Sri Ganga Puja

Sri Ganga Puja

( – Sri Ganga Puja

By Jaya Vijaya Dasa

Sri Ganga-puja, also known as Sri Ganga-dushara (she who removes inauspiciousness), appears in the month of Jyestha (May/June) on the 10th day of Sukla-paksa, or the waxing fortnight of the full moon. On this day, Maharaja Bhagiratha’s desire of bringing Ganga to this mortal world was finally fulfilled as the sacred river descended from Lord Siva’s blessed head at Mount Kailasa. The River Ganga then flowed through the Himalayas behind Maharaja Bhagiratha’s chariot and entered Jahna Rsi’s asrama. Afterwards, he successfully let the Ganga to Rasatala, in the lower planetary system, to liberate the sixty thousand sons of King Sagara.

As stated in the Narada Purana (Uttara-bhaga 40.21): ‘It was on the tenth day in the bright half of the month of Jyestha, when the day of the week was Tuesday and the constellation was Hasta, Ganga descended to the mortal world.’ Ganga is also known as Bhagirathi, or the descendent of Bhagiratha.

There are different opinions regarding the appearance or descent of Ganga. Recently we honored the auspicious day known as Aksaya-trtiya (April 19) which appears in the month of Vaisakha (April/May) on the 3rd day of Sukla-paksa, or the waxing fortnight of the full moon. In the Matsya Purana
(as quoted from the Sri Hari-bhakti-vilasa): ‘On the third day of the bright half of the moon of Vaisakha, the Supreme Lord Janardana created the grain barley, started the cycle of Satya-yuga, and made Tripathaga Ganga descend to the earth from Brahmaloka’

Then there was Jahnu-saptami, also know as Ganga-saptami (April 23), when Ganga entered the sacrificial arena of Jahnu Rsi and distribute his meditation. Out of anger, he drank the Ganga and later released the river through his ear (there are other accounts how he released her).

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