A significant Hindu holiday known as Ganga Saptami is often referred to as Ganga Jayanti. The sacred river Ganga, which is thought to have entered Earth on this day, celebrates its birth anniversary.
According to the Hindu calendar, Ganga Saptami is observed on the Saptami of the Shukla Paksha, which falls on the seventh day of the waxing phase of the moon in the month of Vaishakha, also called Baishakh. In most of the Hindu pilgrimage sites where the River Ganga passes, such as Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, Triveni Sangam in Allahabad, etc., devotees perform special pujas and prayers on this day. Ganga Saptami 2023 date falls on 27th April.
The Origin of Ganga Saptami
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Mahadev (Shiva) carried the great Ganga in his Jata (long tresses or hairs) to break its descent and prevent it from sweeping the entire world away. For Maa Ganga to complete her task of purging Bhagiratha’s ancestors’ cursed souls, Lord Mahadev later liberated her.
She devastated Rishi Jahnu’s Ashram with her tumultuous water while traveling to Bhagiratha.
Significance Of Ganga Saptami
The significance and the legend surrounding the Ganga Saptami are referenced in sacred texts including the Padma Purana, Brahma Purana, and Narada Purana. According to Hindu mythology, it is thought that on the day of “Ganga Dussehra,” Goddess Ganga made her first appearance on Earth. However, there was a time when Saint Jahnu drank Ganga River water. Rishi Jahnu became enraged by this and drank all of Ganga’s water. In response, Rishi Jahnu was asked by Bhagiratha and other Deities to free her so that she could carry out her purpose. Jahnu was pleased with the prayers and allowed Goddess Ganga to leave his ear.
However, on the day of Shukla Paksha Saptami in the month of Vaishakh, Sage Jahnu once again released Ganga after being prompted by the Gods and King Bhagiratha. This day known as Ganga Saptami commemorates the rebirth of Goddess Ganga.
Additionally, because Goddess Ganga is known as “Jahnavi” and is the daughter of Rishi Jahnu, this day is also known as “Jahnu Saptami.”
Legendary Background of Ganga Saptami
Hindu mythology serves as the foundation for the Ganga Saptami narrative, which centers on the river goddess Ganga’s conception. According to mythology, Ashwamedha Yajna, or the sacrifice of a horse, was a rite King Sagara of the Ikshvaku dynasty carried out to demonstrate his control over the world.
Following the theft of the sacrificed horse during the rite, King Sagara gave his 60,000 sons the task of finding it. The sage Kapila was at the time in profound concentration when the boys went in quest of the horse and discovered it close to his ashram. They disturbed the sage’s meditation thinking he had stolen the horse, which made him enraged and caused him to curse them, resulting in their immediate demise.
King Sagara, who was devastated by his sons’ deaths, decided to carry out their final rites in an effort to bring them salvation. But without the holy waters of the Ganga, his sons’ ashes could not be cleaned. Bhagiratha, the grandson of King Sagara, spent years in meditation in order to appease Lord Brahma and ask for his assistance in sending the Ganga to Earth.
Ganga Saptami Puja Vidhi
The following Puja Vidhi is performed to honour Ganga Saptami:
- Devotees rise early in the morning, even before the sun rises in the east, and take a bath in the sacred river Ganga.
- It’s crucial to cleanse your body and mind. In order to begin the Puja Vidhi on Ganga Saptami, a plunge into the Ganga is necessary.
- People present flowers and participate in Ganga Aarti together.
- The Aarti is conducted to thank Mother Ganga for supplying freshwater, which gave humans a fresh start.
- The Aarti is performed by numerous devotees collectively on all the ghats surrounding the Ganges.
In Northern India, Ganga Saptami is celebrated with great fervour and excitement. The Ganga River is revered as a Goddess and regarded as the holiest river in Hinduism. Thus, Ganga Saptami, which honours Goddess Ganga, is considered a lucky day for Hindus. The day honours the rebirth of Goddess Ganga and is also known as Ganga Pujan.