Who will not know the sacred river Ganges , otherwise called as Ganga. But do you know about ,how she descended to earth and why did she flow on earth.?
The answer lies in our Hindu mythology.
Let us see what it is........
There was once a king called Sagara. He had many sons .
King Sagara performed the' Ashwamedha yaga '. In those days the kings used to perform this yagna to prove their supremacy.They will let loose a horse.The kings of all the countries where the horse wandered were asked to submit themselves. If they did not allow the horse to wander, in their territory then they have to face war with the yagna performing king.
King Sagara performed this yagna . His horse did not return. So his sons went in search of the horse. They found it being tied in sage Kapila's hermit. Seeing this , the princes became angry and insulted the sage ,disturbing his penance.At this the sage got angry .With his yogic powers , he burnt the princes to ashes.
King Sagara's last remaining son , Anshuman learnt the fate of his brothers and pleaded sage Kapila , for liberation of his brothers' souls .
For this , sage Kapila replied," The souls can be liberated , only if these ashes are washed by the holy river Ganges. She is in the kamandal of Lord Brahma."
' When will she flow down to earth?' asked Anshuman.
" You have to do penance , to please Lord Brahma. Then he will fulfil your wish " answered the sage. Anshuman was not able to fulfil this penance . Not only Anshuman , but for many generations, this penance was not fulfilled and the souls were not liberated.
In this lineage came Bageerathan . When he became king , he also wished to wash the sins of his forefathers and liberate their souls.
He started to do the penance towards Lord Brahma. His perseverance was such that he lived only on air and he even forewent his sleep . His focus was to relieve his forefathers souls. His penance continued for many, many years.
Lord Brahma pleased with Bageerathan , readily agreed to release river Ganga but said that the force with which Ganga flows down will destroy the whole earth. To save earth from destruction , Lord Brahma asked Bageerathan to seek the help of Lord Shiva .
To overcome this challenge, again Bageerathan started penance towards Lord Shiva. Again many ,many years passed in penance. Lord Shiva was happy with Bageerathan's perseverance. He agreed to control Ganga by spreading his matted hair . He let her down to earth , only after controlling her force.
Finally Ganga started to flow to earth and she followed Bageerathan. On the way Ganga gushed, through the hermit of sage Janu, drowning his hermit. Janu got angry and swallowed the river.
Again Bageerathan had to face the challenge of releasing Ganga.. He, without any reservation , pleaded sage Janu to release Ganga. He explained the reason for bringing Ganga down. After that, sage Janu released Ganga.
Now, Ganga continued following Bageerathan .She reached sage Kapila's hermit and washed the sins of his forefathers .All their souls reached heaven.
Bageerathan's efforts brought fruit. At last he was satisfied .
His success goes on to prove that " there are no gains without pains."
Any ordeal, which is performed with great difficulty and full of devotion, is called as ' Bageeratha Prayathana '.
King Bageerathan is known for his perseverance .But for his tireless effort , we would not have got river ganges flowing into our country making India fertile.
Even now it is said, all our sins will be washed away, when we bathe in this holy river.And so do many.....