The Ganga river is not an ordinary river but is considered to be the origin of all rivers. The information on Ganga river must include next to material informations also spiritual informations to make the picture complete. Beside we concider Ganges a perfect destination for ecotourism in West Bengal we ephmasize the spiritual importance of the holy river.
Many Hindus consider the Ganga river to be a person, a godess, whom we must pay attention and take care of, because as loving mother she gives her waters freely to one and all and gives also spiritual blessings. This is the reason many ashrams are founded on the bank of Ganges. It is a good idea to visit and stay in some of those ashrams.
The Ganga river has a great importance as holy river. Ganga water is considered to be very pure and serves in many rituals for material and spiritual purification. Ganga water is said to free one from all sins and bad Karma.
There are a lot of pilgrim places on the banks of the Ganga river. The Hindus want to take at least one time in their lives a bath in its waters, if possible live nearby, and at the end find final rest for their ashes within her. Many believe in its healing power and some homoeopaths take it as base for their medicine.
Although the Ganga river is very polluted, it has a phisical and chemical self-cleaning power, it can reduce organic water pollution by itself.
The Sanskrit word «ganga » means «the fast flowing ». Ganga is the spiritual name of the Ganges river who is considered to be a godess. She is mentioned in the Vedic scriptures, the Puranas, in many various narrations about her exalted nature and glories. She has a great significance to Gaudiya Vaisnavism and to Hinduism in general.
It is said that she has 108 different names, other sources tell one thousand. «She is able to award one the lotus feet of Lord Visnu, and thus she is known as Visnupadi.» (Sri Brahma-Vaivarta Purana.)
Ganga is also known as Jagan-mata and Visva-mata, which means the mother of the universe.
One other name is Tripathaga, or one who travels through the three worlds, what means she is not bound to only one geographical location, such as India, but flows also through the heavenly planets and the lower planets.
There are a lot of myths and legends how the godess Ganga had her birth into this world. The most famous one is the Bhagirath Maharaj story:
King Sagar (Sanskrit: ocean) had 60 000 sons. He wanted to expand his kingdom by sending a running horse in all directions. The demigods didn’t like this rapid expansion and caught the horse and brought it to the hermit Kapila at the golf of Bengal. The angry king Sagar sent his sons to find the horse. As they arrived to Kapilas place they wanted to attack him but he burnt them to ashes with his sight. Kapila consoled the king that his sons would be delivered by the waters of Ganga-Devi if one of his progeny would be able to call her on earth.
As Bhagiratha Maharaj appears several generations later he renounces the throne and spends his time as hermit in the Himalaya. After 5500 years of meditation and renunciation Ganga is ready to appear on earth.
But Lord Shiva fears that her waves will destroy the whole earth. So he stands on a summit to slow down her bounce. As she falls on him, he coshions her force through his hair. From his head Ganga flows in seven rivers which flow through all regions of India. Finally she reached the ashes of the 60 000 sons and delivered them.
One other legend tells that Ganga was born from the toe of Lord Visnu.
The earthly beginnings of the Ganga river are in the Himalaya near the Indian-Chinese border.
The boisterous current spurt out from the Gaumukh glacier in more than four thousand meter height.
One can reach Gaumukh from Gangotri in eighteen kilometer long walk. Here start and end all pilgrimages around the Ganga. Gaumukh means «mouth of the cow», and the river arises from an icy-cave.
The Skanda purana, a Vedic scripture, glorifies Gomukh as the most exalted Tirtha related to mother Ganga. A Tirtha is a pilgrim place near a holy water, where one can enter more easily into another world. It is said that this Tirtha has been born from the lotus feet of Lord Visnu. In order to attain the Lords mercy, one must take bath at the aperture of the icy-cave in a very devotional mood.
When we talk about informations on Ganga River unfortunatly we have to talk about pollution as well.
The Ganga river has a length of more than 2600 kilometers and flows through India and Bangladesh. She flows together with the rivers Alaknanda and Bhagirathi and reaches the Indian ocean. The biggest cities on the Ganga river are Kanpur, Allahabad, Patna, Ghazipur, Haridwar, Varanasi and Kalkutta.
Varanasi is one of the holiest city for the Hindus. Many want to die here, as it is said that one who enters the Ganga at the end of life, can come out of the circle of birth and death. Every year ten thousands of people leave their body here. But often there is not enough money for firewood and the corpses are hint into the Ganga. After death the rotary process starts.
Bhakteriums are released and produce a poison named Botulinumtoxin, one of the most deadly substances in the world. It causes respiratory paralysis. Many people drink this highly polluted water, but still it is not illegal to tip cadavers into the river.
Another problem are the leather fabrics who produce more than 30 millions of hazardous waste daily. Highly poisoned substances like Arsen, Cadmium, plumb, and chrome, which is highly carcinogenic, are put into the Ganga river. Many illness are caused from the polluted water, like cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A or typhus. A lot of epidemies go round.
Ecotourism in West Bengal can contribute a lot to Ganges River. West Bengal with lots of trees and reach greenery finctions as a water purifier for Ganges. For that reason the water of ganges is suprisingly pure.
The necessity of clean and pure Ganga water is obvious, many inhabitants near the Ganga river are using Ganga water as their only drinking water. To keep the Ganga river water clean is a worthy goal.
In Mayapur we started the Friends of Mayapur campagne, whose objective is to keep the city of Mayapur clean and green. If you plan to stay in Mayapur we are ready to accomodate you. There is an equipe who cleans daily the shore of the Ganga by picking up garbage that has been thrown into Gangas water and around the river. To create and implement an effective system of collection is the base of the recycling plan.
Our proposal is to protect forested areas and reforest previously green areas. The Ganga action plan includes further to sensitize the population and pilgrims for the pollution problems and discuss measures with the gouverment and the creation of a solid residue filtration system.
We started with small steps, like picking up garbage, but after a daily endeavour during seven years now, the sourounding of Mayapur looks much more clean. The inhabitants, pilgrims and the gouverment started to pay attention to our proposals and aims. Everything starts with the awakening of conciousness for the problem.
The discrepancy between the material aspects of the Ganga river with its proplems with the pollution and the spiritual aspects of Ganga Devi as the most pure and merciful mother who takes away bad Karma and purifies the three worlds seems to be almost not reconcilable.
All the more it is important to start a Ganga Action plan and to help to keep the Ganga water clean. So that everybody can visit a holy place near the Ganga river and take a bath in her waters joyfully. Hope you got all needed information on Ganga river.
Mayapur is definitely perfect destination for lovers of ecotourism in West bengal. In fact, staying is Mayapur is more then being a tourist. It’s helpful to have few informations, if you want to stay in Mayapur. Mayapur is a place of pilgrimage, a holy place called Dham.
To stay in Mayapur as common tourist is hardly possible. You have to open your heart for its spirituality and depth, then this holy place will reveal its full beauty to you. Learn about spiritual backgound of Mayapur.
If you want to stay in Mayapur for some time-you should come and visit the Jahnavi Kunja-Ashram from the Vrinda Mission, Jahnavi Kunja Gaudiya Math. It is very good idea to stay in ashram while you stay in Mayapur. But if you want to stay longer or live in ashram, this article might be helpful for you: I want to live in an ashram.
It is very beautifully located near the place where the rivers Ganga, Saraswati and Jalangi flow together. The meeting of this holy rivers is a special place with high vibrations, ideal for meditation and spiritual activities.
If you have never slept in a bamboo treehouse: this is a very good opportunity! A unique atmosphere of detachment can occur while sleeping there on a tree on the bank of the Ganges.
The food here is cooked with love and devotion in the temple kitchen and offered every day to the temple Deity, Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This delicious prasadam is of course another good reason to visit us!
Mayapur is a city in the Indian state West Bengal with approximately 20 000 inhabitants. It is located on the banks of the Ganges river and is as Antardvipa-Mayapura one of the nine islands of Sri Navadvipa.
Mayapur was for many centuries only a peasant village with about one thousand locals. But it grew rapidly after Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad established the Hare Krishna movement there in the early 1970’es and built a big temple and spiritual centre.
Mayapur is one of the most important places of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, because Sri Krishna Caitanya, an incarnation of Lord Krishna, was born here in 1486.
In the eighties of the nineteenth century, Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, a Vaisnava saint of the Gaudiya tradition, discovered Sri Krishna Caitanyas birthplace in Mayapur, the Yogapith.
Any open-hearthed visitor can experience the concentrated spiritual atmosphere In Mayapur. The hustle and bustle of other Indian cities can not be found there. The ambience is peaceful, and if people are bustling, it comes from an inner mood of dedication to a higher aim. Because most of Mayapurs inhabitants perform devotional service to their Lordship Sri Caitanya.
There are merchants with their merchandise along the main road. Behind them temples of the different school of thought-mostly Gaudiya Vaisnava temples-are located.
Of course river Ganges flows right next to mayapur
Mayapur is also called the spiritual capital of the world. Mayapur-Dham, or Navadvip-Dham, is known as Sri Krishna Caitanyas realm, a spiritual pilgrim place.
It is also called gupta-Vrindavan, what means hidden Vrindavan. Vrindavan area is the birthplace of Lord Krishna and one of the most important pilgrim places of India.
Sri Krishna Caitanya is known as an extremely generous and munificent incarnation of Lord Krishna, and so is also his holy Dham, Mayapur. If you stay in Mayapur for some time, you can really feel this merciful and sweet atmosphere.
This place is said to be transcendental and eternal. Material time and circumstances have no influence here. Sri Caitanya perform and manifests his eternal lilas, pastimes here.
Practictioner of Bhakti, who want to make real advancement in their spiritual life should avoid to make offences against the holy land of Mayapur. The holy scriptures of the Gaudiya tradition mention ten offences, called Dham-aparadas that should be avoided while staying in Mayapur. These are the following:
Still-despite all these offences one can commit, the holy Dham of Mayapur does not consider these offences, what means there are no reactions on the spiritual level, but only mercy.
“Here you can find some glorifications of Mayapur and Navadvip Dham”
“What yogis reach at other holy places after ten years; the same result can be attained after three nights in Navadvip.”
“The realm Gauda-Mandala resembles a desire fulfilling jewel, it consists of spiritual happiness. Everything there is spiritual.”
“Those who visit Navadvip-Dham will be freed from all offences.”
“Somebody who visits Mayapur only once, can leave behind the material existence easily.”
These are quotes from the book Sri Navadvip-Dham Mahatmya from Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur.
The sweet and spiritual atmosphere of this special pilgrim place will make your stay in Mayapur unique. It’s all about making a new experience of spirituality and profundity while being in a relaxed ambience. Just try it, and you will feel the mercy of this beautiful place.
If you have the idea of I want to live in an ashram, you should first of all get some informations about what is an ashram and what you can expect there. What are the requirements to live in an ahram? What is important to know in the apron before visiting an ashram? Here are some informations that should make the decision easier.
Important notice: Kindly acknowledge that our jahnavi Kunja Ashram in Mayapur is not able to receive any guest for free of cost. We are hard working people and we are not running any business. We maintain our ashram from generous contributions of our visitors.
If you are considering to live in our ashram in West Bengal, you might like our article on Mayapur: Stay in Mayapur
An ashram is a monastery-like meditation center, a spiritual hermitage. It is a place where people live together to share a contemplative life of meditation and dedication to a higher, spiritual aim. An ashram is under the guidance of a spiritual master or teacher of a certain spiriual direction.
The meaning of ashram is originated from Sanskrit. The word ashram comes from the Sanskrit root srama and means „to toil“. Asram in English means „not to toil“. Thus in an ashram no one has to slave away or struggle hard like in the material world for earning money.
Yet there is work to do and the daily life is structured and requires a certain discipline. The work in an ashram can be helping in the kitchen, cooking, cleaning, organizing meetings and festivals, garden work and so on.
There are rules and regulations that everybody, who wants to live in an ashram, has to respect. The basic condition for staying at an ashram ist o be ready for it. Ashram life style means participating in the life of the ashram.
Very important condition for staying in ashram is that no any kind of intoxication is allowed in an ashram. This means any visitor must stay away from drugs of any kind, like ganja, alcohol or cigarets. This helps to keep a clear mind for meditation and prayer.
Also cleanliness is important, visitors should take a daily shower or wash themselves daily and wear clean clothes.
Furtermore it is necessary to be eager to participate in the daily programs of the ashram called Sadhana. Sadhana describes a spiritual discipline that one undergoes to attain a spiritous goal like meditation, Mantra singing or prayer.
If you say I want to live in an ashram, make sure that is really what you want! Get all information about the ashram you are going to visit, about the rules there, the expectations towards visitors, the cost and so on.
You should know about the contents of the ashram. For exemple, what kind of meditation or yoga form is practised there, or who is leading the ashram. If you feel an inner coherence, something that calls you, then you should not hesitate to visit the ashram.
Unless you try it, you will never know if you like it or not. Personal experiences about the life in an ashram is much more worth than thousand descriptions.
As mentioned above the daily life in an ashram is structured and regulated. Caracteristic for ashrams is the waking up early. In some ashrams the temple program starts at 5 a.m. or even 4.30 a.m.
Of course nobody is going to punish anyone if one time you have to sleep longer, but generally especially the morning programs and the evening programs are giving the structure for the start and the end of a day in the ashram comunity.
It is important to know that ashrams serve strictly vegetarian food and non vegetarian food is not allowed to bring with you.
Some ashrams are gender mixed. Some are only for ladies, some are only for males. The sleeping rooms however are always strictly separated. The residents of an ashram live abstemious and keep the atmosphere of a monastery.
Living in an ashram in India is a big dream of many people. As mentioned above, every ashram, especially in India, demands a vegetarian diet. In the Bhakti tradition the food is cooked with love and devotion and than offered to the residing Deity, the Godhead of the specific ashram. It is then served as prasad, which means mercy of God. So even eating becomes a meditation, that one does with care and attention.
In most ashrams it should be possible to get a vegan diet, but the ashrams in India serve milk as well. Due to the Indian tradition of considering the cow holy, there are a lot of cow goshalas, protective shelters, where cows are treaten well and will not be slaughtered.
Important to mention, if you want to live in an ashram in India, is that the comfort is different than at home. For exemple the toilets and showers can be outside the room and shared with other inhabitants. Some showers may have no warm water. Some days the electricity doesn’t work. This requires patience and can be a real renunciation.
If after considering seriously about all the above informations you still think you want to live in an ashram, then do not hesitate to choose the right ashram for you. To visit an ashram and to live there for some time can be a very valuable and enriching experience for your whole life. Good luck and lots of inspiration!