Lots of new tales...
I'll just include what I know
Originally posted by Darklord_RehanI too have read both these legends. Some refer to Ganga being the eldest daughter of Himavaan and his consort (Meena, I think her name was. There is another confusion here as some legends say that Himavaan's wife was Menaka or some other Apsara). Some other legends say that when Lord Brahma washed Lord Vishnu's feet as it reached up to the heavens during Vamana Avatar, the celestial river Ganga came into being. I also read that Lord Indra requested Ganga to be granted for the heavens to cool the Gods. The Vedas mention that Devi Ganga was worshiped as a God in the ancient times.
There are several legends regarding the birth and relationships of Ganga. Most acceptable versions say that when Lord Brahma washed the holy feet of Lord Vamana, Ganga was born and was brought up in Satyaloka, the abode of Brahma. Some other texts eg Skanda Puran says that Ganga was the first daughter of Himaavan, the Lord of Mountains, and elder sister to Parvati. This is little contradictory with the first one in the sense that Lord Vamana manifested in Satya Yuga, while Adi-Shakti manifested as Parvati in the beginning of Treta Yuga.
Originally posted by Darklord_RehanBoth these legends are new to me. I have not completely read the Puranas yet.
The version which speaks of her 'human' birth in the house of Himaavan, depicts her as an arrogant and short-tempered girl, who ascends to heaven at the request of the Gods. Her arrogance is broken only when Lord Shiva traps her in His locks and the touch of Shiva purifies her so that she in turn can purify the three worlds.
Now coming to her marital status. In Chapter 2.6 Hymns 13-95 of the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, it is stated
that Lord Vishnu has three wives, namely Lakshmi, Ganga, and Saraswati.
All the three wives love Vishnu dearly and fight for his attention at
all times. In order to do so effectively, they proclaim their respective
supremacy over the other, which leads to quarrels. Due to their
constant quarreling amongst each other, finally Vishnu keeps Lakshmi for
himself, and gives Ganga to Shiva and Saraswati to Brahma. Ganga is also sometimes referred to as Vishnupriya, the beloved of Vishnu.
Originally posted by Darklord_RehanI wonder how... The stories I read were thus. Lord Shiva gives the seed created out of the fire from his third eye to Agni Dev. Even he could not bear its heat and hence he dropped in on grass bushes on his way. The seed then fell into the river Ganges where it fizzled and Lord Skanda was born from a lotus or some divine flower. While everyone who bore the seed fought that the baby boy belongs to them alone, Lord Shiva appeared and said the child is his and Devi Parvati would be his mother. This story is from Amar Chitra Katha. The legends in South India are a little bit different. Lord Skanda was raised by six maidens called Karthigai Pengal (Pengal means ladies/maidens) and hence came to be called Karthikeya. According to these legends, he was first named Muruga (the significance leads to Tamil Grammar - each syllable is from a sect of letters stressing on the sounds of the basic alphabets) and then Karthikeya as they were raised by the six Karthiga maidens - Lord Muruga still had six forms till then - and then Skanda when Goddess Parvati hugged the boys to unite them as one single guy with six heads and twelve arms. There are detailed stories on the birth of Lord Muruga and his brothers. I wonder how Devi Ganga was considered as the mother of Ganesha.
Ganga serves as the mother of Ganesha and the foster-mother of
Kartikkeya and hence is also known as the spouse of Shiva. Ganga's
residence in the matted locks of Shiva further gives her the place as
the second wife of Shiva besides Uma, who happens to be Ganga's sister,
as they both are daughters of King Himaavan. Thus, in the Skanda Purana,
Shiva is married to both the sisters, Ganga and Uma. That's why she's known as Harapriya, the beloved of Shiva while Ganesh is known as Gangeya - the son of Ganga.
It is true that Devi Ganga is strangely linked to all three Gods.
Originally posted by Darklord_RehanThis again is new to me.
In a regional tale, when the demons Madhu and Kaitabh were killed by Vishnu, they asked a boon from him prior to their death - they wished to be reborn as Vishnu's devotees. They were reborn as Mallasura and Manisura. They obtained boons of invincibility from Vishnu and began to torture and kill the Rishis. To kill them, Lord Shiva manifested as Khandoba, while Parvati manifested as his wife Mhalsa and Ganga manifested as his lover Banai.
Originally posted by Darklord_Rehan
I find Ganga strangely linking the Trimurti. She's born from Brahma's Kamandalu, touches Vishnu's feet and rests in Shiva's locks. She's the daughter of Brahma and the ambiguous second consort of both Shiva and Vishnu. However there is no text actually depicting Ganga's marriage with any God or directly referring her as anyone's wife (unless we consider her marriage with Shantanu). So who do you guys think was Ganga's husband and father?
In South India, lots of legends refer to Devi Ganga as a consort of Lord Shiva, even some of the most ancient texts. Some legends to connect Lord Vishnu with Ganga but they are vague.
It is true that there are no texts that refer to a marriage between the holy river and the Gods.
I used to think it is logical to assume that Shantanu is her husband and Lord Brahma is her father.
I used to search for a link or connection between Goddess Parvati and Devi Ganga. Some text that says both are manifestations of each other but gave it up when Tamil Epics and texts kept referring to Lord Shiva as one with two wives - Uma and Ganga.
I don't even know where to look for further clarification.
Edited by Vibhishna - 19 April 2011 at 4:37am