Story of Ganga Avataran, How Ganga River descended on Earth

The story of Ganga Avataranam, origin of River Ganga (Maata Ganga Devi) is mentioned in Puranas and many other ancient Hindu Scriptures. The legend is associated with Lord Shiva, King Bhagiratha and Jahnu Maharshi.

The story goes like this… When King Sagara of the suryavamsa decided to perform the ashvamedha yagna, his courtiers discovered the sacrificial horse had gone missing. The king therefore ordered his 60,000 sons to go find the horse.

The arrogant princes went about burning and destroying places in their quest to find the horse. And presently they came to Sage Kapila’s hermitage. They found him in meditation and the horse tied next to him.

And he [Sage Kapila] was, with yoga power, above the earth. They thought this is the culprit, and set fire underneath. His bottom started heating up, and he opened his eyes; and when he opened his eyes, all the princes became ashes.

Far away, the king was thinking, “What happened to my children? They are not coming back.” He sent his son, Amsuman. [Prince Amsuman met Sage Kapila and learnt of the whole event. It was the sage’s counsel that if Amsuman wanted his brothers back, he must perform the cremation rites of washing the spot where they were turned to ash, with the holy waters of the Ganga available only in Swarga.]

Throughout his life prince Amsuman struggled to bring Ganga down. He said, “Until Ganga flows on their ashes, they are not going to get liberation.” And he died. Throughout his life he struggled, but nothing happened. Then came his son Bhagiratha. Bhagiratha prayed, prayed, prayed, prayed. Ganga was sitting in a big Kamandal in Brahmaloka, and he prayed to Brahma, “Please release it.”

Brahma said, “It cannot be released like that. When Narayana (Vishnu) takes Vamana Avatara, he will become Visvarupa; and his feet will touch all the three worlds and his toes will topple down the Kamandal and the Ganga will flow down. Then only you will get it.”

Oh! Bhagiratha was waiting for Vamana Avatara. You can imagine how many births he had taken; God only knows. And Vamana Avatara took place, and the toe of Vishnu touched that Kamandal and it turned upside down. The whole thing fell down. And Brahma said, “Now it will go to Patala. Its force is such that you will not get the Ganga here. It will go to the nether regions. So you must do something to prevent it from going.

Then he [Bhagiratha] prayed to Lord Siva, “Please hold it up in your Jeta (matted locks); otherwise my whole effort is a waste.” He tied his Jeta and kept it [Ganga]. But Siva wouldn’t release it. He simply kept quiet. Then again Bhagiratha prayed to Lord Siva, “Please release it. The purpose is something else.”

Then afterwards he [Siva] released it through his hair. Then Ganga came with such force, and it flowed through the Ashrama of a sage called Jahnu. He was so angry he simply took the Ganga and swallowed it. Then Bhagiratha prayed to Jahnu, “Please release it.” Then he released it through the ear. Because it [Ganga] came out of the ear of Jahnu Rishi, she is called Jahnavi.

Then it flowed, and it flowed through the ashes of the ancestors and then they were liberated. This happened, they say, today [Ganga Dasara]. This is the whole story.

The entire episode is described in great detail in Valmiki Ramayan, in the Bala Kandam – worth reading. Several chapters Valmiki devotes to narrate this wonderful history of Ganga coming here. She flowed through three regions. First from heaven; from heaven she came to the astral region; and from the astral region to earth she came. And she is called by different names. In one place it’s Mandakini; in another it’s Bhagirathi; a third is Jahnavi. So, this is the birth of Ganga on this earth.

{This story is retold by Swami Krishnanda}

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  1. Kutchscience says:

    THistory of Ganga Avataran time scale in Purans

    Many theories and researches have been put forward to explain HIMALAYA and periods but all looks contradicting as the dating process are not relevant (as long periods) or geological samples and fossils are of different stage formations.

    And hardly anyone has calculated in real Maths and there are some explanations in Vedic science and Vedic Maths to link these in scientific geological time scales. I put forward some of such calculative maths from Vedic sources and its relation to Geological time scales. (A comparative study)

    Himalaya was formed during this present Manvantar – seventh Manvantara – of Vaivasvata Manu. If the KT period has Passed 64.8Mn years (65 Mn), that is the Likely time event The Himalaya was created by collission of the Indo-Urasian Plates.

    But Ganga was not existing, After a Long period of lack of Sun heat, cloudy dusty atmosphere Earth went to a deep freezing and after LONG LONG freezing periods vast glaciations were formed in whole of the

    Himalayan uplifting region. Kailash was the Higher than Everest (Much younger than Kailash and Everest/ UMOLANGAM may not be existing at that time). Later when Glaciers get warmer from underground heat started to Move and melt which might have destroyed major part of the Earth, Burt the destruction was Prevented by Shiva JATA – Kailash , Mansarowar. And safe GANGA

    AVTARAN was WELL PLANNED BY BHAGIRATH.

    Shiva was at Kailsh, and Huge lakes of Glaciation were formed, BHAGIRATH a (Par Pautra) great
    Granson of SAGAR made the river Ganga come to Earth. And took many generations before he succeeded to do so. The following figures may put some light on it. That was the Time before 13 th SATYUGA , Before last 12 MAHAYUGAS.

    Generally Puran have not mentioned the days (Monday – Sunday) of the occasions. But DEVIBHAGVAT has one occasion said as follows. (read by Mahant Shree KISHORDASJI @ BHUJ KABIRMANDIR) GANGAJI AVTARAN was the day of MANGALWAR (Tuesday), JYESHtha SUD DASHAM , HAST NAKSHTRA. Though the Translations explain it need to be verified By original Sanskrit Shlock’s texts.

    GANGAJI AVTARAN was the day of MANGALWAR (Tuesday), JYESHtha SUD DASHAM , HAST NAKSHTRA. Though the Translations explains it need to be verified By original Sanskrit Shlock’s texts.

    Himalaya was formed during this present Manvantar – seventh Manvantara – of Vaivasvata Manu.
    If the KT period has Passed 64.8Mn years (65 Mn), that is the Likely time event The Himalaya was created by collision of the Indo-Eurasian Plates.

    1KT = 15 Maha Yugas ( 15 x 4.32) =64.8 Mn years
    Ganga Avtaran time is about before 12 MahaYugas 12 x 4.32 Mn Sat Yuga Treta Yuga Dwapar KaliYug
    = 51.84 Mn +1728000 +1296000 +864000 +5119
    Total Years =55733119
    55.733119 Mn

    OUR SUN’S LIFE = 1 KALP DAY (4320000000 YEARS) + 1 KALP NIGHT (4320000000 YEARS) =8640000000 years =8.64 Bn years.

    1 KALP = 14* 71 MAHAYUGA 15 SANDHI Satyayuga MahaYUGA Total MahaYUGAs
    14 14 x 71 =994 15 x 1728000
    =25920000 =6 994+6=1000 4320000000
    OUR SUN’S LIFE = 1 KALP DAY (4320000000 YEARS) + 1 KALP NIGHT (4320000000 YEARS) Compare Both (VEDIC & the Science age) 8.64Bn Years 8640000000

    To understand these calculations we need to look at Basic Vedic calculations and Comparing Difference of understanding life cycle of sun and life on the Earth by Scientific and Vedic aspects.

    Paleozoic Era 542 – 251 million years ago and Key events in the Paleozoic periods
    The Mesozoic Era (248 – 65 million years ago) Ages of the Mesozoic Era

    Triassic Period
    248 – 206 mya
    First dinosaurs and mammals Jurassic Period
    206-144 mya
    Many dinosaurs and the first birds Cretaceous Period
    144-65 mya
    First flowering plants, the height of the dinosaurs. Ends in huge extinction.
    Early – Middle
    248-227 mya Late
    227-206 mya Early
    (Lias)
    206-180 mya Middle
    (Dogger)
    180-154 mya Late
    (Malm)
    154-144 mya Early
    (Neocomian)
    144-127 mya Middle
    (Gallic)
    127-89 mya Late
    (Senonian)
    89-65 mya

    Different time level Marine fossils in Kutch and LAND vegetation fossil in the in-between periods

    Early carboniferous Lycopsid fossil has been sited in the layers of underneath Jurassic ammonite layers (More detailed information will be sent on request)

    Early Devonian vegetative fossils has been spotted in deeper layers of black hills underneath layers of marine fossil layers in the top.

    Similarly North Khadir Hills has many giant Lycopsid tree trunks and younger marine fossils in Upper layers of Hills

    Merula Spendis generally not found in Kutch but at one place it has been seen in Deep under layers of Tapakeshwari hills waterfall area during visit with Dr SHRIGARPURE in 2007 also samples of trilobites have been collected from Nakhtrana river.

    And surprisingly fossils of Stromatolites (Strombolites) have been spotted in Kutch and Live stromatolites are under water coral rifts in the bay of kutch.

    Though geologist all over the world does visit to research in Kutch but Geological study has not been given such a priority in KUTCH. Kutch do have fossilised strombolites in Gangeshwar dome area. when it was under shallow sea water it has LIVING fossils at that time but later with the uplift of the area from the sea bed. those fossils are plenty on the Gangeshwar hill area.

    Though Australians and Americans geologist has done more to study similar fossils in PERTH of AUSTRALIA. none of geologist has given the time to the strombolites foosils of Gangeshwar dome of KUTCH. similarly Bay of Kutch is full of misteries. Diving in bay of kutch reveals a beutiful coral seabed and planty of Living STROMATOLITES which are original organisms of the time of the evolution of life on the Earth. picture of the BAY of kutch and Perth Australia will be sent on email request along with gangeshwar dome strombolites fossils in KUTCH

    Re:- Dear Dr Rastogi Saab,

    Thank you for your Invitation for giving a lecture on the subject. I will be happy to participate and deliver the subject. Please forward me an official letter to facilitate my purpose of visit and activity in the area.

    Dear Dr Bhudia

    I invite you to visit ISR next time you are around Gandhinagar and give a lecture on this subject.

    Dr. B.K. Rastogi
    Director General
    Institute of Seismological Research,

  2. vanessa says:

    Absolutely informative. Thankyou..I didn’t even know this,amazing site,keep up the brilliant work.