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Ganga Dasahara & The Ganga Bath

June 10, 2012

GANGA DASAHARA

 By Sri Swami Sivananda

The Ganga is the most sacred river of India. The origin of the Ganga is ascribed to celestial glory. Lord Krishna says in the Gita: “I am the Ganga among rivers”.

For a Hindu, the word Ganga has its own sacred association. Every Hindu thirsts for a dip in the Ganga, and for a drop of its water at the time of his death. Aspirants and mendicants build their huts on the banks of the Ganga for practising penance and meditation. Bhishma spoke very highly of the glory of the Ganga in his parting instructions to the Pandavas from his bed of arrows.

In the Satya Yuga, all places were sacred. In the Treta Yuga, Pushkara was considered the most holy place. In the Dvapara Yuga, Kurukshetra was regarded as the most sacred place. In Kali Yuga, the Ganga has that glory. Devi Bhagavata says: “He who utters the name of Ganga even from hundreds of miles afar is freed from sins and attains the abode of Lord Hari”.

The Ganga Bath

Thousands of pilgrims visit Hardwar and Rishikesh every year and take a dip in the sacred river. They have immense faith in the glory of Mother Ganga. They believe that all their sins are washed away if they take a dip in the sacred waters of the Ganga. Really they are washed off. A dip in the Ganga instantly purifies. There is no doubt about this. Even confirmed atheists and rationalists come to Hardwar for a refreshing bath in the Ganga.

Wherever a pious Hindu goes to take his bath, he invokes first the Ganga and feels Her presence in the water before he takes a plunge in the river. If he lives in a place far away from the Ganga, he intensely yearns to see Her some day and bless his being by bathing in the holy waters. When he is blessed to have a Ganga bath, he carries some water to his house and carefully saves it in a vessel so that he may use it for purposes of purification.

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From Sivananda Daily Readings shared by the Ananda Kutir Ashrama in Cape Town | www.anandakutir.org.za

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