Ganga, the sacred river that flows through the rough and uneven terrain, is of utmost significance to India, both in physical and spiritual aspects. Ganga is the holiest of all rivers and is fondly referred to as “Mother” nurturing us all. As per a mythological legend, Ganga Saptami is the day when Goddess Ganga descended on Mother Earth. It is said that once the gushing waters of Ganga River went on rampage, destroying everything in her path with forceful undercurrents of water. Lord Shiva then tied Ganga with his hair, restraining her from causing further damage and saved people from her wayward wrath.
Maharaj Bhagirath however desired to bring Ganga to the mortal world to purge the souls of his ancestors on the day of Ganga-dashara. His ancestors were from Surya dynasty. Once, his ancestor, King Sagara had performed Ashwamedha yagna to rule the heaven. Lord Indra however felt threatened and stole the sacrificial horse. He hid the horse in Sage Kapila’s ashram. King Sagara’s sixty thousand sons set out to find the horse and found it in Sage Kapila’s ashram. Angry with this, they waged a war against the Sage. In turn, furious Sage Kapila cursed them, burning them to ashes. Maharaj Bhagirath seeked to provide moksha to these cursed souls. To help Maharaj accomplish his mission, Lord Shiva pleased with his tapasya of thousand years, released Ganga from his head. Although while on their way to the kingdom, Ganga’s mighty flow and turbulent waters entered Sage Jahnu’s asharam, destroying it in her way. Furious with anger, Sage Jahnu drank up all the water of Ganga. But upon Bhagirathi’s plea for moksha for his ancestors, Sage Jahnu released Ganga from his right ear.
Ganga Saptami is celebrated as the Ganga Jayanti on the seventh day of shukla paksha of Vaishakha month in hindu calendar, marking the re-birth of Goddess Ganga. She is also known as Jahanvi as she flows from Sage Jahnu’s right ear. It is said that if people bathe in holy water of Ganga for 10 days starting prior to Ganga Saptami, then they will be freed from ten sins for ten subsequent births. Since Goddess Ganga descended on earth due to efforts of King Bhagirath, she also is known as Bhagirathi.
On the day of Ganga Saptami, people offer puja on the ghats and territories around Ganga Water. They bathe in Ganga waters to perform Ganga pujan with dhyana (meditation) and chanting mantras to purify their souls, asking for forgiveness for their sins and moksha for their late ancestors. Offering milk, sweets and fruits for puja and donating money and food to poor and needy is considered auspicious on this day.
As it is said, For Hindus Cleanliness is next to Godliness, so they must not pollute something what is God to them. While offering offer Biodegradable stuff which do not pollute the water. Campaigns of keeping the water clean should be run. People should know the significance of clean river water.