Indian Fast & Festivals

Ganga Dashahara

28 May (Thursday), 2015

14 Jun (Tuesday), 2016

03 Jun (Saturday), 2017

Significance

Jyeshtha Shukla Dashami was the day when Ganga reached the Earth and answered Bhagirathi’s prayers. Ganga Dusshera is celebrated on the same day when Ganga reached the Earth. A person who stands in river Ganga on this day and reads Ganga stotra is freed from all sins. Ganga stotra named Dusshera is included in Skanda Purana.

A person should make sure that whatever he donates on this day should be ten in number. He should also remember that the ingredients with which he worships should also be ten in number.

History

Sagar was Ayodhya’s king in the ancient times. He had six thousand sons. Once he performed an Ashwamedh yagya and freed the horse involved with the yagya. King Indra wanted this yagya to be unsuccessful and therefore, hid the horse in Saint Kapil’s asylum. King Sagar’s sons found the horse in the asylum and thought it was stolen. This distracted Saint Kapil from his austerities and as soon as he opened his eyes, all the sons of King Sagar were burnt to ashes.

King Sagar, Anshumaan and Dilip prayed so that the souls of these dead sons could rest in peace. They even tried to bring Goddess Ganga to earth but did not succeed. As a result, they sacrificed their lives. They wanted to bring Ganga to the Earth as Saint Agastya drank all the water and there was no river left which could bring the souls to peace. Maharaja Dilip’s son, Bhagirathi prayed and offered his austerities to Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma was impressed by his devotion and blessed him with a wish. Bhagirathi asked for river Ganga as he wanted the souls of his ancestors to rest in peace. Lord Brahma granted his wish but warned him that river Ganga’s rapid flow could even lead to destruction. He suggested that Bhagirathi could take help from Lord Shiva regarding this problem.

Bhagirathi stood on one leg and started worshipping Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva was impressed with Bhagirathi’s devotion and agreed to decrease the flow of river Ganga through his hair. He withheld the river’s force and directed it towards Earth. This way, Bhagirathi was able to bring peace to the souls of his dead ancestors.

Determination of Date:

This festival is celebrated on Jyeshtha Shukla Dashami falling during Purvahana (before Noon). If there is Adhikmaas (extra month) then it is celebrated in Adhikmaas only.

How to Celebrate

According to Skanda Purana, a person should take bath in a holy river on this day. He should visit a religious place and make donations. This frees him of all the sins. If a person is unable to visit a religious place, he should take a bath in a nearby river.

This day is known to be the mouth of Sanvatsar. Therefore, taking bath in a holy river and making donations are very important on this day. According to Varah Purana, Ganga travelled from heaven to earth on Jyeshtha Shukla Dashami on a Wednesday in Hasta Nakshatra. It is believed that a person is relieved of ten sins on taking a bath in this holy river.

A bath should be taken in river Ganga on this day. If a person is unable to reach river Ganga, he may take a bath in a nearby river or a pond. A person should worship Goddess Ganga and should recite the following mantra :

"Om Namah Shivaya Dussheraye Narayanye Dussheraye Gangaye Namah"

After this, you should devote five flowers to Bhagirathi in order to thank him to bring river Ganga to the Earth. You should also recite the following mantra :

"Om Namo Bhagvate Aen Srin Shrin Hili Hili Mili Mili Gange Ma Pavaye Pavaye Swaha"

Besides this, you should also worship river Ganga’s place of origin. All the things included in Goddess Ganga’s worship should be ten in number. For example, ten types of flowers, ten fragrances, ten lamps, ten types of leaves and fruits etc.

A person who wants to donate at the end of this worship should make sure that whatever he donates should be ten in number. But, if he is donating Tilak and Barley, they should be equivalent to sixteen fists. Donations should be made to ten Brahmanas. Even the number of dips in river Ganga should also be ten.

Ganga Dushehra Vrat (Fast)
(To eradicate the perversion of mind and to get rid of from the problem of Kalsarpyoga)

When river Ganga incarnated on earth that occasion was obliged with rare ten vedic astrologic calculations. Jyeshtha month, Shukla Paksha (bright half), Tenth date, Wednesday, Hasta Nakshatra, Vyatipata yoga, Gar Anand Yog and Moon in Virgo and Sun in Tauras, these all ten Yogas absorb all the ten sins by merely take a bath in river Ganga on Ganga Dussehra.

Those all ten sins in which among three are organic, four verbal and other three are mental are proclaimed. Organic means sins conducted by heavenly body and these are, 1. Fetch anything from others forcibly, 2. Violence, 3. Contact with other woman. Among four types of verbal sins are, 1. Speak harsh words, 2. Tell a lie, 3. Complain for others and 4. Irrelevant rambling are included. To occupy others' assets, desire to harm others and discussions on irrelevant topics are considered as the top most mental sins. As far as possible one should avoid involving in all these activities as these are considered as the biggest sins in our mythology but still if occur mistakenly then can demolish by just take a holy dip and perform pooja in Ganga on Ganga Dussehra.

Method of Observing Ganga Dashahara Vrat

This festival is celebrated on the Dashami of bright half of Jyeshtha by having bath in the river Ganges or otherwise have bath in any other river and splash few drops of the water of holy Ganges during or after bath. Worship Goddess Ganga and Gauri and Shivalinga. At night chant Bhajans and read the story of origin of Ganges.

Mantra

"Om Ganga Devyai Namah"


Aarti

Om jai gange mata
Maiya jai gange mata
Jo nar tumko dhyata
Mann vanchit phal pata
Om jai ganga mata

Chandra si jyoti tumhari
Jal nirmal aata
Sharan pade jo teri
So nar tar jata
Om jai ganga mata

Putra sagar ke tare
Sab jag ko gyata
Krupa drishti ho tumhari
Tribhuvan sukh data
Om jai ganga mata

Ek hi baar jo teri
Sharan gati aata
Yam ki traas mitakar
Param gati pata
Om jai ganga mata

Aarti matu tumhari
Jo nar nit gata
Dass wahi sahaj mein
Mukti ko pata
Om jai ganga mata
Maiya jai gange mata




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