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Origin of Superstitions
The origin of superstitions can be traced to beliefs people held, in the olden times. Fear about the unseen, less knowledge about the forces of nature and lack of general awareness laid the foundation of certain beliefs in society. These beliefs might have lacked logic, but there was nothing that could convince people otherwise. There was nothing to prove how baseless the beliefs were. They were passed from one generation to another until there were some who put their foot down to disapprove them. Some superstitious beliefs even became social norms. With passing time, some superstitions were rendered false, while others 'succeeded' in establishing themselves as truths!
The easiest and most obvious classification of superstitions puts them under two categories, namely good luck superstitions and bad luck superstitions. Superstitions are based on just these two things, good luck or bad luck. There is a lot of symbolism involved; for instance a black cat, a dead bird, an open umbrella, the number 13 and spilled salt symbolize bad luck, while a falling star, a horseshoe, a rabbit's foot and the number 7 are popularly associated with good luck. Just the presence or absence of these things is believed to prove lucky or unlucky. Is getting lucky or unlucky so easy?! Here we take a look at some of the most popular good and bad luck superstitions and their origins.
Good Luck Superstitions and their Origins
Lucky Horseshoes: A horseshoe is one of the widely known good luck charms. It is considered lucky for its distinctive shape and function. The shape of a horseshoe, a typical U, similar to that of a crescent moon, is believed to bring good luck. Secondly, a horseshoe protects the horse, and is hence believed to protect humans too. Since making horseshoes is related to blacksmithy, which is considered to be a noble profession, horseshoes are also associated with nobility and hence believed to bring good luck. The origin of this superstition is interesting. There's this story of St. Dunstan, who once saw a devil and recognized it, and warned it never to enter a house which has a horseshoe hung outside. Superstition has that witches fear horses and hence horseshoes are believed to keep the witches away. Horseshoes have been used as protection from the evil in many European and Middle Eastern households. Thinking of hanging a horseshoe outside the door?
What does Knocking on Wood mean?: We say this so many times. There's an age-old superstition behind it. Where did this superstition originate? According to Romans, good spirits lived in trees. They believed that touching anything made out of wood could be used as the means to call these spirits and seek protection from bad luck. Touching wood or knocking on it would also mean acknowledging the good spirits and paying them respect. Some Christian scholars believe that the knocking on wood superstition originated from the fact that Jesus Christ was crucified on a wooden cross. How often do you knock on wood?
Lucky Rabbit's Foot: A rabbit's foot is another of the widely known good luck symbols and one of the oldest ones in use. Carrying a rabbit's foot (the left hind) is believed to bring good luck. The origin of this superstition can be traced to totemism, a theory stating that every human has evolved from an animal. Rabbits, among all animals, have always been associated with fertility and prosperity. They are known for their swift and distinctly styled walking; wherein their hind feet hit the ground before their front feet do. Originally African American, the tradition of carrying rabbit's foot has spread to other parts of the world today. Do you think, killing rabbits for their feet can bring us any good luck?
What does Finding a Penny indicate?: You are definitely lucky if you find money; you are sure to feel tempted to pick it up too. Finding a penny and picking it up is believed to bring a day of good luck. Finding a penny with heads up is considered luckier. It is believed that this penny should not be spent; keeping it safe can bring you fortune. Any metal was considered God's gift to mankind. Finding any metal coin would therefore be considered lucky. What can a penny buy you today? Is finding one lucky then?
Lucky Little Ladybugs: Ladybugs are considered to be symbols of good luck. According to an old tale, there was a time when there was massive insect infestation in the fields of European farmers. The insects were destroying all the crops. The farmers sought Virgin Mary's help in protecting their crop. Virgin Mary called upon ladybugs to help the farmers. The little ladybugs ate the insects away and the crops were saved. Probably this is how the ladybug superstition originated, as it was from then that farmers started associating these lady beetles with good luck. Do you think these little ladybugs are lucky for you?
Bad Luck Superstitions and their Origins
Black Cats bring Bad(?) Luck: The origin of this superstition can be traced to ancient Egypt. Back then, their goddess Bast was a female black cat. Christians, at that time, wanting to eradicate all other religions from society, convinced people that black cats were demons. Thus a black cat crossing someone's path began being considered as evil, a barrier in one's way to heaven. Interestingly though, in England, black cats are believed to bring good luck. Some believe cats can see spirits and can hence guard you against evil spirits. In Yorkshire, black cats are believed to guide fishermen safely home. Are black cats really evil then?
What happens when you Walk under a Ladder: A ladder standing against a wall makes a triangle with the wall and the ground, a depiction of the Holy Trinity. So walking through this triangle would mean violating the Holy Trinity which was believed to invite God's anger. According to Tia Dawson, hangman used to hang people from gallows using a ladder. So walking under a ladder would supposedly cause hangman's eyes to turn on you, and death could be near. The origin of this walking under a ladder superstition stems from these weird beliefs. Have you lately walked under a ladder?
Breaking a Mirror: Breaking a mirror can bring you seven years of bad luck, they say. Do you think there's any truth in this proposition? The origin of this superstition stems from the belief that your reflection in the mirror represents your soul or your 'self'. Breaking of the mirror would cause this 'self' to break, indicating bad luck is near. Interestingly there's also a remedy to ward this ill luck away. Some believe, if the broken pieces are buried in the ground, bad luck can be kept at bay. Now why 7 years? There's a story again. In the olden times, if you were guilty of breaking someone's mirror, you had to be a servant in that house for seven years. It was in the times when mirrors were very expensive and rare, and breaking one meant spending a bomb to replace it. Have you looked at yourself in a broken mirror, by the way? You must have seen multiple 'yous'. Now is that unlucky?
The Unlucky 13: Ancient Egyptians associated the number 13 with death, which later led to the fear of this number. The widely known story behind 13 being unlucky is that of Last Supper. We all know, Judas, the betrayer of Jesus was the 13th guest at the meal. And how did the notorious Friday the 13th superstition originate? What's so unusual or scary about Friday the 13th? It's just that the 13th day of a month is on a Friday! But, with the many beliefs associated with 13th coming on Friday, this date has become a terror for almost everyone today. Where did this superstition originate from? The Last Supper again. The dinner had 13 guests, Judas was the 13th and Jesus was crucified on a Friday. This made Friday the 13th an unlucky day. Probably the oldest association of ill luck with Friday is that Adam and Eve were forced to leave the garden of Eden on a Friday. Also, Eve is believed to have seduced Adam on a Friday, compelling him to eat the forbidden apple and we all know what followed. Biblical accounts state that Noah's flood began on a Friday. Also the Tower of Babel in Babylon, built in memory of the victory of humanity after the flood, was destroyed on a Friday. History reveals that King Philip IV of France carried out mass arrests, subjected hundreds to torture and hardships, many even succumbed to death. The day the arrests were made, happened to be a Friday and the 13th day of October. In Friday the 13th trivia, you will find several such accounts of mishaps, accidents and unfortunate incidents taking place on a Friday the 13th. Are they mere coincidences? Or do Friday and 13 together really spell misfortune?
Spilling Salt: Something I had heard about spilling salt was that if you spill salt, you are made to pick up the spilled salt with your eye lashes on reaching heaven. The superstition might have originated from the idea of discouraging wastage of salt by instilling a fear about spilling it. Salt used to be expensive then. So, calling spilling of salt a sin was a sure way to make people more careful about its usage. Roots of this superstition can be traced to the Last Supper again, as some believe that Judas, the betrayer of Jesus had spilt salt during the supper. It is believed that spilling salt brings bad luck. Throwing some salt over your shoulders to ward the bad luck away is advised as a remedy to spilling salt. Now, how does 'throwing salt at the evil' justify as being the remedy for spilling it?
Birds and Bad Luck: Killing a sparrow brings bad luck, as these birds are believed to carry the souls of the dead. It is believed that hearing an owl's cry is an indication that death or ill-luck will follow. A bird flying into the house is believed to bring bad luck. It is considered unlucky to have a white pigeon perching on a chimney. Peacock feathers are considered as symbols of the 'evil eye'. A robin flying in through a window is believed to presage death. Old superstitions considered crows as being messengers of bad news. Also most birds are believed to symbolize certain virtues; for instance doves symbolize peace, robins are a symbol of good luck and owls a symbol of wisdom. These beliefs are superstitious, but are also birds' protectors in disguise. Because certain birds are associated with certain virtues, people fear killing them; the killing sparrows superstition is in fact a fear in people's minds that keeps them away from killing these birds. Have you had an 'encounter' with any of these lucky or unlucky birds?
Opening Umbrellas Indoors: Putting up an umbrella indoors, especially one which has not been opened outdoors, is believed to bring bad luck. In the olden times, opening an umbrella in the shade was considered as an insult of Sun God. Opening an umbrella indoors would also mean disrespecting the spirits in the house, as the umbrella opened for protection would imply that the shelter provided by the household was insufficient. The superstition about opening an umbrella indoors originated from this idea. Superstition has that dropping an umbrella on the floor might indicate a murder in the house. This is indeed scary, but is again a blessing in disguise for that poor umbrella, making people more careful with its use.
Itching, Twitching, Sneezing...
Itchy Palms: There are superstitions about many of such common human reflexes and behaviors. Itchy palm superstitions for that matter; are so many and some even contradicting each other. Superstition says that you are going to lose money if your right palm itches and you can expect money in case of an itchy left palm. Some believe it is the other way round; that is, left palm itching means that you will become poor and an itchy right palm means that you will be rich. They also suggest that scratching an itchy palm can mean losing money that you were going to get. It is believed that rubbing the itching palm on wood or brass can help. This perhaps has to do with the touching wood superstition. And it was also believed, they say, that the flow of energy in the palm caused the itching and the energy moving out was associated with losing money while the inflow of energy was associated with gaining wealth. Not scratching an itchy palm probably came from the fact that some skin problem could be causing the itch and scratching the palm would not be advisable.
Twitching Eyes: Eye twitching is something we all are familiar with. In India, left eye twitching is considered bad omen while the twitching of your right eye is considered as a good sign. In the Chinese tradition, this superstition is the other way round. Africans believe in the twitching of one's lower eyelid as being a sign of impending sorrow. The medical reasons behind left or right eye twitching are stress, lack of sleep or eye problems. It's after all the twitching of the muscles around the eyes. Linking it to bringing good or bad news is just being too superstitious.
Sneezing: And here's about the origin of this popular superstition about sneezing. Saying 'god bless you' when someone sneezes is one widely followed superstition. You know how this originated? It was believed that the soul escapes the body for a short while when a person sneezes. 'God bless' is said to bless this soul that returned! This looks silly today but does make sense to some extent, as your heart skips a beat when you sneeze... its catching the beat again can qualify as being your 'soul's return'.
Superstitions about Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas
Halloween Superstitions: Halloween has so many superstitions surrounding it. You know where the Jack-o-lantern originated from? It was from an old Irish custom to hollow turnips to protect candles from winds and keep them lit. The concept of having one night or day when ghosts of the dead visit earth finds its roots in Christianity. It is this belief that the deceased in the family would visit, that led people to light candles and keep treats for the dead. The lit candles were believed to help the spirits find their way back to heaven. Lighting candles or ringing a bell on the Halloween is supposedly meant to keep the ghosts and evil spirits away. Now, it's plain logic to have some light around to increase visibility in the dark, from which the lighting candles superstitions must have originated. Sounds are often used as protection against the dangers in the dark. The superstition ringing bells has probably originated from this idea. Do you know about the Halloween witches? They are believed to gather on Halloween, for a party hosted by the devil and it's believed they cast spells on people. The early settlers who came to America brought with them, the belief in witches. Is it to scare the witches and ghosts away that you wear scary masks and costumes on Halloween? Have you tried wearing clothes inside out and walking backward to get to meet a witch? Yes, that's one of the other common Halloween superstitions.
Thanksgiving Superstitions: Thanksgiving too has superstitions around it. One of the most widely known of the Thanksgiving superstitions is that of breaking the Turkey wishbone. Two people pull the Turkey's clavicle from opposite ends; the one who gets the bigger piece has his wish come true. Pilgrims who migrated from England introduced Americans to this custom. The tradition can be traced further back to the Etruscans of 900-800 BC who were mysterious people who had this custom of stroking a fowl or hen's collar bone and making a wish to turn it true. Romans are said to have adopted a major part of their culture from the Etruscans. And the pilgrims of England probably adopted the custom from Romans.
Christmas Superstitions: The last and the most awaited festivity in the year is, yes Christmas. There are a whole lot of Christmas superstitions too. Here we give you some of them. Being born on Christmas as also dying on Christmas is considered fortunate. A plant flowering on Christmas, snowing on Christmas are believed to be good omens. The Yule log is considered lucky. Look at the different Christmas symbols and their meanings, you will find the origin of some superstitions there. I am sure you know about the belief that Santa comes only after you are fast asleep. Where did this superstition originate from? Probably from the fact that Santa doesn't really exist! It's the parents/elders in the house who come in disguise of Santa and have to usher the kids to sleep to maintain the surprise. Or is Santa real and prefers to come only after everyone's asleep?
Engagement and Wedding Superstitions and their Origins
Wedding Jewelry: We all know the engagement ring is worn in the ring finger, but do we know why? Well, it is because it was once believed that the left ring finger is directly connected to the heart, making it the most appropriate finger for something like an engagement ring or wedding band. The Irish brought in the Claddagh ring, which consisted of three symbols, a crown that stands for loyalty, a heart that symbolizes love and a pair of hands representing friendship. What's the significance of diamonds in engagement and wedding rings? Back then, the Egyptians and Romans believed that diamonds possess supernatural powers. Even the use of pearls has a superstition behind it. The Greeks believed that a bride wearing pearls would have a happy marriage.
The Wedding Gown and the Veil: The history of the white wedding gown is quite interesting. It was after Queen Victoria chose to wear a white gown for her wedding, that it became popular with commoners. White was also believed to be the symbol of virginity and purity. The veil is believed to serve two purposes. One, it guards the bride against evil spirits. Two, it keeps the bride hidden from the groom until marriage, thus eliminating chances of his disapproval of the bride. This sounds strange, but in the olden days, it wasn't custom for the bride and the groom to meet before the wedding. It was the time when families decided the marriage and feared that the groom may disapprove of the bride on seeing her, and thus arose the tradition of the bride covering her face with a veil.
When looking at superstitions and their origins, one should understand the difference between customs, traditions and superstitions. Some customs root from superstitious beliefs, but not all of them do. Some do have a reason, which is misinterpreted at times, dues to which we begin to perceive them as superstitions. Some superstitious beliefs are accepted the world over while others are restricted to only some regions or cultures. The easterners believe in one thing while the westerners believe in the other. There is a stark contrast in superstitions across different cultures. Superstitions prevail longer in communities lacking general awareness and education, as they lack the ability to reason and approve or disapprove of what superstitions make them believe in.
But come to think of it, even 'the educated and the aware' cannot necessarily get over superstitions entirely. We all are superstitious in our own small ways. We have these little notions of a particular color, number, object or person being lucky for us. We believe these little things can do us good. None of us, I feel, is completely non-superstitious. How much ever we argue and reason against superstitious beliefs or boast of being 'rational', these superstitions remain to be what they strangely are...our little support systems.
She notices the people sitting in a small sports bar across the street. They’re cheering and chatting. They look so alive. She wants to cross the street and join these people just to connect with them – to be a part of something. But a subtle voice that comes from within – that whispers from the open wounds in her heart – holds her back from doing so. So she keeps walking. Alone.
She walks to the end of the city center where she sees a dirt path that leads up a grassy hill. The hill, she knows, overlooks a spiritual sanctuary. But it isn’t the sanctuary she wants to visit tonight – not yet anyway. It’s a warm, breezy Saturday night and she wants to find a place outdoors with sufficient light so she can sit and read the novel she’s grasping in her right hand.
But reading isn’t what she really wants. Not deep down. What she really wants is for someone – anyone at all – to tap her on the shoulder and invite her into their world. To ask her questions and tell her stories. To be interested. To laugh with her. To want her to be a part of their life.
But it isn’t even this connection with someone new that she wants most. At least not at the deepest level. At the deepest level, in the core of her soul, even fleeting connections with others seem to interfere with what she desires most. Which is to know that she’s truly loved. That she’s not alone in this world. And that whatever she was put here to do, in time, will be done and shared with others who care.
This young woman left a substantial segment of her life behind to be in this small city tonight. A few months ago, she was engaged to a strapping young businessman, managing a fast-growing start-up company, working long, hard days and enjoying the fruits of her labor together with a deepening community of friendships in Manhattan.
In a period of just a few months, her fiancé and her split and decided that it was easiest to shutdown the company and divide the monetary remains rather than attempt co-ownership. As they began the process of shutting down the company, she learned that most of the seemingly deep friendships she had made in Manhattan were tied directly to her old business affairs or her business-socialite of an ex-fiancé.
While this young woman didn’t consciously expect such a rapid, tragic series of events, it also wasn’t totally unexpected. Subconsciously she knew that she had created a life for herself that was unsustainable. It was a life revolving around her social status in which all of her relationships brought with them a mounting and revolving set of expectations. This life left no time for spiritual growth or true love.
Yet, this young woman is drawn to spirituality and love. She has been drawn to both all her life. And the only thing that steered her off course into this unsustainable lifestyle was the imprudent belief that if she did certain things and acted in certain ways she would be worthy in the eyes of others. That her social status would procure love from these people. And that she would never be alone.
She realizes, now, how wrong she was.
The young woman walks up a steep paved road on the outskirts of the city center. She feels the burn in her quads as she marches higher and higher. The road is, at first, filled with quaint boutique shops and young couples and friends, but as it advances uphill they give way to small cottage homes and kids playing ball in the street. She keeps marching higher and higher until she reaches a clearing where there is a small public park.
In this park, a group of teenagers huddle around two guitarists who are strumming and singing an acoustic melody. “Is it a popular song?” she thinks to herself. She isn’t sure because she hasn’t had time lately to listen to music. She wants to join the group. She wants to tell the guitarists that their music is incredible. But she hesitates. She just can’t find the courage to walk over to them.
Instead, she sits on a park bench a few hundred feet away. The bench overlooks the cityscape below. She stares off into the distance and up into the night sky for several minutes – thinking and breathing. And she begins to smile, because she can see the spiritual sanctuary. It’s dark outside, but the sanctuary shines bright. She can see it clearly. She can feel it’s warmth surrounding her. And although she knows the sanctuary has existed for an eternity, her heart tells her something that keeps a smile stretched across her cheeks: “This sanctuary is all yours tonight.”
Not in the sense that she owns it. Nor in the sense that it isn’t also a sanctuary for millions of other people around the world. But rather in the sense that it belongs to all of us as part of our heritage, exclusively tailored for every human being and our unique needs and beliefs. It’s a quiet refuge that, when we choose to pay attention, exists all around us and within us. We can escape to it at any time. It’s a place where we can dwell with the good spirits and guardian angels who love us unconditionally and guide us even when we feel lost and alone.
Especially when we feel lost and alone.
Maatu Lakshmi Kari Kripaa, Karahu Hriday Mein Vaas I
Manokaamanaa Siddh Kari, Puravahu Jan kii Aas I I
Sindhusutaa Main Sumiron Tohii, Jnaan Buddhi Vidyaa Dehu Mohii I
Tum Samaan Nahiin Kou Upakaarii, Sab Vidhi Prabhu Aas Hamaarii II
Jai Jai Jagat Janani Jagadambaa, Sab Kii Tumahii Ho Avalambaa
Tumahii Ho Ghat Ghat Kii Vaasii, Bintii Yahii Hamarii Khaasii
Jagajananii Jay Sindhu Kumaarii, Diinan Kii Tum Ho Hitakaarii
Binavon Nitya Tumhe Mahaaraanii, Krapa Karo Jag Janani Bhavaanii
Kehi Vidhi Astuti Karon Tihaarii, Sudhi Lijain Aparaadh Bisaarin
Krapaadrasti Chitabahu Mam Orii, Jagat Janani Binatii Sunu Morii
Jnaan Buddhi Jay Sukh Kii Daataa, Sankat Harahu Hamaare Maataa
Kshiir Sindhu Jab Vishnumathaayo, Chaudah Ratn Sindhu Upajaayo
Tin Ratnan Manh Tum Sukhraasii, Sevaa Kiinh Banin Prabhudasi
Jab Jab Janam Jahaan Prabhu Liinhaa, Ruup Badal Tahan Sevaa Kiinhaa
Svayam Vishnu Jab Nar Tanu Dhaaraa, Liinheu Avadhapurii Avataaraa
Tab Tum Prakati Janakapur Manhin, Sevaa Kiinh Hraday Pulakaahii
Apanaavaa Tohi Antarayaamii, Vishvavidit Tribhuvan Ke Svaamii
Tum Samaprabal Shakti Nahi Aanii, Kahan Lagi Mahimaa Kahaun Bakhaanii
Man Kram Bachan Karai Sevakaaii, Manuvaanchhint Phal Sahajay Paaii
Taji Chhal Kapat Aur Chaturaai, Puujahi Vividh Bhaanti Man Lai
Aur Haal Main Kahahun Bujhaaii, Jo Yah Paath Karai Man Laaii
Taakahan Kouu Kast Na Hoii, Manavaanchhit Phal Paavay Soii
Traahimahi Jay Duhkh Nivaarini, Vividh Tap Bhav Bandhan HaariniZ
Jo Yah Parhen Aur Parhaavay, Dhyan Lagavay Sunay Sunavay
Taakon Kou Na Rog Sataavay, Putr Aadi Dhan Sampati Paavay
Putrahiin Dhan Sampati Hiinaa, Andh Vadhir Korhii Ati Diinaa
Vipr Bulaaii Ken Paath Karaavay, Shaankaa Man Mahan Tanik Na Laavay
Path Karaavay Din Chalisa, Taapar Krapaa Karahin Jagadiishaa
Sukh Sampatti Bahut Sii Paavay, Kamii Nanhin Kaahuu Kii Aavay
Baarah Maash Karen Jo Puujaa, Ta Sam Dhani Aur Nahin Duujaa
Pratidin Paath Karehi Man Manhii, Taasam Jagat Katahun Kou Naahiin
Bahuvidhi Kaa Men Karahun Baraaii, Lehu Pariikshaa Dhyaan Lagaaii
Kari Vishvaas Karay Brat Nemaa, Hoi Siddh Upajay Ati Prema
Jay Jay Jay Lakshmi Mahaaraanii, Sab Mahan Vyaapak Tum Gunkhaanii
Tumhro Tej Praval Jag Maannhin, Tum Sam Kou Dayaalu Kahun Naahiin
Mo Anaath Kii Sudhi Ab Lijay, Sannkat Kaati Bhakti Bar Dijay
Bhuulchuuk Karu Chhimaa Hamaarii, Darasan Dijay Dasaa Nihaarii
Binu Darasan Byaakul Ati Bhaarii, Tumhinn Akshat Paavat Dukh Bhaarii
Nahinn Mohi Jnaan Buddhi Hai Tan Mann, Sab Jaanat Tum Apane Man Men
Roop Chaturbhuj Kari Nij Dhaaran, Kasht Mor Ab Karahu Nivaaran
Kehi Prakaar Mein Karahun Baraaii, Jnaan Buddhi Mohin Nahin Adhikaaii
Uthi Kainn Praatakaray Asanaanaa, Jo Kachu Banay Karay So Daanaa
Ashtami Ko Brat Karay Ju Praanii, Harashi Hraday Puujahi Mahaaraanii
Solah Din Puujaa Vidhi Karahii, Aashvin Krishn Jo Ashtamii Parahii
Takar Sab Chhuutain Dukh Daavaa, So Jan Sukh Sampati Niet Paavaa
Traahi Traahi Dukh Haarini, Harahu Begi Sab Traas I
Jayati Jayati Jai Lakshmi, Karahu Shatru Ko Naas II
Raamadaas Dhari Dhyaan Nit, Vinay Karat Kar Jor I
Maatu Lakshmiidas Pay, Karahu Krapaa Kii Kor II
River Ganges is repeatedly invoked in the Puranas, the Vedas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The story of Ganga's descent on the Earth appears slightly different in Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas. According to one story, Ganga is also considered as the sister of Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva being one of the two daughters of Himavat and Meru. According to another legend, Indra had asked for Ganga to be given to heaven to calm the Gods with her cool waters.
One story states that the sacred water in Brahma's Kamandalu (water-vessel) is personified as a maiden, Ganga. Another legend tells that Brahma had respectfully washed the feet of Vishnu and collected this water in his Kamandalu. Being the part of the Kamandalu of Lord Brahma, Ganga is one of the Shaktis of the supreme Goddess Mahamaya Adishakti.
Ganga Origin - Story of Bhagiratha
This is the most popular story regarding the origin of river Ganga. The story goes far back when King Sagar magically acquired sixty thousand sons. Once, King Sagar organized Ashwamedh Yagna, a ritual of worship for the benefit of the kingdom. Jealous Indra planned a mischief and stole one horse from the place. King Sagar sent all his sons all over the earth to look for the horse. They found the horse in the nether-world standing next to Kapila Muni, a meditating sage. The youths, were disrespectful and caused his penance to be disturbed. The sage reduced them to ashes with his withering look.
The souls of these young men wandered as ghosts as their final rites had not been done. On repeated repentance and requests by the descendants of King Sagar, Kapila Muni finally relent that King Sagar's sons would attain mukti (liberation), if their wicked remains are cleansed by the water of the goddess Ganga. Generations of King Sagar did penance to appease Brahma but without success and finally after much praying, pleading and tapasya by Bhagirath - seventh generation of King Sagar, Ganga reluctantly consents to descend to earth.
With this, Ganga found herself insulted and decided to sweep the whole earth with her powerful fall. Troubled, Bhagiratha prayed to Shiva to control the Ganga's descent. Lord Shiva steps in the way and trapped Ganga in his hair. Shiva made the river fall gently through his long hair onto the Himalayas. As Ganga moved to the nether-worlds, she liberated the unfortunate souls of King Sagar's Sons. Since then Ganga is sanctifying the mankind with her divine waters.
|Sati||One who got burned alive|
|Bhavaprita||One who is loved by the universe|
|Bhavaani||The abode of the universe|
|Bhavamochani||The absolver of the universe|
|Aadya||The Initial reality|
|Trinetra||One who has three-eyes|
|Shooldharini||One who holds a monodent|
|Pinaakadharini||One who holds the trident of Shiva|
|Chandaghanta||One who has mighty bells|
|Mahatapa||With severe penance|
|Ahankaara||One with Pride|
|Chittarupa||One who is in thought-state|
|Chiti||The thinking mind|
|Sarvamantramayi||One who possess all the instruments of thought|
|Satta||One who is above all|
|Satyanandasvarupini||Form of Eternal bliss|
|Ananta||One who is Infinite or beyond measure|
|Bhaavini||The Beautiful Woman|
|Abhavya||Improper or fear-causing|
|Sadagati||Always in motion, bestowing Moksha (salvation)|
|Shaambhavi||Consort of Shambhu|
|Ratnapriya||Adorned or loved by jewels|
|Dakshakanya||Daughter of Daksha|
|Dakshayajñavinaashini||Interrupter of the sacrifice of Daksha|
|Aparna||One who doesnt eat even leaves while fasting|
|Anekavarna||One who has many complexions|
|Paatala||Red in color|
|Paatalavati||Wearing red-color attire|
|Pattaambaraparidhaana||Wearing a dress made of leather|
|Kalamanjiiraranjini||Wearing a musical anklet|
|Ameyaa||One who is beyond measure|
|Krrooraa||Brutal (on demons)|
|Vandurga||Goddess of forests|
|Maatangi||Goddess of Matanga|
|Matangamunipujita||Worshipped by Sage Matanga|
|Braahmi||Power of God Brahma|
|Maaheshvari||Power of Lord Mahesha (Shiva)|
|Aeindri||Power of God Indra|
|Chaamunda||Slayer of Chanda and Munda(demons)|
|Vaarahi||One who rides on Varaah|
|Lakshmi||Goddess of Wealth|
|Purushaakriti||One who takes the form of a man|
|Vimalauttkarshini||One who provides joy|
|Gyaana||Full of Knowledge|
|Kriya||One who is in action|
|Nitya||The eternal one|
|Buddhida||The bestower of wisdom|
|Bahula||One who is in various forms|
|Bahulaprema||One who is loved by all|
|Sarvavahanavahana||One who rides all vehicles|
|NishumbhaShumbhaHanani||Slayer of the demon-brothers Shumbha Nishumbha|
|MahishasuraMardini||Slayer of the bull-demon Mahishaasura|
|MadhuKaitabhaHantri||Slayer of the demon-duo Madhu and Kaitabha|
|ChandaMundaVinashini||Destroyer of the ferocious asuras Chanda and Munda|
|Sarvasuravinasha||Destroyer of all demons|
|Sarvadaanavaghaatini||Possessing the power to kill all the demons|
|Sarvashaastramayi||One who is deft in all theories|
|Sarvaastradhaarini||Possessor of all the missile weapons|
|Anekashastrahasta||Possessor of many hand weapons|
|AnekastraDhaarini||Possessor of many missile weapons|
|Komaari||The beautiful adolescent|
|Ekakanya||The girl child|
|Yati||Ascetic, one who renounces the world|
|Apraudha||One who never gets old|
|Praudha||One who is old|
|Vriddhamaata||The old mother (loosely)|
|Balaprada||The bestower of strength|
|Mahodari||One who has huge belly which stores the universe|
|Muktakesha||One who has open tresses|
|Ghorarupa||Having a fierce outlook|
|Mahaabala||Having immense strength|
|Agnijwaala||One who is poignant like fire|
|Raudramukhi||One who has a fierce face like destroyer Rudra|
|Kaalaratri||Goddess who is black like night|
|Tapasvini||one who is engaged in penance|
|Narayani||The destructive aspect of Lord Narayana (Brahma)|
|Bhadrakaali||Fierce form of Kali|
|Vishnumaya||Spell of Lord Vishnu|
|Jalodari||Abode of the ethereal universe|
|Shivadooti||Ambassador of Lord Shiva|
|Parameshvari||The Ultimate Goddess|
|Katyayani||One who is worshipped by sage Katyanan|
|Savitri||Daughter of the Sun God Savitr|
|Pratyaksha||One who is real|
|Brahmavaadini||One who is present everywhere|
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