By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Vipasa, VipAZA, Vipaashaa
Vipāśā literally means ‘without bonds’.
Vipāśā, as per Ṛgveda
The Ṛgveda mentions the river Vipāṭ or Vipāś. It has been identified with the modern Beas river in the Punjab.
Vipāśā, as per Mahābhārata
According to the Mahābhārata, when the demon Kalmāṣapāda devoured Vasiṣṭha’s son Śakti, Vasiṣṭha tried to commit suicide due to intense sorrow by tying himself with ropes and falling into this river. Then this river was known as Uruñjirā. Being afraid of incurring the sin of killing a brāhmaṇa sage, the river or the presiding goddess of the river unbounded him and carried him to the bank. Hence Vasiṣṭha gave it the name Vipāśā which means that which freed him from the bonds.
- Ṛgveda 3.33.1 and 3; 4.30.11
- Pāśa means bond.
- Mahābhārata, Ādiparva 177.6
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore