Tantra of Divine River Ganga

She is supposed to have originated at the feet of Vishnu, and was brought to the Earth by Bhageeratha on the plea of releasing the souls of his forebears (60000 of them) reduced to ashes by the curse of Kapila in the Patalaloka. After two generations only Bhageeratha undertakes this task of doing severe penance to call the attentions of Brahma- who tells Bhageeratha that Ganga if brought to Earth and then taken to Paatala, his forebears shall be delivered.

The Narrative World    14-May-2023
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The Ganga is considered to be a Goddess in Hinduism, and is worshipped as a purifier of sins. It is believed that bathing in the Ganga can cleanse one's soul and provide spiritual liberation.

The Ganga is the longest river in India, stretching for over 2,500 km (1,500 miles) from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal. At Devprayag, where Alaknanda joins Bhagirahi, the river acquires the name Ganga. Before Devprayag the main stream is called Bhagirathi.

According to Vishnu Purana and Srimad Bhagavatam, Ganga was a river in the Heaven (Swarga). Ganga is mentioned in the Rigveda, the earliest and theoretically the holiest of the Hindu scriptures. During the early ages, the Indus and the Saraswati were the major rivers along with Ganga.

The river Ganges is mentioned 4 times in the Rigveda Samhita. Twice it is mentioned by the name Ganga in verse VI.45.31 and verse X.75.5. Ganga also mentioned in the Nadistuti (Rigveda 10.75), which lists the rivers from east to west. In RV 6.45. 31, the word Ganga is also mentioned,

She is supposed to have originated at the feet of Vishnu, and was brought to the Earth by Bhageeratha on the plea of releasing the souls of his forebears (60000 of them) reduced to ashes by the curse of Kapila in the Patalaloka. After two generations only Bhageeratha undertakes this task of doing severe penance to call the attentions of Brahma- who tells Bhageeratha that Ganga if brought to Earth and then taken to Paatala, his forebears shall be delivered.

Ganga upon being pleased by Bhageeratha's penance agrees to come down to Earth and to go right up to the nether worlds, but only on condition that only One can take the impact of Her fall, and that is Shiva. So Bhageeratha does a penance to please Shiva who simply receives Ganga on His head and arrests her in his locks. Now once again Bhageeratha prays Shiva to release her, and Shiva opens a one lock of His rich crop of hair and out flows the Ganga following Bhageeratha wherever he wants to go.

He reaches sea and enters Patala and Ganga flowing on the ashes of Bhageeratha's forebears releases all the souls of Bhageeratha's uncles, and they ascend to Higher Worlds. Since Bhageeratha had to do repeated penances to bring Ganga down from Heavens to Earth to the Nether Worlds, all great stupendous efforts are called Bhageeratha Prayatnas. Ganga is called Bhagirathi the daughter of Bahgeeratha.

She is also known as "Tri-path-gamini", which means "the traveler of the three worlds", which are the ether world, earth and netherworld. It is for this very reason that Hindus immerse one's mortal remains in the sacred river for the river grants eternal bliss.

Cultural Heritage: The Ganga has been the cradle of Indian civilization for thousands of years, and has been an important center of cultural, religious, and intellectual activity. It has inspired poets, artists, and thinkers, and continues to be an integral part of Indian cultural heritage.

Mysterious supremacy of Ganga Water; There are two main aspects which give the Ganges its exceptional ability:

1. The occurrence of Bacteriophages which gives it the anti-bacterial nature.

2. An anonymous factor called the Mystery Factor, which gives this river a remarkable ability to hold on to dissolved oxygen from the atmosphere!

As per University of Roorkee, Ganga is the only river in the world that decomposes organic wastes at a rate 15 to 25 times faster compared to other rivers in entire world.

The river is capable of reducing its level biochemical oxygen demand way faster than any other river in this world. Compared to any other rivers the river Ganga has more than 25% oxygen level. It is said that the water of Ganga has the special power to fight with bacteria.

Special research in Delhi's Research Centre has found that mosquitoes cannot be born in Ganga water. British laboratory found that if bacteria were mixed in the Ganges water, then all the bacteria will die within 3 hours.

The longest headstreams of Ganga are; Alaknanda, Mandakini, Dhauliganga, Nadakini, Pinder and Bhagirathi. The longest is Alaknanda and mythological origin of Ganga is Gomukh where Bhagirathi rises. At Vishnu prayag; Alaknanda joins Dhauliganga. Nandprayag where Nandakini joins Alaknanda; Karan Prayag where Pinder joins Alaknanda.

Rudraprayag where Mandakini joins Alaknanda, Devprayag where Bhagirathi joins Alaknanda And is now known as Ganga. It emerges from mountains at Rishikesh and enters Gangetic plains at Haridwar. On its flow from Harudwar to Bay of Bengal it is joined by: Ramganga, Yamuna, Tons, Gomti, Ghagra, Son, Gandhaki, Kosi And many more.

Economic Importance

The Ganga basin is one of the most fertile regions in India, and supports a large agricultural economy. The river is also an important source of water for millions of people, and is used for irrigation, transportation, and hydroelectric power generation. Directly or indirectly, 200M people are dependent on its sacred waters for their livelihoods.

At Haridwar a dam divers the water into Ganga canal which irrigates mush of Gangetic plains in western UP. Farakka barrage, Damoder valley corporation, Bansagar dam on Son are some of the irrigation and hydroelectric generation on Ganga and its tributaries in plains. In mountains Tehri Dam on Bhagirathi, run of the river power plants at vinshnuprayag, and many other approved on Dhauliganga, Mandakini etc.

Rich Biodiversity

The Ganga basin is home to a wide range of flora and fauna, including several endangered species such as the Ganges river dolphin, the Gharial crocodile, and the Gangetic turtle. Ganga is the holiest of river for Hindus because of presence of bacteriophages virus in water it had capacity to cleanse itself and it is the only river whose water does not get stale on storage. The Oxygen content of the water is the highest in all the rivers globally.

The Ganges river dolphin has been recognized by the govt of India as its National Aquatic Animal. The Ganges river dolphin and the Ganges river shark are both endangered because of the massive pollution.

The river support varied creatures like fresh water Dolphins known as Gangetic Dolphins, fresh water Sharks, Otters, Ghariyals in addition to tigers, elephants, different species of Deers, etcetcetc the flood plains and Gangetic plains are also home to large avian fauna like Saras Crain, black necked stroke, painted stroke, river terns, different vatieties of ducks and large numbers of winter birds who fly in cold environs of central and north Aksai, Siberia and Europe.

Environmental Challenges

The Ganga is facing several environmental challenges, including pollution from human activities such as industrial waste, sewage, and agricultural runoff. Efforts are being made to clean up the river and restore its ecological health. Because of its water quality and sustainance of life on its bank the river has always been venerated as mother in Hindu relegion and philosophy.

Because of thousands of years of history and myth developed it is considered to be Mokhya Dayini i.e any body who dies on its bank and is cremated on its bank is said to be freed from the cycle of rebirth. Some places like Manikarnika Ghat on its bank in Varanasi has special place it is only place where it is said a funeral pyre can burn all 24 hrs and body whose funeral happens there is freed from the cycle of rebirth permanently. It is also a tradition in Hinduism to try to give few drops of Ganga Jal to the dying person so that his soul gets redemption from the cycle of rebirth.

Most holy places related to Lord Shiva outside Himalayas is located on its bank, the city of Kashi or Varanasi is said to be internal city, a city where humans have lived since time immemorial, historical findings also prove the city is also historically old and can be named in 5 oldest continuous inhabited cities across the globe.

Something in the Ganges Rivers' water prevents mosquitos from breeding, and when it is added to other water it prevents them from breeding in it as well. A test in the late 1800s found that the Cholera bacterium could not survive in the Ganges River for more than three hours.

The Ganges River is actually shifting its course. It has shifted 2.5 KM in Bihar since 1990. Triveni sangam at Allahabad considerd to be confluence of three rivers but you can see only two rivers- Ganga and Yamuna. Saraswati is invisible so, you can’t see the third river.

The Ganges Delta formed mainly by sediment-laden flows from Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers is the world’s largest delta. Sunderbans consist of a vast network of waterways that include many rivers and the backwaters intermingling at bay of Bengal. The Ganges Delta has the shape of a triangle and is considered to be an "arcuate" (arc-shaped) delta. It covers more than 105,000 km2 (41,000 sq mi). In India Sunderbans cover an area of around 4264 sq km with 102 islands out of which 54 islands are inhabited.

Even the Gangasagar island where holy Ganga merges in the ocean comes under the archipelago of Sunderbans. Ganga and Brahmaputra are the largest river delta in the world, spread over an area of 59,000 sq. Km.

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By Anadi Sahoo