As good fortune would have it, one was in Delhi during the long weekend of Easter Friday. And on Saturday, one took off for Gad Ganga, the nearest point of Ganga to Delhi. This is at Garhmukteshwar, some two to three hours from Delhi. Started around 6:30 am. Driving past Noida, Hapur, one reached Brij Ghat of Ganga sometime around 9 am. Saturday Apr 3rd..
This is the time of Maha Kumbha Mela in the banks of the river Ganga, celebrated at Haridvar. The festival commenced on Jan 14th 2010 and goes on to 28 April, 2010…
There was not much crowd in Gad Ganga though… One could park the car right near the ghat. The river beckoned…
Oh what joy being in the presence of timeless Ganga!
Taking a boat, one starts off for the other side of the river…
Shankara Bhagavatpada says in Gangashtakam:
आदावादिपितामहस्य नियमव्यापारपात्रे जलम्
पश्चात्पन्नगशायिनो भगवतः पादोदकं पावनम्
कन्या कल्मषनाशिनी भगवती भागीरथी पातु माम्
‘In the beginning, starting as the water of ceremonial worship in the vessel of Brahma, the grand-sire; Thereafter, becoming the most holy and pure of waters having touched the feet of Narayana, who reclines on the great serpent; And then after that, becoming an ornament adorning the matted locks of Shiva: May Ganga, this daughter of Maharshi Janhu, the destroyer of the dirt of Kali Yuga, ever protect me…’
Joining this prayer, one dips into the Ganga… The all-cleansing mighty river flows gently… Time is forgotten, all cares are forgotten… Space alone remains… And all space is pervaded by Ganga…
Standing in the Ganges, hands folded, chanting Sri Rudram… How can one describe the joy…
An hour or so later, reluctantly, one gets back to the boat, to return to the world of transactions…
Signing off the post with a few verses from Mahabharata:
पुनाति कीर्तिता पापं द्रष्टा भद्रं प्रयच्छति
अवगाढा च पीता च पुनात्यासप्तमं कुलम्
यत्र गङ्गा महाराज स देशस्तत् तपोवनम्
सिद्धिक्षेत्रं च तज्ज्ञेयं गङ्गातीरसमाश्रितम्
Pulastya tells Yudhisttira:
“By praising Ganga, one is cleansed of all stain. By seeing Ganga, one is bestowed with all that is auspicious. By immersing oneself in Ganga, and drinking the waters of Ganga, seven generations of one’s lineage is purified.
Where Ganga flows, O King, that region is indeed a tapovana, a land of sacred merit. And know, that the banks of Ganga is the land of Siddhi, where one attains all success in one’s spiritual effort.“