Prayers to the Sacred Ganga River
From the Kalki Purana, Chapter 34
shaunaka rishi uvacha
he suta sarvadharmajna
yattvaya kathitam pura
gangam stutva samayata
munayah kalki sannidhim
stavam tam vada gangayaha
mohaghnam shubhadam bhaktya
Shaunaka Rishi said: O Suta Gosvami, foremost knower of religious principals, you had mentioned that the sages went to see Lord Kalki after offering prayers to the River Ganga. We would like to hear these prayers to Ganga-devi. By faithfully hearing or reciting such prayers, one’s life becomes auspicious, all sinful reactions are destroyed, and ultimately one attains liberation from material existence.
Suta Gosvami said: “My dear sages, please listen attentively as I recite the excellent prayers to the Ganga that were offered by the sages, and which remove all lamentation and distress.
iyam suratarangini bhavana varidhestarini
stuta haripadambujad upagata jagatsamsadaha
sumeru shikhara amra priyajala malakshalini
prasannavadana shubha bhavabhayasya vidravini
The great sages said: The holy Ganga descended from the heavenly planets to deliver all the conditioned souls from the vast ocean of material existence. Ganga-devi emanated from the lotus feet of Lord Hari and so everyone happily glorifies her. The water of the Ganga is enjoyed by the demigods who reside on the peak of Mount Sumeru. By bathing in her water, all one’s sinful reactions are vanquished. By pleasing Ganga-devi, one can easily gain release from the bondage of material existence.
bhagiratham athanuga surakarimdra darpapaha
maheshamukuta prabha girishirah patakasita
surasuranaroragair ajabhavachyutaih samstuta
vimukti phalashalini kalusha nashini rajate
This holy river followed the footsteps of King Bhagiratha. Because of her, the pride of Airavata, the carrier of Indra, was destroyed. She increases the beauty of Lord Mahadeva’s crown. She is like a white flag on top of the Himalayan mountains. Everyone glorifies her, be they demigods, demons, human beings, or serpents, or even Brahma, Vishnu or Shiva. She destroyed all sinful reactions and awards liberation.
pitamaha kamandalu prabhava muktivijalata
shruti smriti ganastuta dvijakulala balavrita
sumeru shikharabhida nipatita trilokavrita
sudharma phalashalini sukhapalashini rajate
She was produced from the water pot of Lord Brahma. She is the creeper grown from the seed of liberation. She is surrounded by many qualified brahmanas glorifying her by reciting passages from the revealed scriptures. She descended upon the peak of Mount Sumeru and then spread throughout the three worlds. Religiosity is her fruit and happiness is her leaves.
charad vihagamalini sagara vamsa muktiprada
munimdra vara nandini divimata cha madakini
sada duritanashini vimala vari samdarshana
pranama guna kirttanadishu jagatsu samrajate
By seeing her pure water, by offering her obeisances, and by singing her glories, one’s mountain of sinful reactions is destroyed. Birds walk on her banks or swim in her water. By her mercy, the sons of Sagara achieved liberation. She is considered to be the daughter of the sage, Jahnu. She is known as the Mandikini in the heavenly planets.
mahabhidha sutangana himagirisha kutastani
saphenajalahasini sita marala sancharini
chalallahara satkara vara saroja maladhara
rasollasita gamini jaladhi kamini rajate
She became the queen of King Shantanu. The peaks of the Himalayas are her breasts, her foamy water is her smile, white swans are her movements, her waves are her hands, and the fully blossomed lotus flowers are the flower garland that adorns her chest. In this way, she travels to the sea in a cheerful mood.
kvachit kalakalasvana kvachid dhirayadoganaha
kvachin muniganaih stuta kvachid ananta sampujita
kvachid ravi karojvala kvachid udagra patakula
kachij jana vigahita jayati bhishmamata sati
Somewhere by the side of the Ganga, great sages are engaged in reciting prayers, somewhere Lord Ananta worships the Supreme Lord, somewhere ferocious crocodiles are playing, somewhere the sun is reflected on the surface of the water, somewhere her water makes a loud splashing sound, and somewhere people are bathing. May the chaste mother of Bhisma be glorified.
sa eva kushalo janah pranamatiha bhagirathim
sa eva tapasam nidhirjapati janhavim adarat
sa eva purushottamah smarati sadhu mandakini
sa eva vijayi prabhuh surataranginim sevate
Anyone who offers obeisances to the Ganga is benefitted. He is a great ascetic who faithfully chants her names. He is the best of all persons who meditates on her. One who serves the Mandakini [Ganga] is always victorious, and is considered the master of everyone.
bhavamala jalachitam khaga shrigala minakshatam
chalalla hari lolitam ruchira tira jambalitam
kada nijavapur muda suranaro ragaih samstuto’pyaham
trpathagamini priyamativa pashyamyaho
O traveler throughout the three worlds, when will I see my body half-eaten by the aquatic birds and animals who reside in your pure water? When will I see my body pushed, pulled and rolled by your forceful waves? When, upon seeing me in this condition, will the demigods, best of human beings, and serpents glorify me?
tvattire vasatim tavamalajalasnanam tava prekshanam
tvannama smaranam tava dayakatha samlapanam pavanam
gange me tava sevanaika nipuno’pyananditas chadritaha
stutva tvadgatapatako bhuvi kada shantas charishyamyaham
O holy river, when will I reside on your shore, bathe in your pure water, chant your holy name, discuss your appearance and activities, engage in your worship, and joyfully wander throughout the world singing your glories?
ityetad rishibih proktam
svargyam yashasyam ayushyam
By reciting or hearing these supremely auspicious prayers to Ganga that were offered by great sages, one can ascend to the spiritual world, and even in this lifetime, his fame and duration of life will be enhanced.
balam ayur vivarddhanam
pratar madhyahna sayahne
One who recites or hear these prayers, either in the morning, at noon, or in the evening, will receive the association of Ganga-devi, all his sinful reactions will be eradicated, and his strength and duration of life will increase.
shukadevan maya shrutam
pathitam shravitam chatra
punyam dhanyam yashaskaram
I heard these prayers from the mouth of Shukadeva Gosvami. One who hears or recites these sacred prayers will be awarded heaps of pious merit, wealth and fame.
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