March 31st, 2008 by sabrina
Ganga is the Hindu Goddess of the Ganges River, the most sacred river in India. She was born from a vessel of water that Brahma had used to wash the feet of Vishnu. She lived in the heavens and was very happy there, always dancing and laughing. One day, she laughed at someone she shouldn’t have, and he cursed her to be reincarnated as a river which humans would bathe in to purify their bodies and souls. Ganga continued to live in the heavens, until she was needed on earth.
A king named Sagara was preparing to perform a ritual to thank the Gods for his sons. He had been without an heir for a long time, until his prayers were answered with 60,000 sons. As part of the ritual, Sagara intended to sacrifice a horse, but the horse was stolen before the ceremony. Sagara’s sons went in search of the horse, and found it in the underworld next to a meditating sage named Kapila. Believing that Kapila had stolen the horse, the sons insulted him and disturbed his meditation. In response, Kapila burned all 60,000 of the sons to death with his gaze. They became ghosts, condemned to wander the world until their souls could be put to rest.
One of Sagara’s grandsons, Bhagiratha, learned that the tormented souls would be allow to go to heaven only when their ashes were purified by the waters of Ganga. Bhagiratha and Sagara’s other descendants prayed to the Gods to allow Ganga to come to earth. Brahma finally agreed, but Ganga was none too happy. She threatened to flood the entire earth, but when she fell from the sky, Shiva caught her with his hair. He divided her into seven streams, and one of the streams flowed to where the ashes of the brothers lay. Ganga freed their souls, and continues to purify the souls of those who bathe in her waters.
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