In the previous episode, we had commenced an important discussion with regards to the origin and the significance of River Ganges, as narrated by Sage Naarada to Yudishtra and Co. Of course, we’ve already had a briefer about this during our previous Ramayana project, but here we shall have a more detailed discussion. Sage Naarada had initially commenced with the “Charitra” of King Sagara and how he was childless for a long time. After a few years, his wives performed a penance towards Bhagawan Vishnu for a solution to this problem, who gave them two options – One child with zero effort but with good brilliance, or many children with zero brilliance but good effort. One of the wives said “one” and the other said “many” and the latter obtained 60,000 sons. The former obtained one son by name “Asamanjas”. One day, as King Sagara wanted to perform the “Ashwamedha Yaaga” in a grand manner, he performed the spiritual offerings to the “Ashwam” (Horse) and let it circle around the territory. However, to King Sagara’s shock and dismay, the horse never came back! Hence, he sent his 60,000 sons in search of the horse, and after a lot of research, they found the horse to be standing near Sage Kapilachaarya in the “Paathaala Lokha” (Underground).
Sage Kailachaarya, as we’ve witnessed in our previous “Shrimad Bhaagwatha Puraana” project, is yet another incarnation of Bhagawan Vishnu Himself, and is considered to be one of the most extremely powerful sages with regards to penance. As the 60,000 people arrived near Sage Kapilaachaarya, they mistook that it was he who “abducted” the horse! With this intention, they attacked Sage Kapilachaarya, who was in deep penance at that time. As the sage got disturbed and as he realized that he was under attack, he immediately burnt all the 60,000 people within seconds – Thanks to the extreme power of his penance. Thus, with this, nobody knew the whereabouts of both the horse as well as the 60,000 sons of King Sagara!
As days and months progressed, King Sagara got worried and with this, he sent his son “Asamanjas” to search for all of them. As we know already – Asamanjas was a lazy fellow and even today, we use this in our slang as well. If someone is sitting lazily without doing any work, we say that this person is of a very “Asamanjasa” characteristic! 🙂 Thus, Asamanjas went around everywhere and couldn’t find neither the horse nor the 60,000 people! Later on, Asamanjas obtains a son by name Amsuman. King Amsuman was a great and a righteous king like King Sagara and he launched a huge search operation to find all these people and the horse. As Amsuman was smart enough, he understood that the horse is standing near Sage Kapilachaarya in the “Paathaala Lokha”, and also the reminiscence of the 60,000 people who were burnt down. Hence, he immediately went there and found the horse standing near Sage Kapilachaarya. As the Sage opened his eyes, he saw King Dileepa waiting for him with folded hands. King Amsuman paid his respects to Sage Kapilachaarya and explains thus, “Oh great Sage! I totally understand that it was the fault of my 60,000 ancestors that they had mistaken you for stealing the horse. I request you to provide your divine “Anugraha” to hand over the horse and also bring these 60,000 people back to life!”
As King Amsuman requests thus, Sage Kapilachaarya replies back: “Oh Amsuman! I know that you’re a righteous king from the “Ikshvaaku Dynasty”. I know that King Sagara was a great king before you. Yes. Your 60,000 predecessors have committed a mistake. I give them the benefit of doubt. As requested by you, the horse is yours. You may take it along with you and perform the “Ashwamdeha Yaaga” successfully. I shall provide the divine “Anugraha” for the same!” As Sage Kapilachaarya says thus, King Amsuman wasn’t very happy. He again asked Sage Kapilachaarya thus, “Oh Great Sage! I’m deeply happy that you’ve forgiven my 60,000 ancestors. However, can we have all of them back to life? Will it be possible for you to perform this miracle?” As King Amsuman says thus, Sage Kapilachaarya explains to him – “Oh Amsuman! This cannot be possible, given my limitations. It is a curse that I had inflicted upon them for their bad act. However, it is not possible for me to revoke it. You may do one thing. You can pray to Mother Ganga from the “Aakasa” (Sky) and maybe if Mother Ganga comes down to the earth, you may sprinkle the divine holy waters from her and with this, these 60,000 people may come alive!”
As Sage Kapilachaarya says thus, King Amsuman did not know what to do. However, he was able to bring back the horse from Sage Kapilachaarya, but was clueless as to how to bring down Mother Ganga to the earth. He performed the “Ashwamedha Yaaga” with Sage Kapilachaarya’s divine “Anugraha”, and commenced a deep penance towards Mother Ganga. It did not bear any fruit. King Amsuman subsequently had a son by name Dileepa, who was a great king as well. King Dileepa is often celebrated as “Dileepa Chakravarthy” in the Ramayana text as he was an epitome of every aspect of “Dharma”. King Dileepa took over from his father, the penance towards Mother Ganga, but even he wasn’t able to bring her down. Subsequently, King Dileepa had a son by name, King Bhageeratha. King Bhageeratha continued from where King Dileepa left and was extremely determined to bring Mother Ganga down. Thus, after years and years of penance, Mother Ganga decided that it was time for her to go down to the earth, as she was extremely impressed by King Bhageeratha’s efforts.
So what is Mother Ganga going to do? How is she going to respond to King Bhageeratha’s extraordinary efforts? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂