Focused Efforts+God’s Grace= Fruits of Actions

This simple mathematical formula is revealed in the thrilling story of how Bhageeratha brought the mighty river Ganga from its Himalayan abode to the mother earth. This story was narrated by the sage Viswamitra to Rama & Lakshmana in Balakanda of Valmiki Ramayana. Interestingly,several kings before him (starting from king Sagara,his grand son Ansuman,and Bageeratha’s father and a great king Dileepa)had put in intense efforts to achieve this without success. Ganga was sought to be brought down by them for the purpose of purifying the remains(ashes) of the hundred sons of Sagara(who were burnt to ashes by wrath of the sage Kapila)so that they could eventually get to the heavens.
In this background,the King Bhageeratha was determined to achieve this task at any cost. As the story goes,Bhageeratha started doing penance(Tapas) which went on for a thousand years. Brahma was mightily pleased with his austerities,appeared before him and granted his boon of bringing in Ganga. He,however,indicated that as Ganga was a wild and ferocious river,it would be difficult for the mother earth to withstand the force of its descent. Therefore he suggested that Bhageeratha should seek the intervention of Lord Siva to channelize Ganga through his matted hair,absorb the initial force of the river and blunt its ferocity before its final descent. Bhageeratha,therefore,restarted his Tapas and sought Lord Siva’s blessings. Siva, duly pleased by his Tapas, agreed to take upon himself the entire river, before letting it flow down to the earth. Even as Siva took Ganga upon his head ,the mighty Ganga turned arrogant and wanted to take the Lord Himself along with it. Sensing this arrogance,Siva instantly locked up Ganga in his long and strong matted hair. The arrogant Ganga was virtually trapped and entangled in His coiled matted hair and was simply made to move in circles. Bhageeratha was again disappointed and this time continued his Tapas with even more rigour,supporting himself on just one toe. He prayed to Siva for the sake of the river Ganga and Siva too obliged ultimately. As the story goes,Ganga then simply followed wherever Bhageeratha led her and finally the ashes of his grand uncles was purified by the flowing waters of the great and holy Ganga.

The story of Ganga’s descent from heaven to earth reminds one of the attempted grand plan of our great visionary of 1970s(Dr K.L.Rao)to connect Ganga & Kavery. Dr.K.L.Rao, a former chief engineer of Nagarjunsagar project in A.P, envisioned a plan to link all the rivers in India from Brahmaputra, Ganga, to Narmada, Tapthi to Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Penna to Kaveri. This was undoubtedly a challenging task requiring massive energy to pump huge amounts of water. Apart from the technical challenges,lack of political will was perhaps another major stumbling block for executing such a huge project. Unfortunately,though,there were no Bhageerathas around to take it up with a missionary zeal.

Apart from this,the story is also highly symbolic. It highlights and emphasizes several philosophical ideas. Firstly,for a great task to be achieved several things have to fall in place: A great discipline,a right time,the grace & blessings of the gods and finally someone taking upon the responsibility of channelizing the creative energies in the right direction. Let us revisit the story from this perspective. Tapas of Bhageeratha symbolizes the need for great discipline. Several ancestors of Bhageeratha put in their best efforts to achieve the task of bringing in Ganga without success. This points to the importance of the ‘right’ time. The time has to be ripe for any result to fructify,no matter how much effort one puts in. Then Brahma granting the boon signifies the importance of blessings and grace of the gods for the achievement of results.
To continue with the symbolism,the petulance and arrogance of Ganga is indicative of how our creative energies can go haywire in the absence of proper focus. As the mighty Ganga got tamed by Siva,it could be made to descend to earth without causing any damage to anyone. Our creative energies also need similar streamlining and focusing to ensure productivity. It is this concept which is widely used today in several corporates when they talk about Innovation management.

Published in: on September 28, 2009 at 5:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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