Wednesday, August 13, 2014

GANGA - faith and reality intertwined (a fascinating story)

Story of origin of Ganga narrated in valmiki ramayan -

'Descending from the sky-high Shivalinga peaks of Himalayas, Ganga got entangled in the mighty serpentine glaciers spread all around like matted coils of Lord Shiva's hair and thus continued to meander in the Gangotri glaciers for many years. With the superhuman efforts of Suryavanshi king, Bhagirath, its waters were brought to the terrestrial planes and it flowed through the path dug by Sagar putras/sainiks and its waters flowed right upto Rasatala ie.samudra, and thus Bhagirath could offer tarpan to his sixty thousand ancestors'.

It is described also as Tripathaga as it carves its way from heaven (i.e. Shivalinga peaks), through matted coils of Shiva's hair (i.e. mighty gangotri glaciers) and finally flows in subterranean region, right upto Ganga sagar. 

This in short is the story of origin of Ganga narrated by Rishi Vishwamitra to Shri Ram (Ramayan, Baal kand, sargas 38 to 45)!. For those who are looking for divine interpretation - Ganga descended from heavens, got entangled in Jata-joot of Lord Shiva and then came to earth. For those who are looking for rational and scientific meaning, Ganga (Bhagirthi) descended from Shivalinga peaks, meandered through Gangotri Glaciers and flowed through the plains of northern India, right upto Rasatal (Gangasagar), the route for which had been dug out under the orders of raja Sagar. Let us look at just one picture of the region to appreciate that both divinity and reality aspects are correct and represent wonderful poetic skills of Valmiki Ji -

                            Sunset at Gangotri, looking up the Ganges Valley toward Gaumukh. Bhagirath peak is on the left, and Shivling on the right. 
                       (Photo courtesy of Nick Barootian '02)

Astronomical dates of sky views depicted by Aadi Kavi Valmiki Ji at the time of important events in Lord Ram's life match sequentially around 5100 BC. Lord Ram was the 64th ruler of Suryavansh, whereas Sagar was its 40th ruler and Bhagirath 44th ruler. This will take us to around 6000 BC (8000 BP).

Raja Sagar was worried that north western Bharatvarsha was getting flooded whereas eastern areas of Indian sub-continent were suffering from acute water shortages. Consequently he made a plan to divert waters from Himalayas to the eastern areas right upto Bengal areas and then, as was the custom in those days, he commenced a Yajna (sacrificial performance), which was to be concluded only when sacrificial horse was brought back from such far off destination.

The horse was taken to Kapil Muni's Ashram, probably modern day Gangasagar, Sixty thousand sons (Sainiks of Sagar) were sent to dig out the route right upto Rasatal (1/39/15,19,21).When they came back without the horse after carrying out digging, they were sent back by Raja Sagar to redig on the same route and then due to shortage of water combined with inhospitality of Kapil Muni, they all died (1/40/11). For next 32 years, Sagar could not think of any concrete plan to divert Himalayan waters towards the East through the dug-out path and died after about 32 years. His grandson Anshuman made efforts for 32 years but could not get the Ganga waters reached for the tarpan of his ancestors. Similaly his successor Raja Dilip made efforts for another 30 years but could not succeed.

Raja Bhagirath was coronated as the 44th Suryavanshi samraat. However, in order to save his praja in the north west from deluge and in the east from draught and in order to reach Ganga waters to rasatal for the tarpan of his ancestors, Raja Bhagirath went to Himalayas after leaving the affairs of the kingdom on his mantris, For several years he carried out research and exploration, observing the Shivalinga peak from the hill top which was shaped like the tip of the thumb, and was later named as Bhagirath peak (1/43/1).

Finally with the blessings of Lord Brahma and lord Shiva, he succeeded in identifying the mighty Gangotri glaciers, looking like jata-joot of Lord Shiva, in which Ganga waters were entangled (1/43/4,7). After some more research, he identified and also partly created the route through which waters could be carried to the wide spread routes got dug by his ancestor Raja Sagar and thus succeeded in completing the kalyankari project which his ancestors had started 1/44/1,28,12). In this manner sacred Ganga descended from the sky on Shiva's forehead and then flowed onto the earth; roaring, tumbling and gliding, it reached the sea (gangasagar). (refer - 1/43/15,23,24).

Sea level fluctuations fully support the above details and reveal very clearly that water level in the sea rose drastically during 8000 BP to 7000 BP. Look at the sea level curve prepared by Dr. Rajiv Nigam of National Institute of Oceanography (NIO). Surprisingly reference to this phenomena has also been made in Yudhh Kaand of Valmiki Ramayan (6/19/31 & 6/22/50), where Vibhishan is mentioning to Lord Ram that the sea should reveal the shallow water route for construction of a bridge because its waters had been augmented by ancestors of Lord Ram.

Remote sensing imagery explained by Sharma and Bhadra of ISRO Jodhpur centre seems to be corroborating these details and time line. Further somewhere around 5000 BP, Yamuna, which was a tributary of Sarasvati got diverted to Ganga. Archaeological reports support these conclusions with plethora of evidence. Thus, in early Rigvedic period Sarasvati was the mightiest river, whereas in later Vedic age Ganga, Sindhu and Sarasvati were worshipped as the mighty rivers. Slowly Sarasvati disappeared as it became non perennial and ephemeral. Ganga emerged as the symbol of life and emancipator of mankind. She is worshipped as the divinity in flow.

For some related details refer to -
1) Saroj Bala and Kulbhushan Mishra. 2012. Historicity of Vedic and Ramayan Eras: Scientific Evidences from the Depths of Oceans to the Heights of Skies. Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas. Abridged editions also available in English and Hindi.

Ganga:A Divinity In Flow (English) by Vijay Singal

Ek thi Nadi sarasvati by Valdiya 

Srimad Valmiki Ramayana (Hindi)

Srimad Valmiki Ramayana (English)