Ganga is a prominent character in the Indian epic, Mahabharata. She was a goddess and the personification of the Ganges River, one of the most sacred rivers in India. Here’s a brief summary of Ganga’s story:
Ganga was born as the daughter of King Himalaya and Queen Mena, and she was a beautiful and intelligent princess. She caught the attention of Lord Brahma, who offered her a boon. Ganga requested that she be allowed to reside in the heavens and be worshipped by all. Brahma granted her wish, and Ganga became a goddess.
Ganga’s story in the Mahabharata revolves around her relationship with King Shantanu. One day, while hunting in the forest, Shantanu saw Ganga and fell in love with her. Ganga agreed to marry him, but on the condition that he would never question her actions, no matter what they were. Shantanu agreed to her terms, and they were married.
Over time, Ganga bore Shantanu seven children, but she immediately drowned six of them as soon as they were born. Shantanu was unable to stop her, as he had promised not to question her actions. However, when she attempted to drown their seventh child, a son named Devavrata, Shantanu could no longer remain silent. He begged Ganga to spare their child, and Ganga revealed that she was the river Ganges, and that she had been purifying her children by drowning them, as they were cursed to be mortal.
Ganga then explained that Devavrata was actually the eighth vasu (celestial being), who had been cursed to be born on earth. She also revealed that he would eventually become a great warrior and a wise king. Shantanu was relieved to learn the truth, and he raised Devavrata as his own son. Devavrata later became known as Bhishma, one of the greatest warriors of the Mahabharata.
Ganga’s story is often seen as a tale of devotion, sacrifice, and the importance of fulfilling one’s duty. She is regarded as a symbol of purity and divinity in Hindu mythology.