“The Ganga, especially, is the river of India, beloved of her people, round which are intertwined her memories, her hopes and fears, her songs of triumph, her victories and her defeats. She has been a symbol of India’s age-long culture and civilization, ever changing, ever flowing, and yet ever the same Ganga.”
– Jawaharlal Nehru, First Prime Minister of India, born in Allahabad on the Ganges
The reverend river Ganga or Ganges is known for its purifying effects, where one gets rid of his past sins and attains a peaceful position in heaven. The river is adored as a mother and she is the bestower of grace, humility, healer of sickness (both internal and external) and freedom from the vicious cycle of birth and death. From Gangotri glacier to Bay of Bengal, the river makes it way for thousands of devotees, remaining calm, peaceful and stern.
- According to the ‘Vishnu Purana,’ Ganga was created from the sweat of Lord Vishnu’s feet. Hence, also known as ‘Vishmupadi‘ – the one flowing from the foot of Vishnu or his mighty locks. She resides on the top of Shiva’s head as his consort.
- It is also said that Ganga was devoted to Lord Krishna in heaven, which made his lover Radha jealous, who cursed Ganga to go down to earth and flow as a river.
- The point where Ganga meets Saraswati and Yamuna River in Allahabad is the central point of Kumbh Mela celebration for Hindus.
- Water from the Ganga has the unusual property that any water mixed with even the smallest quantity of Ganga water becomes Ganga water, and inherits its healing and other holy properties.
- Apart from the spiritual significance, River Ganga is the major source of irrigation for wide variety of crops and creation of goods. It is essential for industrial and agricultural use and also as drinking water.
- It inspires us to imbibe the trait of ‘giving without expecting’ and remaining calm, peaceful and grounded.
Thus Ganga Ma is the sacred body which acts as a saviour from the continuous trap of rebirth and permits us to take advantage of all the special holy traits that it bears, which leaves us with a huge responsibility of keeping it safe and healthy for our future generations too, as they can grab the same opportunities like us. It’s contradictory to say, but we are destroying our own sacred mother and still flaunting to be true Indians.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja