32 Pages, 9.2" x 6.8"
Book House Pvt. Ltd.
of publication: 2000
Id : co05
About the Publisher
Today we cannot imagine an India without the Ganga.
Yet there was a time, according to Mahabharata and
Ramayana, when there was no Ganga on earth - at
least not until King Bhagiratha brought her here.
He did it to redeem the souls of his ancestors,
the arrogant sons of Sagara, who were burnt to
ashes by the wrath of Sage Kapila whom they had
offended. Since they had died without their last
rites being performed they were doomed to suffer
in hell. Later, the Sage relented and told Amsuman,
Bhagiratha's grandfather, that if Ganga in all her
purity were brought to earth and made to touch the
ashes of the sons of Sagara, their sins would be
washed away and they would go to heaven. (perhaps
the Hindu custom of offering a sip of water from
the sacred river Ganga to a dying or dead person
as part of the last rites had its origin in this
myth). Neither Amsuman, nor his son Dilipa after
him, succeded in their attempts to bring the
sacred river to earth. The stupendous feat was
achieved by the single-minded preseverance of
Bhagiratha. That is the mythological tale as told
in Mahabharata and Ramayana. Mythology is not all
fact, we know, but yet, in its vast poetic
exaggeration, one can always trace an outline of
truth. The presence of the Rajasthan desert, in
close proximity to the Indo-Gangetic plain makes
it plausivle that perhaps there was a time when
there was no Ganga in India. It is not difficult
then to visualise what agonies the people there
must have suffered without the blessed water. If
that had been so, then Bhagiratha's task of
bringing Ganga to earth was indeed a colossal one,
and one that merits all that has been sung and
said about it in the epics.