Episode # 470 – Origin of River Ganga – Sage Naarada’s accord on King Sagara!!!

In the previous episode, we had continued our discussion on Sage Agasthya’s significance and his great contribution towards our Sanaatana Dharma. As we’ve seen, Sage Agasthya is the founder and propagator of the Tamil Language, which is one of the world’s oldest existing languages in practice. Moreover, Sage Agasthya was also instrumental in bringing the famed and one of the most revered and respected rivers of India – The River Cauvery. This river originates from Sage Agasthya’s “Kamandalam” in the place called “Coorg” amidst the Kodagu Mountains in the Indian state of Karnataka, and subsequently passes through various “Divya-Desams” of Bhagawan Vishnu and “Shiva-Sthalas” of Bhagawan Shiva in the states of both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, before concluding at “Poompuhar” on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Thus, Sage Agasthya is one of the most important and celebrated sages in our entire Sanaatana Dharma and various references about him are present in the “Teertha-Yatra Parva” in the Mahabharata text. Of course, we’ve just witnessed a brief about this, but readers can go through Sage Naarada’s accord in the Mahabharata in a great detail at your own convenience. 

Moving on further thus, as the Paandavas embark on the “Teertha-Yatra” as Sage Naarada keeps explaining all the places that they’re visiting, they are now coming to the banks of River Ganga or Bhaageerathi. Now, as per Sage Naarada’s instruction, Yudishtra and Co. have commenced their “Teertha-Yatra”, and Sage Naarada is also accompanying them to various places. Now, as they reach the banks of River Ganga, Yudishtra is curious to know more about it. Of course, Sage Naarada had earlier given a briefer, but Yudishtra wants to know more details about it. Hence, upon Yudishtra’s request for more explanation, Sage Naarada commences an important accord on River Ganga, which all of us have to know and understand. I shall try to explain as much as possible here – Sage Naarada explains thus: “Oh Yudishtra! This River Ganga that you see in front of your eyes today, has no origin! She is a perennial river and is permanently flowing in the “Aakaasha” (Sky), and in the three other worlds as well. What you see in front of your eyes is just one section of the river. This is why, the river is also referred to as “Tripathaga”. This means that the River Ganga flows through the three “Lokhas” – The “Aahaaya Lokha”, the “Antaraksha Lokha” and finally the “Manushya Lokha”. As the River Ganga comes down to the “Manushya Lokha”, Bhagawan Shiva holds it in His head, and this is why, Bhagawan Shiva is referred to as “Gangaadhara” or “Jataadhara”!” 

As Sage Naarada explains thus, Yudishtra quickly asks Sage Naarada, “Oh Sage Naarada! Why should Bhagawan Shiva hold River Ganga in His head? What is the significance behind this? Please, can you explain in detail? I’m unable to understand!” As Yudishtra asks thus, Sage Naarada gives a detailed explanation. He commences from King Sagara and how the entire set of events unfolded. Sage Naarada explains thus, “Once upon a time, there was a king by name “Sagara”. He was part of the famed “Ikshvaaku Dynasty”, wherein Bhagawan Rama too was later a part of it. King Sagara was a righteous king and he ruled his kingdom efficiently with all the possible “Dharma” in his actions and administration. However, King Sagara had just one problem in his life – He never had a child. King Sagara had two wives – Vaidharbi and Shaibya. Both the wives of King Sagara prayed to Bhagawan Vishnu for the want of children. They performed a penance and at the end of it, Bhagawan Vishnu was impressed and He gave two options – One option is to have just one child, and the other is to have many. One of the wives said “one”, and the other said “many”. The latter obtained 60,000 children! The lone child which was born, had the name “Asamanjas”. This child was extremely lazy by birth, but had a good amount of brilliance. The other 60,000 children were zero in brilliance, but not lazy! 

Now, this is a peculiar combination isn’t it? Once, King Sagara wanted to perform an “Ashwamedha Yaaga” and for this, he had offered prayers to a horse (“Ashwam”) and allowed it to run all over the territory. The “Ashwamedha Yaaga”, as per the rule, can only be conducted if the horse comes back safely without being captured by someone. Thus, the horse is going around the territory and all of them were waiting for it to come back. However, to their utter dismay, the horse never came back! Worried over this situation, King Sagara asks his 60,000 children to go and search for the horse and bring it back somehow. As we already know, these 60,000 people did not have any intellectual capability! They simply went searching for the horse, and found it to be standing near Sage Kapilaachaarya, who was in deep penance in the “Paathaala Lokha” (Underground). Upon seeing the horse standing there, these 60,000 people wrongly assumed that it was Sage Kapilaachaarya who had captured the horse! However, that was never the truth. The horse by itself came here and was standing and Sage Kapilaachaarya knew nothing about it, as he was in deep penance! However, these 60,000 people took out all their weapons and tried to launch an attack on Sage Kapilaachaarya! As Sage Kapilaachaarya realized that he was being attacked by someone, he quickly opened his eyes. Upon seeing 60,000 people rushing towards him, Sage Kapilaachaarya became angry and with his ferocious eyes and his extreme power of penance, he burnt down all the 60,000 people to death instantaneously! 

Now, unfortunately for King Sagara, he did not know the whereabouts of the horse, as well as his 60,000 sons as well! Hence, he sent Asamanjas to go and search for all of them. As all of us know, Asamanjas doesn’t put any real effort to find out anything – Hence, he just goes here and there and concludes that all of them including the horse are “lost”! So for today, let us understand up to this point, and in the next episode we shall witness what happened to the horse as well as the 60,000 people! Stay tuned for an important accord! 🙂 


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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