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GURU 22 - GangesGURU 22 - Ganges
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The Descent of Mother Ganges
King Sagar, the ruler of Ayodhya was of the Surya dynasty, and an
ancestor of Rama. He performed the Asvamedha sacrifice ninety-nine
times and each time the horse he sent around the earth returned to his
kingdom unchallenged. Indra, the King of the Devas (gods), was jealous
and during the hundredth sacrifice, he kidnapped the horse, hiding it in
the hermitage of the sage Kapila Muni.
The sixty thousand sons of Sagar came to the hermitage of Kapila in their
search for the horse and mistaking Kapila Muni to be the culprit attacked him.
An enraged Kapila Muni burnt the sixty thousand princes to ashes by dint of his
mystical prowess.
One of the grandchildren of King Sagar, hearing about the plight of his father
and uncles, came in search of Kapila Muni and asked him for a solution to the
problem. Kapila advised him that the waters of the river Ganga would miraculously
bring the dead princes back to life.
His descendant Bhagiratha continued his efforts to bring the Ganga to the
earth from the heavens to purify the ashes of his ancestors and bring them back
to life. Bhagiratha’s prayers were rewarded and the Ganges rushed to the earth.
However, the might of the river was too much for the earth to withstand. Fearing
a catastrophe, Bhagiratha prayed to Shiva, who held out his matted hair to catch
the plummeting river, and thus softened her impact on the earth. The Ganga thus
became a symbol of Shiva. This manifestation of Shiva is known as ‘Gangadhara’,
one who carries the water of the Ganges on his head. On Lord Shiva’s forehead is the
emblem of the half-moon, yet to give supreme respect to Vishnu he placed the water
of the Ganges above this emblem.
ORIGIN
The Ganga is considered to have emanated from the foot of
Lord Vamana (the fifth incarnation), when with his third stride his
toe pierced the outside of the universe, and some of the causal ocean
spilled in to it. This became the source of the Ganga.
Bhagiratha patiently led the river down to the sea from the
Himalayas. However, being unable to locate the exact spot where the ashes lay, he
requested Ganga to follow her own course. So, Ganga divided herself into a hundred
mouths in the region of Bengal and formed the Ganges delta. One of these streams
washed the ashes, and offered salvation to the souls of the departed. The island with
which this incident is associated and referred to as Sagar Island, where a bathe at the
confluence of the river and the sea is considered to be very sacred on the festival day
of Makara Sankranti.
1/2 60 mins 120 mins
`
GURU 22 - Ganges
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GURU 22 - Ganges
SLOKA RECITATION
Let us learn a sloka from the Srimad Bhagavatam which teaches us something
about the above theme.
Before teaching the present verse, the teacher should begin the class by
chanting all the verses of the 24 Gurus with the children all together.
Chant the verse of the Ganges again. Tell the children we will learn the verse
and also understand it.
Learn the verse. (The teacher recites the sloka line by line and makes the
children repeat and memorize the sloka)
tvayi me ‘nanya-viñayä
matir madhu-pate ‘sakåt
ratim udvahatäd addhä
gaìgevaugham udanvati
O Lord of Madhu, as the Ganges forever flows to the sea without hindrance, let my
attraction be constantly drawn unto You without being diverted to anyone else. (SB
1.8.42, Prayers of Queen Kunti)
For teacher’s reference
Explanation for this verse -
In the Bhagavad-gétä we can see that Arjuna desired not to
fight with his brothers and relations just to satisfy his own
personal desires. But when he heard the message of the Lord,
Çrémad Bhagavad-gétä, he changed his decision and served the
Lord. And for his doing so, he became a famous devotee of the
Lord, for it is declared in all the scriptures that Arjuna attained
spiritual perfection by devotional service to the Lord in friendship. The fighting was
there, the friendship was there, Arjuna was there, and Kåñëa was there, but Arjuna
became a different person by devotional service. Therefore, the prayers of Kunté also
indicate the same categorical changes in activities. Çrématé Kunté wanted to serve
the Lord without diversion, and that was her prayer. This unalloyed devotion is the
ultimate goal of life.
Our attention is usually diverted to the service of something which is nongodly or
not in the program of the Lord. When the program is changed into the service of the
Lord, that is to say when the senses are purified in relation with the service of the
Lord, it is called pure unalloyed devotional service. Çrématé Kuntédevé wanted that
perfection and prayed for it from the Lord.
Let us learn a sloka from the Srimad Bhagavatam which teaches us something
Before teaching the present verse, the teacher should begin the class by
chanting all the verses of the 24 Gurus with the children all together.
Chant the verse of the Ganges again. Tell the children we will learn the verse
Learn the verse. (The teacher recites the sloka line by line and makes the
GURU 22 - GangesGURU 22 - Ganges
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GURU 22 - Ganges
For teacher’s reference
1. Determination may vary from one person to another. But in general it means
to focus and achieve a target you have set by following a process or schedule.
a. I will get up at 5.00 a.m without making a fuss.
b. I will read something spiritual everyday without fail.
c. I will chant my number of rounds everyday without fail.
d. I shall not eat any foodstuff which is not offered to Krishna.
LESSONS FROM GURU - (DETERMINATION)
What is the lesson that mother Ganga teaches us?
- Determination.
The river Ganga is determined to reach her destination, which is
the ocean. She is ready to cross all the hurdles to reach there. The
huge Himalayan Mountains interrupt her flow, but the Ganges
finds its way around the mountains. If big boulders disturb her
path, she goes over them, under them or around them – but
never forgets her destination. She flows across hundreds of miles
through all lands to reach her destination.
Show the video of the Ganges to drive home the meaning of the sloka.
In the dictionary, ‘Determination’ is defined as -
The act of coming to a decision or of fixing or settling a
purpose.
The quality of being resolute; firmness of purpose.
A fixed purpose or intention: it is my determination to stop
eating junk food.
Fixed direction or tendency toward some object or end.
The act of making up your mind about something.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Answer the following.
1. What does determination mean to you in your life?
2. Give some examples where you would try to inculcate this value in your life?
316
GURU 22 - Ganges
2. This question has to be answered by the students. Either some incident from
their life or something where they would try and show determination from today
onwards.
DETERMINATION TO NOT TO GIVE IN
that we can enjoy. I promise you I will
come to your camp tomorrow evening
with some of my maidservants, and
then we can enjoy. But you have to stop
the siege now and leave us alone.” He
said, “Yes, no problem.” So he left the
palace with his men, and
he went back to his Muslim
camp, which was a few
hundred metres away, and
they began to have a big
party in expectation. That
whole day they were simply drinking
wine and dancing, “Yes, the princess is
coming! The princess is coming!” And
they all got drunk. Sure enough, as
the queen promised, that evening the
doors of the palace opened and so many
palanquins came out. There were over
one hundred palanquins carrying the
queen and her maidservants. So when
the Muslim emperor saw this, he began
to dance in ecstasy. They began to drink
more and more wine, “Here comes the
queen! Here comes the queen!” And all
the soldiers were shouting, “Here come
the maidservants!” They put away their
weaponsandstartedputtingonperfumes
and nice clothes. The women were very
chaste, so the palanquins were all closed
with curtains
around them. The
palanquins were
getting closer and
closer. And the
There is one battle where the Muslims
took siege on one Hindu fort. They
surrounded the fort and waited for
everyone to starve to death. The Muslim
king wanted the Hindu
princess.Hesaidhewould
give up the siege on the
fort if the Hindu princess
would come out and
marry him. The Hindu
king had been killed,
so the queen was now the ruler. The
Muslim king wanted to marry her. But
she was a very chaste woman. “I’m not
going to marry this rascal.” “All right,”
the king said, “let me just come and see
you. If I can see you I will be satisfied
and I will go away and we will stop the
war.” She said, “I am a chaste woman.
Why should I let a rogue like you see my
body?” But the Muslim king said, “I will
stop the war if you just let me look at
you.” “All right,” she said, “you can look
at me through a mirror.” So he allowed
her to look at her face in a mirror. But he
was such a rascal that as he was leaving
the palace, he said, “That is not enough.
If you do not marry me, I will destroy
your entire population.” So she was a
very intelligent kshatriya woman, and
Kshatriyas have to be a little diplomatic
sometimes. So she said, “OK, I’ve got
an idea. I surrender. You can enjoy me.
You can enjoy my beauty. Simply let me
spend the next day preparing myself so
STORY 1 - THE KSHATRIYA QUEEN
party in expectation. That
chaste, so the palanquins were all closed
GURU 22 - GangesGURU 22 - Ganges
317
Kshatriyas. They slaughtered all those
Muslims to the last man. Meanwhile the
queen was watching the whole thing
from the palace. Not only did the kings
have these qualities, but also the queens
had these qualities.
palanquins got right inside the
camp of the Muslims. All of a
sudden the Muslims heard this
terrific roar. “Aaaargh!” Coming
from the palanquins, and out
jumped all the Rajaputa soldiers, the
Sometimes your biggest
weakness can become
your biggest strength.
Take, for example, the
story of one 10-year-
old boy who decided
to study judo despite
the fact that he had lost his left arm in a
devastating car accident. The boy began
lessons with an old
Japanese judo master.
The boy was doing
well, so he couldn’t
understand why,
after three months of
training the master
had taught him only
one move.
STORY 2 -THE FROGS IN THE BUCKET
well, so he couldn’t
after three months of
MORAL - Be determined for Krsna. Just as the frog which was facing a lot of difficulty,
did not give up hope but on the contrary fought his way out, similarly in our lives too
when faced with difficulties one must not give up but somehow be determined and
find a way out and try and serve Krishna.
A parable is told of a
farmer who owned an
old mule. The mule
fell into the farmer’s
well. The farmer heard
the mule ‘braying’ -
or - whatever mules
do when they fall
into wells. After carefully assessing
the situation, the farmer sympathized
with the mule, but decided that neither
the mule nor the well was worth the
trouble of saving. Instead, he called his
neighbors together and told them what
had happened...and enlisted them to
help haul dirt to bury the old mule in
the well and put him out of his misery.
Initially, the old mule was hysterical!
But as the farmer and his neighbors
continued shoveling and the dirt hit
his back...a thought struck him. It
suddenly dawned on him that every
time a shovel load of dirt landed on his
back...HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF
AND STEP UP! This he did, blow after
blow. “Shake it off and step up...shake
it off and step up...shake it off and step
up!” he repeated to encourage himself.
No matter how painful the blows, or
distressing the situation seemed the old
STORY 3 - SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP
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GURU 22 - Ganges
MORAL - That’s life! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and
refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity...The adversities that come along to
bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us! Remember
that forgiveness, faith, prayer, praise and hope...all are excellent ways to “Shake it
off and step up” out of the wells in which we find ourselves!
mule fought “panic” and just kept right
on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING
UP! You’re right! It wasn’t long before
the old mule, battered and exhausted,
STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE
WALL OF THAT WELL! What seemed
like would bury
him, actually blessed
him...all because
of the manner in
which he handled his
adversity.
DETERMINATION TO MAKE YOUR
WEAKNESS AS YOUR STRENGTH
STORY 4 - WEAKNESS OR STRENGTH?
Sometimes your biggest weakness
can become your biggest strength. Take,
for example, the story of one 10-year-
old boy who decided to study judo
despite the fact that he had lost his left
arm in a devastating
car accident. The boy
began lessons with
an old Japanese judo
master. The boy was
doing well, so he
couldn’t understand
why, after three months of training the
master had taught him only one move.
“Sensei,” the boy finally said,
“Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?”
“This is the only move you know, but
this is the only move you’ll ever need
to know,” the sensei replied. Not quite
understanding, but believing in his
teacher, the boy kept training.
Several months later, the sensei
took the boy to his first tournament.
Surprising himself, the boy easily
won his first two matches. The third
match proved to be more difficult, but
after some time, his opponent became
impatient and charged; the boy deftly
used his one move to win the match. Still
amazed by his success, the boy was now
in the finals This time, his opponent was
bigger, stronger, and more experienced.
For a while, the boy appeared to be
overmatched. Concerned that the boy
might get hurt, the referee called a time-
out. He was about to stop the match
when the sensei intervened.
“No,” the sensei insisted, “Let him
continue.”
Soon after the
match resumed, his
opponentmadeacritical
mistake: he dropped his
guard. Instantly, the
boy used his move to
pin him. The boy had
won the match and the tournament. He
was the champion. On the way home,
the boy and sensei reviewed every move
in each and every match. Then the boy
GURU 22 - GangesGURU 22 - Ganges
319
MORAL - Determined to convert weakness into strength. He was determined to
follow the instructions of his teacher
summoned the courage to ask what was
really on his mind.
“Sensei, how did I win the
tournament with only one move?”
“You won for two reasons,” the
sensei answered. “First, you’ve almost
mastered one of the most difficult throws
in all of judo. And second, the only
known defense for that move is for your
opponent to grab your left arm.”
DETERMNATION - A TEST OF ONE'S
INNER CHARACTER
STORY 5 -THE SANDY ROAD
This is a nice story from the collection
of Jataka Tales. Once upon a time, there
lived a merchant in a small village. The
merchant dealt in different
kinds of goods. He wanted
to sell his goods in the town,
in order to gain good sum of
profits. One day, he decided to
go to the town to try his fortune.
He arranged for some men who could go
along with him. During the journey, he
had to pass through a desert, so he also
arranged for water, rice and firewood.
According to the plan, he packed
his goods in several carts and set out for
the journey along with his mates. When
they reached the desert, the sun was
shining on the fine sand,
making it severely hot.
In the day time, no one
could dare to walk on it.
One could only think of travel through
the desert during the night time, when
the moon made the sands cool. So, the
merchant and his people waited for the
night to start their further journey.
With the arrival of night, they
started their journey. One of them,
had knowledge about the stars, so he
was guiding the way to other people
by reading the position of stars. They
traveled for the whole night without
taking any break.
At daybreak, they stopped and
camped. They released the oxen
from the carts and fed them.
They made fire, cooked the rice
and ate the food to their fill.
They spread a huge covering over all the
carts and the oxen. Subsequently, all the
men laid down under it, to rest till the
sunset.
When the sun set in the early
evening, they again built fire and cooked
rice. After the meal, they folded the
covering and tied the oxen to the carts.
As soon as, the sand became cool, they
again started their journey across the
desert. Night after night, they traveled in
such manner and rested during the day
time. On the last morning, the one who
was guiding the group said, “In one more
night, we will cross the
desert”. Every one was
happy to hear this, as
all of them were tired.
GURU 22 - Ganges
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GURU 22 - Ganges
After taking meal in the evening,
the merchant said, “Now, you people
can throw the water and the firewood
because tomorrow we will reach the
town. Tie the oxen and start”. The
Guide took his position at first in the
line of the carts, but instead of sitting
and guiding the drivers, he laid down in
the cart on the cushions. Soon, he was in
a deep slumber because he had not slept
for many nights and in the daytime, the
sun had been so strong that he had not
slept properly.
The oxen went on, for the whole
night. Near daybreak, the guide awoke
and looked at the last stars fading in the
light. He said to the drivers, “Stop! We
are in the same place where we were
yesterday. The oxen must have turned
about while I slept”. They released the
oxen, but there was no water for them
to drink, as they had thrown away the
water the previous night. They spread
out the covering over the carts and the
oxen rested, tired and thirsty. The men
lay down too, saying, “Without wood
and water, we are lost”.
Every one was tired and sat down.
The merchant thought, “This is no time
for me to sleep. I have to find water. The
oxen cannot start unless they get water
to drink. The people need water other
wise they cannot cook rice. If I give
up, we will lose. There must be water
somewhere below”. He walked down
and down, keeping a close watch of
the ground. Finally, he saw some grass
and thought, “There must be water
somewhere below otherwise
that grass would not be
there”.
He ran back, shrieking to the
people, “Get the spade and the hammer.”
All of them jumped up and ran with the
merchant to the spot where he saw the
grass. They started digging and
after much toil, they struck
a rock. After this, they could
dig no further. The merchant
jumped down into the hole they
had dug and kept his ear to the rock. He
called to them, “I can hear water running
under this rock. We must not give up”.
Then, the merchant came out of the hole
and said to the serving boy, “My boy, if
you give up, we are lost. Please go down
and try”.
The boy stood up raising the
hammer high above his head and hit the
rock with his full strength. He didn’t give
up, thinking the words of the merchant.
Every time the hammer came down, he
thought that everyone must be saved.
Ultimately, the rock broke, the boy
hardly got any time to come out of the
hole and it was full of water. All the men
drank water, as if they could never get
enough. They watered the oxen and took
bath.
After drinking and bathing, they
split the extra wooden yokes and axles
from their carts. They made a fire out of
it and cooked their rice. They had their
meal and rested through the day. They
also placed a flag on the well, so that the
passingtravelerscouldseeandhavewater.
After the sunset, they started
their journey and reached the
town in the morning. They
sold the goods making huge
profits and happily returned
back to their village.
MORAL - Will and Determination can achieve anything.
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SLOKA RECITATION
The teacher should begin the class by chanting all the verses of the 24 Gurus
with the children all together.
Chant the verse of the Ganges again.
tvayi me ‘nanya-viñayä
matir madhu-pate ‘sakåt
ratim udvahatäd addhä
gaìgevaugham udanvati
O Lord of Madhu, as the Ganges forever flows to the sea without hindrance, let my
attraction be constantly drawn unto You without being diverted to anyone else. (SB
1.8.42, Prayers of Queen Kunti)
2/2 60 mins 120 mins
The teacher should begin the class by chanting all the verses of the 24 Gurus
with the children all together.
Chant the verse of the Ganges again.
MORE LESSONS FROM GURU
Just as the water of Ganges when is obstructed by big boulders or rocks she somehow
or the other makes her way through them or by moving around them. Similarly
in life too we have to face obstacles at every step and even if we seemingly fail to
overcome them at our first attempt we have to show determination to try again and
again until success is achieved. Let us now see some famous people as to how they
started off in their respective fields.
1. As a child, his father had called him a dog who would
never be able to make a living, because he always got lower
grades in school. He wanted to attend Stanford University but
failed the admission exam twice. He also had a very severe speech
impediment which took him years to overcome. The name of this
man was Winston Churchill. He became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
in the days when the Sun never set on the British Empire. And in the secular world
he is considered as one of the most famous orators of the 20th century.
2. A man, who got a job as a journalist, was fired by his employer
because he had no creativity. This man started a cartoon company and in
the first year he went bankrupt. This was Walt Disney, who is practically
the founder of children’s films.
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GURU 22 - Ganges
3. A boy who wanted to be a singer, never got more than a ‘C’ in his
music class, when he was a High School student. His music teacher even
told him to give up and that he could never make it. This boy grew up
to be Elvis Presley, the king of Rock music
4. Henry Ford went bankrupt three times in the first three
years of his entry in the automobile industry.
5. A man desperately wanted to go to the U.C.L.A film school,
but couldn’t do so because he was not eligible due to mediocre
grades. His name is Steven Spielberg. (Director of Hollywood film
Juraasic Park)
6. As a young boy at high school, he couldn’t make to the high school
basketball team in spite of playing with all his might. His name was Michael
Jordan. The ESPN named him the greatest athlete of the 20th Century
7. A man named R.H .Mercy, tried to make a store in New York
City but went out of business seven times. For the past 40 years,
one the landmarks of the New York city and the store where people
from all over the world go to is Mercers Departmental stores.
8. English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he
published 564 books.
9. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs.
10. Don’t worry about failure.
11. Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.
12. Eg: Thomas Edison tried 8000 various experiments before
he finally invented the battery. When he was asked about it, he
said, “I wasn’t discouraged by the 8000 failures. I at least learnt
what doesn’t work.” That is success.
MORAL - Failure is a stepping stone to success.
Jordan. The ESPN named him the greatest athlete of the 20th Century
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323
HOW IS IT RELEVANT IN MY LIFE?
1. Mother Ganga teaches us the lesson of determination.
The sloka also explains that although mother Ganga faces various obstacles on its
path to the sea still it crosses those obstacles and pursues its path to the sea without
any hindrance. Similarly I our lives too everyday we are faced with obstacles, at such
a time it is very important to be determined to continue and cross over the obstacles.
2. Failures are stepping stones to success.
Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember.
You fell down the first time you tried to walk.
You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn’t you?
Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat?
Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot.
Nature Lessons from Guru
For teacher’s reference
1. Ganges, white in colour rests on makaramatsya (a variety of fish) holding in
her hands a pot and lotus flowers. (Agni Purana, Chapter 50)
2. Ganges visnupadi jahnutanaya suranimnages /
Bhagirathi tripathaga Trisrota bhismasurapi //
(Ganges, Visnupadi jahnutanaya, ‘Suranimnaga, Bhagirathl, Tripathaga, Trisrota,
Bhismasu). .
Jähnavé—daughter of sage Jahnu.
3. Ganges water is sanctified due to being mixed with the dust of the lotus feet of
the Lord.
Answer the following.
1. What are the symbols of mother Ganga and what is her vehicle?
2. Mention some names by which ganga is also known?
3. Why is the water of Ganga sanctified?
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GURU 22 - Ganges
Scriptural stories of Ganges
Birth of Mother Ganga
King Mahabhiseka after his death, attained Visnuloka. Once he went to visit
Brahma at Satyaloka. At that time Gangadevi was also present in Brahma’s assembly.
In that pious atmosphere, a gentle breeze began to blow and Gangadevi’s clothes
were slightly deranged. Just at that moment, Mahabhiseka took a stealthy glance at
her and she also returned that glance. This was noted by Brahma who turned both
of them into human beings by a curse. Gaitgadevi begged pardon and Brahma lifted
the curse and blessed her that the Astavasus would come to the earth to be born as
her sons and that afterwards she could come back to Heaven. After that Gaitgadevi
was born as a mortal woman in the world under the name Ganga and she spent her
days in the forests near the Ganga river valleys.
Marriage to Santanu
In those days the ruler of the Lunar dynasty was a king named Pratipa. Having
no children, he went to the bank of the river Gariga and performed tapas there.
Gaitgadevi who was moving about in the forests nearby, saw the King deeply absorbed
in his tapas. She approached him and sat on his right thigh. She wanted the King
to be her husband. He explained to her that the right thigh is the proper seat of a
daughter-in-law and so she would become his son’s wife in due course. In course of
time, Pratipa had a son, Santanu, born to him. When Santanu grew up into a young
man, one day he went for a hunt to the Ganges-valley and there he met Gangadevi.
He fell in love with her at first sight and courted her. Gangagadevi agreed to become
his wife on one condition that he should not say anything to displease her and if he
violated that condition she would leave him. The king accepted the condition and
they became man and wife.
The sons of Gangadevi
Astavasus and Gahga. While the wife of Dyau, one of the Astavasus (eight
Vasus) was roaming about in the forest she saw Nandini (the divine cow) grazing
with her calf near the essrama of Vasistha, and she desired to have the cow to be
presented to her intimate friend Jitavati, the daughter of King Usinara. She informed
her husband, Dyau about this desire of hers, and Dyau told his relations about it.
Next day the Astavasus, in the absence of Vasistha at the ashrama, stole off Nandini
and her calf. When Vasistha returned to the asrama the cow and calf were missing,
and he divined the reason for it with his divine eyes. He cursed that the Astavasus be
born as men on earth, and when they prayed for redemption from the curse Vasistha
told them that they would be born as men within one year from that day, die at once
and return to heaven. At the same time the sage said that Dyau alone, who took the
leading part in stealing the cow, would live on earth for a longer period before he
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325
returned to heaven. (The reputed Bhisma was this Dyau). The Astavasus set out for
the earth to be born as men and on their way they met Ganges and told her about
their curse etc. Ganges also told them about her curse, and permitted them to be
born in her womb. (Adi Parva, Chapter 99) .
Ganges became the wife of Santanu and the Astavasus were born. Once while
hunting on the banks of the Ganges Santanu saw a beautiful maiden and they fell in
love with each other. She agreed to become his wife on the condition that he would
not oppose whatever she said. Santanu agreed to it and married her. Soon after a
child was born to them and in the very presence of Santanu, she threw the child into
the Ganges. As per previous condition Santanu kept mum at this. She threw into the
river the seven Astavasus, who were born to her in succession. When she was about
to throw the last eighth of the Astavasus (Dyau) into the river Santanu prevented
her. She got angry at this and disappeared with the child. (Adi Parva, Chapter 98) .
Santanu got back the son. Thirtytwo years after, Santanu went hunting again
on the banks of the Ganges where he saw the river obstructed in its course with
arrows by a handsome boy.. Santanu did not recognise that the boy was his son,
who had been named Devavrata by Ganges. Devavrata disappeared after throwing
Santanu into an illusion by his magic power. All of a sudden a doubt dawned in his
mind whether the boy was his own son, and he called out to Ganges to show him
the boy. Ganges appeared with her son with beautiful ornaments on him and spoke
to Santanu thus: “This is Devavrata, the eighth son whom you entrusted to me. He
has mastered everything in archery from Vasistha, and he is Dyau (the vasu) son of
Angiras reborn. You may please take charge of him.” After saying this she returned
to heaven. (Adi Parva, Chapter 100).
GURU 22 - Ganges
326
GURU 22 - Ganges
Now let us study the origin of mother Ganga
and learn from it
Ganges, the famous and holy Ganges river of India, which originates from the
spiritual world and runs throughout the entire universe.
To understand this background of Mother Ganga we will see some videos.
Video of mother Ganges BBC good clippings and also the documentary
made by Yadubara prabhu.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT GANGES.
What do the scriptures say about mother Ganga?
mala-nirmocanaà puàsäà
jala-snänaà dine dine
sakåd gétämåta-snänaà
saàsära-mala-näçanam
“One may cleanse himself daily by taking a bath in water, but if one takes a bath
even once in the sacred Ganges water of Bhagavad-gétä, for him the dirt of material
life is altogether vanquished.” (Gétä-mähätmya 3)
Greatness (divine nature) of Ganges. Mahabharata has (Anusasana Parva, Chapter
26,), the following on the greatness of Ganga.
1. If, after death, the bones of the dead are deposited in Ganges the departed will
attain heaven. Even if one had sinned throughout his life he would attain Visnupada
(heaven) if he worshipped Ganges. Bathing in the Ganga is as beneficial as performing
hundred yajnas. As long as the bones of one remain in the waters of the Ganga so
long will he occupy an honourable seat in heaven.
Example -
SB 1.8.1
The Päëòavas, desiring to deliver water to the dead relatives who had desired it,
went to the Ganges with Draupadé. The ladies walked in front.
PURPORT
To date it is the custom in Hindu society to go to the Ganges or any other sacred river
to take bath when death occurs in the family. Each of the family members pours out
a potful of the Ganges water for the departed soul and walks in a procession, with
the ladies in the front. The Päëòavas also followed the rules more than five thousand
GURU 22 - GangesGURU 22 - Ganges
327
years ago. Lord Kåñëa, being a cousin of the Päëòavas, was also amongst the family
members.
2. He who has come in contact with its water will shine forth as the sun devoid
of all darkness. Places which are not favoured by its waters will become barren
like night without the moon and trees without flowers. Ganga water is snore than
enough to satisfy living things in all the three worlds.
3. He who does penance standing on one leg for thousand years, and he who
gives up his body in the waters of the Ganges are on a par with each other. God
attaches more importance to him who has fallen into the Ganges than to him, who
has performed tapas hanging by his head for a thousand years.
4. He who smears the sand on the banks of the Ganga on his body will get the
lustre and ,glow of the devas, and he, who smears the sand on his head will shine
forth like the Sun.
5. All the sins of those on whom has blown the air which had come in contact
with Ganges water will be-swept away. It should be known that Ganges water can
wash off all sins and purify mortals.
The Agni Purana (Chapter 110) has the following on this subject.
Through whatever places the Ganges flows those places become sublime
and sacred. Ganges is the refuge of all created beings who aspire for the
final good. If Ganges is worshipped daily it will save families both on the
mother’s and the father’s side from evil fate. To drink Ganges water is better
than. the observance of a thousand lunar months. If one worships Ganges for a
month one will derive all the benefits of having performed all the yanjas. Even the
blind (the ignorant) who worship Ganges, will attain equal status with the devas.
The sight of Ganges, contact with its waters and drinking Ganges water will purify
people in thousands and lakhs.
GURU 22 - Ganges

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Guru22 13 15

  • 1. GURU 22 - GangesGURU 22 - Ganges 313 The Descent of Mother Ganges King Sagar, the ruler of Ayodhya was of the Surya dynasty, and an ancestor of Rama. He performed the Asvamedha sacrifice ninety-nine times and each time the horse he sent around the earth returned to his kingdom unchallenged. Indra, the King of the Devas (gods), was jealous and during the hundredth sacrifice, he kidnapped the horse, hiding it in the hermitage of the sage Kapila Muni. The sixty thousand sons of Sagar came to the hermitage of Kapila in their search for the horse and mistaking Kapila Muni to be the culprit attacked him. An enraged Kapila Muni burnt the sixty thousand princes to ashes by dint of his mystical prowess. One of the grandchildren of King Sagar, hearing about the plight of his father and uncles, came in search of Kapila Muni and asked him for a solution to the problem. Kapila advised him that the waters of the river Ganga would miraculously bring the dead princes back to life. His descendant Bhagiratha continued his efforts to bring the Ganga to the earth from the heavens to purify the ashes of his ancestors and bring them back to life. Bhagiratha’s prayers were rewarded and the Ganges rushed to the earth. However, the might of the river was too much for the earth to withstand. Fearing a catastrophe, Bhagiratha prayed to Shiva, who held out his matted hair to catch the plummeting river, and thus softened her impact on the earth. The Ganga thus became a symbol of Shiva. This manifestation of Shiva is known as ‘Gangadhara’, one who carries the water of the Ganges on his head. On Lord Shiva’s forehead is the emblem of the half-moon, yet to give supreme respect to Vishnu he placed the water of the Ganges above this emblem. ORIGIN The Ganga is considered to have emanated from the foot of Lord Vamana (the fifth incarnation), when with his third stride his toe pierced the outside of the universe, and some of the causal ocean spilled in to it. This became the source of the Ganga. Bhagiratha patiently led the river down to the sea from the Himalayas. However, being unable to locate the exact spot where the ashes lay, he requested Ganga to follow her own course. So, Ganga divided herself into a hundred mouths in the region of Bengal and formed the Ganges delta. One of these streams washed the ashes, and offered salvation to the souls of the departed. The island with which this incident is associated and referred to as Sagar Island, where a bathe at the confluence of the river and the sea is considered to be very sacred on the festival day of Makara Sankranti. 1/2 60 mins 120 mins ` GURU 22 - Ganges
  • 2. 314 GURU 22 - Ganges SLOKA RECITATION Let us learn a sloka from the Srimad Bhagavatam which teaches us something about the above theme. Before teaching the present verse, the teacher should begin the class by chanting all the verses of the 24 Gurus with the children all together. Chant the verse of the Ganges again. Tell the children we will learn the verse and also understand it. Learn the verse. (The teacher recites the sloka line by line and makes the children repeat and memorize the sloka) tvayi me ‘nanya-viñayä matir madhu-pate ‘sakåt ratim udvahatäd addhä gaìgevaugham udanvati O Lord of Madhu, as the Ganges forever flows to the sea without hindrance, let my attraction be constantly drawn unto You without being diverted to anyone else. (SB 1.8.42, Prayers of Queen Kunti) For teacher’s reference Explanation for this verse - In the Bhagavad-gétä we can see that Arjuna desired not to fight with his brothers and relations just to satisfy his own personal desires. But when he heard the message of the Lord, Çrémad Bhagavad-gétä, he changed his decision and served the Lord. And for his doing so, he became a famous devotee of the Lord, for it is declared in all the scriptures that Arjuna attained spiritual perfection by devotional service to the Lord in friendship. The fighting was there, the friendship was there, Arjuna was there, and Kåñëa was there, but Arjuna became a different person by devotional service. Therefore, the prayers of Kunté also indicate the same categorical changes in activities. Çrématé Kunté wanted to serve the Lord without diversion, and that was her prayer. This unalloyed devotion is the ultimate goal of life. Our attention is usually diverted to the service of something which is nongodly or not in the program of the Lord. When the program is changed into the service of the Lord, that is to say when the senses are purified in relation with the service of the Lord, it is called pure unalloyed devotional service. Çrématé Kuntédevé wanted that perfection and prayed for it from the Lord. Let us learn a sloka from the Srimad Bhagavatam which teaches us something Before teaching the present verse, the teacher should begin the class by chanting all the verses of the 24 Gurus with the children all together. Chant the verse of the Ganges again. Tell the children we will learn the verse Learn the verse. (The teacher recites the sloka line by line and makes the
  • 3. GURU 22 - GangesGURU 22 - Ganges 315 GURU 22 - Ganges For teacher’s reference 1. Determination may vary from one person to another. But in general it means to focus and achieve a target you have set by following a process or schedule. a. I will get up at 5.00 a.m without making a fuss. b. I will read something spiritual everyday without fail. c. I will chant my number of rounds everyday without fail. d. I shall not eat any foodstuff which is not offered to Krishna. LESSONS FROM GURU - (DETERMINATION) What is the lesson that mother Ganga teaches us? - Determination. The river Ganga is determined to reach her destination, which is the ocean. She is ready to cross all the hurdles to reach there. The huge Himalayan Mountains interrupt her flow, but the Ganges finds its way around the mountains. If big boulders disturb her path, she goes over them, under them or around them – but never forgets her destination. She flows across hundreds of miles through all lands to reach her destination. Show the video of the Ganges to drive home the meaning of the sloka. In the dictionary, ‘Determination’ is defined as - The act of coming to a decision or of fixing or settling a purpose. The quality of being resolute; firmness of purpose. A fixed purpose or intention: it is my determination to stop eating junk food. Fixed direction or tendency toward some object or end. The act of making up your mind about something. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Answer the following. 1. What does determination mean to you in your life? 2. Give some examples where you would try to inculcate this value in your life?
  • 4. 316 GURU 22 - Ganges 2. This question has to be answered by the students. Either some incident from their life or something where they would try and show determination from today onwards. DETERMINATION TO NOT TO GIVE IN that we can enjoy. I promise you I will come to your camp tomorrow evening with some of my maidservants, and then we can enjoy. But you have to stop the siege now and leave us alone.” He said, “Yes, no problem.” So he left the palace with his men, and he went back to his Muslim camp, which was a few hundred metres away, and they began to have a big party in expectation. That whole day they were simply drinking wine and dancing, “Yes, the princess is coming! The princess is coming!” And they all got drunk. Sure enough, as the queen promised, that evening the doors of the palace opened and so many palanquins came out. There were over one hundred palanquins carrying the queen and her maidservants. So when the Muslim emperor saw this, he began to dance in ecstasy. They began to drink more and more wine, “Here comes the queen! Here comes the queen!” And all the soldiers were shouting, “Here come the maidservants!” They put away their weaponsandstartedputtingonperfumes and nice clothes. The women were very chaste, so the palanquins were all closed with curtains around them. The palanquins were getting closer and closer. And the There is one battle where the Muslims took siege on one Hindu fort. They surrounded the fort and waited for everyone to starve to death. The Muslim king wanted the Hindu princess.Hesaidhewould give up the siege on the fort if the Hindu princess would come out and marry him. The Hindu king had been killed, so the queen was now the ruler. The Muslim king wanted to marry her. But she was a very chaste woman. “I’m not going to marry this rascal.” “All right,” the king said, “let me just come and see you. If I can see you I will be satisfied and I will go away and we will stop the war.” She said, “I am a chaste woman. Why should I let a rogue like you see my body?” But the Muslim king said, “I will stop the war if you just let me look at you.” “All right,” she said, “you can look at me through a mirror.” So he allowed her to look at her face in a mirror. But he was such a rascal that as he was leaving the palace, he said, “That is not enough. If you do not marry me, I will destroy your entire population.” So she was a very intelligent kshatriya woman, and Kshatriyas have to be a little diplomatic sometimes. So she said, “OK, I’ve got an idea. I surrender. You can enjoy me. You can enjoy my beauty. Simply let me spend the next day preparing myself so STORY 1 - THE KSHATRIYA QUEEN party in expectation. That chaste, so the palanquins were all closed
  • 5. GURU 22 - GangesGURU 22 - Ganges 317 Kshatriyas. They slaughtered all those Muslims to the last man. Meanwhile the queen was watching the whole thing from the palace. Not only did the kings have these qualities, but also the queens had these qualities. palanquins got right inside the camp of the Muslims. All of a sudden the Muslims heard this terrific roar. “Aaaargh!” Coming from the palanquins, and out jumped all the Rajaputa soldiers, the Sometimes your biggest weakness can become your biggest strength. Take, for example, the story of one 10-year- old boy who decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident. The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training the master had taught him only one move. STORY 2 -THE FROGS IN THE BUCKET well, so he couldn’t after three months of MORAL - Be determined for Krsna. Just as the frog which was facing a lot of difficulty, did not give up hope but on the contrary fought his way out, similarly in our lives too when faced with difficulties one must not give up but somehow be determined and find a way out and try and serve Krishna. A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule ‘braying’ - or - whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened...and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery. Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back...a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back...HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP! This he did, blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up!” he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old STORY 3 - SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP GURU 22 - Ganges
  • 6. 318 GURU 22 - Ganges MORAL - That’s life! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity...The adversities that come along to bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us! Remember that forgiveness, faith, prayer, praise and hope...all are excellent ways to “Shake it off and step up” out of the wells in which we find ourselves! mule fought “panic” and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP! You’re right! It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THAT WELL! What seemed like would bury him, actually blessed him...all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity. DETERMINATION TO MAKE YOUR WEAKNESS AS YOUR STRENGTH STORY 4 - WEAKNESS OR STRENGTH? Sometimes your biggest weakness can become your biggest strength. Take, for example, the story of one 10-year- old boy who decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident. The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training the master had taught him only one move. “Sensei,” the boy finally said, “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?” “This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the sensei replied. Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training. Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time- out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened. “No,” the sensei insisted, “Let him continue.” Soon after the match resumed, his opponentmadeacritical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the champion. On the way home, the boy and sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy
  • 7. GURU 22 - GangesGURU 22 - Ganges 319 MORAL - Determined to convert weakness into strength. He was determined to follow the instructions of his teacher summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind. “Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?” “You won for two reasons,” the sensei answered. “First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.” DETERMNATION - A TEST OF ONE'S INNER CHARACTER STORY 5 -THE SANDY ROAD This is a nice story from the collection of Jataka Tales. Once upon a time, there lived a merchant in a small village. The merchant dealt in different kinds of goods. He wanted to sell his goods in the town, in order to gain good sum of profits. One day, he decided to go to the town to try his fortune. He arranged for some men who could go along with him. During the journey, he had to pass through a desert, so he also arranged for water, rice and firewood. According to the plan, he packed his goods in several carts and set out for the journey along with his mates. When they reached the desert, the sun was shining on the fine sand, making it severely hot. In the day time, no one could dare to walk on it. One could only think of travel through the desert during the night time, when the moon made the sands cool. So, the merchant and his people waited for the night to start their further journey. With the arrival of night, they started their journey. One of them, had knowledge about the stars, so he was guiding the way to other people by reading the position of stars. They traveled for the whole night without taking any break. At daybreak, they stopped and camped. They released the oxen from the carts and fed them. They made fire, cooked the rice and ate the food to their fill. They spread a huge covering over all the carts and the oxen. Subsequently, all the men laid down under it, to rest till the sunset. When the sun set in the early evening, they again built fire and cooked rice. After the meal, they folded the covering and tied the oxen to the carts. As soon as, the sand became cool, they again started their journey across the desert. Night after night, they traveled in such manner and rested during the day time. On the last morning, the one who was guiding the group said, “In one more night, we will cross the desert”. Every one was happy to hear this, as all of them were tired. GURU 22 - Ganges
  • 8. 320 GURU 22 - Ganges After taking meal in the evening, the merchant said, “Now, you people can throw the water and the firewood because tomorrow we will reach the town. Tie the oxen and start”. The Guide took his position at first in the line of the carts, but instead of sitting and guiding the drivers, he laid down in the cart on the cushions. Soon, he was in a deep slumber because he had not slept for many nights and in the daytime, the sun had been so strong that he had not slept properly. The oxen went on, for the whole night. Near daybreak, the guide awoke and looked at the last stars fading in the light. He said to the drivers, “Stop! We are in the same place where we were yesterday. The oxen must have turned about while I slept”. They released the oxen, but there was no water for them to drink, as they had thrown away the water the previous night. They spread out the covering over the carts and the oxen rested, tired and thirsty. The men lay down too, saying, “Without wood and water, we are lost”. Every one was tired and sat down. The merchant thought, “This is no time for me to sleep. I have to find water. The oxen cannot start unless they get water to drink. The people need water other wise they cannot cook rice. If I give up, we will lose. There must be water somewhere below”. He walked down and down, keeping a close watch of the ground. Finally, he saw some grass and thought, “There must be water somewhere below otherwise that grass would not be there”. He ran back, shrieking to the people, “Get the spade and the hammer.” All of them jumped up and ran with the merchant to the spot where he saw the grass. They started digging and after much toil, they struck a rock. After this, they could dig no further. The merchant jumped down into the hole they had dug and kept his ear to the rock. He called to them, “I can hear water running under this rock. We must not give up”. Then, the merchant came out of the hole and said to the serving boy, “My boy, if you give up, we are lost. Please go down and try”. The boy stood up raising the hammer high above his head and hit the rock with his full strength. He didn’t give up, thinking the words of the merchant. Every time the hammer came down, he thought that everyone must be saved. Ultimately, the rock broke, the boy hardly got any time to come out of the hole and it was full of water. All the men drank water, as if they could never get enough. They watered the oxen and took bath. After drinking and bathing, they split the extra wooden yokes and axles from their carts. They made a fire out of it and cooked their rice. They had their meal and rested through the day. They also placed a flag on the well, so that the passingtravelerscouldseeandhavewater. After the sunset, they started their journey and reached the town in the morning. They sold the goods making huge profits and happily returned back to their village. MORAL - Will and Determination can achieve anything.
  • 9. GURU 22 - GangesGURU 22 - Ganges 321 SLOKA RECITATION The teacher should begin the class by chanting all the verses of the 24 Gurus with the children all together. Chant the verse of the Ganges again. tvayi me ‘nanya-viñayä matir madhu-pate ‘sakåt ratim udvahatäd addhä gaìgevaugham udanvati O Lord of Madhu, as the Ganges forever flows to the sea without hindrance, let my attraction be constantly drawn unto You without being diverted to anyone else. (SB 1.8.42, Prayers of Queen Kunti) 2/2 60 mins 120 mins The teacher should begin the class by chanting all the verses of the 24 Gurus with the children all together. Chant the verse of the Ganges again. MORE LESSONS FROM GURU Just as the water of Ganges when is obstructed by big boulders or rocks she somehow or the other makes her way through them or by moving around them. Similarly in life too we have to face obstacles at every step and even if we seemingly fail to overcome them at our first attempt we have to show determination to try again and again until success is achieved. Let us now see some famous people as to how they started off in their respective fields. 1. As a child, his father had called him a dog who would never be able to make a living, because he always got lower grades in school. He wanted to attend Stanford University but failed the admission exam twice. He also had a very severe speech impediment which took him years to overcome. The name of this man was Winston Churchill. He became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the days when the Sun never set on the British Empire. And in the secular world he is considered as one of the most famous orators of the 20th century. 2. A man, who got a job as a journalist, was fired by his employer because he had no creativity. This man started a cartoon company and in the first year he went bankrupt. This was Walt Disney, who is practically the founder of children’s films. GURU 22 - Ganges
  • 10. 322 GURU 22 - Ganges 3. A boy who wanted to be a singer, never got more than a ‘C’ in his music class, when he was a High School student. His music teacher even told him to give up and that he could never make it. This boy grew up to be Elvis Presley, the king of Rock music 4. Henry Ford went bankrupt three times in the first three years of his entry in the automobile industry. 5. A man desperately wanted to go to the U.C.L.A film school, but couldn’t do so because he was not eligible due to mediocre grades. His name is Steven Spielberg. (Director of Hollywood film Juraasic Park) 6. As a young boy at high school, he couldn’t make to the high school basketball team in spite of playing with all his might. His name was Michael Jordan. The ESPN named him the greatest athlete of the 20th Century 7. A man named R.H .Mercy, tried to make a store in New York City but went out of business seven times. For the past 40 years, one the landmarks of the New York city and the store where people from all over the world go to is Mercers Departmental stores. 8. English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books. 9. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs. 10. Don’t worry about failure. 11. Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try. 12. Eg: Thomas Edison tried 8000 various experiments before he finally invented the battery. When he was asked about it, he said, “I wasn’t discouraged by the 8000 failures. I at least learnt what doesn’t work.” That is success. MORAL - Failure is a stepping stone to success. Jordan. The ESPN named him the greatest athlete of the 20th Century
  • 11. GURU 22 - GangesGURU 22 - Ganges 323 HOW IS IT RELEVANT IN MY LIFE? 1. Mother Ganga teaches us the lesson of determination. The sloka also explains that although mother Ganga faces various obstacles on its path to the sea still it crosses those obstacles and pursues its path to the sea without any hindrance. Similarly I our lives too everyday we are faced with obstacles, at such a time it is very important to be determined to continue and cross over the obstacles. 2. Failures are stepping stones to success. Don’t Be Afraid To Fail You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember. You fell down the first time you tried to walk. You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn’t you? Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot. Nature Lessons from Guru For teacher’s reference 1. Ganges, white in colour rests on makaramatsya (a variety of fish) holding in her hands a pot and lotus flowers. (Agni Purana, Chapter 50) 2. Ganges visnupadi jahnutanaya suranimnages / Bhagirathi tripathaga Trisrota bhismasurapi // (Ganges, Visnupadi jahnutanaya, ‘Suranimnaga, Bhagirathl, Tripathaga, Trisrota, Bhismasu). . Jähnavé—daughter of sage Jahnu. 3. Ganges water is sanctified due to being mixed with the dust of the lotus feet of the Lord. Answer the following. 1. What are the symbols of mother Ganga and what is her vehicle? 2. Mention some names by which ganga is also known? 3. Why is the water of Ganga sanctified? GURU 22 - Ganges
  • 12. 324 GURU 22 - Ganges Scriptural stories of Ganges Birth of Mother Ganga King Mahabhiseka after his death, attained Visnuloka. Once he went to visit Brahma at Satyaloka. At that time Gangadevi was also present in Brahma’s assembly. In that pious atmosphere, a gentle breeze began to blow and Gangadevi’s clothes were slightly deranged. Just at that moment, Mahabhiseka took a stealthy glance at her and she also returned that glance. This was noted by Brahma who turned both of them into human beings by a curse. Gaitgadevi begged pardon and Brahma lifted the curse and blessed her that the Astavasus would come to the earth to be born as her sons and that afterwards she could come back to Heaven. After that Gaitgadevi was born as a mortal woman in the world under the name Ganga and she spent her days in the forests near the Ganga river valleys. Marriage to Santanu In those days the ruler of the Lunar dynasty was a king named Pratipa. Having no children, he went to the bank of the river Gariga and performed tapas there. Gaitgadevi who was moving about in the forests nearby, saw the King deeply absorbed in his tapas. She approached him and sat on his right thigh. She wanted the King to be her husband. He explained to her that the right thigh is the proper seat of a daughter-in-law and so she would become his son’s wife in due course. In course of time, Pratipa had a son, Santanu, born to him. When Santanu grew up into a young man, one day he went for a hunt to the Ganges-valley and there he met Gangadevi. He fell in love with her at first sight and courted her. Gangagadevi agreed to become his wife on one condition that he should not say anything to displease her and if he violated that condition she would leave him. The king accepted the condition and they became man and wife. The sons of Gangadevi Astavasus and Gahga. While the wife of Dyau, one of the Astavasus (eight Vasus) was roaming about in the forest she saw Nandini (the divine cow) grazing with her calf near the essrama of Vasistha, and she desired to have the cow to be presented to her intimate friend Jitavati, the daughter of King Usinara. She informed her husband, Dyau about this desire of hers, and Dyau told his relations about it. Next day the Astavasus, in the absence of Vasistha at the ashrama, stole off Nandini and her calf. When Vasistha returned to the asrama the cow and calf were missing, and he divined the reason for it with his divine eyes. He cursed that the Astavasus be born as men on earth, and when they prayed for redemption from the curse Vasistha told them that they would be born as men within one year from that day, die at once and return to heaven. At the same time the sage said that Dyau alone, who took the leading part in stealing the cow, would live on earth for a longer period before he
  • 13. GURU 22 - GangesGURU 22 - Ganges 325 returned to heaven. (The reputed Bhisma was this Dyau). The Astavasus set out for the earth to be born as men and on their way they met Ganges and told her about their curse etc. Ganges also told them about her curse, and permitted them to be born in her womb. (Adi Parva, Chapter 99) . Ganges became the wife of Santanu and the Astavasus were born. Once while hunting on the banks of the Ganges Santanu saw a beautiful maiden and they fell in love with each other. She agreed to become his wife on the condition that he would not oppose whatever she said. Santanu agreed to it and married her. Soon after a child was born to them and in the very presence of Santanu, she threw the child into the Ganges. As per previous condition Santanu kept mum at this. She threw into the river the seven Astavasus, who were born to her in succession. When she was about to throw the last eighth of the Astavasus (Dyau) into the river Santanu prevented her. She got angry at this and disappeared with the child. (Adi Parva, Chapter 98) . Santanu got back the son. Thirtytwo years after, Santanu went hunting again on the banks of the Ganges where he saw the river obstructed in its course with arrows by a handsome boy.. Santanu did not recognise that the boy was his son, who had been named Devavrata by Ganges. Devavrata disappeared after throwing Santanu into an illusion by his magic power. All of a sudden a doubt dawned in his mind whether the boy was his own son, and he called out to Ganges to show him the boy. Ganges appeared with her son with beautiful ornaments on him and spoke to Santanu thus: “This is Devavrata, the eighth son whom you entrusted to me. He has mastered everything in archery from Vasistha, and he is Dyau (the vasu) son of Angiras reborn. You may please take charge of him.” After saying this she returned to heaven. (Adi Parva, Chapter 100). GURU 22 - Ganges
  • 14. 326 GURU 22 - Ganges Now let us study the origin of mother Ganga and learn from it Ganges, the famous and holy Ganges river of India, which originates from the spiritual world and runs throughout the entire universe. To understand this background of Mother Ganga we will see some videos. Video of mother Ganges BBC good clippings and also the documentary made by Yadubara prabhu. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT GANGES. What do the scriptures say about mother Ganga? mala-nirmocanaà puàsäà jala-snänaà dine dine sakåd gétämåta-snänaà saàsära-mala-näçanam “One may cleanse himself daily by taking a bath in water, but if one takes a bath even once in the sacred Ganges water of Bhagavad-gétä, for him the dirt of material life is altogether vanquished.” (Gétä-mähätmya 3) Greatness (divine nature) of Ganges. Mahabharata has (Anusasana Parva, Chapter 26,), the following on the greatness of Ganga. 1. If, after death, the bones of the dead are deposited in Ganges the departed will attain heaven. Even if one had sinned throughout his life he would attain Visnupada (heaven) if he worshipped Ganges. Bathing in the Ganga is as beneficial as performing hundred yajnas. As long as the bones of one remain in the waters of the Ganga so long will he occupy an honourable seat in heaven. Example - SB 1.8.1 The Päëòavas, desiring to deliver water to the dead relatives who had desired it, went to the Ganges with Draupadé. The ladies walked in front. PURPORT To date it is the custom in Hindu society to go to the Ganges or any other sacred river to take bath when death occurs in the family. Each of the family members pours out a potful of the Ganges water for the departed soul and walks in a procession, with the ladies in the front. The Päëòavas also followed the rules more than five thousand
  • 15. GURU 22 - GangesGURU 22 - Ganges 327 years ago. Lord Kåñëa, being a cousin of the Päëòavas, was also amongst the family members. 2. He who has come in contact with its water will shine forth as the sun devoid of all darkness. Places which are not favoured by its waters will become barren like night without the moon and trees without flowers. Ganga water is snore than enough to satisfy living things in all the three worlds. 3. He who does penance standing on one leg for thousand years, and he who gives up his body in the waters of the Ganges are on a par with each other. God attaches more importance to him who has fallen into the Ganges than to him, who has performed tapas hanging by his head for a thousand years. 4. He who smears the sand on the banks of the Ganga on his body will get the lustre and ,glow of the devas, and he, who smears the sand on his head will shine forth like the Sun. 5. All the sins of those on whom has blown the air which had come in contact with Ganges water will be-swept away. It should be known that Ganges water can wash off all sins and purify mortals. The Agni Purana (Chapter 110) has the following on this subject. Through whatever places the Ganges flows those places become sublime and sacred. Ganges is the refuge of all created beings who aspire for the final good. If Ganges is worshipped daily it will save families both on the mother’s and the father’s side from evil fate. To drink Ganges water is better than. the observance of a thousand lunar months. If one worships Ganges for a month one will derive all the benefits of having performed all the yanjas. Even the blind (the ignorant) who worship Ganges, will attain equal status with the devas. The sight of Ganges, contact with its waters and drinking Ganges water will purify people in thousands and lakhs. GURU 22 - Ganges