The Mahabharata Home
"Lomasa said, 'The blessed God having heard what Bhagiratha had said, and with a view to doing what was agreeable to the residents of heaven, replied to the king, saying, 'So let it be. O most righteous of the protectors of men, O (prince) of a powerful arm! For thy sake I shall sustain the river of the gods, when she will take her descent from the sky, she who is pure and blessed and divine, O (king) of a mighty arm!' Saying this, he came to the snowy mountain, surrounded by his attendants, of awful mien, and with uplifted weapons of diverse forms. And standing there, he said to Bhagiratha, the most praiseworthy of men, 'O (prince) of a powerful arm! do thou pray to the river, the daughter of the king of mountains. I shall sustain that most praiseworthy of rivers when she falls down from the third region of the world (heaven).' Having heard these words uttered by Siva, the king became devout (in heart), made obesiance and directed his thoughts towards Ganga. Then the delightful (river), of pure water in being so thought of by the king, and seeing that the great lord (Siva) was standing (to receive her fall), came down all of a sudden from the sky. And seeing that she had taken her leap from the sky, the gods, together with the mighty saints, the Gandharvas, the snakes, and the Yakshas, assembled there as spectators. Then came down from the sky Ganga, the daughter of the snowy mountain. And her whirlpools were raging, and she was teeming with fishes and sharks. O king! she directing her course towards the sea, separated herself, into three streams; and her water was bestrewn with piles of froth, which looked like so many rows of (white) ganders. And crooked and tortuous in the movement of her body, at places; and at others stumbling at it were; and covered with foam as with a robe: she went forward like a woman drunk. And elsewhere, by virtue of the roar of her waters, she uttered loud sounds. Thus assuming very many different aspects, when she fell from the sky, and reached the surface of the earth, she said to Bhagiratha, 'O great king! show me the path that I shall have to take. O lord of the earth! for thy sake have I descended to the earth.' Having heard these words, king Bhagiratha directed his course towards the spot where lay those bodies of mighty Sagara's sons, in order that, O most praiseworthy of men, the holy water might flood (the same). Having achieved the task of sustaining Ganga, Siva, saluted by men, went to Kailasa the most praiseworthy of mountains, accompanied by the celestials. And the protector of men (Bhagiratha) accompanied by Ganga reached the sea; and the sea, the abode of Varuna, was quickly filled. And the king adopted Ganga as a daughter of himself, and at that spot offered
libations of water to the names of his forefathers; thus was his heart's wish fulfilled. Thus asked by thee, I have narrated the whole story how Ganga running in three streams, was brought down to the earth for filling the sea; how the mighty saint had drunk up the sea for a particular reason, and how, O lord! Vatapi, the slayer of Brahmanas, was destroyed by Agastya.'"
Next: Section CX