Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 9 Chapter 13



Chapter XIII

The story about Gangā

1. Nārada said:

O Lord of the Devas! Kindly say in what Loka did Gangā go after 5000 (five thousand) years of the Kālī Yuga?

2-4. Nārāyaṇa said:

The Bhāgīrathī Gangā came down to Bhārata under the curse of Bhāratī; and when the term expired, She went back, by the Will of God, to the region of Vaikuṇṭha.

Also at the end of the period of their curses, Bhāratī and, Lakṣmī, too, left Bhārata and repaired to Nārāyaṇa. Gangā, Lakṣmī, and Saraswatī, these three and Tulasī all these four are so very dear to Śrī Hari.

5-6. Nārada said:

How did Gangā appear from the lotus feet of Viṣṇu? Why did Brahmā put Her in His Kamaṇḍalu?

I have heard that Gangā is the wife of Śiva; how then, came She to be the wife of Nārāyaṇa? Kindly describe all these in detail to me.

7-8. Nārāyaṇa said:

O Muni! In ancient times, in the region of Goloka, Gangā assumed the liquid appearance. She was born of the bodies of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. So She is of the nature of both of them and their parts.

Gangā is the presiding deity of water. She is unequalled in Her beauty in this world. She is full of youth and adorned with all ornaments.

9-43. Her face was like the autumnal mid-day lotus and sweet smile was always reigning on Her lips; Her form was very beautiful; Her colour was as bright as melted gold and She looked brilliant like the Autumnal Moon.

Eyes and mind get cool and become pleasant at Her beauty and radiance; She was of purely Śuddhā Sattva; Her loins were bulky and hard and She was covered with excellent clothings all over Her body.

Her breasts were plump and prominent; they were raised, hard, and nicely round. Her eyes very fascinating, always casting sidelong glances.

Her braids of hair situated a little oblique and the garland of Mālatī flowers over it made Her look extremely handsome.

The sandalpaste dot and the vermillion dot were seen on Her forehead. On Her cheeks the leaves of musk were drawn and Her lips were red like Bandhūka flowers and they looked enchanting.

Her rows of teeth looked like rows of ripe pomegranates; the ends of Her cloth not inflammable by fire, worn in front in a knot round the waist.

She sat by the side of Kṛṣṇa, full of amorous desires, and abashed. She covered Her face with the end of Her cloth and was seeing, with a steadfast gaze the face of the Lord and She was drinking the nectar of His face with great gladness.

Her lotus face bloomed and became gladdened at the expectation of a first amorous embrace. She fainted on seeing the Form of Her Lord and a thrill of joy passed all over Her body.

In the meanwhile Rādhikā came up there. Rādhā was attended by thirty Koṭis of Gopīs. She looked brilliant like tens of millions of Moons.

Seeing Gangā by the side of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Her face and eyes became reddened with anger like a red lotus. Her colour was yellow like champaka and Her gait was like a maddened elephant.

She was adorned with various invaluable ornaments made of jewels. Her pair of clothings were tied round Her waist. They were decked with invaluable jewels and not inflammable by fire (fire-proof).

The Arghya offered by Śrī Kṛṣṇa was on Her lotus-feet of the colour of a flowering shrub, Hibiscus mutabilis, and She was going slowly step by step.

The Riṣis began to fan Her with white Chāmaras no sooner She, descending from the excellent aeroplane decked with jewels, began to walk.

Below the point where the parting of the hairs on the head is done, there was the dot of Sindūra on Her forehead. It looked brilliant like a bright lamp flame. On both sides of this Sindūra Bindu, the dot of musk and the dot of Sandal- paste were seen.

When She began to quiver with anger, Her braid, with Parijāta garland round it began to tremble also. Her lips adorned with beautiful colours, began to quiver also.

She took Her seat angrily on a jewel throne by the side of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Her attendants took their seats in their allotted positions.

Seeing Rādhā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa got up at once from His seat with reverence and addressed Her, smiling and began to converse with Her in sweet words.

The Gopīs, very much afraid and with their heads bent low, began to chant hymns to Her with devotion. Śrī Kṛṣṇa also began to praise Her with stotras.

At this moment Gangā Devī got up and praised Her with various hymns and asked Her welfare with fear and with humble words.

Out of fear, Her throat, lips and palate were parched up. She took refuge humbly at Śrī Kṛṣṇa's feet. Śrī Kṛṣṇa then, took Gangā Devī on His breast when She became calm and quiet.

At this interval Sureśvarī Gangā looked at Rādhā, seated on a throne, lovely and sweet, as if She was burning with Brahmā Fire.

Since the beginning of creation, She is the Sole Lady of innumerable Brahmās and She is Eternal. At the first sight, She looked young as if of twelve years old. Nowhere in any Universe can be seen a lady so beautiful and so qualified.

She was peaceful, calm and quiet, lovely, infinite and having no beginning nor end. She was auspicious, well endowed with all auspicious signs, prosperous, and having the good fortune of having a best husband.

She was the foremost jewel amongst the ladies and appeared as if all the beauties were concentrated in Her.

Rādhā is the (left) half of Śrī Kṛṣṇa's body; whether in age or in strength or in beauty she was in every way perfectly equal to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Lakṣmī and the Lord of Lakṣmī both worship Rādhā.

The excellent brilliance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa was overpowered by the beauty of Rādhā. Taking Her seat on the throne She began to chew betel offered by Her attendants (Sakhīs).

She is the Mother of all the worlds; but no one is Her mother. She is fortunate, respected and proud. She is the Ruling Lady of Śrī Kṛṣṇa's Life and Soul and ever dearer to Him than His Prāṇa (vital breath).

O Devarṣi! Gangā, the Governess of the Devas, looked at Her over and over again with a steadfast gaze; but Her eyes and mind were not at all satiated.

At this moment, Rādhā addressed smilingly to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of the world, humbly and in sweet words:

O My Lord! Who is that Lady sitting by Thy side, looking askance, eager and with a smiling countenance. She is enchanted with Thy beauteous form and fainting away. Her whole body is excited with rapturous joy.

Hiding Her face with cloth She is frequently looking at Thee. Thou also dost look on Her smilingly and with desires. What are all these? Even during My presence in this Goloka, all these bad practices are being rampant.

44-51. It is Thou that art doing all these bad things often and often! We are female sex; what shall we do? We are naturally, of a very pleasing temper, simple.

I bore and forgave all these out of our love. O Licentious One! Take Thy Beloved and go away quickly from this Goloka. Otherwise these things will not bid fair to Thee.

Firstly, one day I saw Thee, united with Virajā Gopī, in Chandana (Sandal wood) forest. What to do? At the request of the Śakhīs, I did forgive Thee.

Then, hearing My footsteps Thou didst fly away. Virajā, out of shame, quitted Her body and assumed the form of a river. That is million Yojanas wide an four times as long. Even to this day that Virajā is existing, testifying to Thy Glory (near Puri, Jagannātha)!

When I went back to My home Thou didst go to Virajā again and cried aloud:

“O Viraje! O Viraje!”

Hearing Your cry, Virajā, the Siddha Yoginī arose from the waters, out of Her Yogic power, and when She showed Thee Her divine appearance decked with ornaments, Thou didst draw Her to Thy side and cast Thy seed in Her.

It is owing to the casting of that seed in the womb of Virajā that the seven oceans have come into existence!

52-107. Secondly, one day I saw Thee in actual intercourse with the Gopī named Śobhā! Hearing My footsteps, Thou fled'st away that day too.

Out of shame Śobhā quitted Her body and departed to the sphere of Moon (Chandra Maṇḍal). The cooling effect of the Moon is due to this Śobhā.

When Śobhā was thus distressed, Thou didst divide Her and put some parts to gems and jewels, part to gold, partly to excellent pearls and gems, partly on the face of women, partly to the bodies of Kings,

partly to the leaves of trees, partly to flowers, partly to ripe fruits, partly to corns, partly to palaces and temples, partly to purified materials, partly to young and tender shoots and foliage, and partly to milk.

Thirdly, I saw Thee united with Prabhā Gopī in Vrindāvan. Thou fled'st away, hearing My footsteps.

Out of shame, Prabhā quitted Her body and departed to the Solar atmosphere. This Prabhā (lustre) is fierce luminosity of the Solar atmosphere.

Out of the pangs of separation Thou cried and didst divide Prabhā and didst put some parts in Fire, partly amidst the Yakṣas, partly into lions, among men, partly amongst the Devas,

partly in Vaiṣṇavas, partly in serpents, partly in Brāhmaṇas, partly in Munis, partly in ascetics, and partly in fortunate and prosperous ladies.

Thou hadst to weep then after Thou hadst thus divided Prabhā, for Her separation and fourthly I saw Thee in love union with the Gopī Śānti in Rāsa Maṇḍalam.

On the coming of the spring season, one day Thou with garlands of flowers on Thy neck and with Thy body besmeared with sandal paste and decked with ornaments, wast sleeping on a bed of flowers with Śānti Gopī, decked with gems, in a temple made of gems and pearls and illumined by a lamp of jewels and Thou wast chewing the betel, given by Thy beloved.

Hearing My sound Thou fled'st away. Śānti Gopī, too, out of fear and shame quitted Her body and disappeared in Thee. Therefore Śānti is reckoned as one of the noblest qualities.

Out of the pain of separation, Thou didst divide the body of Śānti and distributed partly to forests, partly to Brahmā, partly to Me, partly to Śuddhā Sattva Lakṣmī,

partly to Thy Mantra worshippers, partly to My Mantra worshippers, partly to the ascetics, partly to Dharma, and partly to the religious persons.

Fifthly, dost Thou remember that one day anointing all over Thy body fully with the sandal paste and good scent and with garlands on Thy neck, well dressed, decked with jewels, Thou wast sleeping with Kṣamā (forgiveness) Gopī in ease and happiness, on a nice bedding interspersed with flowers and well scented.

Thou wert so much over-powered by sleep after fresh intercourse that when I went and disturbed, then Thou two didst get up from the sweet sleep.

I took away Thy yellow robes, the beautiful Muralī (flute), garlands made of forest flowers, Kaustubha gems, and invaluable earrings of pearls and gems. I gave it back to Thee at the earnest request of the Śakhīs.

Thy body turned black with sin and dire shame, Kṣamā then quitted Her body out of shame and went down to the earth. Therefore Kṣamā turned out to be the repository of best qualities.

Out of affection to Her, Thou didst divide Her body and distributed them partly to Viṣṇu, partly to the Vaiṣṇavas, partly to Dharma, partly to the religious persons, partly to weak persons, partly to ascetics, partly to the Devas, and partly to the Pundits (literary persons).

O Lord! Thus I have described Thy qualities as far as I know. What more dost thou want to hear? Thou hast many more qualities! But I am not aware of them.

Having thus spoken, the red-lotus eyed Rādhā began to rebuke Gangā sitting by the side of Śrī Kṛṣṇa with Her head bent low out of shame.

At this time Gangā, who was a Siddha Yoginī came to know all the mysteries, and instantly disappeared from the assembly in Her own water form.

The Siddha Yoginī Rādhā came to know also, by Her Yogic power, the secrets of Gangā and became ready to drink the whole water in one sip. Gangā, knowing this intention of Rādhā, by Her Yogic power, took refuge of Kṛṣṇa and entered into His feet.

Then Rādhā began to look out for Gangā everywhere:

First She searched in Goloka, then Vaikuṇṭha, then Brahmā-loka; then She searched all the Lokas one by one but nowhere did She find Gangā.

All the places in Goloka became void of water; all turned out dried mud and all the aquatic animals died and fell to the ground.

And Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva, Ananta, Dharma, Indra, Moon, Sun, Manus, Munis, Siddhas, ascetics all became very thirsty and their throats became parched.

They then went to Goloka, and bowed down with devotion to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Who was the Lord of all, beyond Prakriti, the Supreme, worthy to be worshipped, the Bestower of boons, the Best, and the Cause of boons;

Who is the Lord of Gopas and Gopīs; Who is formless, without any desire, unattached, without refuge, attributeless, without any enthusiasm, changeless, and unstained;

Who is All Will and who assumes forms to show favour to His devotees; Who is Sattva, the Lord of truth, the Witness and eternal Puruṣa and Who is the Highest, the Supreme Lord, the Best and Excellent, the Highest Self and the Supreme God.

They began to hymn Him. All were filled with intense feelings with devotion; tears of love were flowing from their eyes and the bodies of all were filled with ecstasy, the hairs standing in ends.

He was Para Brahmā; His Substance was made of Transcendental Light, Who is the Cause of all Causes, who was seated in a wonderful throne, built of invaluable gems and jewels,

who was being fanned by the Gopas with white chowries, who was seeing and hearing with great delight, and smiling countenance, the dancing and singing of the Gopīs,

who was chewing the scented betel offered by Rādhā and who was residing in the heart of His dearest Śrī Rādhā, who was the Perfect, all pervading, and the Lord of the Rāsa Circle.

The Manus, Munis, and the ascetics all bowed down to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, no sooner they beheld Him. Joy and wonder at once caught hold of their hearts.

They then looked at one another and gave over to Brahmā the task of communicating their feelings. The four faced Brahmā, with Viṣṇu on His right and Vāma Deva on His left, gradually came in front of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Wherever He cast His glance in the Rāsa Maṇḍalam, He saw Śrī Kṛṣṇa, full of the Highest Bliss, of the nature of the Highest Bliss, sitting.

All have turned out Kṛṣṇas; their seats were all uniform; all were two armed and with flutes in their hands; on everyone's neck is the forest garland; peacock's tail was on the top of everyone's crest and Kaustubha jewels were on all their breasts.

The Forms of all of them were very beautiful; very lovely and very peaceful. No difference at all between them whether in form, or in qualities, or in ornaments, or in radiance, in age, in lustre, in no respect no one was inferior to another.

No one was imperfect; no one was deficient in lordliness. It was indeed very difficult to distinguish who was the master and who was the servant.

Sometimes He is seen in His Tejas form as the Great Light, and there is nothing else; sometimes there is that Clear Divine Form; sometimes He comes Formless; sometimes with form; and again sometimes both with and without form.

Sometimes there is no Rādhā; there is only Kṛṣṇa; And sometimes again in every seat there is the Yugal Mūrti Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa combined. Sometimes Rādhā assumes the form of Kṛṣṇa.

So the Creator Brahmā could not decide whether Śrī Kṛṣṇa was a female or a male.

At last He meditated on Śrī Kṛṣṇa in his heart-lotus and began to chant hymns to Him with devotion and prayed for forgiveness for his misdoings.

When Śrī Kṛṣṇa got pleased, the Creator, opening His eyes, saw Śrī Kṛṣṇa on the breast of Śrī Rādhā. There were His attendants on all the sides and the Gopīs all around.

Seeing this, Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Mahēśvara bowed down to Him and sang Him praises.

108-113. Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of Lakṣmī, the Omnipresent, Cause of all, the Lord of all, and the Internal Ruler of all, knew their intentions and, addressing them, separately said:

“O Brāhman! Is it all well with you? O Lord of Kamalā! Come here. O Mahādeva! Come here; let all be well to you. You all have come to me for Gangā.

Gangā has taken refuge under My feet out of fear for Rādhā. Seeing Gangā by My side, Rādhā wanted to drink Her up, However I will give over Gangā to the hands of you all; but you will have to pray to Rādhā, so that Gangā becomes fearless of Her.”

The lotus born Brahmā smiled at Śrī Kṛṣṇa's words and began to sing hymns to Rādhā, Who is fit to be worshipped by all.

The Creator Brahmā, the Compiler of the Four Vedas, the Four-faced One praised Rādhā with His Four heads, bent low and addressed Her thus:

114-125. Brahmā said:

“O Rādhe! Gangā, appeared from Thee and the Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Both of you were transformed before into the liquid forms in the Rāsa Maṇḍalam, on hearing the music of Śankara.

And That Liquid Form is Gangā. So She is born of Thee and Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Hence She is like Thy daughter and to be loved as such. She will be initiated in Thy Mantra and She will worship Thee.

The four armed Lord of Vaikuṇṭha will be Her husband. And when She will appear in parts on earth, the Salt Ocean will be Her husband.

O Mother! The Gangā that dwells in Goloka, is dwelling everywhere. O Governess of the Devas! Thou art Her mother; and She is always Thy Self born daughter.”

Hearing thus, the words of Brahmā, Rādhā gave Her assent towards the protection of Gangā. And then Gangā appeared from the toe-tip of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

The liquid Gangā, then, assumed Her own form and, getting up from water, was received with great honour by the Devas.

Bhagavān Brahmā took a little of that Ganges water in His Kamaṇḍalu and Bhagavān Mahādeva kept some of it in His own head.

The lotus born Brahmā, then, initiated Gangā into the Rādhā Mantra and gave Her instructions, Rādhā Stotra (hymn of Rādhā) according to the Sāma Veda, Rādhā Kavācha (protection mantras), Rādhā Dhyāna (meditation on Rādhā), method of worship of Rādhā, and Rādha’s Puraścharaṇa.

Gangā worshipped Rādhā according to those instructions and went to Vaikuṇṭha.

O Muni! Lakṣmī, Saraswatī, Gangā, and the world purifying Tulasī, these four became the wives of Nārāyaṇa.

Kṛṣṇa, then, smiled and explained to Brahmā the history of Time, hardly to be comprehended by others. He then spoke:

“O Brahmā! O Viṣṇu! O Mahēśvara! Now you better take Gangā and I will now tell you what a change has been effected by this time. Hear.

126-136. You, the three Devas, the other Devas, Munis, Manus, Siddhas, and other Mahātmas that are present here, are living now, because this region of Goloka is not affected by Kāla (Time).

Now the Kalpa is going to expire. So in the other regions except Goloka and Vaikuṇṭha, the Brahmās, etc., that were existing in all other Universes, have all now dissolved in My Body.

O Lotus-born! Except Goloka and Vaikuṇṭha, all are now under water, the primordial state of earth.

Better go and create your own Brahmāṇḍas and Gangā will go to that newly created Brahmāṇḍa. I will also create other worlds and the Brahmās thereof.

Now you all better go with the Devas and do your own works respectively. You have waited here for a long interval. As many Brahmās that have fallen all appear again.”

Thus saying Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of Rādhā went to His Inner Chamber. The Devas also instantly retired from that spot and engaged them earnestly in the work of creation.

Gangā remained as before till then in the region of Goloka, Vaikuṇṭha, Śivaloka, Brahmāloka, and in other places, by the command of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. She is named Viṣṇupādī, because She appeared from the feet of Viṣṇu.

Thus I have described to you this pleasant, essential story of Gangā, leading to liberation. What more do you now want to hear? Say!

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