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.
स गत्वा सागरं राजा गंगयानुगतस्तदा |
प्रविवेश तलं भूमेर्यत्र ते भस्मसात्कृताः || १-४४-१
1. saH raajaa tadaa = he [Bhageeratha,] king, then; gangayaa anugataH = followed by Ganga; saagaram gatvaa = having gone to ocean - ocean-like ditch; yatra = where; te = they - sons of Sagara; bhasmasaat kR^itaaH = made as ashes ; there; bhuumeH talam pravivesha = entered earth's substratum .
"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]
भस्मन्यथाप्लुते राम गंगायाः सलिलेन वै |
सर्वलोकप्रभुर्ब्रह्मा राजानमिदमब्रवीत् || १-४४-२
2. raama = oh Rama; atha = then; bhasmani gangaayaaH salilena aaplute = while ashes being inundated with Ganga's waters; sarvalokaprabhuH brahmaa = Lord of all worlds, Brahma; raajaanam idam abraviit = spoke this to king Bhageeratha; 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]
तारिता नरशार्दूल दिवं याताश्च देववत् |
षष्टिः पुत्रसहस्राणि सगरस्य महात्मनः || १-४४-३
3. narashaarduula = oh tigerly-man - Bhageeratha; mahaatmanaH sagarasya = of great-souled Sagara; SaSTiH putrasahasraaNi = sixty thousand sons; taaritaa = are crossed over - the sea of mortality; devavat = gods like - as good as, gods; divam yaataaH ca = they transited to heaven, 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]
सागरस्य जलं लोके यावत् स्थास्यति पार्थिव |
सगरस्यात्मजाः सर्वे दिवि स्थास्यन्ति देववत् ||१-४४-४
4. paarthiva = oh king; saagarasya jalam = waters of oceans ; loke yaavat sthaasyati = in world, as long as, exists; [taavat = till then]; sagarasya aatmajaaH sarve = Sagara's, sons, all of them; devavat = gods, like; divi sthaasyanti = they will be abiding in heaven.
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]
इयं च दुहिता ज्येष्ठा तव गंगा भविष्यति |
त्वत्कृतेन च नाम्नाथ लोके स्थास्यति विश्रुता ||१-४४-५
5. iyam gangaa ca = this, Ganga, also; tava jyeSThaa duhitaa bhaviSyati = she becomes your elder daughter; atha = hereafter; tvat kR^itena = deed done by you - associated with your action of bringing her to earth; naamnaa ca = by [her] name, also; loke vishrutaa sthaasyati = she will remain renowned in world .
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.'
गंगा त्रिपथगा नाम दिव्या भागीरथीति च |
त्रीन्पथो भावयन्तीति तस्मत्त्रिपथगा स्मृता || १-४४-६
6. divyaa = one who pertains to heaven - heavenly; gangaa = Ganga; tripathagaa naama = by the name of triple-path-cruiser ; 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 = she will be remembered as triple-path-cruiser .
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]
पितामहानां सर्वेषां त्वमत्र मनुजाधिप |
कुरुष्व सलिलं राजन् प्रतिज्ञामपवर्जय || १-४४-७
7. manujaadhipa raajan = = people's lord, oh king; tvam = you; atra = therein - in Ganga's water; sarveSaam pitaamahaanaam = to all of [your] forefathers; salilam kuruSva = you make water - libation - offer water oblation; pratij~naam = [your] pledge; apavarjaya = cast aside - 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]
पूर्वकेण हि ते राजंस्तेनातियशसा तदा |
धर्मिणां प्रवरेणाथ नैष प्राप्तो मनोरथः || १-४४-८
8. raajan = oh king; te puurvakeNa = by your, ancestor; atiyashasaa = highly glorious one; dharmiNaam pravareNa = best one among righteous ones - viz., Sagara; tena atha [api] = by him, it is, [even, even by him]; tadaa eSaH manorathaH = at that time - in his lifetime 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]
तथैवांशुमता वत्स लोकेऽप्रतिमतेजसा |
गङ्गां प्रार्थयता नेतुं प्रतिज्ञा नापवर्जिता || १-४४-९
9. vatsa = oh, son; tathaa eva = like that; loke apratimatejasaa = in world, not equal one by his resplendence; gangaam aanetum praarthayata = one who prayed to lead forth Ganga; 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]
राजर्षिणा गुणवता महर्षिसमतेजसा |
मत्तुल्यतपसा चैव क्षत्रधर्मे स्थितेन च || १-४४-१०
दिलीपेन महाभाग तव पित्रातितेजसा |
पुनर्न शङ्किता नेतुं गङ्गां प्रार्थयतानघ || १-४४-११
10, 11. anagha = oh impeccable Bhageeratha; raajarSiNaa = by kingly sage; guNavataa = merited one; maharSisamatejasaa = similar in resplendence to great sage; mat tulyatapasaa eva ca = to me, equal by ascesis, like that, also; kSatradharme sthitena ca = abided by kingly observance , also; atitejasaa = highly resplendent one; gangaam praarthayata = who had been supplicating for Ganga - throughout his life time; tava pitraa = your, father; also; mahaabhaaga diliipena = by highly fortunate Dileepa; punaH = again - in turn; netum na shankitaa = not possible to bring .
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.
सा त्वया समतिक्रान्ता प्रतिज्ञा पुरुषर्षभ |
प्राप्तोऽसि परमं लोके यशः परमसंमतम् || १-४४-१२
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; paramasammatam = highly adorable - by all; paramam yashaH = highest, renown; praaptaH asi = you have achieved.
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]
तच्च गंगावतरणं त्वया कृतमरिन्दम |
अनेन च भवान् प्राप्तो धर्मस्यायतनं महत् || १-४४-१३
13. arindama = oh enemy represser; tvayaa = by you; tat gangaa avataraNam = that - 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]
प्लावयस्व त्वमात्मानं नरोत्तम सदोचिते |
सलिले पुरुषश्रेष्ठ शुचिः पुण्यफलो भव || १-४४-१४
14. narottama = oh best among men - oh phenomenal one; puruSashreSTha = 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; puNyaphalaH bhava = your merit be fructified.
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.
पितामहानां सर्वेषां कुरुष्व सलिलक्रियाम् |
स्वस्ति तेऽस्तु गमिष्यामि स्वं लोकं गम्यतां नृप || १-४४-१५
15. sarveSaam pitaamahaanaam = for all of the forefathers; salilakriyaam kuruSva = you perform water- oblation rituals; te svasti astu = let there be wellbeing to you; gamiSyaami = here I go; nR^ipa = oh king; [tvam = you]; svam lokam gamyataam = you may go to your own world.
'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]
इत्येवमुक्त्वा देवेशः सर्वलोकपितामहः |
यथागतं तथागच्छद्देवलोकं महायशाः || १-४४-१६
16. sarvalokapitaamahaH = forefather for all worlds; mahaayashaaH deveshaH = great glorious, lord of gods - Brahma; iti evam uktvaa = thus, this way, on saying; yathaa aagatam tathaa = as came in, like that; devalokam agacChat = went away to empyrean world.
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]
भगीरथस्तु राजर्षिः कृत्वा सलिलमुत्तमम् |
यथाक्रमं यथान्यायं सागराणां महायशाः || १-४४-१७
कृतोदकः शुची राजा स्वपुरं प्रविवेश ह |
समृद्धार्थो नरश्रेष्ठ स्वराज्यं प्रशशास ह ||१-४४-१८
17. raajarSiH = kingly-sage; mahaayashaaH = greatly renowned one; raajaa = king; bhagiirathaH api = Bhageeratha, even; yathaakramam yathaanyaayam = as per regularity [according to precedency,] as per rationale of scriptures; saagaraaNaam = for Sagara's sons - souls of the sons of Sagara; [uttamalokapraapaka = endowing superior realms]; uttamam salilam kR^itvaa = on performing best water-oblations; kR^itodakaH [itare] = who had completed water-oblations, [to other manes]; shucii = on becoming purified, sanctified; svapuram pravivesha ha = [re-]entered his own city, indeed; narashreSTha = oh outstanding man - Rama; samR^iddhaarthaH = completely achieved purposes; svaraajyam prashashaasa ha = well ruled his own kingdom, 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]
प्रमुमोद च लोकस्तं नृपमासाद्य राघव |
नष्टशोकः समृद्धार्थो बभूव विगतज्वरः || १-४४-१९
19. raaghava = oh Raghava; tam nR^ipam aasaadya = on [re-] gaining him as king; lokaH pramumoda ca = subjects of kingdom, are overjoyed, also; and he; samR^iddhaarthaH = with overabundant means - achieving his purpose; vigatajvaraH = verily gone febrility; naSTashokaH = 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]
एष ते राम गंगाया विस्तरोऽभिहितो मया |
स्वस्ति प्राप्नुहि भद्रं ते संध्याकालोऽतिवर्तते || १-४४-२०
20. raama = oh Rama; gangaayaaH eSaH vistaraH = Ganga's, this, detailed [legend]; mayaa te abhihitaH = described by me to you ; svasti praapnuhi = prosperity, you attain; te bhadram = you be blest; sandhyaakaalaH ativartate = 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]
धन्यं यशस्यमायुष्यं पुत्र्यं स्वर्ग्यमथापि च |
यः श्रावयति विप्रेषु क्षत्रियेष्वितरेषु च || १-४४-२१
प्रीयन्ते पितरस्तस्य प्रीयन्ते दैवतानि च |
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 itareSu ca = among Kshatriya-s, among others, also; shraavayati = lets to listen - narrates; tasya pitaraH priiyante = his, manes, will be satisfied; daivataani ca priiyante = 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]
इदमाख़्यनमायुष्यं गंगावतरणं शुभम् || १-४४-२२
यः श्रुणोति च काकुत्स्थ सर्वान् कामानवाप्नुयात् |
सर्वे पापाः प्रणश्यन्ति आयुः कीर्तिश्च वर्धते || १-४४-२३
22b, 23. kaakutstha = oh Kakutstha Rama; idam shubham = this, auspicious; aayuShyam = endower of longevity; gangaavataraNam aakhyanam = Ganga's descent, named legend; yaH shruNoti = he, who listens; he; sarvaan kaamaan avaapnuyaat = all, wishes, he achieves; sarve paapaaH praNashyanti = 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 devaanganaa angaanaam anulepanaa api pinjaraa | vaamapaadaambujaanguShTanakhasroto vinirgataa | visNorbhibharti yaam bhaktyaa shirasaa aharnisham dhR^ivam - sivaH Hence she took landing on Shiva's head. shankarasya shirasi bhraShTam patitam kalmaShaapahaa - maheshvara 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 shudhyati - 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 - candramaulividhR^itena shivaH shivo aabhuut - bhaagavatapuraaNa. Shiva presumed that he is honoured for the falling of Ganga on his head as said at tat ambupatitam dR^iShTvaa dadhaara shirasaa haraH | paavanaartham jaTaamadhye - mahaa bhaarata Even in aadhyaatma raaamayaNa Sage Vashishta says to Vishnu tvat paadasalilam dhR^itvaa dhanyo bhuut girijaapatiH - 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 paadapadmajam ga~Ngaam nipatantiim svamuurdhani | cintayet brahmarandhreNa pravishantiim svakaam tanuum | tayaa sa~NkShaalayet deham baahyam abhyantaram malam | tat kShaNaat virajo mantra jaayate sphaTikopamam ||According to the six-plexus theory cetana shakti, power of vitality, flows through brahma randhra'the hole in the mid of the pate' to sahasrakamalathe 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. dvimaasam saritah sarvaa bhavanti rajasvalaaH - maarkanDeya - - simhakarkaaTakayoH madhye sarvaa nadyaa rajasvalaaH - vyaaghrapaada 'for two months all the rivers menstruate' Maarkandeya 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 vishNupaadodbhavaam divyaam - 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.
इति वाल्मीकिरामायणे आदिकाव्ये बालकाण्डे चतुश्चत्वारिंशः सर्गः
© Sept, 2002, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : September 04]
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