King Bhageeratha Offers Ganges Water to His Ancestors


Brahma commends Bhageeratha in bringing Ganga onto earth which none of his ancestors could do. Brahma blesses Ganga to be the daughter of Bhageeratha. Brahma advises him to offer water-oblations to his manes [spirit of forefathers] with the sanctified waters of Ganga.

Chapter [Sarga] 44 in Detail

King Bhageeratha followed by Ganga has gone to the ocean-like ditch which is dredged up by the sons of Sagara, and entered the subterranean of earth where the sons of Sagara are rendered to ashes. Thus Vishvamitra continued his narration about the Descent of Ganga. [1-44-1]

While the waters of Ganga are inundating [to cover over completely] those ashes, oh, Rama, then Brahma, the lord of all worlds, indeed spoke this to the king Bhageeratha. [1-44-2]

Oh, tigerly-man Bhageeratha, the sixty thousands sons of great souled Sagara have crossed over the sea of mortality, and on a par with the Gods they have also transited [to pass across] to heaven. [1-44-3]

As long as the water of the ocean abides in the world, oh, king, so long the sons of Sagara will abide in heaven like Gods. [1-44-4]

This Ganga will become your eldest daughter and hereafter she will remain renowned in the world with the name associated with your deed of bringing her onto earth. [1-44-5]

Henceforth heavenly Ganga will be renowned as Triple-path-cruiser and Bhaageerathi, as well, and as this river is sanctifying three worlds, namely, svarga, bhuu, paataala loka-s, heaven, earth and netherworld she will be remembered as the traveler on triple path. [1-44-6]

You may now offer water-oblations to all of your forefathers in the waters of Ganga, oh, king, the lord of people, thus you may fulfill and do away with the pledge of your requiescat [a prayer for the repose of a dead person]. [1-44-7]

Your ancestor Sagara is a highly glorious one and a best one among righteous persons, oh, king, even then he has not achieved this aspiration of alighting Ganga in his lifetime, but you have achieved it. [1-44-8]

Like that, your grandfather Anshuman, who is unequalled in his resplendence [brilliance] in this world and who had been praying for the descent of Ganga, he also could not dispense with this vow on fulfilling it. [1-44-9]

Oh, impeccable Bhageeratha, even by the kingly-sage Dileepa whose resplendence is kindred [related] to great sages, who is equal to me in his asceticism, who is abided [to remain stable] by the observances of ruling Kshatriya class, even by such a highly fortunate and highly resplendent father of yours it was impossible to bring Ganga in his turn, even though he had been supplicating for the descent of Ganga throughout his lifetime. [1-44-10, 11]

The content of verse 10 at times will be attributed to verse 9, viz., to Anshuman, rather than to Dileepa.

But, you have accomplished that pledge, oh, the best one among men, and in the world you have achieved highest renown which is highly adorable by all. [1-44-12]

That Descent of Ganga is perfected by you, oh, enemy-repressor, and by this you have acquired a genuine basis for righteousness in this world, and thereby a base for yourself in my world, namely Abode of Brahma. [1-44-13]

Oh, phenomenal one, you may always take dip-baths in the holy water of Ganga and oh, persona grata [personally acceptable or welcomed], thereby get purified of sins and thus let your merit be fructified. [1-44-14]

You may now perform water-oblations to your forefathers with the water of Ganga, let there be well being to you, and oh, king, here I go to my abode and you too may depart to yours. Thus Brahma said to Bhageeratha. [1-44-15]

On saying in this way, the forefather of all the worlds, and the great glorious lord of all Gods, namely Brahma, went away to his empyrean [celestial] world as he has came. [1-44-16]

On according [granting] those best water-oblations that endow [provides] superior realms to the souls of sons of Sagara, according to precedence [priority of importance] and the rationale of scriptures, and even on offering water-oblations to other manes [spirit of forefathers] that kingly-sage and greatly renowned Bhageeratha is sanctified [purified], and then only that king re-entered his own city, indeed when his purpose is completely achieved, and oh, outstanding man Rama, thus that king Bhageeratha ruled his kingdom well. [1-44-17, 18]

On regaining him as their king the subjects of the kingdom are overjoyed, and oh, Raghava, that king Bhageeratha too is relieved of his febrility [a long desire or fever] as his purpose is achieved and he is happy when devoid of haunting grief of getting Ganga to earth. [1-44-19]

Oh, Rama, this way I described to you about The Decent of Ganga in detail, thus you be blest [praised] and prosperous, and as the visceral [earthy] time is elapsing no more questions from you for now, and let us meditate on Gayatri. But listen to the fruits of listening the legend of ganga avatarana, The Descent of Ganga [1-44-20]

This legend is conducive to achieve prosperity, fame, longevity, progeny and even heaven, and he who narrates this legend to others, whether he is from Brahmans or from Kshatriya-s, or for that matter of fact from any other class, his manes [spirit of forefathers] will be satisfied, and Gods too will be gladdened. [1-44-21, 22a]

Oh, Rama of Kakutstha-s, he who listens to this auspicious legend named ‘The Descent of Ganga’, which is an endower of longevity, all his wishes are achieved, all his sins are obliterated, and his reputation and longevity are also enhanced. Thus Vishvamitra concluded the episode of The Descent of Ganga. [1-44-22b, 23]

Thus, this is the 44th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate