The fight over Cauvery: ‘Jewel among maidens, the life force of civilisation’

Long, long ago, when time was a river, there lived a rishi called Kavera. He had a daughter named Lopamudra. She was married to the sage Agastya, who kept her in his kamandalu. Once when a famine stalked the land, Lord Brahma took the form of a crow and tipped the kamandalu. And out fell Kavera’s daughter — Kaveri — who took the form of a river to bring relief and prosperity. The Skanda Purana and Agni Purana tell the story a little
differently. In some tellings, Kavera is a king; and Lopamudra, a representation of Vishnu’s maya, has twin manifestations of a human and holy water. In all of them, Kaveri, or Cauvery, assumes the state of a river goddess with immense capacity to love and nurture. Not surprisingly, she is counted among the seven sacred rivers invoked in the nitya vandana sloka, Gange cha Yamune chaiva Godavari Saraswati/ Narmada Sindhu Kaveri jalesmin sannidham kuru.

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