Who has not heard or read about Mother River Ganga ?
Ganga Maata, Ganga Arthi, Recently Clean Ganga and many more such discussions and events on NEWS. She is always in everyone’s words and thoughts, almost daily
Ganga is considered one of the most sacred rivers by Indians.
She originates in the Gangotri Glacier.
She is also personified as Goddess Ganga.
It is said that Ganga is the only river that flows in all the three lokas
She is the daughter of King Himavath; the personification of the Himalayan mountains.
Gangavataranam – The Pretext
As per our Puranas, it is said that Wherever Ganga would go that particular area would become pure. So the Gods took her to the heavens.
After some years, a king named Sagara (who is said to have had 60,000 sons!!) performed the Ashwamedha Yagnya.
So Indra stole the Ashwamedha Yagnya horse and tied it behind a tree; Nearby, was Sage Kapila’s Ashram which was in the Patala Loka (The nether world). At that time, Sage Kapila was sitting in deep meditation.
When Sagara heard of stolen Yagnya Horse, he sent his 60,000 sons to search for the Ashwamedha Yagnya horse.
During their search they found the horse in Sage Kapila’s ashram.
They assumed that Sage Kapila had stolen the horse and started accusing him for the theft.
As Kapila was in deep meditation, he was disturbed and was raging in anger. When he opened his eyes with utmost anger, all the 60,000 sons of Sagara were burnt to ashes.
Sagara was waiting for the return of his 60,000 sons and the horse, got the message that his 60000 sons were burnt to ashes due to their disrespect behaviour towards the sage. Sage Kapila advised that only Ganga mata can relieve the 60000 sons of their sins. Their souls would reach heaven only when Ganga flows on their ashes.
Ganga finally flows onto Earth
King Sagara’s grandson Anshuman and Anshuman’s son King Dilipa both tried to get Ganga down to the Earth but had failed in their efforts.
Learning about this unpleasant state of his forefathers, Bhagiratha – the son of King Dilipa, started performing vigorous penance to Lord Brahma .
Lord Brahma was pleased with Bhargiratha and granted boon to release Ganga to the Earth.
Ganga was with such might and arrogance that, she would destroy the Earth once she jumps onto Earth.
Bhagiratha, started praying to Lord Shiva. Although he had permission to take Ganga to Earth, he had to save mother Earth as well, from destruction.
Shiva was pleased by Bhagiratha’s penance, and granted him a boon too. As per Bhagiratha’s request, Lord Shiva locked Ganga in his plait and released her as a small stream.
Bhagiratha went forward and Ganga followed him purifying each and every place during her course
Ganga becomes Janhavi
During this time, Jahanu Maharishi was doing Yagnya. Even though Ganga was released as a small stream, her might was such that she was flowing with great force.
The gushing waters of Ganga destroyed the Yagnya of Jahanu. The angry sage drank her completely.
Bhagiratha pleaded Sage Jahanu to release her and explainde him of the broader benefit of Ganga to be on Mother Earth.
Sage Jahanu, once pacified, released Ganga from his ears.
Thus, Ganga got a new name and henceforth she was also called Jhanhavi.
Ganga again followed Bhagiratha. She flowed over the ashes of the sons of Sagara. Thus, they attained Moksha.
Since Bhagiratha brought Ganga to the Earth from the heavens, Ganga is also called Bhagirathi .
Thus came River Ganga /River Ganges onto Mother Earth.
Pradyumna J Sriram
Pradyumna is a 5th grader from Kumaran’s school, Bangalore . He is a passionate mridangist and learns vocal music. He is too passionate of cricket as well