In this shloka, Acharya Charak says that one should always drink antariksha jala or the space water. In this blog, let us see what space water is!
षष्टिकाञ्छालिमुद्गांश्च सैंन्धवामलके यवान् ।
आन्तरीक्षं पयः सर्पिर्जांगलं मधु चाभ्यसेत्।।
Charak Samhita Sutra Sthana (5th Chapter – 12)
Space water appears to be a curious term. It appears out of context for an ancient civilization. Therefore, most people imagine that it must be rainwater as it comes from the sky. But rainwater is referred to as Varsha jal. So, this space water is not rainwater. But can you imagine that “space water” is distilled water!
What is distilled water?
Distilled water is the most refined form of water as it is free of all other elements. During the distillation, the water rises as vapor. Most of the other substances dissolved in the water remain in the boiling vessel as they are too heavy to rise with the vapor. This vapor is condensed using cooling treatment to regain the purest form of water. This distilled water is free from pathogens, free radicals, and other dissolved impurities.
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Rain water and Space water
We have developed artificial distillation methods that imitate natural phenomenon of distillation. Distillation naturally occurs at multiple levels in nature. However, the biggest form of natural distillation that occurs during the process of cloud formation.
The water on earth turns to vapour and rises due to solar heat, to forms clouds. These clouds contain water vapor free from all impurities. With the advent of the rainy season, these clouds condense to form rain. Therefore, rain water is nothing but naturally distilled water. In this manner, even rainwater can be called space water or antariksha jal.
However, as this distilled water descends to the earth, many atmospheric impurities dissolve in it. With the current levels of pollution, this factor is especially important today. For example, an atmosphere may contain very high levels of pollutants like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. These pollutants dissolve in the rain water to form acid rain. This acid rain has damaging effects on all forms of life on earth.
So, rainwater may or may not be as clean as the distilled water, depending on the environment. That’s why space water cannot be synonymous to rain water. However, the process of distillation can give us space-water.
Did Vedic people know about distilled water?
Most of us believe that the Vedic people were unaware of scientifically sophisticated processes like distillation. Western historians also believe that the art of distillation was limited to alcohol productions and initially originated in Greece, and passed down to civilizations and cultures.
However, archeological evidence found in ancient sites of the Indus valley civilization shows that the art of distillation was extensively practiced in India approx 4000 years back. The Vedic people also used distillation for various other purposes like zinc smelting and purification!
This kind of apparatus was used in distillation. However, there were other effective designs of distillation apparatus also in practice.
This apparatus is similar to the modern distillation apparatus.
These distillation apparatus apparently had two major functions,
However, they are used for the distillation of herbal decoctions as well.
Another type of distillation apparatus.
water distilled through these apparatus was as clean and pure as the present distilled water. It was free of both gross impurities, excess mineral content and harmful microbes.
However, we find that majority of the ancient population drank normal water and not distilled water. Probably, because water available in local water bodies like rivers, wells, lakes, and ponds was free of present-day pollution and therefore drinkable. It was not the best option, but hassle-free and reasonably healthy.
Why drinking water or space water is important?
Ayurveda says that even water is digested in the alimentary canal before getting absorbed. And it is required as the water also may contain undesirable minerals, impurities, and pathogens.
The term digestion in this context is not only related to breaking down the nutrients. It also indicates a homogenizing process that makes any foreign substance compatible with the body. Therefore, all the processes like
- Warming the water to make its temperature equal to the internal body,
- Removing pathogens from it,
- Changing or improving its ph etc
Comes under the process of digestion.
For this reason, Ayurveda prohibits drinking impure or polluted water as it is heavy (full of impurities) and needs a lot of digestion (homogenization).
What does Ayurveda say about distilled water?
According to the base shlok of this blog, one should drink antariksha jal everyday. The word antariksha refers to space in broad terms. This space is different from the elemental space (Akash), the primary element of creation. Let’s see what different Ayurvedic texts say about types of water and ideal water for consumption.
One of the primary materia medica of Ayurveda, Bhav Prakash Nighantu describes two forms of water – divya (belonging to the space) and bhauma (belonging to the earth). Ideally, one should consume water from the space, not from the land. But, that doesn’t mean that we should drink rain water like birds. We can create our space water, through the process of distillation.
Ayurvedic classical texts describe antariksha jal to be laghu or light to digest. It means that body can effortlessly absorb space water.
Apart from Charak Samhita, another Ayurvedic classic Astanga Hridya talks about Divya jala or the celestial water. The text recommends drinking divine water every day.This divya jala or divine/celestial water is the space water or antariksha jala of Acharya Charak.
Space water or antariksha jala of Charak Samhita is the distilled water. Ideally, all of us should consume distilled water. Today, more and more people become aware about the health hazards of RO (reverse osmosis), UV treatment (ultraviolet rays), Water Chlorination and similar unnatural water treatments.
Distillation is a simple, natural and effective process that brings the best drinkable water. I hope that this information helps you to make better health choices regarding the quality of your drinking water.
Important: This article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute bodyatrisk.com recommendation or endorsement.
Please do not start drinking distilled water which is available in the market. You should only consume distilled water which is prepared in the ayurvedic way and that too it is important to consult a reputed doctor or ayurvedic doctor before making change in your diet.
In the next blog, let us explore why Ayurveda recommends everyday consumption of "paya" or milk, and whether this word actually indicates milk or something else!