Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You know rivers are considered very sacred. Rivers are very sacred in our culture. All our civilization grew on the banks of the rivers. All over the world, in England civilization grew on the banks of river Thames, in Germany it grew on the banks of river Rhine, all the castles are near river Rhine. So water is important to life. Without water there is no life. So in ancient times people had cities built on the banks of the rivers. In this country, all sacred penance also happened on the banks of the rivers. Each river is known for its own special events, like Ganga is known for knowledge. All the Rishi Munis did tapasya on the banks of Ganga. All the love stories blossomed on the banks of Yamuna. Sri Krishna played Rasa Leela on the banks of Yamuna. Narmada River is known for bhakti (devotion), knowledge and logic. Saraswati River is known for brilliance or architecture. Sindu is known for its own special culture; the Sindi culture blossomed on the Sind river banks. Brahmaputra River is the only male river, All other rivers are female. Because Brahmaputra was not gentle at all, it was never gentle, it was always a rogue river. It would change its course and cause so much sorrow so Brahmaputra was called a male river, a very arrogant, adamant river. So like that rivers are considered sacred and people never used to pollute rivers. When they go to rivers they would first bow down to the rivers and put their feet there but they would never spit in the river water. Even today villagers don’t spit in the river Ganga, so you don’t pollute the river. People would never urinate in the rivers, they would go away for the urination and when they come to the river they consider the water very sacred. Whenever you consider something sacred you preserve it, you honor it, and you see that you don’t pollute it. Today that is not the case. We have forgotten that and we throw everything in the river. What all people throw into the river, we must not do such things, we need to keep the river pure. All the dirt of the city is thrown into the river. From Gangotri, the Ganga River, by the time it reaches Kanpur, it becomes very dirty, not just Kanpur, even before that. After Haridwar the water is not clean enough to put it in our mouth, to drink it is not possible, that is what has happened. We must not do this, in the Ganga river we must only put things like raw rice or flowers but besides that nothing else. Plastics, cloths, and all these things we must not put in the river.