Sri Ganga's glories
compiled by bh. Jan
Of purifiers I am the wind, of the wielders of weapons I am Rama, of fishes I am the shark, and of flowing rivers I am the Ganges.
Who can be worthy of the name of the Supreme Lord but the Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna? Brahmaji collected the water emanating from the nails of His feet in order to award it to Lord Siva as a worshipful welcome. This very water [the Ganges] is purifying the whole universe, including Lord Siva.
The river [Ganges, by which the King sat to fast] carries the most auspicious water, which is mixed with the dust of the lotus feet of the Lord and tulasi leaves. Therefore that water sanctifies the three worlds inside and outside and even sanctifies Lord Siva and other demigods. Consequently everyone who is destined to die must take shelter of this river.
The lotus feet of the Lord are by themselves the shelter of all places of pilgrimage. The great clear-minded sages, carried by the wings of the Vedas, always search after the nest of Your lotuslike face. Some of them surrender to Your lotus feet at every step by taking shelter of the best of rivers [the Ganges], which can deliver one from all sinful reactions.
I am the master of My unobstructed internal energy, and the water of the Ganges is the remnant left after My feet are washed. That water sanctifies the three worlds, along with Lord Siva, who bears it on his head. If I can take the dust of the feet of the Vaishnava on My head, who will refuse to do the same?
Saunaka inquired about the conversation between Vidura and Maitreya: There must have been many narrations of the spotless pastimes of the Lord. The hearing of such narrations is exactly like bathing in the water of the Ganges, for it can free one from all sinful reactions.
What is difficult to achieve for determined men who have taken refuge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead's lotus feet? His feet are the source of sacred rivers like the Ganges, which put an end to the dangers of mundane life.
The blessed Lord Siva becomes all the more blessed by bearing on his head the holy waters of the Ganges, which has its source in the water that washed the Lord's lotus feet. The Lord's feet act like thunderbolts hurled to shatter the mountain of sin stored in the mind of the meditating devotee. One should therefore meditate on the lotus feet of the Lord for a long time.
By the inclination to serve the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, suffering humanity can immediately cleanse the dirt which has accumulated in their minds during innumerable births. Like the Ganges water, which emanates from the toes of the lotus feet of the Lord, such a process immediately cleanses the mind, and thus spiritual or Krsna consciousness gradually increases.
SB 5.17.1-9 Ganga's descent and glories
Lord Siva, the best of demigods, who carries on his forehead the emblem of the moon, receives on his head with great devotion the Ganges water emanating from the toe of Visnu. Being aware of religious principles, Bali Maharaja knew this. Consequently, following in the footsteps of Lord Siva, he also placed on his head the water that had washed the Lord's lotus feet.
O King, the water from Lord Brahma's kamandalu washed the lotus feet of Lord Vamanadeva, who is known as Urukrama, the wonderful actor. Thus that water became so pure that it was transformed into the water of the Ganges, which went flowing down from the sky, purifying the three worlds like the pure fame of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The Personality of Godhead said: My dear Amsuman, here is the animal sought by your grandfather for sacrifice. Please take it. As for your forefathers, who have been burnt to ashes, they can be delivered only by Ganges water, and not by any other means.
SB 9.9.(9-)14,p. Ganga's descent and glories
Because mother Ganges emanates from the lotus toe of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Anantadeva, she is able to liberate one from material bondage. Therefore whatever is described herewith about her is not at all wonderful.
It has actually been seen that anyone who regularly worships mother Ganges simply by bathing in her water keeps very good health and gradually becomes a devotee of the Lord. This is the effect of bathing in the water of the Ganges. Bathing in the Ganges is recommended in all Vedic sastras, and one who takes to this path will certainly be completely freed from all sinful reactions. The practical example of this is that the sons of Maharaja Sagara went to the heavenly planets when water from the Ganges merely touched the ashes of their burnt bodies.
The Ganges, emanating from the toe of Lord Visnu, purifies the three worlds, the upper, middle and lower planetary systems. Similarly, when one asks questions about the pastimes and characteristics of Lord Vasudeva, Krsna, three varieties of men are purified: the speaker or preacher, he who inquires, and the people in general who listen.
The water of the river Ganges has purified the three worlds, having become transcendental by bathing Your feet. Lord Siva accepted that water on his head, and by that water's grace the sons of King Sagara attained to heaven.
My dear Lord, You are the symbol of everything auspicious. Your transcendental name and fame is spread like a canopy all over the universe, including the higher, middle and lower planetary systems. The transcendental water that washes Your lotus feet is known in the higher planetary systems as the Mandakini River, in the lower planetary systems as the Bhogavati and in this earthly planetary system as the Ganges. This sacred, transcendental water flows throughout the entire universe, purifying wherever it goes.
Among sacred and flowing things I am the holy Ganges, and among steady bodies of water I am the ocean. Among weapons I am the bow, and of the wielders of weapons I am Lord Siva.
Just as the Ganga is the greatest of all rivers, Lord Acyuta the supreme among deities and Lord Sambhu [Siva] the greatest of Vaisnavas, so Srimad-Bhagavatam is the greatest of all Puranas.
Garuda Purana 3.29.5
Ganga is so called because she purifies the world by her waters. The devotees call her Visnupadi out of devotion for her.
...[those] who like to take bath in the Ganges, who become pleased hearing the name of the Ganges, who know and speak the glories or the Ganges,... these are all called Vaisnavas.
Padma Purana, Uttara khanda
Brahmana Mukunda is liberated after death by his bones being thrown to Ganga
Padma Purana, Kriyayogasara khanda
Kalakalpa is liberated by the touch of Ganga-water
The most holy of tirthas is the confluence of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna. Someone who bathes there attains perpetual good health, prospers, lives to a ripe old age and is pardoned all his sins. Even the gods and the sages are fond of the waters at this sacred confluence. The river Ganga emerges from the feet of Lord Visnu himself. (The story of this is related in the Brahmanvaivarta Purana.) And the river Yamuna is the daughter of the sun god Surya. (This is related in many Puranas, such as the Markandeya Purana. Yamuna was the daughter of Surya and Samjna.) Such being the origins of these two holy rivers, it is but natural that their confluence should be so sacred.
In fact, the Ganga is so sacred that even if one just thinks of her, all pain is relieved and all sins are pardoned. Along the banks of the Ganga is a remarkable tirtha known as Prayaga. Brahma himself peformed a yajna there. You can bathe in the waters of all the tirthas if you so desire. But the punya (store of merit) that you will acquire from this is only a sixteenth of the punya you will acquire from touching a few drops of water from the Ganga. A person who anoints his head with mud taken from the banks of the Ganga becomes like Siva himself. There are three objects that are sacred to Visnu - the Ganga, the tulasi (basil) bush and dust from the feet of a devotee of Visnu.
There are some other rivers also in which the Ganga is always present. Their names are Godavari, Sarasvati, Kalindi, Kaveri, Krsna, Reva, Vahuda, Tungabhadra, Bhimarathi, Vetravati, Tamraparni and Satadru.
Sri Balabhadra-sahasra-nama 62
[Lord Balarama is] Ganga
Sri Bala Krsna sahasra nama, phala sruti
10 In Kali-yuga the boy Krsna is the Deity. In Kali-yuga the Ganga is the river. In Kali-yuga there is no other, no other, no other way.
15 In Kali-yuga the Ganga is the giver of liberation. In Kali-yuga the Gita is the supreme song. The Vedic sacrifices are not to be performed. In Kali-yuga only the chanting of Lord Hari's holy name gives liberation. There is no other way.
Gopala sahasra nama 54
[Lord Gopala is] the personified Ganga and Yamuna (gaGgA-ca-yamunA-rUpa)
Sri Radha-sahasra-nama 129,130
[Sri Radha] is the Ganges (gaGgA, gaGgA-jalAmayI, gangeritA).
Caitanya Caritamrta 2.15.134-135
Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "In this Age of Kali, Krsna is manifest in two forms — wood and water. Thus, by enabling the conditioned souls to see the wood and bathe in the water, He helps them become liberated.
Lord Jagannatha is the Supreme Lord Himself in the form of wood, and the river Ganges is the Supreme Lord Himself in the form of water.
Krsna sandarbha 67.3
yo 'sau nirajJano devaz
sa eva drava-rUpena
gaGgAmbho nAtra saMSayaH
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Janardana, whose form is completely spiritual and who is always free from material contact, personally appears in the form of the water of the Ganges river. Of this there is no doubt."
Caitanya Bhagavata, Madhya khanda 23
After having performed his prescribed duties for many millions of lifetimes, leading a pious life of nonviolence and humility, and praying constantly and sincerely to the Supreme Lord a person is awarded the opportunity at his time of death. Ganges water to him and the chanting of Lord Narayana's Holy name. This will certainly afford him liberation from all material bondage, only then can he be blessed to become a servant of Lord Krsna.
Caitanya Bhagavata, Antya khanda 104-123
Sri Caitanya glorifies Ganga
Caitanya mangala, Adi khanda, Kaisora lila - Vivaha kaisora, song
119-127. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose lotus feet the demigod Brahma worshiped with arghya, by whose mercy Brahma attained the power to create the material universe, from whose feet the Ganga flows to the earth and gives liberation to all, whose three steps traversed the universe, to whom Maharaja Bali completely surrendered, the dust of whose lotus feet Maharaja Bali placed on his head, by chanting the glories of whose feet a certain great yogi became the demigod Siva, whose feet the goddess of fortune joyfully serves, whose plenary expansion (amsa-avatara) is Lord Visnu, whose plenary expansion Adi-Varaha rescued the earth, whose avataras Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Nrsimha, Vamana, Parasurama, Ramacandra, Buddha, Vyasa, and others are described in the eighteen Puranas, whose ten avataras are glorified with many songs, who yuga after yuga descends to the material world to deliver the conditioned souls, and whose glories cannot be completely described by anyone in the three mat erial worlds, became Vallabhacarya's son-in-law.
Hari bhakti vilasa 3.293-4, from Padma Purana 3.31.139
The water which washed Salagram Sila includes the water from the Ganga, Godavari, Reva and other liberating rivers. If this bath water from the Salagram Sila is available, then there is no need for thousands of other places of pilgrimage.
Hari bhakti vilasa 7.77, from Skanda Purana
As brahmanas are considered to be topmost in the social order, and among places of pilgrimage, the Ganges is said to be the topmost, among the demigods, Lord Visnu is the topmost.
Hari bhakti vilasa 7.213
The lotus flower, born in the water, Campaka (yellow fragrant flower), Tulasi, Agastya flower, and Bakula flowers, Bilvapaka and Ganges water, these do not become contaminated (stale) even if they are kept for a long time.
Hari bhakti vilasa 9.27-30, from Padma Purana
Water from the Narmada purifies after one week, but Ganges water immediately purifies. Just by taking darshan of the Yamuna, one becomes purified. These rivers all purify one by seeing them, bathing in them or by chanting their names, but in Kali-yuga, one becomes purified just by remembering the water which has washed the lotus feet of Lord Sri Hari. Therefore, if someone drinks the water which has washed the lotus feet of Lord Hari, he gets more than 100,000 times more merit than by worshipping ten million Siva lingas. If a person is impure, has unlimited bad habits, or is implicated with previous sins, simply by touching the water which comes from the lotus feet of Lord Visnu, he becomes purified. If somebody, at the time of death, touches to their head or other parts of the body, the water which has washed the lotus feet of Lord Hari, even if he is implicated with millions of sins, he does not go to the hellish planets, the abode of Yamaraja.
Hari bhakti vilasa 9.63, from Skanda Purana
Lord Siva, who holds on his head the Ganges emanated from the lotus feet of Lord Sri Visnu, knows the glories and importance of the water which has emanated from His feet. Among all kinds of living entities with gross bodies in this world, only Lord Siva's body does not have a place for sins.
Hari bhakti vilasa 9.77
In the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya it is said: "In ancient times the Ganga touched Lord Visnu's foot. The Ganga gives liberation to they who think of her. Why should the water that has washed Lord Visnu's feet be glorified in this way? Why should it be thought more purifying that the Ganga?
Hari bhakti vilasa 9.161, from Brhannaradiya Purana
As by chanting the name of Ganges, one becomes free from all kinds of worldly sins, if someone chants the name of Tulasi or chants the glories of Lord Hari with devotion, he gets the same merit.
Hari bhakti vilasa 9.283, from Skanda Purana
Food from the devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Ganges water, the mind engaged in the lotus feet of Lord Visnu and the day of Lord Hari named Ekadasi, these are all pure.
Hari bhakti vilasa 16.39, from Skanda Purana
No month is like Karttika. No yuga is like Satya-yuga. No scripture is like the Vedas. No holy place is like the Ganga.
Navadvipa dhama Mahatmya, Parikrama khanda 1
That liberation attained by Brahman realization at other holy places is obtained simply by bathing in the Ganges at Navadvipa.
auSadhIm jAhnavI toyam vaidyo nArAyaNa hariH
The cure is the water of Ganga, the doctor is Sri Narayana Hari.
A Prayer for the Ganges (on the river's pollution and self-cleaning capacity)
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