upstream due to back flow from a larger river with which Nairañjanā joined is not unfounded. The other name of Nairañjanā is Phalgu. Phalgu rises from confluence of two streams the Lilajan and Mohana. Phalgu meets a tributary of Ganges called Punpun. It is dry most of the year except during monsoons.

So it is quite possible that if cloudburst had happened some place upstream on the Ganges .. water entering the Punpun (instead of the other way around) would cause Nairañjanā river to flow backward.

Like most seasonal rivers there is flow only between late June and September. It is dry at other times. Here is a video.



Before becoming a Buddhist, I must have crossed it few times but it never seemed special to me. Cannot walk a mile in this country without tripping over a holy or historically significant river or stone or hill or forest or meadow.

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binocular
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by binocular » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:32 pm

This is like when people discuss the virgin birth of Jesus, trying to come up with all kinds of explanations of how a virgin birth is possible (or why it isn't) ...

chownah
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by chownah » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:16 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:32 pm
This is like when people discuss the virgin birth of Jesus, trying to come up with all kinds of explanations of how a virgin birth is possible (or why it isn't) ...
For a woman to become pregnant without having sex is not a mystery....I would explain how it is done but I don't want to risk censure so I won't.
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binocular
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by binocular » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:10 am

All that trying to explain away with common sense how a bowl could float in the opposite direction of the river's flow, is portraying the Buddha as someone performing parlor tricks, or, in the best case, as someone who was just lucky (both in terms of the movement of his bowl in the river, as well as in terms of his enlightenment).

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binocular
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by binocular » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:29 am

chownah wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:51 am
Oh, good. Now I understand. I know that english is not your first language....when you say "People who are into science seem to have the most intense penchant for superstition ..." it is usually taken to mean that scientists are superstitious.
Thanks for the clarification.
Now, can you explain what this has to do with what I was talking about?
I'll recap a part of a plot from an Indian soap opera because it really captures the essence of what I'm talking about:
Long story short, Gauri is a medical doctor, she is devoted to science and doesn't believe any of the Indian rituals and beliefs, she thinks they are mere superstitions. Jagdish is also a doctor, in a marriage with Anandi since they were small children. Gauri seduces Jagdish and they marry. Anandi is thus left disgraced and without means. Anandi's mother is so distressed over her daughter's fate that she gets ill and dies. Gauri has nightmares about Anandi's mother, and appears to be unable to get rid of them, feeling guilty that she hastened her death. Eventually, Gauri's mother, a traditional Hindu woman, goes to a brahmana to get help. The brahmana gives her some sacred ashes and instructs that Gauri needs to scatter the ashes where Anandi's mother died and ask her spirit for forgiveness. Gauri agrees to do that, but here's the twist: even though Gauri's mother relayed the brahmana's instructions correctly, all that sticks in Gauri's mind is that the ashes need to be scattered in the home of Anandi's mother. She completely misses the part that she needs to do it and that she needs to ask forgiveness.
The brahmana actually gave good psychological advice, but it's Gauri who sees only superstition in it and acts superstitiously herself.

You can see this pattern in scientifically minded people who omit some vital part of a ritual, thus effectively making it a superstition.
Like when people try to come up with common-sense explanation for how a bowl could float in the opposite direction of a river's flow, completely omitting the relevance of whose that bowl was, who spoke of it, and in what circumstances.

chownah
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by chownah » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:57 am

binocular wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:29 am

Like when people try to come up with common-sense explanation for how a bowl could float in the opposite direction of a river's flow,
But this is EXACTLY the topic of this thread
Title: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?
Go read the original post.
chownah

SarathW
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by SarathW » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:17 am

You can see this pattern in scientifically minded people who omit some vital part of a ritual, thus effectively making it a superstition.
Like when people try to come up with common-sense explanation for how a bowl could float in the opposite direction of a river's flow, completely omitting the relevance of whose that bowl was, who spoke of it, and in what circumstances.
This is exactly the point I want to make in this thread.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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binocular
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by binocular » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:24 am

chownah wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:57 am
But this is EXACTLY the topic of this thread
Title: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?
Go read the original post.
And it says:
SarathW wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:12 pm
Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Is this the support for the story that Buddha's alms bowel went up word the Ganges river?
Even if the river would, for some entirely mundane physical reason change direction of the flow, this should still have no bearing on how a devoted Buddhist understands the story about the Buddha's bowl floating upwards the stream on a special occasion.

chownah
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by chownah » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:04 pm

binocular wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:24 am
chownah wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:57 am
But this is EXACTLY the topic of this thread
Title: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?
Go read the original post.
And it says:
SarathW wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:12 pm
Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Is this the support for the story that Buddha's alms bowel went up word the Ganges river?
Even if the river would, for some entirely mundane physical reason change direction of the flow, this should still have no bearing on how a devoted Buddhist understands the story about the Buddha's bowl floating upwards the stream on a special occasion.
So, now you are saying that anyone who does not understand the story in the way you think it should be understood is not devoted? ....just like you were saying that you understand my mother-in-laws understanding about her superstitions even though you have never met her or even heard anything about her......what kind of bs is this?

PLease do tell us how a devoted buddhist understands the story and we can take a poll and find out who is devoted and who is not......how deep can it get?
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binocular
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by binocular » Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:07 pm

I'll just repost what the Venerable said earlier here:
Dhammanando wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:20 am
The power of augury operating via dhammaniyāma, prophetic dreams, earthquakes occurring at pivotally auspicious moments, marvels wrought by saccakiriyās, etc. are all impeccably Buddhist, even if they happen not to find favour with protestant Buddhists of the drearily modernist sort.

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binocular
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by binocular » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:21 pm

chownah wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:19 am
It really is remarkable that you seem to think that you understand what my thai mother in law was teaching me and her attitudes toward money.......you must be clairvoyant in the extreme since you don't know who I am or who my thai mother in law was.......but I guess you know better than me.....
One doesn't have to know someone personally in order to recognize that an action they do is a ritual. Ask any anthropologist.
Whether a particular person has performed such a ritual with a mind of superstition or not is another matter, and was never the issue here.

chownah
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by chownah » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:02 am

binocular wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:21 pm
chownah wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:19 am
It really is remarkable that you seem to think that you understand what my thai mother in law was teaching me and her attitudes toward money.......you must be clairvoyant in the extreme since you don't know who I am or who my thai mother in law was.......but I guess you know better than me.....
One doesn't have to know someone personally in order to recognize that an action they do is a ritual. Ask any anthropologist.
Whether a particular person has performed such a ritual with a mind of superstition or not is another matter, and was never the issue here.
It was never the issue here until you made it an issue. I made a simple post and you have a better explanation of my mother in laws attitudes (a woman you have never met and know absolutely nothing about) than I have.....again you are slipping into some delusional alternate reality taking this thread off topic.....
chownah

chownah
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by chownah » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:07 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:17 am
You can see this pattern in scientifically minded people who omit some vital part of a ritual, thus effectively making it a superstition.
Like when people try to come up with common-sense explanation for how a bowl could float in the opposite direction of a river's flow, completely omitting the relevance of whose that bowl was, who spoke of it, and in what circumstances.
This is exactly the point I want to make in this thread.
I have a question for you. Why did you ask the question "Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?"
chownah

chownah
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by chownah » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:36 am

chownah wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:02 am
binocular wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:21 pm
chownah wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:19 am
It really is remarkable that you seem to think that you understand what my thai mother in law was teaching me and her attitudes toward money.......you must be clairvoyant in the extreme since you don't know who I am or who my thai mother in law was.......but I guess you know better than me.....
One doesn't have to know someone personally in order to recognize that an action they do is a ritual. Ask any anthropologist.
Whether a particular person has performed such a ritual with a mind of superstition or not is another matter, and was never the issue here.
It was never the issue here until you made it an issue. I made a simple post and you have a better explanation of my mother in laws attitudes (a woman you have never met and know absolutely nothing about) than I have.....again you are slipping into some delusional alternate reality taking this thread off topic.....
chownah
I want to reassure you that I am not agitated or in some hostile mood....I am quite calm. I am not saying this stuff to try to cause you grief. I am trying to hold up a mirror for you. Just think about it. You seem to be of the view that even though you have never met my mother in law and know absolutely nothing about her that your discernment is so strong that you can make statements about her attitudes or intentions. I knew my mother in law for many years and of all the people I have met in the world she is one of those I hold most dear.......and you think that my discernment is so poor that without even knowing any of the particulars you decide that I am not able to discern here attitude or intention at all. I am quite willing to admit that it is possible that I could be wrong about here attitude or intention but to think that you have a better understanding of it is total bs.....are you omniscient?....

Here, just to refresh your memory about this:
chownah wrote: ↑
Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:26 pm
Sure.....the traditional buddhist world is full of ghosts of all sorts.....and all sorts of magical things that can help you out in life....my mother in law showed me if on an occasion which honors yourself you receive a certain type of ornate floral assemblage and you receive some money how you can hold the money in your right hand and move it in a circular motion above the floral assemblage and this will bring you more money in your life.......
then you replied:
Which means that one is supposed to have the right attitude toward money, to have a kind of reverence for it; and reverence has to be expressed somehow. Nothing problematic about that.
Seems you think you know what my mother in laws attitudes towards money is......what a joke :jumping: She was trying to show me how I could get more money....how I could attract money to myself....if you knew her and saw what she told me it would be obvious (well perhaps not to you....I should say if "one" knew her etc.)....it is not a subtle thing if you knew my mother in law....
chownah

chownah
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by chownah » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:11 am

chownah wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:07 am
SarathW wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:17 am
You can see this pattern in scientifically minded people who omit some vital part of a ritual, thus effectively making it a superstition.
Like when people try to come up with common-sense explanation for how a bowl could float in the opposite direction of a river's flow, completely omitting the relevance of whose that bowl was, who spoke of it, and in what circumstances.
This is exactly the point I want to make in this thread.
I have a question for you. Why did you ask the question "Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?"
chownah
I have waited a few days so that if there were people wanting to post directly to the topic that I would not be interrupting them....but....since there has been no additional posting I figured I could move a bit off of the main points of discussion and repeat the question: If the point you were trying to make is represented in what binocular said then why did you ask the question "Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?"
chownah

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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by Bundokji » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:42 am

From my experience, signs become less superstitious when the individual's attitude towards life becomes less manipulative.

I was reading excerpts from Ajahn Chah's biography written by Ajahn Jayasaro in his new book. He mentioned a story of a crow giving Ajahn Chah signs about people from the same family who were going to die and describing the grief experienced by Ajahn Chah when he saw the suffering in the family every time they brought a new member of the family to be cremated.

There are good reasons why more humans are becoming more skeptical about signs and dismiss them as superstitions. I think the answer is because those who believe in them interpret everything in service of greed and fear (greed for worldly gains and fear of worldly losses). I think the less an individual is driven by greed and fear, the more they encounter meaningful coincidences in the form of signs.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

chownah
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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by chownah » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:45 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:42 am
I think the less an individual is driven by greed and fear, the more they encounter meaningful coincidences in the form of signs.
What gives a coincidence meaning?
chownah

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Re: Is Ganges river back flow in Varanasi?

Post by No_Mind » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:13 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:42 am
I think the less an individual is driven by greed and fear, the more they encounter meaningful coincidences in the form of signs.
That is the most insightful observation I have encountered in a long, long while. Food for thought.

:namaste:

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