The Story of The Ganga

Sage Vishwamitra led Sri Rama, Lakshmana and the other hermits to witness a Yajna in Mithila. When they came near the Ganga, Sri Rama asked the Sage about the origin of the Holy River.

The Sage narrated the story of King Sagara, a forefather of Sri Rama, his cruel son Asamanja, Sagara's 60,000 sons born of a massive foetus, Asamanja's likeable son Amsuman, Sagara's Ashwamedha Yaga, Indra's act of stealing the horse, the 60,000 princes searching for the horse by digging the earth, Sage Kapila burning them down to death and about Garuda's advice to Amsuman to get the sacred river Ganga from heaven to redeem all his 60,000 uncles.

Continuing the narration, Vishwamitra told Sri Rama and his group how Sagara, his grandson Amsuman, and his great-grandson Dilipa made great efforts to bring down the sacred river but died without success.

Bhagiratha, the son of Dilipa was a prince of great determinatin, tapasya, and devotion. He performed tapasya for a thousand years, pleased Brahma and begot a son. Brahma also decreed that the Holy Ganga would descented on earth as a result of the Bhagirata Prayatna, an extraordinarily mighty effort by him. But the force with which the Ganga would rush, could be borne only by the Great Lord Shiva.

Lord Shiva acceded to Bhagiratha's plea, received the down-rushing Ganga on his matted locks and released the waters as seven branch-streams. Three branches ran westword, and three streams flowed eastward. The seveth followed Bhagiratha's chariot like an affectionate daughter and was aptly named Bhagirathi. The earthly creatures as well as the heavenly beings worshipped the Ganga and sipped her sacred waters. Bhagiratha performed the shraddha of his forefathers. The Bhagiratha story has ever been an awe-inspiring one. The river Ganga continues to inspire all Indians, nay, all Asians.

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