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Ganga- Water Goddess

The origin of Ganga (ganges)

It is believed that Ganga was born from Brahma's kamandula(sacred carrier vessel). During Lord Vishnu's dwarf incarnation of Vamana dev which was intended to get back the three worlds from Bali Maharaja,Vamana dev asked Bali for three steps of land. On the first step he expanded and covered the entire earth.
In the second step he reached the heavenly planets. When he did so, from this water Ganga was born. Ganga is said to be a beautiful who danced to the delight of the demigods. She is said to be the daughter of Himavan(King of himalayas/mountains) sister of Parvati. Seven years later King Sagara acquired 60000 sons. One day, King Sagara performed a ritual called Aswamedha(horse) sacrifice. One of the integral parts of the sacrifice is the horse which was stolen by Indra. King Sagara sent his sons
in search, they found it in the nether-world next to meditating sage Kapila. Believing that the had stolen the horse they hurled insults at him causing his penance to be disturbed. The sage his eyes in several years and looked at the sons of Sagara. With his glance they were reduced to ashes. The souls of the sons of Sagara wondered as ghosts since their last rights had not been performed. One of the descendants of Sagara, son of Dilip, learnt of this fate and vowed to bring Ganga to earth, so
that her waters would cleanse their souls and release them to heaven. Bhagiratha prayed to Brahma that Ganga come down to earth. Brahma agreed, and ordered Ganga to go down to earth and then the nether regions so that the souls of Bhagiratha's ancestors would be able to go to heaven . Ganga had to be contained or else she would flood the earth. Bhagiratha prayed to Shiva, who held her in his locks lettin her out in streams. She is known as Jahnavi,this name comes from when she flooded the ashraM
of sage Janu who swallowed her and let her out through his ears hence Jahnavi, daughter of Janhu. The waters of Ganga are said to cleanse one of al sin.

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