Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!


In the hallowed land of Bharatvarsha, the playground of the Supreme Lord Sri Hari, Bhagavati Ganga, the divine river Ganges, occupies a most exalted place. Maa, Goddess, Giver of Life, Cleanser of Sins, the Holy Ganga purifies the three worlds.

Such is the sacred mahima or glory of this river that there are several auspicious days in the Hindu calander year in honor of Ma Ganga.  They are Aksaya-trtiya, Ganga-saptami, also known as Jahnu-saptami, Ganga-dasahra, also known as Sri Ganga-puja, and Sri Ganga Sagara Mela.

There are several versions about the origins of the Ganga.  In the Devi Bhagavatam, it is written that once in the eternal Goloka Dham, Sri Radha and Krishna were engaged in their sweet love-play in a solitary kunja. As the ardour of their passion increased in intensity, their divine bodies began to fuse together and melt and started flowing as sacred water. 

Emerging from the spiritual bodies of the divine couple, the Ganga is thus one of the shaktis of Sri Krishna and she dwells in Goloka Vrindavan, to the delight of its residents.

Yet another story tells us that when Lord Vaman asked his three boons of Maharaj Bali, He assumed a gigantic cosmic form and in the first step He measured the entire earth and as His second step, He lifted his mighty foot and reached right up to Brahmalok.  Lord Brahma saw the divine markings on His lotus feet and immediately washed the Lord’s foot with the water from his kamandalu.  Thence she became known as Vishnu-padi Ganga and began to dwell in Brahmalok.

The holy Ganga descended to the earth due to the great austerity and severe penance performed by Maharaj Bhageerath, one of the forefathers of Sri Rama, who prayed for the descent of the river, to deliver the spirits of his departed anscestors. Therefore, she is also known as Bhageerathi.

Since she originates in the Himalayas, she is also regarded as the daughter of Himavan, and is referred as the younger sister of Uma, the divine spouse of Lord Shiva. Perhaps that is the reason why when she agreed to descend on Lord Shiva’s head (as otherwise the force of her descent would have knocked the earth out of its orbit), she playfully thought she could topple her brother-in-law and carry Him away in her surging current.

But of course, the omniscient Lord knew her mind, and as she fell on his head in a mighty gush, He enclosed her tightly within His matted hair, and not even a drop could seep out.  Eventually, taking pity on the hapless Bhageerath, He released her waters in a gentle trickle.

The Narada Purana (Uttara-bhaga 38.17-19) describes when and where Ganga manifests herself within the three planetary systems during the Vedic calander month: "In the beginning of the dark half of the month, Ganga is present on the earth for ten days ending with sacred Amavasya (New Moon) day. From the first to the tenth of the bright half of the month, she is present in the netherworlds. Beginning with the eleventh day in the bright half and ending with the fifth day in the dark half, she is always present in heaven for ten days."

In the Bhagavat Gita, Lord Krishna states: "Of purifers I am the wind, among the wielders of weapons I am Rama, among aquatics I am the shark, and in flowing rivers I am the Ganga." 

The sacred water of Ganga is akin to nectar and is unique in the world. The water doesn’t spoil even if kept for years . The water of other rivers decays and starts giving a foul smell in a short time. This is a mystery which scientists have been grappling with for over 100 years.

The British East India Company used only Ganges water on its ships during the three months journey back to England , because it stayed “sweet & fresh” . Emperor Akbar called it the “water of immortality” and always traveled with an adequate supply.

In fact, this mysterious property which keeps Ganga water ever-fresh has come to be referred to as the “X Factor” by scientists who cannot figure out how the flowing water in the river retains 20% more oxygen than any other river water in the world.

Mahaprabhu and Ganga

In Chaitanya-mangala, Adi-khanda 5, Lochana das Thakur describes the intimate relationship between Sri Ganga-devi and Lord Chaitanya. Twice or thrice a day, Mahaprabhu would frolic and bathe in the Ganga alongwith his friends and disciples.

Once during the enchanting evening atmosphere, Visvambhara and His friends went to have darshan of the river. On both sides of the river many brahmanas and saintly persons offered respects and prayers to Ganga-devi and performed aarti. Ladies carried pots of Ganga water.

Both the young and old worshipped the Ganga with fruits, flowers and sandalwood paste.
Impelled by love for Gaur Hari, the Ganga rushed rapidly, spilling over her banks in order to gently touch the lotus feet of the Lord.

People wondered why the waters were swelling in waves on that day. Although she is usually calm and quiet, why was she now loudly roaring and surging with waves? There was no storm brewing, yet she seemed to flood the banks.

Standing on her bank was one brahmana who was most devoted to her. By the mercy of Ganga-devi, his heart was pure, so he could see the past, present and future. Seeing the Ganga swirling in ecstasy, he got excited and looked around, wondering what divine phenomenon was causing this.

Visvambhara stood on the banks of the Ganga gazing at her with love and devotion. Due to horripilation, His body expanded in size, and His reddish eyes filled with tears of compassion. The brahmana understood that He was an avatar.

Mahaprabhu was overcome with love for Ganga-devi. Knowing Ganga’s heart, the Lord walked forward to touch her. Ganga’s desire was not fulfilled, so she splashed her waves across the lotus feet of the Lord. In extreme ecstasy, Gauranga chanted ‘Haribol Haribol!’ and then offered His lap to His favorite one.

The brahmana devotee who had watched Visvambhara’s pastime with Ganga-devi fell at the Lord’s feet. Crying, the brahmana said, ‘Finally after a long time, Ma Ganga has bestowed her mercy upon me. Ganga-devi allowed me to realize the true identity of Mahaprabhu, who is beyond the reach of the greatest yogis and sages.’

Overwhelmed with love, the brahmana cried and rolled on the ground. On seeing him absorbed in love, Lord Gauranga returned home.

Then the brahmana explained why the River Ganga overflowed her banks that day. He said, ‘Once upon a time Lord Siva was ecstatically singing the glories of Lord Krishna. Narada Muni and Ganesha accompanied him, playing vina and mrdanga respectively.

Due to spiritual elation, their bodies erupted in goose bumps from head to toe. The harmonious spiritual vibration of their concert pierced the coverings of the universe.

Attracted by the divine vibration, the Lord went to see them. The Lord said: “O Mahadev! Please don’t sing My glories in this way. You don’t realize its effect. Your music and singing causes My body to melt”.

Smiling, Lord Shiva said: “Let me see the mystical effect of my song”. Then Lord Shiva sang even more enchantingly, filling up the universe with his song. Suddenly, the Lord’s body gradually melted even more. Seeing this, Shiva became alarmed. He stopped singing and the Lord stopped melting.

The water which came from the melting of the Lord’s body is actually liquid Brahman, and it is filled with sat-chit-ananda. This holy water, which is the embodiment of Janardana, is a place of pilgrimage. Lord Brahma preserved this precious water, the rarest thing in the material world, in his kamandalu (water pot).

The Ganga is also referred to as ‘Tripada Sambhava’ seeing that she came from the lotus feet of Tripada, Lord Vamanadeva.

On seeing Mahaprabhu, Ganga-devi remembered this pastime, and out of love, overflowed her banks. As Visvambhara lovingly gazed at her, Ganga-devi saw that the Lord’s body was sweeter than nectar. Then on the pretext of making waves, she tenderly caressed the Lord’s lotus feet.

Jai Ganga Maiya !!

Jai Sri Radhey !!

Jai Gurudev !!