The Descent of Ganga
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Mythological Stories Main Birth of Srikrishna Kalia Kansa Krihsna and Indra Gopal
Ganesh Hanuman Eklavya Link to us Refer this page Feedback

Once upon a time, long ago, demons and gods were at war. To defeat the gods, the demons made a plan. During the day, they hid in the ocean and at night they attacked the gods. Afraid of being defeated in this way, the gods went to Sage Agastya for help.

Agastya solved their problem by drinking the whole ocean. Now as the demons had no place to hide, the gods easily defeated them. The gods then asked Agastya to bring the ocean back. Agastya said that he could not do that because he had already digested the ocean.

The people of the earth now had no water, as the ocean was empty, The gods were worried and went to Vishnu and requested him to bring water on earth, King Sagara, who had sixty thousand sons, was performing a yagna to conquer the whole world. According to custom, he had sent out a white horse, the ruler of that kingdom would either have to fight with Sagara or give him his crown. In this way, Sagara was conquering the whole earth and wanted to be the most powerful. Indra, took the horse and hid it in sage Kapila's ashram. Sagara sent his sons to search the horse. They reached Kapila's ashram. Sage Kapila was meditating and was disturbed. Greatly annoyed, with one look of his eyes. Kapila burnt all of them to ashes. Sagara was very sad at the death of his sons. He wanted to purify the souls of his sons but only river Ganga could do that by washing their ashes. Ganga had to be brought to earth. So Sagara performed tapasya to please Brahma. But he died before finishing the tapasya. His grandson then continued to perform the tapasya.

Shiva and GangaThe seventh descendent of Sagara, Bhagiratha, was able to please Brahma. Brahma granted him his wish and asked Ganga to flow to earth. But Ganga didn't want to leave heaven and go to earth. She threatened to destroy all life on earth by the pressure of her flow. Only Shiva's powerful hair could control the force of Ganga. Bhagiratha requested Shiva to help him. Shiva spread his hair and covered the sky. As soon as Ganga flowed down, he collected her water in his hair in the form of many small streams. She then followed Bhagiratha to the place where the ashes of his ancestors were lying. Being young Ganga flowed carelessly. She flooded the ashram of Sage Jahnu. Jahnu was performing a yagna at that time the water put out all the fires. Angry Jahnu swallowed Ganga. But when he came to know about the long tapasya that had been performed to bring Ganga to earth, he agreed to let her go. He cut open his left thigh and Ganga flowed out of it. Ganga came to be known as Jahnvi, the daughter of Jhanu.

Ganga flowed on and purified the ashes of Bhagiratha's ancestors. Therefore, Ganga is also called Bhagirathi. There after, Ganga flowed and filled the empty ocean.

The ocean came to be known as Sagara after the name of King Sagara. the people of earth now had water to drink.

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