Brahma commends Bhageeratha in bringing Ganga onto earth which none of his ancestors could do. Brahma blesses Ganga to be the daughter of Bhageeratha. Brahma advises him to offer water-oblations to his manes with the sanctified waters of Ganga.
sa gatvā sāgaram rājā gaṃgayā anugatas tadā |
praviveśa talam bhūmeḥ yatra te bhasmasāt kṛtāḥ || 1-44-1
1. saH raajaa tadaa = he [Bhageeratha,] king, then; gangayaaH anu gataH = by Ganga, followed by; saagaram gatvaa = to ocean - ocean-like ditch, having gone; yatra = where; te = they - sons of Sagara; bhasmat kR^itaaH = as ashes, made as; there; bhuumeH talam pravivesha = earth's, substratum, entered.
"King Bhageeratha followed by Ganga has gone to the ocean-like ditch which is dredged up by the sons of Sagara, and entered the subterranean of earth where the sons of Sagara are rendered to ashes." Thus Vishvamitra continued his narration about the Descent of Ganga. [1-44-1]
bhasmani atha āplute rāma gaṃgāiāḥ salilena vai |
sarva loka prabhuḥ brahmā rājānam idam abravīt || 1-44-2
2. raama = oh, Rama; atha = then; bhasmani gangaayaaH salilena aaplute = ashes, with Ganga's, waters, while being inundated; sarva loka prabhuH brahmaa = all, worlds, Lord, Brahma; raajaanam idam abraviit = to king Bhageeratha, this, spoke; vai = indeed.
"While the waters of Ganga are inundating those ashes, oh, Rama, then Brahma, the lord of all worlds, indeed spoke this to the king Bhageeratha. [1-44-2]
tāritā naraśārdūla divam yātāḥ ca devavat |
ṣaṣṭiḥ putra sahasrāṇi sagarasya mahātmanaḥ || 1-44-3
3. nara shaarduula = oh, tigerly-man - Bhageeratha; mahaatmanaH sagarasya = of great-souled, of Sagara; SaSTiH putra sahasraaNi = sixty, sons, thousands - sixty thousand sons; taaritaa = are crossed over - the sea of mortality; deva vat = gods like - as good as, gods; divam yaataaH ca = to heaven, they transited, also.
" 'Oh, tigerly-man Bhageeratha, the sixty thousands sons of great souled Sagara have crossed over the sea of mortality, and on a par with the gods they have also transited to heaven. [1-44-3]
sāgarasya jalam loke yāvat sthāsyati pārthiva |
sagarasya ātmajāḥ sarve divi sthāsyanti devavat ||1-44-4
4. paarthiva = oh, king; saagarasya jalam = of oceans, waters; loke yaavat sthaasyati = in world, as long as, exists; [taavat = till then]; sagarasya aatmajaaH sarve = Sagara's, sons, all of them; deva vat = gods, like; divi sthaasyanti = in heaven, they will be abiding.
" 'As long as the water of the ocean abides in the world, oh, king, so long the sons of Sagara will abide in heaven like gods. [1-44-4]
iyam ca duhitā jyeṣṭhā tava gaṃgā bhaviṣyati |
tvat kṛtena ca nāmnā atha loke sthāsyati viśrutā ||1-44-5
5. iyam gangaa ca = this, Ganga, also; tava jyeSThaa duhitaa bhaviSyati = your, elder, daughter, she becomes; atha = hereafter; tvat kR^itena = by you, done deed - associated with your action of bringing her to earth; naamna ca = by [her] name, also; loke vishrutaa sthaasyati = in world, renowned, she will remain.
" 'This Ganga will become your eldest daughter and hereafter she will remain renowned in the world with the name associated with your deed of bringing her onto earth. [1-44-5]
Otherwise, 'by your fatherhood she will be called Bhaageerathi and your names becomes her surname.'
gaṃgā tripathagā nāma divyā bhāgīrathī iti ca |
trīn patho bhāvayanti iti tasmat tripathagā smṛtā || 1-44-6
6. divyaa = one who pertains to heaven - heavenly; gangaa = Ganga; tri patha gaa naama = triple-path-cruiser, by the name of; bhaagiirathii ca = Bhaageerathi, also, [also by the name]; she will be renowned henceforth; triin pathaH = three, paths - worlds; bhaavayanti = sanctifier; iti tasmat = thus, therefore; tripathagaa smR^itaa = as triple-path-cruiser, she will be remembered.
" 'Henceforth heavenly Ganga will be renowned as 'Triple-path-cruiser' and 'Bhaageerathi,' as well, and as this river is sanctifying three worlds, namely, svarga, bhuu, paataala loka-s, 'heaven, earth and netherworld' she will be remembered as the traveller on triple path. [1-44-6]
pitāmahānām sarveṣām tvam atra manujādhipa |
kuruṣva salilam rājan pratijñām apavarjaya || 1-44-7
7. manuja adhipa raajan = = people's, lord, oh, king; tvam = you; atra = therein - in Ganga's water; sarveSaam pitaamahaanaam = to all of, to [your] forefathers; salilam kuruSva = water - libation, you make - offer water oblation; pratij~naam = [your] pledge; apa varjaya = aside, cast - remove by fulfilling your requiescat.
" 'You may now offer water-oblations to all of your forefathers in the waters of Ganga, oh, king, the lord of people, thus you may fulfil and do away with the pledge of your requiescat. [1-44-7]
pūrvakeṇa hi te rājan tena atiyaśasā tadā |
dharmiṇām pravareṇa atha na eṣa prāpto manorathaḥ || 1-44-8
8. raajan = oh, king; te puurvakeNa = by your, ancestor; ati yashasaa = highly, glorious one; dharmiNaam pravareNa = among righteous ones, best one - viz., Sagara; tena atha [api] = by him, it is, [even, even by him]; tadaa eSa manorathaH = at that time - in his lifetime, this, aspiration; na praaptaH = not, been achieved; but you achieved it.
" 'Your ancestor Sagara is a highly glorious one and a best one among righteous persons, oh, king, even then he has not achieved this aspiration of alighting Ganga in his lifetime, but you have achieved it. [1-44-8]
tathaiva aṃśumatā vatsa loke apratima tejasā |
gaṃgām prārthayatā netum pratijñā na apavarjitā || 1-44-9
9. vatsa = oh, son; tathaa eva = like that; loke a pratima tejasaa = in world, not, equal, one by his resplendence; gangaam aanetum praarthayata = Ganga, to lead forth, one who prayed for; such; amshumataa = by Amshuman - your grandfather; even by him; pratij~naa na apavarjitaa = vow, not, cast aside - dispense with the vow - fulfilled.
" 'Like that, your grandfather Amshuman, who is unequalled in his resplendence in this world and who had been praying for the descent of Ganga, he also could not dispense with this vow on fulfilling it. [1-44-9]
rājarṣiṇā guṇavatā maharṣi sama tejasā |
mat tulya tapasā caiva kṣatra dharma sthitena ca || 1-44-10
dilīpena mahābhāga tava pitrā atitejasā |
punar na śakitā netum gaṃgām prārthayata anagha || 1-44-11
10, 11. anagha = oh, impeccable Bhageeratha; raajarSiNaa = by kingly sage; guNavataa = merited one; maharSi sama tejasaa = great sage, similar to, in resplendence; mat tulya tapasaa eva ca = to me, equal, by ascesis, like that, also; kSatra dharma sthitena ca = kingly, observance, abided by, also; ati tejasaa = highly, resplendent one; gangaam praarthayata = for Ganga, who had been supplicating - throughout his life time; tava pitraa = your, father; also; mahaabhaaga diliipena = by highly fortunate, by Dileepa; punaH = again - in turn; netum na shakitaa = to bring, not, possible.
" 'Oh, impeccable Bhageeratha, even by the kingly-sage Dileepa whose resplendence is kindred to great sages, who is equal to me in his ascesis, who is abided by the observances of ruling Kshatriya class, even by such a highly fortunate and highly resplendent father of yours it was impossible to bring Ganga in his turn, even though he had been supplicating for the descent of Ganga throughout his lifetime. [1-44-10, 11]
The content of verse 10 at times will be attributed to verse 9, viz., to Amshuman, rather than to Dileepa.
sā tvayā samatikrāntā pratijñā puruṣarṣabha |
prāpto asi paramam loke yaśaḥ parama saṃmatam || 1-44-12
12. puruSarSabha = oh, best one among men; saa pratij~naa = that, pledge; tvayaa = by you samatikraantaa [sam ati kraantaa] = verily, over, crossed - fulfilled; loke = in world; parama sammatam = highly, adorable - by all; paramam yashaH = highest, renown; praaptaH asi = achieved, you have.
" 'But, you have accomplished that pledge, oh, the best one among men, and in the world you have achieved highest renown which is highly adorable by all. [1-44-12]
tat ca gaṃgā avataraṇam tvayā kṛtam arindama |
anena ca bhavān prāpto dharmasya āyatanam mahat || 1-44-13
13. arin dama = oh, enemy, represser; tvayaa = by you; tat gangaa ava taraNam = that, Ganga, to low, flowing - descent of Ganga; kR^itam = is perfected; anena = by that; bhavaan = you; dharmasya mahat aayatanam = for righteousness, genuine, basis; praaptaH = have acquired.
" 'That 'Descent of Ganga' is perfected by you, oh, enemy-represser, and by this you have acquired a genuine basis for righteousness in this world, and thereby a base for yourself in my world, namely Abode of Brahma. [1-44-13]
plāvayasva tvam ātmānam narottama sadā ucite |
salile puruṣaśreṣṭha śuciḥ puṇyaphalo bhava || 1-44-14
14. nara uttama = oh, best among men - oh, phenomenal one; puruSa shreSTha = oh, best among men - oh, persona grata; ucite salile = in choicest - holy, waters - of Ganga; sadaa = always; aatmaanam tvam plaavayasva = yourself, you, dip - drench, take dip-baths; thereby; shuciH = become purified; puNya phalaH bhava = merit, be fructified, you become.
" 'Oh, phenomenal one, you may always take dip-baths in the holy water of Ganga and oh, persona grata, thereby get purified of sins and thus let your merit be fructified. [1-44-14]
The waters of other rivers have a blemish called rajasvala doSa 'the blemish of menstruation.' When the sun is in Leo-Cancer, i.e., during monsoon, and when new waters come in, it is as good as menstruation for the ladies called, the rivers. But Ganga is beyond these taboos because it is perennial, hence her is sanctifying. Some more details are given in endnote of this chapter.
pitāmahānām sarveṣām kuruṣva salilakriyām |
svasti te astu gamiṣyāmi svam lokam gaṃyatām nṛpa || 1-44-15
15. sarveSaam pitaamahaanaam = for all of the, for forefathers; salila kriyaam kuruSva = water- oblation, rituals, you perform; te svasti astu = to you, wellbeing, let there be; gamiSyaami = here I go; nR^ipa = oh, king; [tvam = you]; svam lokam gamSyataam = to your own, world, you may go.
" 'You may now perform water-oblations to your forefathers with the water of Ganga, let there be wellbeing to you, and oh, king, here I go to my abode and you too may depart to yours.' Thus Brahma said to Bhageeratha. [1-44-15]
iti evam uktvā deveśaḥ sarvaloka pitāmahaḥ |
yathā āgatam tathā agacchat deva lokam mahāyaśāḥ || 1-44-16
16. sarva loka pitaa mahaH = for all, worlds, forefather; mahaayashaaH deva iishaH = great glorious, gods, lord of - Brahma; iti evam uktvaa = thus, this way, on saying; yathaa aagatam tathaa = as came in, like that; deva lokam agacChat = to empyrean, world, went away.
"On saying in this way, the forefather of all the worlds, and the great glorious lord of all gods, namely Brahma, went away to his empyrean world as he has came. [1-44-16]
bhagīrathaḥ tu rājarṣiḥ kṛtvā salilam uttamam |
yathākramam yathānyāyam sāgarāṇām mahāyaśāḥ || 1-44-17
kṛtodakaḥ śucī rājā svapuram praviveśa ha |
samṛddhārtho naraśreṣṭha svarājyam praśaśāsa ha ||1-44-18
17. raajaR^iSiH = kingly-sage; mahaayashaaH = greatly renowned one; raajaa = king; bhagiirathaH api = Bhageeratha, even; yathaa kramam yathaa nyaayam = as per, regularity [according to precedency,] as per, rationale of scriptures; saagaraaNaam = for Sagara's sons - souls of the sons of Sagara; [uttama loka praapaka = superior, realms, endowing]; uttamam salilam kR^itvaa = best, water-oblations, on performing; kR^ita udakaH [itare] = who had completed water-oblations, [to other manes]; shucii = on becoming purified, sanctified; sva puram pravivesha ha = his own, city, [re-]entered, indeed; nara shreSTha = oh, outstanding man - Rama; samR^iddha arthaH = completely achieved, of his purposes; sva raajyam pra shashaasa ha = his own, kingdom, well, ruled, indeed.
"On according those best water-oblations that endow superior realms to the souls of sons of Sagara, according to precedency and the rationale of scriptures, and even on offering water-oblations to other manes that kingly-sage and greatly renowned Bhageeratha is sanctified, and then only that king re-entered his own city, indeed when his purpose is completely achieved, and oh, outstanding man Rama, thus that king Bhageeratha ruled his kingdom well. [1-44-17, 18]
pramumoda ca lokaḥ tam nṛpam āsādya rāghava |
naṣṭaśokaḥ samṛddhārtho babhūva vigatajvaraḥ || 1-44-19
19. raaghava = oh, Raghava; tam nR^ipam aasaadya = him, as king, on [re-] gaining; lokaH pramumoda ca = subjects of kingdom, are overjoyed, also; and he; samR^iddha arthaH = with overabundant, means - achieving his purpose; vi gata jvaraH = verily, gone, febrility; naSTa shokaH = relieved of, grief; babhuuva = became.
"On regaining him as their king the subjects of the kingdom are overjoyed, and oh, Raghava, that king Bhageeratha too is relieved of his febrility as his purpose is achieved and he is happy when devoid of haunting grief of getting Ganga to earth. [1-44-19]
eṣa te rāma gaṃgāyā vistaro abhihito mayā |
svasti prāpnuhi bhadram te saṃdhyā kālo ativartate || 1-44-20
20. raama = oh, Rama; gangaayaaH eSa vistaraH = Ganga's, this, detailed [legend]; mayaa te abhihitaH = by me, to you, described; svasti praapnuhi = prosperity, you attain; te bhadram = you be blest; sandhyaa kaalaH ati vartate = vesperal, time, over, passing - is elapsing.
"Oh, Rama, this way I described to you about 'The Decent of Ganga' in detail, thus you be blest and prosperous, and as the visceral time is elapsing no more questions from you for now, and let us meditate on Gayatri. But listen to the fruits of listening the legend of ganga avataraNa, 'The Descent of Ganga' [1-44-20]
dhanyam yaśasyam āyuṣyam putryam svargyam atha api ca |
yaḥ śrāvayati vipreṣu kṣatriyeṣu itereṣu ca || 1-44-21
prīyante pitaraḥ tasya prīyante daivatāni
21, 22a. dhanyam = endower of prosperity; yashasyam = endower of renown; aayuSyam = endower of longevity; atha = and; putryam svargyam api ca = endower of - progeny, heaven, even, also; such as this legend is; yaH = he who; vipreShu = among Brahmans; kshatriyeSu itereSu ca = among Kshatriya-s, among others, also; shraavayati = lets to listen - narrates; tasya pitaraH priyante = his, manes, will be satisfied; daivataani ca priyante = gods, also, will be satisfied.
"This legend is conducive to achieve prosperity, fame, longevity, progeny and even heaven, and he who narrates this legend to others, whether he is from Brahmans or from Kshatriya-s, or for that matter of fact from any other class, his manes will be satisfied, and gods too will be gladdened. [1-44-21, 22a]
idam āKyanam āyuśyam gaṃgā avataraṇam śubham || 1-44-22
yaḥ śruṇoti ca kākutstha sarvān kāmān avāpnuyāt |
sarve pāpāḥ praṇaśyanti āyuḥ kīrtiḥ ca vardhate || 1-44-23
22b, 23. kaakutstha = oh, Kakutstha Rama; idam shubham = this, auspicious; aayushyam = endower of longevity; ganga avataraNam akhyanam = Ganga's descent, named legend; yaH shruNoti = he, who listens; he; sarvaan kaamaan avaapnuyaat = all, wishes, he achieves; sarve paapaaH pra Nashyanti = all, sins, completely, obliterated; aayuH kiirtiH ca vardhate = long life, reputation, also, enhances.
"Oh, Rama of Kakutstha-s, he who listens to this auspicious legend named 'The Descent of Gang,' which is an endower of longevity, all his wishes are achieved, all his sins are obliterated, and his reputation and longevity are also enhanced." Thus Vishvamitra concluded the episode of 'The Descent of Ganga.' [1-44-22b, 23]
Almost every puraaNa, mythological treatise, deals with the sanctity of Ganga. It is therefore queried and counter-queried as to why and how she is sanctifying. Many treatises have detailed about it. This river emerges from the nail of the left foot's big-toe of Vishnu as said in Vishnu Puraana: gangaa deva anganaa angaanaam anulepanaa api pinjaraa | vaama paada ambuja anguShTa nakha sroto vinirgataa | visNor bhibharti yaam bhaktyaa sirasaa ahar nisam dhR^ivam - sivaH Hence she took landing on Shiva's head. sankarasya sirasi bhraShTam patitam kalmaSha apahaa - mahesvara tiirtha 'the one who plunged onto Shankara's head and the very same is the remover of sins.'
Even if that river has fallen onto the head of Shiva at a later time, her original birth place is at the feet of Vishnu hence that river is sacred. After falling on the head of Shiva she is released and she rapidly flowed onto earth. Hence, her speed and rapidity alone are the sanctifying factors. nadii vegena sudhyati - govinda raaja 'a river cleanses itself by its rapidity.' As such, after incarceration by Shiva she flowed rapidly and thus her sanctity is kept up, by her very rapidity.
On bearing these sanctifying waters on his head, Shiva became a sanctified Shiva as said at sarit praparodakena tiirthena - candra- mauli vidhR^itena sivaH sivo aabhuut - bhaagavatapuraaNa. Shiva presumed that he is honoured for the falling of Ganga on his head as said at tat ambu patitam dR^iShTvaa dadhaara sirasaa haraH | paavanaartham jaTaa madhye - mahaa bhaarata Even in aadhyatma raaamayaNa Sage Vashishta says to Vishnu tvat paada salilam dhR^itvaa dhanvo bhuut girijaa patiH - aadhyaatma raamaayaNa 'on bearing your foot's waters Shiva became pious.'
In the legend of Trivikrama, dwarf-ascetic-boy, at one place it is said that due to the pressure of the foot of Vamana, the incarnation of Vishnu, the shell of the universe is pierced and water available outside has gone in and that water belonged to the Divine Ganga. At another place it is said when Brahma washed the feet of Vishnu that water from his kamanDulu'handy vessel' flowed as Ganga. Still at another place it is said that the dharmaitself flowed as Ganga at the behest of Brahma. These three are correlated and said that 'when Brahma washed the feet of Vishnu the waters were not sufficient enough to drench, then Brahma ordered dharmato flow like water, but that too was not enough, and when Vamana pierced the shell of universe then dharmaflowed as Ganga.
The yoga takes yet another viewpoint of Ganga. Their great guru is Shiva, and hence yogis say that every fraction of second Ganga, or cetana, vitality, flows in ones own body. tat paada padmajam ga~Ngaam nipatantiim sva muurdhani | cintayet brahma randhreNa pravishantiim svakaam tanuum | tayaa sa~NkShaalayet deham baahyam abhyantaram malam | tat kShaNaat virajo mantra jaayate sphaTika upamam ||According to the six-plexus theory cetana shakti, power of vitality, flows through brahma randhra'the hole in the mid of the pate' to sahasraa kamalathe multi-petal-lotus, the Internal Capsule or the Reticular Activating System and from there to aaj~naa cakra' plexus of discrimination' back at the third eye, and from there the vitality flows down the lines of the three spinal nerves, viz., iDaa, pingala, suSumnasympathetic, parasympathetic and central spinal cord. These three are the three replicas of Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati. Their confluence occurs once at aaj~naa cakra' third eye' and again at the perineum and having gone to the perineum this Ganga activates the dormant particles of vitality to raise them up the spinal system. Thus, the Supreme Yogi Shiva ordains the vitality called Ganga to flow up and down the plexuses, from grey matter down to the perineum, only to activate the system. More Information than this will become unjustifiable here.
Ganga is ever holy because she does not have any womanly stigmas. dvi maasam saritah sarvaa bhavanti rajasvalaaH - maarkanDeya - - simha karkaaTakayoH madhye sarvaa nadyaa rajasvalaaH - vyaaghrapaada 'for two months all the rivers menstruate' Maakandeya Puraana. 'When sun in Leo-Cancer all rivers menstruate.' that is due to monsoon and new waters, as such bathing in them at that time is prohibitive. But River Ganga perennially draws its river water from Himalayas thus she has no such blemish.
For all these diverse opinions the reply is given in Ramayana itself as said in Ayodhya vishNu paada udbhavaam divyam - ayodhyaand also at 1-43-7 of Ramayana saa tasmin puNyaa - puNye rudrasya muurdhani - raamaayaNawhich imports the meaning: 'she that pious River Ganga, fell onto the pious head of Shiva,' i.e., 'without any mutation, both Shiva and Ganga are the sanctifiers by themselves, while helping each other, i.e., Shiva helped Ganga to gain a foothold on His head, while Ganga helped Shiva to become the root cause to bear and release her brunt, and in turn, both of them helped the humankind.' Thus, what more can be sanctity than helping the created beings with one's own dharma?
iti vālmīki rāmāyaṇe ādi kāvye bāla kāṇḍe catur catvāriṃśaḥ sargaḥ
© Sept, 2002, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : September 04]