Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Glory Sasikala writes


Where Ganga meets Yamuna
Confluence or conflict?
Conflict I say, Yamuna so calm
And Ganga – raging!
I am Ganga.
Sunlight and breeze
and tornado at times.
Don’t try to own me
Just feel…enjoy…
Till I decide to whip you along
Into my whirlpool -
Your calm, meditative ways
And common sense
And cool demeanor
A part now
Of the raging, rolling torrent
That I am!

 Image result for ganga ganges paintingShiv Ganga -- Harsh Malik


  1. Ganga is the shakti, the moving, restless, rolling energy in the form of which the otherwise reclusive and unapproachable Shiva appears on earth. As water, this moving energy can be felt, tasted, and absorbed. She accepted Shiva's incandescent seed from the fire-god Agni, which is too hot for this world, and cooled it in her waters, producing Skanda the war god, who proclaimed in the "Skanda Purana" that

    "One should not be amazed ... that this Ganga is really Power, for is she not the Supreme Shakti of the Eternal

    Shiva, taken in the form of water?
    This Ganga, filled with the sweet wine of compassion, was sent out for the salvation of the world by Shiva, the Lord of the Lords.

    Good people should not think this Triple-Pathed River to be like the thousand other earthly rivers, filled with water."

    The 2,1510-km Ganga (Ganges) river in India exists in Swarga (Heaven) as Mandakini and in Patala (the underworld) as Alakananda, thus showering her blessings on all the three worlds. On Prithvi (Earth), bathing in or immersing one's ashes in the river may cause the remission of sins and the attainment of moksha. King Sagar of Ayodhya sought to perform a horse sacrifice to celebrate the birth of 60,000 sons, but Indra stole the horse and tied it to a tree in Patala, undr which the sage Kapila was meditating; when Sagar's sons tried to retrieve the horse, thus disturbing the sage, Kapila opened his eyes for the first time in years, and his gaze burned them to ash. Since their final rites had not been performed, they were doomed to wander as ghosts. When Anshuman, the only surviving son, asked how to liberate their souls, Kapila told him to offer penance to Brahma in hopes he would release Ganga from his kamandula (water pot) so she could purify the ashes. The penance continued for three generations, until Brahma finally agreed. He ordered Ganga to go to the Earth and then on to the nether regions so that the souls of Bhagiratha's ancestors would be freed. But, insulted, Ganga decided to sweep away the whole Earth as she fell. Bhagiratha prayed to Shiva to break up her descent. Ganga arrogantly fell on Shiva's head, but he trapped her in his hair and let her out in seven small streams to purify the ashes of Sagar and his sons. (Some accounts have it that, on her way to Bhagiratha, her rushing waters created turbulence and destroyed the fieldsthe sage Jahnu, who drank all of her water in anger; the gods intervened, and Jahnu released Ganga from his ears so she could continue her mission.)

  2. The river's longest tributary, the 1,376-km Yamuna, is similarly holy, and Triveni Sangam, Allahabad, where they merge (along with the invisible Sarasvati), is especially sacred. Once every 12 years it is the site of a Kumbh Mela, a mass Hindu pilgrimge, one of the four places where Vishnu, the supreme being who preserves the world when it is threatened with evil, chaos, and destructive forces (or, in other accounts, Dhanavantari, Garuda, Indra, or Mohini) spilled drops of amrita (the drink of immortality) while transporting it in a kumbha (pot). Over a two-month period in 2013 some 120 million pilgrims visited Allahabad on that occasion, including 30 million on a single day. Most of India's early empires were centered on the Ganga-Yamuna basin, especially in its Doab region, and statues of the two divine rivers became commonplace after the 4th century.
    In the "Mahabharata," the Vasus (the eight elemental gods representing natural phenomena) stole the wish-bearing cow owned by the sage Vashishta, who cursed them to be reincarnated as mortals but relented to that extent that the seven least guilty of them would be free of earthly life within a year of being born. At their request, Ganga incarnated and became the wife of king Shantanu on condition that he he must never question her actions. As the Vasus were born, she drowned them in her own waters to free them from their punishment, but Shantanu finally opposed her when the eighth, guilty, one was born. Ganga left her husband, and their son Bhishma remained alive; when he was mortally wounded in battle Ganga emerged from the water in human form and wept uncontrollably over him. (In a later section of the epic, each of the Vasus gave a portion of himself to create a ninth; all eight were drowned, but the composite ninth remained and lived a long mortal life as Bhishma.) In yet another myth, despite the efforts of Lakshmi to mediate, Vishnu's other wives Ganga and Sarasvati angrily transformed each other into rivers to carry within them the sins of the human worshipers who washed in them. In response Vishnu ordered Sarasvati to become the wife of Brahma and Ganga to become the wife of Shiva, but they cried so much that he allowed them to remain with him in their riverine forms. As Vishnupadi, Ganga emanates from his foot. According to the "Bhagavata Purana," Vishnu (as Vaman) extended his left foot to the end of the universe and pierced a hole in its covering with the nail of his big toe; the pure water of the Causal Ocean (Divine Brahm-Water) entered as the Ganga river and washed his lotus feet, then settled in Brahma's abode before descending to Earth, where it was kept safely on Shiva's head to prevent the destruction of Bhumi Devi (Mother Earth), before being released to serve the needs of mankind. In other accounts, Vishnu became so captivated by Shiva's flute playing that his feet began to melt; Brahma made ganga from the liquified portion of Vishnu’s feet. She was also the Ganga Mata ("mother") of all Hindu worship and culture. As such, her worship does not require the usual rites of invocation at the beginning and dismissal at the end that are required in the worship of other gods.

  3. The Yamuna river (derived from the Sanskrit "yama" [twin], perhaps because it runs parallel to the Ganga) is the daughter of Surya the sun god and the sister of Yama the god of death. As a holder of infinite love and compassion, she can grant freedom even from death. The "Rig Veda" described her "excessive love" for Yama, who asked her to find herself a suitable match: Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, from whom she acquired her dark color. (In a different account, after the death of Shiva's first consort, Sati Devi, the god wandered the world disconsolately until he arrived at the Yamuna, which absorbed all his sorrow and turned black.) When Krishna was born, his uncle Kansa planned to kill him, but Vasudeva placed him in a basket and escaped after the Yamuna waters parted t let them cross. Garuda, the enemy of all serpents, drove Kaliya, a poisonous naga, from its home in Fiji to Vrindivan, where Garuda was forbidden to go; from there it poisoned the Yamuna and terrorized the people of Braja. Krishna jumped into the river to fetch a ball, and Kaliya wrapped himself around Krishna's body, but Krishna became so huge that Kaliya had to release him. Then he danced on the naga's heads and assumed the weight of the universe, but Kaliya's wives prayed for mercy. Kaliya surrendered and promised not to harrass anyone anymore, so Krishna pardoned him and sent him back to Fiji.

  4. Durvasa the sage offered Indra, the king of the devas (gods), a special garland given to him by Shiva, the supreme beng who creates, protects, and transforms the universe. The garland was a dwelling of Sri (fortune) and was thus to be treated as a prasada (religious offering). Indra accepted it and placed it on the trunk of the white elephant Airavata to prove that he was not egoistic, but Airavata threw it to the ground, knowing that Indra had no control over his own ego. In response Durvasa cursed all devas to lose their strength, energy, and fortune. As a result, Bali and the asuras (demons) gained control of the universe in a series of battles. Vishnu, advised the devas to diplomatically resolve the issue. The two groups of divinities formed an alliance to obtain amrita by churning Kṣīra Sāgara (the Ocean of Milk, the fifth from the center of the seven oceans, where Vishnu reclines over Shesha Naga, the infinite, eternal, many-thousand-headed king of the nagas who holds all the planets of the universe on his hoods and constantly sings the glories of Vishnu from his mouths; when he uncoils, time moves forward and creation takes place, and when he coils back, the universe ceases to exist). Shesha Naga's younger brother Vasuki, the serpent king who resided on Shiva's neck, acted as their churn string, and Mt. Mandara, popularly believed to be located between Bhagalpur and Dumka, was the churning pole. When Mandara was placed on the ocean, it began to sink, so Vishnu, in the guise of Kurma the great turtle, supported the mountain on his back. The rival divinities pulled back and forth on Vasuki's body, causing Mandara to rotate, which in turn churned the ocean, while numerous herbs were mixed in the water. On the advice of Vishnu, the devas held Vasuki's tail, while the asuras insisted on holding his head.

  5. After a thousand years of effort, the churning produced a number of ratnas (treasures), which were apportioned among the devas and asuras or given to the supreme deities: the Apsaras (various divine nymphs) chose the devi as their companions; Varuni, who arrived dishevelled and argumentative, accepted the ashura; Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune and wealth, accepted Vishnu as her eternal consort; Jyestha, the goddess of misfortune and poverty, along with nidra (sloth); Kamadhenu the divine cow which provided all needs, which Vishnu accepted so sages could use the ghee from her milk for various rituals; Uchhaishravas the divine 7-headed horse and (anachronistically) Airavata and other elephants, the wish-fulfilling divine tree Kalpavriksha, and earrings (which he gave to his mother Aditi) were granted to Indra; the magic bow Sharanga, and Parijat, the divine flowering tree with blossoms that never fade or wilt, were given to the devas (but they gave Parijat to Indraloka [Heaven]); Chandra, the moon which adorned Shiva's head; Shankha, Vishnu's conch; an umbrella, which was taken by Varuna, the asura who was the god of law and water who became a deva after Indra structured the primordial cosmos after using his newly-created thunderbolt (Vajrayudha) to break the two jaws of the dragon Vritra ("enveloper") who had kept the waters of the world captive; and the most valuable ratna, Kaustubha (pure consciousness shining in all its luminous manifestations), which Dhva gave to Vishnu by Shiva since nobody else could bear its brilliance without being corrupted by greed. In addition, halahalam, the fumes Vasuki emitted, which was so powerful that it could destroy all of creation, poisoned the asuras; to keep it from spreading, Shiva swallowed it, and his consort Parvati strangled him to keep him from swallowing it, though it permanently turned his throat blue. Eventually Dhanavantari, the divine physician, emerged from the ocean with a kumbha of amrita. The deities fought over it, and Vishnu's mount, the humanoid bird Garuda, flew away with it for safekeeping. Vishnu, in the form of a beautiful enchantress Mohini, distracted the asuras, took the amrita, and distributed it among the devas. One asura, Rahu, disguised himself as a deva, but Chandra and Surya informed Mohini of the deception, and she decapitated him with her divine discus, the Sudarshana Chakra, but not before he had swallowed some amrita; thus his head was immortal (Rahu his head and Ketu his body eventually became planets).


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