Ganga Appearance Day is very special. On this day, Ganga ji is being worshipped in India, and this is the birthday of Mother Ganga. So let’s understand the glories of Mother Ganga on Appearance day.
Glories of Mother Ganga
In the 20th verse of the 16th chapter of the 11th skand in Srimadbhagwatam, Sri Krishna is telling that in the holy and flowing objects, I’m Ganga. Vrindavandas Thakur is telling that there are 4 places where Sri Krishna always lives:
- Place where Srimad Bhagwatam is
- Place where the Tulsi plant is
- Place where Mother Ganga always flows
- Place where devotees live
In these 4 places, Lord Krishna always lives. If we bring Vighrah to our home, then before their service, Pranprathishtha is needed, but in these 4 places, Sri Krishna always lives. Srila Kavikarnpurna mentions in Mahakavya Chaintya Charitramrit that Ganga has enough potency to dry that ocean of Birth and death in which jiva always flows with repeated Birth and death. She can bring out the jiva from this Birth and death cycle. When we hear this glorification of Mother Ganga that she can bring us out of the Birth and death cycle, then a question comes to mind ‘if mother Ganga is powerful enough, then what is she doing in this material world?’ what was the reason that Ganga ji appeared on this Earth?
So, there are 2 stories behind it
Once, Balimaharaj was performing a very vast Yagya; when these rituals were done, a Bhraman volunteer could have come, and he could have asked for anything. Then at that time, in assembly, in front of everyone, a dwarf child came who was very beautiful then Balimaharaj asked from that Bharaman, “What boon do you want?” then that child replied and asked for 3 steps of land. When Balimaharaj heard this, he got very much surprised. He said, “You came to King, ask for something big” Then Vaman dev said, “The person who doesn’t get satisfaction in three steps of land if he is being provided three worlds yet then he will not become satisfied” then after hearing this Balimaharaj got to agree to give three steps of land to that child. Still, the master of Balimaharaj, Sukracharya, denied it and said, “he is Vishnu; he will snatch your everything from you” Then Balimaharaj thought that “If he is Vishnu and came to take all of mine, then I’m not able to stop him” then Balimaharaj got agreed to give three steps of land to Vaman dev then that small child who is Vishnu himself, when he started to measure, he measured all world only in 1 foot. When he lifted his second leg to measure the upper worlds then, his toe went to the upper of Bharamloka and the covering of the universe where the Virja river flows; when the toe of Vamana dev touched the covering of the universe then, a drop of Virja river fell and came on Earth and came in the form of mother Ganga when it was the velocity of only of a drop then Bhrama filled that in his Kamandalu. So, at that time, Mother Ganga only used to flow on heavenly planets and didn’t come to Earth. So, as Ganga came after touching the feet of Vaman dev, so Ganga is the charnamrit of the lord.
How Did Ganga come to Earth from Heavenly Planets?
As we know, the demons, the non-devotees, always persecute the sages. So, once upon a time, many demons used to hide in the ocean during the day and at night; they all used to come out from it and persecute the sages. They used to destroy the Ashrams and Yagyashalas of sages. So, once, the sages went near to a sage named August. When he got to know that all these demons used to persecute the sages then, he drank the whole water of the ocean as the demons used to hide in it. Now his thinking was quite good as he did all to help devotees, but every place got dry in this action on the Earth.
So, once there was a king named Sagar Maharaj. He was very powerful. He was having 2 wives named Keshani and Sumati, but there was no child in his family. Both of her did very hard penance for a child, Keshni got a child, and Sumati got 60,000 children. To show his power, King Sagar organised the Ashvamegha Yagya, where he left a horse. Anyone who caught that horse would have to fight with the King, and when the King’s horse was going, the King’s 60,000 sons were also following that horse. Then that horse went into the ashram of Kapil Muni, and all the King’s sons thought that Kapil Muni might have caught the horse, but as Kapil Muni was a sage, they all didn’t kill Kapil Muni, but they began to destroy all the nearby things. As Kaipl Muni’s penance got disturbed, he got very angry with them, and he converted all the 60,000 sons into ash.
Now, time passed, and Bhagirat ji went there; when he saw the bones of his ancestor then, he decided to do a shradh of them. But there was no water on Earth; the Earth was very dry at that time because August Muni drank the whole water. Then he performed a hard penance, and Mother Ganga got very happy by watching the great penance of Bhagirat ji, and she got ready to come to Earth, but she had two tensions:
- The velocity of her is very high; if she collides with Earth, then the Earth will burst into pieces, and she will go into lower worlds like Pataal Lok.
- On Earth, there are very sinful people; if they all take a bath in her, then she will become dirty. How will she be purified?
So, the solution came; Shiv ji will hold Mother Ganga in his queues. So when Ganga ji came with her fast velocities then, Shiv ji held her in his queue. That is why Shiv ji is called as Gangadhar. Then after Ganga ji came out from the Himalayas, that’s why she was also known as the elder sister of Parvati Devi, and then Shiv ji opened his only queue and left Ganga ji on this Earth. So first, the tension was gone. Then god said to Ganga that whenever the Vaishnav, the devotees of the supreme lord, will take a bath in her, she will be purified.
So, by this, the prayers of Bhagirath ji and Ganga ji appeared on this Earth. She also flows as Mandakini in the heavens and as Bhogvati in the lower worlds.
So, Ganga ji appeared on this Earth to bring out all the jivs of this material world from the ocean of Birth and death. So by the appearance of Ganga ji, the ocean of Birth and death got dry. If someone leaves his body on the bank of Ganga ji, then this is very auspicious for him.
Penance of Mother Ganga
Once, Ganga Devi went to Antar deep in Navadaveep for penance. As because she thought the fortunate of Yamuna Devi was much bigger than her because Sri Krishna spent most of his time in Yamuna Devi, and he has done many of his pastimes in Yamuna Devi. She didn’t get this special mercy which is done on Yamuna devi. So, by hearing the prayers of Ganga devi, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has done his most pastime on the bank Ganga ji and in Ganga ji also. Chaintya Mahaprabhu daily used to go to Ganga ji, and on the basis of Ganga ji’s desires, he has done his many pastimes in Ganga ji. Sometimes, the kirtan of Haribol- Hareibol used to happen inside the Ganga ji.
Ganga ji is very dear to Mahaprabhu
In Chaitnya Bhagwat, it is also said that sometimes Chaintya Mahaprabhu played and bathed in Ganga ji for 6 hours. As Chaitnya Mahaprabhu is the supreme Sikhsha guru, so he also teaching that how to enter Ganga ji. Chaintya Mahaprabhu used to respect Ganga ji a lot before entering Ganga ji; he always used to do Dandavat Pranaam to her. He used to give her respect as he used to give his mother, Sachi Mata. Once, after sanyas, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu expressed his desire to go Navadveep from Jagannath puri because he wanted to meet two persons; his mother, Sachi Mata, and to take darshan of Ganga ji. Once, Chaitnya Mahaprabhu stood up near the bank of Ganga, and at that time, Ganga felt so much parting from Mahaprabhu and due to the limitless love of Ganga devi, her flow got increased, and she crossed her river limit and reached to the bank to touch the feet of Mahaprabhu, by this Ganga devi was looking so gorgeous. So, there is a very special relationship between Mahaprabhu and Ganga Devi.
Once, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was telling that even if a bird, dog, fox etc., takes a bath in Ganga, then their fortunate also get increases, and they all will deliver. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is saying to Mother Ganga that you appear to deliver all fallen beings, and no one is merciful as you are. Just after a touch of fire, cotton converts into ash. Similarly, a person who touches you, only by your touch, all sins get destroyed.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu praises Ganga ji very beautifully that your divine water is the form of love. Any person who hears your name will get an exclusive devotional love for Vishnu. Then what about the person who has drunk your divine water? Only by your grace can one chant the name of Krishna. Apart from this, there is no other way to get the love of Krishna. Vrindavana Dasa Thakura is saying that any devotee who will listen to these prayers sung by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In the hearts of those devotees, exclusive devotion to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will be born.
Glories of Mother Ganga in Scriptures
In agni puran, it is told that anyone’s sins get destroyed by seeing Ganga ji, hearing the name of Ganga ji, and touching the Ganga ji.
To many extents, it is told in Narad Puran that if someone touches Ganga ji, then he will get the spiritual body. There is also an example of once Garuda ji was feeling very hungry. What did they do in this hunger that they made snake their prey? They were flying by holding that snake in their paws. From above Ganga ji, the tail of this snake touched Ganga ji then the snake converted into a four-handed man by just touching the Ganga ji as like the resident of Vaikuntha, when Garuda ji saw that snake that it has converted into the form of a four-handed, then Garuda ji took that snake which had converted into the form of a four-handed, made him sat on his back and took him to Vaikuntha. In this context, there is a story in the Puranas that once there was a Bhraman who was the adviser of the King. Once he was going, he saw a bull sitting. He saw that when that bull sat, he got very angry that he should work in the fields; what was he doing sitting lazily? He took a stick, hit it on the head of the bull and killed it.
When a stick hit the bull, it got very angry and killed that Bharaman with its horns. When that Bhraman died, another Bhraman was coming after bathing in the Ganga ji, and when he saw the dead body of that Bhraman, he had some Ganga water in his hand. He put that water into that dead body. And after a while, this Bhraman went, and after some time, he was told that Yamadutas were running away from there and blood was coming out of their body; he asked what happened to Yamadutas then, and they said that we came here to punish that sinner Bhraman for to take him to hell, but when we were taking him to hell to be tortured then some Vishnudutas came who had four arms when we were taking him out, Vishnudutas told us that now Gangajal has been sprinkled on it, so now he will not go with you now he will go with us to the higher worlds when we doubted on this matter then those Vishnudutas hit us for doubting that touching a drop of Ganga ji will save the sinner.
These glories of Ganga ji are in the Puranas; it has been told in the Padma Purana that if a sinner remembers Ganga ji or has darshan of Ganga ji, then all his sins will be eradicated and if someone has committed a lot of heinous sins and if he takes the name of (Ganga) by merely saying this, heinous sins will be eradicated, All sins will start running away from him and that person will become eligible to go to Vaikuntha Lok. It has been told in Mahabharat that if a person applies the soil of Ganga ji on his forehead or body, such a person gets brightness like the sun.
How to Worship Mother Ganga?
We can worship Ganga Ji in many ways. For example, if someone constantly speaks the name Ganga, Ganga, Ganga, Ganga, then that person gets the fruit of bathing in the Ganga. Another way is by visiting the Ganga, touching the water of Ganga ji and worshipping her etc. We can also worship Ganga ji by taking a bath in Ganga ji and taking the soil of Ganga ji with us.
Pray to Mother Ganga
Now what should we pray to Ganga ji on this day? We can pray on Ganga ji the way Ganga ji travels from mountains to sea, in which journey many difficulties come, and many rocks come, but Ganga ji is never misguided. In the same way, when we start doing devotion to Krishna, then there are many difficulties in our journey come in which we get discouraged and become broken; then we can pray to Ganga devi that in the journey of devotion, may we overcome all difficulties very well and be engaged in devotion to Krishna with exclusive devotion.