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“If only the bone of a person should touch the waters of Ganges, that person shall dwell – honored in heaven”. The Mahabharata.
“Man becomes pure by the touch of the water, or by consuming it, or by expressing its name,” Lord Vishnu, proclaimed in the Ramayana about Ganga,
“…..pure white stream, gradually narrowing in size in the far distant landscape which appears like a necklace of pearls close fitting to the earth’s damsel – Ganga” Kalidasa in his Raghuvamsa
I could add many more such praises and eulogies; Ganga Maiya to me a Bhaiya from UP, is the life giver and life saver. Besides being a religious icon in the world, as it is a spiritual center, we rely on the river for most life functions since creation; the river has fed us through agricultural use and industry. It has become a source for energy and transportation. It has quenched our thirst. .She is”Tripathag” the only river to follow from all the three worlds – Swarga (heaven), Prithvi (earth) and, Patala (neither world nor hell). The reasons therefore for spiritual cleansing in the river by bathing and baptisms are more than obvious.
But then why this rather deriding and derogatory phrase “Behti Ganga Mein Haath Dho Lo”? Translated and widely understood as “Make Hay While the Sun Shines”. Of all the innumerable rivers why associate Ganga Maiya? Maybe, its sacredness provides an excuse for us to commit any number of sinful acts and get away with it as these will eventually and easily get washed away by the purity of its “water”. Simple and thoroughly satisfying self serving apology and in reality very much in vogue with impunity and obduracy by most of us.
The origin of this phrase is lost in obscurity. It could have had a different connotation when originally coined; , when human avariciousness and greed were latent. the reverse of that is understood today. Its existing actualization is of opportunism, charlanatism, subjectivism, consumptionism, subjectivism, radicalism, fundamentalism and so on. Since my awareness over the years, especially since past five decades the phrase has been extensively practiced and we all are aware its usage has exponentially increased in the recent years. To identify an individual, a group or a society would be simple and obvious but the disease is spread across the breadth and the length of the nation.. To most of us those who indulge in the pecuniary gains through corrupt means are the lode stars of the arena but those who have fine tuned the art of sentimental blackmail, political chicanery and exploitation of social inequalities are equally guilty if not more.
It is sometime believed that the river will finally dry up at the end of Kali Yuga (the era of darkness, the current era) just as with the Sarasvati river and this era will end. Next in (cyclic) order will be the Satya Yuga or the era of Truth.
Do we really want the Ganga Maiya to dry up? Do we really have to wait that long; and then in what form or shape would we be in Satya Yuga? Are we really helpless?