Ganga Dussehra- Way To Attain Salvation From Ten Sins
About puja

The festival Ganga Dussehra or Ganga Dashami marks the descent of Holy River Ganga on the earth. This ten-day celebration is termed as Gangavartan which is a major event for Hindu communities residing in Indian states of West Bengal, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. River Ganga is considered to be the most sacred river for Hindus, and she is worshiped as a Goddess, also considered a mother. This celebration aims at honoring the Holy River. Dus means ten and hara denotes defeats, the celebration got its name from this. In some parts of the country, this festival is referred as Kite Dassehra as devotees fly a kite on this day to commemorate this day.

Story of Ganga Dusshera

In the ancient times, King Sagar of Ayodhya had almost six thousand sons. He performed Ashwamedha Yajna, where a horse was set loose to neighboring kingdoms. God Indra who did not wish the success of this ceremony stole the horse. Anshuman, the grandson of the king, searched for the horse and found it in a cavern adjacent to the place where Kapil Rishi was meditating. Anshuman accused the sage of stealing, and the later was annoyed with this and burnt all to ashes. Later, Bhagirath the great grandson of Sagar prayed to Brahma to let River Ganga flow on the earth, and he could cremate his ancestors. Brahma told him to seek the help of Lord Shiva. So, Bhagirath invoked Lord Shiva, he stood on one leg and meditated. Lord Shiva was pleased with this devotion and to reduce the impact of the river on the earth, he let it flow through his hairs. Thus, Bhagirath could cremate his forefathers.

Auspicious time of celebration

Worshipping goddess of wealth is considered to be a main event of Diwali festival, mainly in West and North India. As Goddess Lakshmi is a mark of cleanliness as well, therefore; you will see people worshipping broom with vermillion and turmeric, on it. Lamps are lit during evening time to welcome Lakshmi Mata. During such an auspicious timing, a supported knowledge light is said to have dawned upon humanity. Self-enlightenment is mainly expressed through laminating lights, which lighten up the abode. It is also believed that on this special day, Lakshmi walks through green fields and even loiters through by-lanes, to bestow her blessings, for prosperity and glory on mankind.

Ingredients in counts of ten

Ganga Dussehra commemorates the hard penance of the Suryavanshi king, Bhagirath. The legend goes that River Ganga descended on earth, took its course, the drought ended. Even the dry and ruined areas got back its life and turned to fertile areas. Since then, devotees perform different rituals and celebrate Ganga Dussehra. Different materials that you need to for this puja are

 

  • Ten variants of flowers
  • Lamps, Incense sticks
  • Sandalwood
  • Milk
  • Flour balls for feeding aquatic animals

 

As per Holy Scriptures, different materials that you need for this puja has to be in counts of ten, as it is a significant and sacred number for this puja.

Rituals of this puja

It is an auspicious celebration of Hindus and taking a dip in this river is considered to be very auspicious. If you cannot take a dip in the River Ganga, then take a bath in nearby water bodies. Lord Shiva is the main deity of this puja as he is considered to be the sole owner of the River Ganga. It was only due to his grace; the river was sent to earth for wellbeing of human beings. Ardhaya, Tarpan which is followed by Tilodhak, all three rituals are performed on the bank of this river.

  1. The ritual of this puja initiates with a dip in the River Ganga or nearby pond or river. Few devotees even mix Gang Jal to regular water to take a bath with it at their home. It is believed that a bath in this river will help you to get rid of all your sins. Devotees have to take ten dips in the river as it is auspicious for this celebration.
  2. After taking a bath, devotees need to perform recital worship in front of the idol of Goddess Ganga. The idol has four hands, three eyes so she is termed Trinetra, adorns white clothes and sits on a white lotus.
  3. Devotees offer flowers and show their gratitude to Bhagirath for bringing the river down to Earth.
  4. You also need to worship the place of origin of this river with flowers, fruits, and lamps.
  5. Those who perform this puja on the banks of this river, float leaf boats in the evening. These boats are laden with flowers, lamps and sweets, and they flow with the current of the stream.
  6. Priests also perform pujas on the bank of the river after completion of this puja.
  7. After worshipping the deity, you can donate eatables and other useful items like umbrella, shoes and clothes. Donating black sesame seeds and fruits are considered to be the most auspicious. In case, you are donating barley, then make sure that the amount is equal to sixteen fists. Other than this, whatever you donate should be ten in numbers. Usually, these donations are made to Brahmans.

Devotees keep fast on this festival, and they break it with fruits only after worshipping the deity. Bhajans, Kirtans, and slokas are an inevitable part of this puja. After the puja, devotees also carry water from the river and clay from banks to their home.

Importance of these rituals

It is a belief that Goddess Ganga can wash off all sins. As per astrological calculations, ten rare Yogas presided. These ten Yogas are the month of Jyestha, tenth date, Shukla Paksha, Wednesday, Vyatipata Yoga, Hasta Nakshatra, Moon in the position of Virgo, Gar Anand Yog and Sun in the position of Taurus. These ten Yogas can absorb different sins. So, if devotees take a bath on the auspicious day of Ganga Dusshera, they can get rid of their ten sins.

  1. You can attain salvation from sins after the dip and donating essentials.
  2. With this puja, devotees can get rid of three organics, four verbal and three mental sins. Different heavenly bodies are responsible for organic sins like forcible acquisition from others, violence and contact with women. Verbal sin includes telling a lie, speaking harsh words, complaining about others and irrelevant rambling. Mental sins include occupy assets of others, discourse on irrelevant topics and desiring to harm others.
Slokas chanted during this puja

It is believed that reciting mantras even while standing on the bank of this river will relieve devotees of all sins. There is also mention of Ganga Stotra in Skanda Purana. You can chant the mantras while taking dips and worshipping the Goddess.

Ganga Stotra in Devanagari

ऊँ नम: शिवायै नारायण्यै दशहरायै गंगायै नम: || ऊँ नमो भगवते ऎं ह्रीं श्रीं हिलि हिलि मिलि मिलि गंगे मां पावय पावय स्वाहा ||

English version of this mantra

Om Namah Shivaye Narayanyai Dashehrayai Gangayai Namah ||
Om Namo Bhagwate Ain Hreem Shreem Hili Hili Mili Mili Gange Ma Pawaye Pawaye Swaha ||