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Encyclopedia > Ganga in Hinduism
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In Hinduism, the river Ganga (Sanskrit and Hindi गंगा Gaṅgā) or Ganges River (as called by westerners) is considered sacred. It is worshipped by Hindus, and personified as a goddess in Hinduism, who holds an important place in the Hindu religion. Hindus believe that bathing in the river on certain occasions causes the remission of sins and facilitates the attainment of salvation. Many people believe that this effect obtains from bathing in Ganga at any time. People travel from distant places to immerse the ashes of their kin in the waters of the Ganga; this immersion also is believed to be meritorious as the ashes are believed to go to heaven. Several places sacred to Hindus lie along the banks of the river Ganga, including Haridwar, Allahabad and Varanasi. Hinduism (known as in modern Indian languages[1]) is a religious tradition[2] that originated in the Indian subcontinent. ... The Sanskrit language ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... Hindi ( , Devanagari: or , IAST: , IPA: ), an Indo-European language spoken mainly in northern and central India, is the official language of the Union along with English. ... This article is about the river. ... This article is about the Hindu religion; for other meanings of the word, see Hindu (disambiguation). ... This article or section needs copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone and/or spelling. ... This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... , VārāasÄ« ( , Hindi: , IPA: ), also known as Benares, Banaras, or Benaras ( , Hindi: , , IPA: ), or Kashi or Kasi ( , Hindi: , ), is a famous Hindu holy city situated on the banks of the river Ganges (Ganga) in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. ...

Contents

Birth

A sketch of the goddess Ganga on her Vahana(mount) Makara
A sketch of the goddess Ganga on her Vahana(mount) Makara

There are several Hindu beliefs that give various versions of the birth of Ganga. According to one version, the sacred water in Brahma's Kamandalu (water-vessel) became personified as a maiden, Ganga. According to another (Vaishnavite) legend, Brahma had reverently washed the feet of Vishnu and collected this water in his Kamandalu. According to yet a third version, Ganga was the daughter of Himavan, king of the mountains, and his consort Mena; she was thus a sister of the goddess Parvati. Every version declares that she was raised in the heavens, under the tutelage of Brahma. Download high resolution version (1600x1200, 471 KB)Satellite image of the Ganges plain, showing haze and pollution over Bangladesh and north-eastern India. ... Download high resolution version (1600x1200, 471 KB)Satellite image of the Ganges plain, showing haze and pollution over Bangladesh and north-eastern India. ... In Indian mythology, the vahana is the object or vehicle that serves a divinity. ... According to Hindu mythology, Makara, a mythical creature, is the vahana of Ganga and Varuna. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Vaishnavites are followers of Vaishnavism in which Vishnu or His avatars are worshipped as the supreme God. ... Vishnu (IAST , Devanagari ), (honorific: Sri Vishnu) also known as Narayana is the Supreme Being or Ultimate Reality for Vaishnavas and a manifestation of Brahman in the Advaita or Smarta traditions. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Descent to Earth

"Bhagiratha's Penace", Relief at Mahabalipuram
"Bhagiratha's Penace", Relief at Mahabalipuram

Several years later, a king named Sagara magically acquired sixty thousand sons. One day, King Sagara performed a ritual of worship for the good of the kingdom. One of the integral parts of the ritual was a horse, which was stolen by the jealous Indra. Sagara sent all his sons all over the earth to search for the horse. They found it in the nether-world (or Underworld) next to a meditating sage Kapila. Believing that the sage had stolen the horse, they hurled insults at him and caused his penance to be disturbed. The sage opened his eyes for the first time in several years, and looked at the sons of Sagara. With this glance, all sixty thousand were burnt to death. Download high resolution version (779x1080, 340 KB)This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons, a repository of free content hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. ... Download high resolution version (779x1080, 340 KB)This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons, a repository of free content hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. ... Bhagiratha was a great king in Hindu mythology who brought the River Ganga to Earth. ... Shore Temple, rescued from the sea Mahabalipuram (Tamil:மகாபலிபுரம்) (also known as Mamallapuram) is a town in Kancheepuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. ... Armenian king Tigranes the Great. ... A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value, which is prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. ... Taken during a Hindu prayer ceremony on the eve of Diwali. ... For the comic series, see Monarchy (comics). ... Binomial name Equus caballus Linnaeus, 1758 The horse (Equus caballus, sometimes seen as a subspecies of the Wild Horse, Equus ferus caballus) is a large odd-toed ungulate mammal, one of ten modern species of the genus Equus. ... Indra (Sanskrit: इन्द्र or इंद्र, indra) is the god of weather and war, and lord of Svargaloka in Hinduism. ... This article is about Earth as a planet. ... // In the study of mythology and religion, the underworld is a generic term approximately equivalent to the lay term afterlife, referring to any place to which newly dead souls go. ... Categories: Wikipedia cleanup | Indian people stubs | Indian philosophers ...


The souls of the sons of Sagara wandered as ghosts since their final rites had not been performed. When Bhagiratha, one of the descendants of Sagara, son of Dilip, learnt of this fate, he vowed to bring Ganga down to Earth so that her waters could cleanse their souls and release them to heaven. The soul, according to many religious and philosophical traditions, is the self-aware essence unique to a particular living being. ... An artists interpretation of a ghostly woman on a flight of stairs, based on common descriptions A ghost is usually defined as the apparition of a deceased person, frequently similar in appearance to that person, and encountered in places he or she frequented, or in association with the person... Bhagiratha was a great king in Hindu mythology who brought the River Ganga to Earth. ...


Bhagiratha prayed to Brahma that Ganga come down to Earth. Brahma agreed, and he ordered Ganga to go down to the Earth and then on to the nether regions so that the souls of Bhagiratha's ancestors would be able to go to heaven. The vain Ganga felt that this was insulting and decided to sweep the whole earth away as she fell from the heavens. Alarmed, Bhagiratha prayed to Shiva that he break up Ganga's descent. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Shiva (also spelled Siva; Sanskrit ) is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. ...

Desent Of Ganga
Desent Of Ganga

Ganga arrogantly fell on Shiva's head. But Shiva calmly trapped her in his hair and let her out in small streams. The touch of Shiva further sanctified Ganga. As Ganga travelled to the nether-worlds, she created a different stream to remain on Earth to help purify unfortunate souls there. She is the only river to follow from all the three worlds - Swarga(heaven),Prithvi(earth) and Patala(neitherworld or hell). Thus is called "Tripathagā" ( one who travels the three worlds) in Sanskrit language. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... In Hinduism, Svarga (or Swarga) is an underworld, located on Mt. ... Prithvi (pá¹›thivÄ«) is the Hindu earth-god. ... Naraka is the name of a place of torment, in both Hinduism and Buddhism. ... The Sanskrit language ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ...


Because of Bhagiratha's efforts Ganga descended on to earth and hence the river is also known as Bhagirathi, and the term "Bhagirath prayatna" is used to describe valiant efforts or difficult achievements.


Another name that Ganga is known by is Jahnavi. Story has it that once Ganga came down to earth, on her way to Bhagiratha, her rushing waters created turbulence and destroyed the fields and the sadhana of a sage called Jahnu. He was angered by this and drank up all of Ganga's waters. Upon this, the Gods prayed to Jahnu to release Ganga so that she could proceed on her mission. Pleased with their prayers, Jahnu released Ganga (her waters) from his ears. Hence the name "Jahnavi" (daughter of Jahnu) for Ganga. A Sadhana is a ritualistic meditation practice from Hindu and Buddhist spiritual traditions which is followed in order to achieve a form of spiritual purification or enlightenment. ... Rishi Jahnu appears in the story of Ganga and Bhagiratha. ...


It is sometime believed that the river will finally dry up at the end of Kali Yuga (the era of darkness, the current era) just as with the Sarasvati river, and this era will end. Next in (cyclic) order will be the Satya Yuga or the era of Truth. Kali Yuga is also the title of a book by Roland Charles Wagner. ... The Sarasvati River is an ancient river that is mentioned in Hindu texts. ... The Satya Yuga (Devanagari: सत्य युग), also called Sat Yuga, Krta Yuga and Krita Yuga in Hinduism, is the Yuga (Age or Era) of Truth, when humankind is governed by gods, and every manifestation or work is close to the purest ideal and mankind will allow intrinsic goodness to rule supreme. ...


Other Mythological Associations

According to the Hindu scriptures like Skanda Purana, the goddess Ganga is foster-mother to Karttikeya (Murugan), who was actually a son of Shiva and Parvati. Skanda Purana, one of the major eighteen Puranas, a Hindu religious text believed to be written and compiled over a long period, from 6th century to 15th century, is the largest Purana, and is devoted mainly to the life and deed of Kartikeya (also called Skanda), a son of Shiva... In Hinduism, Kartikeya (also Murugan, Subrahmanya, Skanda, Kumaran, Swaminanda) is a deity born out of a magical spark created by Shiva. ... Shiva (also spelled Siva; Sanskrit ) is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ...


According to Brahma Vaivarta Purana 2.6.13-95 Vishnu has three wives, who constantly quarrel with each other, so that eventually, he keeps only Lakshmi, giving Ganga to Shiva and Saraswati to Brahma. Brahma Vaivart Purana, one of the major eighteen Puranas, a Hindu religious text, is divided into four parts. ... Vishnu (IAST , Devanagari ), (honorific: Sri Vishnu) also known as Narayana is the Supreme Being or Ultimate Reality for Vaishnavas and a manifestation of Brahman in the Advaita or Smarta traditions. ... The tone or style of this article or section may not be appropriate for Wikipedia. ... Ganga may refer to: Ganges River, a river in India Ganga, the Hindu goddess that personifies the Ganges River The Gangas, an ancient southern Indian dynasty Ganga (music), a type of rural folk singing from Croatia and Herzegovina Daren Ganga, a West Indian cricketer Ganga, an alternate spelling of ganja... In Hinduism, Saraswati (Sanskrit ) is one of the goddesses, the other two being Lakshmi and Durga, that form the female counterpart of the Trimurti. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


The Hindu epic, Mahabharata tells that the Vasus, cursed by Vashishta had requested Ganga to be their mother. Ganga incarnated and became the wife of King Santanu on condition that at no stage shall he question her actions, or she would leave him.. As seven Vasus were born as their children, one after the other, Ganga drowned them in her own waters, freeing them from their punishment and the king made no opposition. Only when the eighth was born did the king finally oppose his wife, who therefore left him. So the eighth son, Dyaus incarnated, remained alive, imprisoned in mortal form, and later became known in his mortal incarnation as Bhishma (Devavrata), who is one of the most respected characters of the Mahabharata. For the film by Peter Brook, see The Mahabharata (1989 film). ... In Hinduism, the Vasus are attendant deities of Indra, and later Vishnu. ... Vashishta was a sage believed by people of the Hindu religion to have been created by Brahma (as a manasaputra). ... Shantanu is a king of Hastinapura in the great epic of the Mahabharata. ... In vedic religion, Dyaus Pita is the Sky Father, husband of Prthivi and father of Agni and Indra (RV 4. ... Bheeshma makes his vow. ... Bheeshma makes his vow. ... For the film by Peter Brook, see The Mahabharata (1989 film). ...


Rig Veda

The Ganga is definitely mentioned in the Rig-Ved, the earliest and theoretically the holiest of the Hindu scriptures. The Ganga is mentioned in the nadistuti (Rig Veda 10.75), which lists the rivers from east to west. In RV 6.45.31, the word Ganga is also mentioned, but it is not clear if the reference is to the river.


RV 3.58.6 says that "your ancient home, your auspicious friendship, O Heroes, your wealth is on the banks of the Jahnavi (JahnAvyAm)". This verse could possibly refer to the Ganga.[1] In RV 1.116.18-19, the Jahnavi and the Gangetic dolphin occur in two adjacent verses. [2] [3]


Iconography

The largest religious gathering on Earth. [1][2] Around 70 million Hindus from around the world participated in Kumbh Mela at one of the Hindu Holy city Prayaga (also known as Allahabad) (India).

In the canons of Indian art, Ganga is visualized as voluptuous and beautiful, carrying an overflowing pot in her hand. The vessel conveys the idea of abundant life and fertility, which nourishes and sustains the universe. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (721x721, 88 KB) Summary Image may be used for illustration and publishing purposes with the credit of spaceimaging. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (721x721, 88 KB) Summary Image may be used for illustration and publishing purposes with the credit of spaceimaging. ... This article is about the Hindu religion; for other meanings of the word, see Hindu (disambiguation). ... The 2001 Kumbh Mela. ... Map of India. ... A miniature, Kishengarh, Jaipur, Rajasthan Indian cave art at Bhimbetka The vast scope of the art of India intertwines with the cultural history, religions and philosophies which place art production and patronage in social and cultural contexts. ...


The second distinguishing aspect of Ganga's iconography is her animal mount, which is often shown serving as a pedestal for her. This is the makara, a hybrid creature having the body of a crocodile and the tail of a fish. The makara in Hindu thought corresponds to the star sign of Capricorn in western astrology. According to Hindu mythology, Makara, a mythical creature, is the vahana of Ganga and Varuna. ... A Hindu ( , Devanagari: हिन्दु), as per modern definition, is an adherent of the philosophies and scriptures of Hinduism, and the religious, philosophical and cultural system that originated in the Indian subcontinent. ... Capricorn may refer to: The constellation Capricornus, one of the constellations of the zodiac The astrological sign Capricorn represented by this constellation The Tropic of Capricorn Tropic of Capricorn is also the name of a novel by Henry Miller Capricorn, a character and villain of the Ink trilogy by Cornelia...


The makara is also the vehicle of the Vedic god of waters, Varuna, thus establishing firmly Goddess Ganga's Vedic roots. The religion of the Vedic civilization is the predecessor of classical Hinduism, usually included in the term. ... In Vedic religion, Varuna (Devanagari:वरुण, IAST:) is a god of the sky, of rain and of the celestial ocean, as well as a god of law and of the underworld. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Talageri, Shrikant. (2000) The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis; Talageri, S.: "Michael Witzel - An examination of his review of my book". --Griffith translates JahnAvyAm in this verse as "house of Jahnu", even though in similar verses he uses the "on the banks of a river" translation (see Talageri 2000)
  2. ^ Talageri, Shrikant. (2000) The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis.; Talageri, S.: "Michael Witzel - An examination of his review of my book" 2001.
  3. ^ The Sanskrit term shimshumara refers to the Gangetic dolphin (the Sanskrit term for dolphin is shishula). Talageri 2000, 2001

Genera See article below. ...

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