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Brishti
07 September 2012, 11:42 PM
Namaskar,

I was browsing about Ma Ganga, on wikipedia, and read that she was either Lord Shiva's or Shantanu's consort. I do not know much about Ma Ganga and hopefully someone can answer my questions.

1. Is she a wife of Lord Shiva, because in the Mahabharat, she had married the Kuru King, Shantanu.

2. If she is the consort of Lord Shiva, is she another form of Parvati, or as Parvati's sister?

Thank you for any help.
Pranam.

Viraja
08 September 2012, 07:19 PM
Ganga is just a holy river - she is neither Parvathi's amsha or Parvathi's sister. I have heard Ganga, being a river, is the wife of the King of Oceans - according to Mahabharata, she is wedded to Shantanu whose previous avatara is 'Mahabhishak'. Due to a curse, Mahabhishak falls from the heavens and takes birth on earth as King Shantanu and marries Ganga. It is unclear if, after the end of the life as Shantanu, Mahabhishak is united in heavens with Ganga as husband/wife.

ranjitm
18 November 2012, 04:38 AM
Well She certainly is the consort of Narayana, as revealed in the rajusic puraanas. Ganga, Tulsi, Mahalakshmi, Saraswati are all consorts of Sriman Narayana in Parah-vyoma.

Necromancer
30 January 2013, 03:24 AM
Namaste. My memory of where this occurs in the Shiva Puran isn't accurate and it has been about 20 years since I last read it....

Lord Shiva was sitting in Samadhi and for some reason Lord Indra sent Kama Deva and his consort Rati to annoy Him and break His meditation (forget why now).

Anyway, Kama Deva and Rati brought Springtime to Mount Kailasha and performed erotic dances and tantrik rituals to try and break Lord Shiva's meditation, but they were futile.

Eventually, Kama Deva shoots his arrow at Lord Shiva, forcing Him to lose his Seed to the earth, but the Earth Goddess couldn't bear it...nothing could.

Lord Shiva burns Kama Deva to ashes with his Third Eye for doing this...

At the same time this was happening, some Holy Saint somewhere (forgets name entirely) was doing rigorous Tapas to bring the holy waters of Mother Ganges down from the Celestial Realms/Universe/Heaven to wash over the bones of his dead ancestors so they all could have salvation or something like that.

Lord Shiva heard the Sage's prayers and performed a dance to bring the Mother Ganga down...crushing the force of the impact (which would blow the world up) in His matted locks Jai Jatadhara!!! and entrusted Her with bearing His Seed and becoming His consort. Then all those souls in purgatory were saved....and that's all I know about Mother Ganga and Lord Shiva relationship.

Aum Namah Shivaya

smaranam
30 January 2013, 04:40 AM
Namaste

To connect the dots between what ranjitm and Necromancer have said,
this sage is Bhageerath Muni, who requested AakashGanga (celestial Ganga) to come to earth.

Where does She come from? Lord NArAyaN (KRshNa) 's Lotus Feet. Shiva held Her in His JatA (hair) to reduce Her celestial speed so that bhumi devi, the earth can handle it.

The water that BrahmA (Bramhadev) used to wash NArAyaN's Lotus Feet is this Ganga.

At Lord NArAyaN's Lotus Feet, She is AlaknandA (AlaknandA actually flows through BadrinAth dhAm right at the Lotus Feet of BadrinArAyaN (right by the main Temple and kunda). This is how She was granted Her wish of constant service to the Lord in BadrikAraNya (now BadrinAth dhAm).

The branch that flows from the hilly region of Himalayan foothills and Lord Shiva's jatA, is BhAgeerathi Ganga, since Bhageerath Muni brought Her here.

AlaknandA, BhAgeerathi and a few other branches meet in HRishikesh to be the broader and slower GangA everyone is familiar with.

At BadrinAth one also finds Saraswati ugam (source of the ancient Saraswati Whose bed has now dried, in the form of a waterfall.)


Back in the spiritual world, Lord NArAyan's consorts (bhAryA) are Lakshmi, GangA, YamunA, Tulsi. Also VANi, Saraswati.

YamunA is the Lord's fourth consort and Her ashtaka (8 verse prayer) refers to Her as "KRshNa-turya-priyA" (namAmi yamunA maham... namati kRshNa turya priyam...) Also, Just as AlaknandA serves Lotus Feet of BadrinArAyaN at BadrinAth, YamunA serves Govinda Mukunda (KRshNa) in Vraja-mandal (VRndAvan Gokul 80 kos vicinity).
YamunA is also called "mukunda rati vardhini" (bestower of attraction for Mukunda - the liberator, bliss-giver KRshNa) - in the same ashtaka, composed by VallabhAchArya. He praises YamunA at par with Lakshmi and Ganga, and says,

"but You, YamunA, are a nirguN devotee of KRshNa, look how You let Him and His gopa-gopi friends refresh themselves in your waters on a hot afternoon."


Jaya gange bhAgeerathi ~
hara gange bhAgeerathi

_/\_ Many praNAm to the holy rivers and their leader GangA, who washes devotees' sins:
GanGA YamunA Saraswati GodAvari NarmadA Sindhu CAveri

om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya ~ _/\_

chakreshvari
27 September 2013, 05:11 AM
She is Sri Shiva's wife as well. && She is Sri Brahma's daughter.

Viraja
27 September 2013, 12:31 PM
Ganga was known as 'Devakulya' in her former birth and she was the grand-daughter of Kardama Prajapathi (source: Srimad Bhagavatam). As per Sri Vishnu purana, when Sri Vishnu took the Trivikramaavatara, and measured the 3 worlds, when his foot extended past Satyaloka, the abode of Brahma, Brahma took water from his kamandalu and washed the feet of Sri Vishnu. This water came to be known as Ganga. (And we can presume Devakulya then must have been a body of water before taking birth as Ganga). The rest of the story is as per Siva purana, that is, Bhageeratha doing penance to earn salvation for his ancestors who were reduced to heaps of ashes in the underworld and finally Ganga descends down. As Ganga is but flowing down with tremendous force that earth cannot bear, Lord Shiva bears it first in his matted locks and lets her down in a stream.

If anyone knows more about Devakulya, please let know.