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Report: Ganga Dussehra

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Ganga Dussehra was observed on Thursday, 24 May at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. It was on this day that Ganga, by Her Divine Grace, uplifted all the sixty thousand sons of King Sagara to the highest abode of immortal bliss. Readers would know that the princes were cursed by Sage Kapila because they falsely accused him of stealing the sacrificial horse, dedicated for the Ashvamedha sacrifice by their father, King Sagara.

Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda wrote the following about the holy Ganga River, "The water of the Ganges is extremely pure and sanctifying. No germs can flourish in this. This has been tested by various scientists in their laboratory. Rich in minerals, this water cures almost all kinds of diseases."


Dr F.C. Harrison of McGill University, Canada, writes: "A peculiar fact which has never been satisfactorily explained is the quick death, in three or five hours, of the cholera vibrio in the waters of the Ganges. When one remembers sewage by numerous corpses of natives, often cholera casualties, and by the bathing of thousands of natives, it seems remarkable that the belief of the Hindus, that the water of this river is pure and cannot be defiled and that they can safely drink it and bathe in it, should be con¬firmed by means of modern bacteriological research."

A well-known French physician, Dr D. Herelle, made similar investiga¬tions into the mystery of the Ganges. He observed some of the floating corpses of men dead of dysentery and cholera and was surprised to find "that only a few feet below the bodies, where one would expect to find millions of these dysentery- and cholera germs, there were no germs at all." He then grew germs from patients having the disease, and to these cultures added water from the Ganges. When he incubated the mixture for a period, much to his surprise, the germs were completely destroyed.

A British physician, Dr C.E. Nelson, F.R.C.S., tells us of another very striking fact. He says that "ships leaving Calcutta for England take their water from the Hooghly River which is one of the mouths of the filthy Ganges and this Ganges water will remain fresh all the way to England. On the other hand ships leaving England for India find that the water they take on in London will not stay fresh till they reach Bombay, the nearest Indian port, which is a week closer to England than Calcutta. They must replenish their water supply at Port Said, Suez or at Aden on the Red Sea." It is no wonder that the Indian people should hold that the Ganges is very sacred and possessed of mysterious powers.

We learn many lessons from this sacred river. The Ganges starts from Gangotri in the Himalayas. She encounters many obstacles on Her way, but She finally reaches the goal—the ocean. Similarly, the spiritual aspirant should never give up his struggle, however insurmountable the obstacles in the path may appear to be. All difficulties and obstacles will be removed through the Grace of the Lord and, if he is sincere in his Yogic practices, he will reach the goal.
The Ganges always gives you cool, pure water. It does not expect any¬thing from you in return. The sun sheds its light on all without anticipat¬ing any reward. Derive lessons from them. Always give, give and ask nothing in return. Expect nothing in return, not even appreciation or any kind of recognition.

A rogue and a saint can drink the water of the Ganges. The sun sheds its light on the wicked and the virtuous. The mango tree gives its fruits both to the caretaker and the man who cuts its branches. Develop equal vision like the Ganges, the sun and the mango tree.

Our Divine Master wrote, "I love Ganga and the Himalayas. Ganga is my Mother Divine and Himalayas is my Father Divine. They inspire and guide me. I bathe in the Ganga and swim in it. I adore Ganga and feed the fish in it. I wave lights before Mother Ganga and pray to Her. I do salutations to Ganga and sing Her glory. I write about the grandeur and glory of Ganga."

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