Whenever the name of Dev Prayag is mentioned, the names of Rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswathi immediately flash in one’s mind. However while we see, hear and feel the presence of the Rivers Ganga and Yamuna, River Saraswathi remains a mystery. But, it is the greatest truth that this pious River although not seen as a physical form exists, and since times immemorial made its presence felt in our culture.
The goddess of Knowledge, Saraswathi is mentioned as the personification of a River. However, later the River came to be known as a special entity and was worshipped as a River goddess. River Saraswathi has been mentioned as a prominent River in our Vedas. The Rig Veda gives it utmost prominence. Primarily, it is called as the keeper of celestial rivers and its context is mentioned more than seventy two times. This is a testimony that River Saraswathi was a great River flowing in ancient India. The Rig Veda also mentions her importance as a chant which offers protection to the celestial waters and Rivers. According to the Rig Veda, River Saraswathi Is given the pious place of a mother offering protection to all, and hence above all the rivers.
In the Puranas, River Saraswathi is referred as the river of pools, saras meaning pool. The Skanda Purana mentions its origin from the Kamandal of Brahma Ji and its flow in the divine mountain range of the Himalayas, and then becoming an Antarvahini (Underground River) by turning its course to West. As the River originated form the sacred Kamandal of Brahma Ji, it is also called as Brahmi. Few Puranas also attribute its birth from the Pipal tree in the Himalayas.
Mahabharat Epic describes the flow of River Saraswathi as a river originating from the Himalayas and drying up into a desert at the west of the Kuru kingdom. In the present times, this area is exactly similar to the places of Rajasthan and Haryana, in which the seasonal river of Ghaggar River flows and reflects the attributes of River Saraswathi.
In the present days, many scientific institutions have taken up the research and revival of this great ancient river and try to utilise it to the benefit of people living in the desert areas. Although the physical disappearance of the river for mysterious reasons in unknown, it is indeed true that the pious River Saraswathi is treated as a mother, and worshipped and revered in the heart and mind of every person who knows the importance of our great Hindu Rivers and their significance in our Indian Culture.