The Sacred Secrets of Ganga

I am the shark among the fishes, and the Ganges among the rivers - Krishna in Bhagavadgita

In his book Discovery of India, Jawaharlal Nehru says:
The Ganges, above all is the river of India, which has held India’s heart captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history. The story of the Ganges, from her source to the sea, from old times to new, is the story of India’s civilization and culture, of the rise and fall of empires, of great and proud cities, of adventures of man

River Ganga/Ganges with its source in the mighty Himalayan mountains is considered to be the most sacred river by Hindus. The waters of Ganga (referred to as Ganga jal) is believed to be self cleansing in nature and it is said that a single dip in the waters of this holy river will wash away all the sins of a person!

The last rites of the thousands of Hindus are performed at the numerous ghats along the shores of Ganga at the holy sites like Kashi, Varanasi etc. Thousands of human bodies are consigned to this holy river. Millions of Hindus take bath in the waters of this river day in and out and millions more in a single day during festival seasons throughout the year. And yet there is no sign of contagious diseases spreading from person to person due to contact through this river water! Nor is there any sign of things like skin disorders etc after bathing in this river!

A river which is 2525 kilometers long, which has been the lifeline of the entire stretch of the Ganga-Yamuna plains, with over 300 million dependents today, why is Ganga considered so sacred? What is the secret behind its water?

Ganga Jal – The Holy water of Ganga

Antibacterial Nature of Ganges Water

In 1896, E. Hanbury Hankin (a British physician) after testing the water of Ganga wrote in a paper published in the French journal Annales de IInstitut Pasteur ,
The bacterium Vibrio Cholerae which causes the deadly Cholera disease, when put into the waters of Ganga died within three hours! The same bacteria continued to thrive in distilled water even after 48 hours!
He also suggested that the water of this river and its tributary Yamuna were responsible for containing the spread of this deadly disease cholera in the region in those days!!

Water of Ganges has Anti-putrefaction properties

C.E. Nelson, another British physician noticed that, the waters of Ganga when taken even from one of its dirtiest mouths at Hooghly, by the ships returning to England, remained fresh throughout the long journey!! Normally river water begins to putrefy over a period of time due to lack of oxygen which promotes the growth of anaerobic bacteria, which in turn gives rise to the smell of stale water.

How River Ganga cleans the dead bodies

In 1927, Flix dHerelle , a French microbiologist, was amazed when he saw that only a few feet below the bodies of persons floating in the Ganga who had died of dysentery and cholera, where one would expect millions of germs, there were no germs at all!

In other words, Hindus had for thousands of years rightly believed that Ganga purifies the dead bodies, which is why probably the bodies of even those who died of infectious diseases were offered to this river for purification!

Recent Research on Ganges

D.S. Bhargava, an Indian environmental engineer/professor of hydrology has spent a life time studying the amazing properties of Ganges. He measured the remarkable self cleansing ability of Ganges in an exhaustive three year study which showed that Ganges is able to reduce its biochemical oxygen demand levels much faster than other rivers! Bhargava says that the self-purifying quality of this river leads to oxygen levels that are 25 times higher than any other river in the world.The Ganges cleans up suspended wastes 15 to 20 times faster when compared to other rivers!

In a study conducted by the Malaria Research Center in New Delhi it was observes that the water from the upper reaches of Ganga did not host mosquito breeding, and also prevented mosquito breeding in any water it was added to! On the other hand, water from other rivers were shown to allow mosquito breeding!

Mysterious Power of Ganga Water

There are two major factors which give Ganges its unique ability.

1. The presence of Bacteriophages which gives it the anti-bacterial nature.
2. An unknown factor called the Mystery Factor, which gives this river an unusual ability to retain dissolved oxygen from the atmosphere!

Bacteriophage in Ganga Water

Bacteriophage are those viruses which kill bacteria. What a cat is to a mouse, the bacteriophage is to a bacterium. In fact what Hankin reported in 1896 about the antibacterial nature of Ganges was the first modern observation/documentation of a Bacteriophage ! It was Herelle, (who again observed the anti-bacterial nature of Ganges) who coined the term Bacteriophage (meaning bacteria eater ) for these viruses.

The high levels of oxygen in the waters of Ganga gives it the unique ability to remain fresh over a prolonged period of time. The waters of Ganga when added to other water resources in adequate amount, causes the bacteriophage in it to quickly multiply cleaning the new water resource of any bacteria present in it. Which is why the ancient Indians used to take Ganga jal back home to clean their local water resources! People practice it even today, except that most of them dont know the actual reason!

In other words, the water of river Ganga can be an alternative for using antibiotics to treat bacterial diseases! Ancient Indians who used the water of rivers like Ganga never required any antibiotics, for the very water they used was anti-bacterial in nature! This type of Bacteriophage Therapy has been suggested by many researchers, but rarely tried/tested or practised in the health industry.

In fact it was in the former Soviet Union that the most active research about using bacteriophages to treat bacterial diseases was done at the George Eliava Institute ! This research institute was co-founded by George Eliava and Felix DHerelle after DHerelle introduced Eliava to the wonderful world of Bacteriophages.

End of antibiotics?

Today more and more bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. The world is running out of antibiotics! We need an alternative, and a potential alternative is Bacteriophage therapy.

The emergence of pathogenic bacteria resistant to most, if not all, currently available antimicrobial agents has become a critical problem in modern medicine, particularly because of the concomitant increase in immunosuppressed patients. The concern that humankind is reentering the preantibiotics era has become very real, and the development of alternative antiinfection modalities has become one of the highest priorities of modern medicine and biotechnology. - Source Phage International

Phage Therapy Research in India

GangaGen Biotechnologies , a bio-medical research company based out of Bangalore, is now leading the alternative therapy of Bacteriophage based treatment for antibiotic resistant bacteria. It is the first firm to have developed bacteriophage based commercial products. Their first bacteriophage based product was to treat the problem of E.Coli in Cattle.

Industrial Pollution in the waters of Ganga

Having said all this, all along the course of river Ganga, today 27 major towns dump over 900 million litres of sewage/industrial waste into it every day! This nonsense should be stopped at any cost. Humans have no rights to pollute the natural resources of this planet. If we cant handle our waste, we shouldn’t be producing it in the first place. Rather than being an individual’s symbolic effort to fight pollution, it should be an enlightened mass movement of entire humanity to create non-polluting technology out of the science we know.

The very fact that almost all the technology that we possess today in the name of development and modernization is polluting, proves that the technology we have created using modern science is still primitive. It has more to do with our greed, than with science.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, Earth Provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed.

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  • Mukesh

    People’s affected with Atankwaad (ISIS) virus, not having any capacity to understand, deep and rich knowledge, due to their shallow and superstition religion. They will never believe in superpower of nature and ancient Aryan’s (now Hindu) knowledge.

  • Sarat Kiran

    There is absolutely nothing sacred about the ganga. It’s just another river, albeit important, but still just a river.

    • rajesh

      u know nothing. then just shut up

    • Vaibhav

      dude..seriously
      there r ppl who donn beliv i god but least beliv in science..assholes lyk u r jus trash to the planet

  • Nishchita

    Ganges has been the life line of Indian civilization ever since the drying up of the River Saraswati during the times of Mahabharatha. Now this is wonderful information about the prominence of Ganga Jal in Indian civilization translated into modern terminology.  Thanks a ton for this beautiful write up.

  • Dr Jahnu Saikia

    very informative… gud work.. keep it up.

  • Dr. Meeta Khilnani

    Amazing information on Ganga jal. The selfpurifying properties of Ganga are well established. We want to explore further that what are the factors which impart these qualities to her? Can I get the contact numbers/ emails links of the persons/ labs working on this? Is Ganga water from Hoogly port taken these days also? If so then plz provide the details. How to contact Dr. C.E. Nelson and Dr. D.S. Bhargav

    • http://www.hitxp.com Gurudev

      Yes, even today Ganga is the main source of water for consumption in Hooghly. Not sure about the contact details of the researchers though. Probably you should try searching in the net.

  • http://www.juliandika.com Juliandika

    Gangga is a holy river, it shouldn’t be a pollution there

  • parjanya

    nice stuff… sending you names of some relevant books… hope you enjoy
    In search for the cradle of civilisation by david frawley, subhash kak and feuerstein

    Underworld by graham hancock

    Return of the aryans by bhagwan das gidwani (historical novel but thats because at the time he wrote it he was one of the first ones (in recent times) to challenge the theory but was getting no support for his research by any academic institutions. so it was re written in a fiction form. based on factual information however

    The Rig Veda and the History of India (Rig Veda Bharata Itihasa)

    the vedic harappans by bhagwan singh

    Vedic Aryans and The Origins of Civilization: A Literary and Scientific Perspective (Third Edition with Three Supplements) By N. Jha and N.S. Rajaram

    Saraswati river and…… n j rajaram

    The Deciphered Indus Script: Methodology, readings, interpretations (Agency) (HB) By Navaratna S. Rajaram

    Jha, N. (1996) Vedic Glossary on Indus Seals. Ganga-Kaveri Publishing House, Varanasi.
    Jha, N. and N.S. Rajaram (To appear) The Deciphered Indus Script: Methodology, Readings, Interpretation.

    The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis (Agency) same

    Aryan Invasion Theory and Indian Nationalism (updated edition) 2003 same author

    The Aryan Invasion Theory: A Reappraisal with a foreword by Dr. S.R. Rao

    frawley,1991. gods sages and kings: vedic secrets of ancient civilization, motilal-banarasidas

    subash kak 1994, the astronomical code of the rigveda, aditya prakashan

    ss misra 1992, the Aryan problem a linguistic approach, munshiram manoharlal

    leon poliakov, 1974, the Aryan myth; a history of racist and nationalist ideas in Europe, basic books

    navaratna rajaram,1993, the Aryan invasion of india; the myth and the truth, voi

    the politics of history Aryan invasion theory and the subversion of scholarship1995

    aurobindo, 1971 (1914-1921), secret of the vedas,
    1991 on the mahabharat, aurobindo ashram

    update on the aryan invasion debate koenraad elst

    awaken bharat david frawley

    kali’s odiya by bhairavan, pilgrim publishers

    Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization: History, science and politics by N.S. Rajaram
    Early Harappans and Indus Saraswati Civilization, 2 Vols.Sharma, D.P. and Sharma, Madhuri (Eds.)2006

  • lyghter

    Hi,
    you have a very good work here.
    By the way why I am leaving this message is, I ma doing a article and I want a exact date of ramayana. I saw it in u r blog, But I am really confused. Some places I found it as 10000
    years back. I am really not sure where to look for the exact dat and how to calculate it too. I would really appreciate if u can give me some information on this.
    thanks in advance

  • ursri

    Grt compilation Gurudev. I would like to add that even in every hindu’s house a sealed brass/copper vessel of Ganga water is worshiped. The seal is opened and offered to the family member if he/she is in last stages. Family hopes that by this soul rest in peace. Yet to check the scientific reason behind it.

  • ritzy

    Its realy nice to see such a home work of yours…. i was searching a topic for my presentation and i got it on your blog… so thanks a lot … m really impressed… thanks a lot..

  • Apsara

    Namaste, Gurudev,

    It’s a pleasure to read another excellent post of yours, and I completely agree that humankind these days do not treat rivers and other bodies of water with respect. Yet, as many researchers (including Dr. Masaru Emoto with his water crystals etc) have uncovered, water responses to whatever our actions towards it (or shall I say, her?). In the past, before the bloom of plastic, non-organic garbage and other pollutants, it might be save to cast dead bodies away into the Gangga. As you and Vimal said above, Gangga’s water contains some elements that are basically antibiotic in nature. But as Arun also said, we should not push our luck, particularly with the pathetic state of our current technology.

    Better be conservative now and conserve and treat Mother Gangga (and other rivers as well) with full respect they deserve.

  • Arun

    Fantastic Display with words and video, Gurudev (:-))

    Thank you very much for taking us on to the River Ganga.

    All said and done, river Ganga is very unique as you have narrated through out the length of the article…

    There are two major threats to river Ganga,

    1. Utter exploitation of Ganga to pump the polluted waste products into Ganga. Even half burnt dead bodies some times rotten dead bodies are making Ganga impure. She has got tremendous capicity to purify herself and purify others but hter is certainly a limit, which we should not test it. A strong public awareness and stringent laws are required to stop this crime against the nature.

    2. China is becoming a fast threat for pouring of water from Himalayas to Ganga. China is in acute short of water after its expansion in industries. Its aim is to capture the water source of Himalayan Mountains. We need to have a large scale campaign against these evils in and around the country. Himalayan parivar and Ganga Parivar are doing their level best in making people aware. But the threats are very serious in magnitude and depth.

    Other threats are Global Worming and so on.

    In this respect I tried to draw your attention. You must have more information about the above said points. If you have got, please write on that topic also.

    Arun

  • http://www.hitxp.com/ Gurudev

    Yes Sainath, its a political/industrial nexus which is violating all the existing laws in this regard. There are tonnes of laws in India for everything, except that there is no implementation of these laws!

  • http://www.hitxp.com/ Gurudev

    Thanks Vimal! Yes you are right, the Himalayan regions around the downstream add a major value to the mystic properties of Ganga!

  • sainath

    Thanks for the post gurudev…and clearing some doubts….we are getting more advanced at the cost of nature..how our govt. allows to dump waste in such a scared river is a puzzle

  • Vimal

    I am a regular visitor of your blog since couple of moths. Simply it is amassing and great work. I have no doubt to say that you are an extra ordinary person. In the queue of several knowledgeable posts it is another great one The Sacred Secrets of Ganga.

    I do not have any doubt on your finding and compilation. But there is one more reason behind this enormous characteristic of the Ganga. As you know the Himalaya is the source of great natural resources, like herbal medicine Sanjeewani (mentioned in Ramayana), medicated shrubs, and metals like Sulfur. Even we can see sulfur water springs (Tapta Kund) in great Badri dhaam. Pilgrims use to take bath before entering in the Badrinath temple. So, the path of the holy Ganga is full of these kinds of natural resources which make it The Sacred Secrets of Ganga (your topic).

    Thank you very much for your nice work and keep it up.