Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
According to the Arunachal Tourism website and Wikipedia, Parshuram Kund is a Hindu pilgrimage centre situated on the Lohit river, about 21 km from Tezu. Many sources also locate Parshuram Kund on the banks of the Brahmaputra river. Parshuram Kund is also known as Brahmakund.
It is said that, on being asked by his father, Parshuram killed his mother, Renuka, with an axe. The handle of the axe, however, clung to his hand. He was told that the only way to wash off his sin was by taking a dip in the Brahma Kund. Only then would the axe stuck to his hand drop. The spot where the axe dropped from his hand came to be known as Parshuram Kund. Today, thousands of devotees take the holy dip in its water to wash away their sins each year during Makar Sankranti in January.
The site of Parashuram Kund was established by a sadhu (sage) in the 18th century. In 1950, the old site was completely destroyed by the earthquake that hit Northeast India.
The major river named after Brahma is the Brahmaputra. In Sanskrit, Brahmaputra means ‘Son of Lord Brahma’. Therefore, among most of the rivers in the Indian subcontinent which have female names, this river has the rare male name.
The Brahmaputra is also one of the longest rivers in India. Its upper course was long unknown, and its identity with the Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet and the Siang in Arunachal Pradesh was only established by British-led explorations in 1884-86. Before this discovery, in the plains of Assam for ages the Lohit river was mistaken as the Brahmaputra. There are still many songs and references to the Brahmaputra as the Lohit in Assam.
Since for ages in Assam the Lohit river was mistaken as the Brahmaputra, is there a possibility that Brahmakund could have been mistakenly situated on the banks of the Lohit river? It appears that both elements have been named after Lord Brahma. If this curious case of mistaken identity is analyzed logically, Brahmakund should be situated on the banks of the Brahmaputra. The Brahmaputra is called the Siang in Arunachal Pradesh. Therefore it may be concluded that Brahmakund, or Parshuram Kund, should by situated somewhere on the banks of the Siang river near Pasighat!
It appears that as far as the Brahmaputra river and Brahmakund are concerned, for ages history and geography were mixed up and some rivers and places have been wrongly sited or named. A detailed study of research works and history books may be required to resolve this perplexing confusion of names and places. If not resolved, it may be that many devotees are taking a dip to wash away their sins at the wrong place. (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)