Episode # 249 – Origin of the Holy RIVER GANGA – King Sagara performs the “Ashvamedha Yaaga”!!!


The previous episode witnessed the culmination of the important “Ambareesha-Charitra”, wherein we experienced the significance of being an ardent devotee of Bhagawan, and also the importance of following a regular routine of spiritual practice. In due course, we also witnessed the key benefits of “fasting” and the reason why our ancestors have formulated the “Ekadashi” day of every month for fasting and cleaning up our body’s systems. Eventually, we also witnessed how Sage Dhurvaasa was rightfully shown his place by Bhagawan Vishnu and His all-powerful “Chakra”. We witnessed how the “Chakra” made Sage Dhurvaasa run for his life for trying to curse King Ambareesha, only to come back to King Ambareesha again and seek refuge! This was an important learning, not only for Sage Dhurvaasa, but for all of us as well.

We shall look at it in two angles – Firstly, if we are ardent devotees of Bhagawan, no curse from anybody would be able to stand in front of us! Secondly, if we’re intending to harm someone who is an ardent devotee of Bhagawan, we should be prepared to face what Sage Dhurvaasa faced! 😊 This is the reason why we repeatedly emphasize the point that it is better to keep ourselves away from any kind of conflicts or fights with anybody, for that matter – Be it a devotee or not. If for instance, we try and pick up a fight with some stranger, and if he / she happen to be an ardent devotee, we would never know! We’ve to face the wrath of harming Bhagawan’s devotee, just like how Sage Dhurvaasa faced! It is to be remembered always that Bhagawan doesn’t get angry much when someone abuses Him directly. Whereas, Bhagawan gets really angry when His ardent devotee is abused and harmed! We’ve seen this in our Ramayana episodes as well. Readers might remember that Bhagawan Rama never got angry when Ravana abused him to whatever extent he can. But when Ravana’s anger and abuse turned an inch towards Hanuman, who is Bhagawan Rama’s ardent devotee, all of us know what happened after that! Hence, the important learning for all of us here and also from the “Ambareesha Charitra” is that, we should refrain ourselves to the maximum extent possible from abusing someone unwantedly. Even if the situation compels us to do so, we should be able to remember this episode and try to refrain ourselves. This is where our self-control and discrimination capability come to the fore. If we’re going to get carried away by the situation and start verbally or physically abusing people, we’ve to be ready to do a “marathon run” for our life, as Sage Dhurvaasa did! 😊 Hence, we should understand this and do accordingly!

Moving on thus, readers should remember that we’re now discussing the “Soorya-Vamsha” in detail and King Ambareesha was part of this great “Soorya-Vamsha”. The next King to be part of this great tradition was King Kakutsa. Subsequent to King Kakutsa, it was King Maandhaata. King Maandhaata was in turn succeeded by King Sagara. Now let us witness King Sagara’s story in a brief. King Sagara had two wives and all three of them together were childless for a long time. Hence, King Sagara and his wives prayed to Bhagawan Vishnu for help. Accordingly, Bhagawan Vishnu gives them an option – Either they can have one child or many children! But the only trick here is that, if the option is “many”, all of these children would be totally brainless! Whereas, if the option is for “one child”, it might have the brain, but would be totally lazy by nature! Accordingly, one of the wives chose option one and she obtained 60,000 brainless children! The second wife opted for option two, and she obtained a child by name “Asamanjas”, who was totally lazy by nature! Even in our daily routine slang, we keep referring to people who are lazy thus, “Oh! Why is this guy like an Asamanjas by nature?” 😊

One day, King Sagara wants to conduct a huge “Ashvamedha Yaaga” and as a starting note for this great offering, he lets his horse (“Ashvam”) roam all around the country with the flag of his kingdom tied to it. According to the rule, the horse should run to all kingdoms of our Bhaarata Desha and come back unharmed and untouched. It is only then, can the important rituals of the “Ashvamedha Yaaga” commence. As King Sagara lets his horse run all over the country, to his dismay, the horse did not return back! Hence, he asked his 60,000 sons to undertake a “search operation” to find the horse and bring it back. Accordingly, the 60,000 sons (we already know that they are brainless) went everywhere searching for the horse, but they weren’t able to find it. Finally they went all the way into the “Paathaala Lokha” (Underground) and reached the place where the great Sage Kapilaachaarya was performing deep penance. We’ve already seen earlier that Sage Kapilaachaarya was also one of the incarnations of Bhagawan Vishnu Himself! Unfortunately, these 60,000 brainless people found the horse to be standing near Sage Kapilaachaarya! Brainless as they were, they concluded that Sage Kapilaachaarya was the one who had captured their horse! The fact is that, Sage Kapilaachaarya did not even know that the horse had come there by his side on its own! As these 60,000 people take their swords to kill Sage Kapilaachaarya, his penance gets disturbed, opens his eyes with anger and with that look itself, all the 60,000 people were burnt to dead on the floor!

Worried as he was, King Sagara sends his other son Asamanjas to look for his 60,000 sons! We know isn’t it? Asamanjas was a guy who was totally lazy by nature – He just goes around here and there and comes back to King Sagara empty-handed! Now this Asamanjas gets married and obtains a son by name “Amsumaan”. This Amsumaan was a noble king and he expedites the search for his 60,000 ancestors and the horse. After some searching, he finds out the truth and goes all the way to the “Paathaala Lokha”, only to find the horse and all the 60,000 people dead! King Amsuman seeks forgiveness to Sage Kapilaachaarya thus, “Oh Great Sage! I know that you’ve not captured the horse. If you permit, however, I shall take the horse with me and help my grandfather to complete the “Ashvamedha Yaaga” that he had started!” Sage Kapilaachaarya was happy and granted him permission for the same. However, King Amsumaan asks Sage Kapilaachaarya thus, “Oh Sage! I know that my 60,000 people have committed a blunder in trying to behead you! You too know that they were brainless. Being brainless was not their fault, isn’t it? So can you please do something to revive them back to life?”

As King Amsumaan request thus, Sage Kapilaachaarya replies back thus, “Oh Amsumaan! I cannot do this at the moment, as I’m in a deep penance. But there is a solution. You start an ardent prayer towards Mother Ganga. Probably she can help you by sprinkling her holy water on these people to bring them back to life! Accordingly, King Amsumaan goes into deep penance to bring Mother Ganga down to the earth. But it was in vain. He was not able to do it! King Amsumaan in turn had a son by name Dileepa. King Dileepa Chakravarty was also a great king and he too tried his best to bring Mother Ganga to the earth, but in vain as well!

King Dileepa had a son by name Bhageeratha. King Bhageeratha went into penance mode to bring down Mother Ganga! So for today, let us stop with this, and we shall continue in the next episode. We shall witness whether King Bhageeratha was atleast successful in his mission of bringing Mother Ganga down to the earth! Stay tuned! 😊


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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