Sunday, March 11, 2007

Story of Ganga

The story of Ganga is interrelated to the story of Benares because here lies the holy temple of Baba Vishwanath (Father, he who protects the world). The story of Benares will be told in my next post. In the photos you can see the first of the Ghats or the man built embankments where you can see various activities from playing of cricket to burning of the dead. Next post.

Sagara, a legendary king of Ayodhya had no children . He performed long and ardous penances as a result of which he was promised with the birth of 60,000 children. he did get these sons and when they grew up, king Sagara resolved to perform the Ashwamedh Yajna. Indra, the lord of heavens was alarmed and he feared that Sagara would become very strong and dethrone him.

Indra descended to the earth and stealthily carried away the horse , and he placed it in patal (the subterranean region) just near the place where the famous sage Kapila was sitting in deep meditation. The 60,000 sons of Sagara, after searching the horse all over the earth, dug a hole and reached patal. There they found the horse standing near a sage who was sitting with eyes closed in meditation. They thought he was the thief and began beaing him. sage Kapila, who awoke from his meditation, in his anger reduced all the princes to ashes.

The wandering sage Narada informed Sagara about the fate of his sons. King Sagara prayed to sage Kapila for relief, who advised that if he could somehow bring the goddess Ganga form heavens to the earth and if the ashes were washed with her water, their salvation would be possible. sagara gave the throne to his single surviving son and went to forest for prayers but perished in his efforts. So also his son, who too sacrificed his life as a penance after giving throne to his son Dalip.

For many years, no issue was born to Dalip from any of his two wives. Later with god Shiva's blessings he did get a son named Bhagiratha who was deformed. When this boy became young a sage blessed him and he turned into a healthy and handsome prince. Bhagiratha now addressed prayers regularly to different gods for the restoration of his 60,000 relatives suffering on account of a curse. he performed severe penance earnestly for a very long time. Both god Shiva and goddess Ganga were ultimately propitiated.

As Ganga had to fall from heaven to earth , Bhagiratha feared that the earth will be crushed by her fall. So Ganga swept down in three great instalments and Shiva standing on the Himalaya, caught Ganga in his matted hair to mitigate the impact. At length Shiva allowed a part of Ganga to fall on earth and Bhagiratha blowing the conch given to him bygod Vishnu led Ganga to seas. later she was taken to patal and so all the 60,000 sons of Sagara were purified.

Source: Gods And Goddesses Of India
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1 comment:

Reena said...

Hi! I read a book about Gods and Godess of India and I think I read this story, but I didn't remember it. This post is quite nice! :D

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