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Dashara - Ganga Dashmi

 Dashara or Ganga Dashmi is celebrated on Jyestha Sudi Dashmi, this is a historical festival — this day, Ganga Maiya came to Earth by the efforts of Bhagiratha and his ancestors. This day, Ganga is worshiped, she is not just a water but a Goddess (Devi) in herself, water is her representation as pure as she is; when Ganga-water is worshiped, she is worshiped.

For worshiping one should light a diya, offer flowers, chant mantra or stotra and end by chanting an aarti. Apart from worshiping Ganga one may worship lord Brahma, Shiva, Surya Narayan, and Bhagiratha. There is a beautiful story behind Ganga Dashmi as follows:

Ganga Dashmi Ki Katha

Once, there was a king named Sagar. He did an Ashwamedha Yagya in which a horse was sat free. Jealous Indra tied that horse in Kapil Muni ashram; where Kapil Muni was in Samadhi, didn’t knew what Indra had done.

When king’s sons came (that were 60 thousands, I think most of them were adopted) and found the horse in Ashram. They though it is the deed of Kapil Muni, so they tied Kapil Muni with a rope — this caused Muni to break his Samadhi. Kapil Muni opened his eyes in anger, instantly all 60 thousands of Sagar’s sons burned to ashes.

Later on king Sagar came himself and talked to the Muni. Muni said, “If Ganga water touches the ashes of your sons, they will get Moksha (free from the cycle of death and birth).” Sagar started Tapasya for Ganga, he died in his Tapasya, Ganga didn’t come. Later on, his other sons tried, they also died but Ganga didn’t come. In this generation now Bhagiratha started Tapasya for lord Brahma and lord Shiva; with their help he managed to bring Ganga on Earth.

The 60 thousands and more ancestors of Bhagiratha got Moksha, and since that time it is a ritual to give dead person ashes to Ganga.

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