Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 9 Chapter 12



Chapter XII

On the origin of Gangā

1-15. Nārāyaṇa said:

O Nārada! Now about the meditation (Dhyāna) of the Devī Gangā as per Kanva Śākhā, which destroys all the sins:

O Gange! Of white colour like white lotuses! Thou destroyest all the sins of men. Thou hast appeared from the body of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Thou art powerful like Him.

Thou art very chaste and pure. Thou hast worn the raiment, uninflammable and decorated all over with ornaments made of jewels. Thou art more brilliant than one hundred autumnal Moons.

Thou art also well pleased with a smile on Thy lips. And Thou art always of steady youthful beauty (that never wanes). Thou art dear to Nārāyaṇa, of calm and peaceful temper, and proud of being His with His fortune.

Thou bearest the braid of hair, decked with garlands of Mālatī flowers; Thy cheeks are anointed with sandal dots, with Sindūra Bindu (dots of red powder, vermilion) and well adorned with various artistic lines made of musk.

Thy garment and Thy beautiful lips are redder than the ripe Bimba fruit (the red fruit of a cucurbitaceous plant); Thy teeth vie as it were, with the rows of pearls.

How lovely are Thy eyes! How delightsome is Thy side-long glance! How close are Thy breasts like Bel fruits! Thy loins are thicker and more solid then the plantain trees.

How do Thy feet look beautiful, defying the beauty of the Sthalapadma (ground Lotus)! How do the red sandals look lovely with Kunkuma and Ālaktak (red powder)!

What a red tinge Thy feet have shown with the honey of Parijāta flower that is seen on the head of Indra. The Devas, the Siddhas, the Munis, offer always Arghyas (offerings of rice with Durba grass) at Thy feet; the ascetics bow down at Thy feet, and it seems as though so many lines of bees are on Thy lotus feet.

O Mother! Thy lotus feet give liberation to those who want Mukti and enjoyment to those who want Bhukti (enjoyments).

O Mother! Thou art the boon; Thou art the chief excellent; Thou grantest boons and Thou showest Thy favour to Thy devotees; Thou bestowest the Viṣṇupāda (the place of Viṣṇu); but Thou hast come from the feet of Viṣṇu.

Thus meditating on the Devī Gangā flowing by three routes (in Heaven, earth and infernal regions), the bestower of good things one should offer to the Devī sixteen things:

Āsana, Pādya, Arghya, water for bathing, ointment (anūlepana), Dhūpa (scents), Dīpa (lights), Naivedya (offerings of food), betel, cool water, clothings, ornaments garlands, sandal-paste, Āchamanīya (water for sipping), and beautiful beddings and worship Her with these.

Then, with folded hands, one should perform stotra to Her and bow down to Her with devotion. Thus the worshipper gets the fruits of Aśva Medhā sacrifice.

16. Nārada said:

O Lord of the Devas! At present I am desirous to hear the sin- destroying and virtue-bestowing stotra (hymn) of Gangā Devī, the Purifier of all those who are fallen from virtue, originated from the feet of Viṣṇu, the Lord of world and the husband of Lakṣmī.

Kindly narrate all these in detail.

17-41. Nārāyaṇa said:

O Nārada! Now I am narrating the stotra of Gangā Devī, that destroys all sins and bestows all religious merit. Hear:

I bow down to the Ganges who appeared from the body of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, enchanted by the music of Śiva, and, who was bathed with the perspiration (water coming out of the body) of Śrī Rādhā.

I bow down to Gangā Devī who first appeared in the circular dance (Rāsa Maṇḍalam) in the region of Goloka and who always remains with Śankara.

My obeisance to the Devī Gangā who remains in the auspicious grand utsab of Rādhā (Rāsa Maṇḍalam), crowded with Gopas and Gopis, in the Full Moon night of the month of Kārtik.

She is one koṭi yojanas wide and one lakh times one koṭi yojanas long in the region of Goloka. My Obeisance to Her!

In Vaikuṇṭha, Gangā is sixty lakh yojanas in width and four times that in length. My Obeisance to Her! In Brahmā-loka, Gangā is thirty lakh yojanas wide and five times as long. I bow down to Her.

In Śiva-loka, She is thirty lakh yojanas wide and four times that in length. I bow down to Her. In Dhruva-loka, She is one lakh yojanas wide and seven times as long. I bow down to Her.

In Chandra-loka She is one lakh yojanas wide and five times as long. My obeisance to Śrī Gangā Devī. I bow down to the Ganges who is sixty thousand yojanas wide in the Sūrya loka and ten times that in length.

I bow down to Gangā in Tapo-loka who is one lakh yojanas wide and five times that in length. My obeisance to Gangā Devī in Janar-loka, who is one thousand yojanas wide and ten times that as long.

I bow down to Gangā in Mahar-loka who is ten lakh yojanas wide and five times that in length. My obeisance to Gangā Devī in Kailāśa who is one thousand yojanas wide and one hundred times as long.

I bow down to Gangā Devī who is known as Mandākinī in Indra-loka, and who is one hundred yojanas wide and ten times than that in length.

My obeisance to Gangā Devī, known as Bhogavatī in Pātāla who is ten yojanas wide and five times as long. I bow down to Gangā Devī, known as Alakanandā in this earth, who is two miles wide, in some places more wide and in some places less wide.

I bow down to Gangā Devī who was of the colour of milk in Satya yuga, of the colour of Moon in Trētā Yuga, of the colour of white sandal-paste in Dvāpara yuga.

I bow down to Śrī Gangā Devī who is as water in Kālī Yuga in this earth and as milk in Kālī yuga in Heaven.

O Child! By the touch of one molecule of the water of the Ganges, all the horrible sins incurred in ten million births, the murder of a Brāhmin and so forth, are burnt to ashes.

Thus I have described in twenty-one verses the great stotra (human) of the sin-destroying and the virtue-increasing merits of Gangā.

He reaps the fruit of the Aśva Medhā sacrifice (Horse sacrifice), who daily sings this praise of Gangā after worshipping Her with devotion. There is no doubt in this.

The persons that are without any sons get sons hereby and those who have no wives get wives. The diseased get themselves free from their diseases, and the man who is under bondage, is liberated from that bondage.

He who getting up early in the morning reads this stotra of Gangā, becomes widely known even if he be not known at all and he becomes illumined with wisdom even if he be quite ignorant. Even if he sees a bad dream, he acquires the merit of bathing in the Ganges and of seeing good dreams.

42-44. Śrī Nārāyaṇa spoke:

O Nārada! With this stotra (hymn) Bhagīratha did praise the Gangā Devī. Who then went with him to the spot where the Sāgara's sons were burnt to ashes by the curse of Kapila.

By the contact of the wind in touch with the particles of water of the Ganges, those sons of Sāgara were instantly freed of their curses and they all repaired to Vaikuṇṭha.

She is named Bhāgīrathī, because Bhagīratha brought Her to this earth.

Thus I have described to you the story of the Ganges. This story is highly meritorious and the great step to liberation. What more do you now want to hear? Say.

45-46. Nārada said:

O Lord! How did Gangā come to flow through the three worlds by three routes, and thus purify them? How was she carried and to which places? How did the people of those localities accord respect to Her?

Kindly describe all these in detail.

47-79. Nārāyaṇa said:

O Nārada! On the Full Moon night of the month of Kārtik in the Rāsa Maṇḍalam, at the great festivity in honour of Rādhā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa worshipped Rādhā and remained there.

Next Rādhā, worshipped by Śrī Kṛṣṇa, was worshipped by Brahmā and the other Devas, by Saunaka and the other Riṣis, who also stopped there with much gladness.

At this moment the Devī Saraswatī, the Presiding Deity of the Science of Music began to sing lovely songs about Kṛṣṇa, in tune with vocal and instrumental music.

Brahmā became glad and presented to Saraswatī a necklace of jewels; Mahā Deva gave her gems and jewels rare in this universe; Kṛṣṇa presented the best Kaustubha jewel,

Rādhikā offered excellent invaluable necklace of jewels; Nārāyaṇa presented to her the best and most excellent garland of jewels; Lakṣmī gave her invaluable golden earrings decked with gems;

Viṣṇu-Māyā Mūlā Prakriti, Bhagavatī Durgā, who is Nārāyanī, Īśvarī, Īśānī, presented Her devotion to Brahmā, so very rare; Dharma gave her devotion to Dharma and high fame;

Agni (fire) gave her excellent costumes purified by fire and Vāyu gave Her Nūpūrā (toe ornaments) made of gems and jewels.

At this time, Mahēśvara, the Lord of Bhūtas (elements) began to sing, at the suggestion of Brahmā, songs relating to Śrī Kṛṣṇa's grand Rāsa festival.

Hearing this, the Devas became very much enchanted and remained motionless like statues. With great difficulty, they regained their consciousness.

Then they saw that there was neither Rādhā nor Kṛṣṇa in this Rāsa Mandala; everything was deluged with water. The Gopas, Gopis, Devas and Brāhmaṇas began to cry loudly.

Brahmā in his meditation then came to know that Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa both have assumed this liquid appearance for the deliverance of the people of the world.

Brahmā and others, all began to praise Śrī Kṛṣṇa and said:

“O All-pervading One! Now be pleased to show us Thy form and grant us our desired boons.”

At that instant a sweet incorporeal voice was clearly heard by all, as coming from air above, that:

“I am the Self of all, pervading all; and this my Śaktī, Rādhā, is also the Self of all, pervades all; so there is no separation of us from you all even for a moment.

It is only to show our favour to the devotees that we assume special forms. For this reason only there is separation of us from you as regards this body! There is nothing else. Besides you have no necessity for our bodies.

O Devas! Now if my Manus, men, Munis, Vaiṣṇavas and you all, purified by Mantras desire very much to see My Form clearly, then I tell you to request Mahēśvara to carry out My word.

O Brahmā! O Creator! Better ask Mahādeva, the World Teacher, that He would better compose the beautiful Tantra Śāstra, in accordance with the limbs of the Vedas.

And that the above Śāstra be full of Mantras, capable to yield desired fruits, Stotras (hymns) and Kavāchas (protection mantras) and rules of due worship in proper order.

And that also My Mantra, My Stotra, and My Kavācha be also given there in a hidden form. So that those people that are sinners might not understand their real meanings and thus turn out against Me.

It may be that one in a thousand or in a hundred may worship My Mantra. And My Mantra worshippers, the saints, become purified and come to My Abode.

If My Śāstra be not well made (i. e., if everyone be able to understand its meaning) and if everyone be able to go from Bhūrloka to Goloka, then Thy labour in this creation of the world will all be in vain.

Therefore dost Thou better create different worlds according to the differences of Sāttvic, Rājasic, and Tamo Guṇas; then some will be the inhabitants of this Bhūrloka, some will be the inhabitants of Dyuloka according to their Karmas.

O Brāhman! If Mahā Deva promises earnestly in this assembly of the Devas, I will then exhibit My True Form.”

O Nārada! Thus speaking, the Eternal Puruṣa Śrī Kṛṣṇa remained silent (i. e., the aerial incorporeal voice stopped).

Hearing this, Brahmā, the Creator of the world, gladly informed Śiva of this. When the Lord of Knowledge, the Foremost of the Jñānins, Bhūtā Nātha heard the words of the Creator, He took the Ganges water in His hands and swore that:

“I will complete the Tantra Śāstra, full of Rādhā mantras and not opposed to the Vedas. If one touches the Ganges water and speaks lies, one remains in the terrible Kālasūtra hell for a period of one Brahmā's life time.”

O Dvīja! When Bhagavān Śankara said this before the assembly of the Devas in the region of Goloka, Śrī Kṛṣṇa appeared there with Rādhā.

The Devas became exceedingly glad to see Him. They praised Him as the Best Puruṣa and they were all filled with rapture and again engaged themselves in the grand Rāsa Festival.

Sometime after, Mahā Deva lighted the Torch of Mukti, i.e., the Tantra Śāstra was published by Him, as promised.

O Child! Thus I have disclosed to you this story, so very secret, and hard to be attained.

Thus Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, is verily the liquid Gangā sprung in the region of Goloka. This holy Gangā, born of the bodies of Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā inseparable from each other, grants enjoyment, lordship and liberation.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Highest Self, has placed Her in various places; so Gangā is of the nature of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and is everywhere, equally honoured everywhere in the Brahmāṇḍa (universe).

Here ends the Twelfth Chapter in the Ninth Book on the origin of Gangā in the Mahāpurāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.