Goddess Ganga Devi who drowned her babies (Karmic thoughts on Miscarriages)

Miscarriages or Abortions are no easy emotional matters for any mother-to-be, and husband or partners involved – no matter how trivial some circumstances might seem on the surface! In this blog post, it is not my intention to play down the depths or impacts of it. While some religious groups are 100% against abortions, others are forced by circumstances to reach such a momentous and painful decision in their lives – to abort their unborn baby. It may even seem casual or carefree in some cases – but even those `mothers’ sooner or later (much later) end up plagued by deeper emotions of doubt, regrets and even long for another chance to have a baby. Am not writing this from an abstract point. Sadly,  I do know of several women-  who have gone through such circumstances in their lives. And always, my sympathies are with them.

Ganaga Devi drowning her babies.    Art (c) Mani Navasothy 2013. Visit www.ArtofMani.co.uk
Ganaga Devi drowning her babies.

The gift of new life is precious – and means everything to some people.   Not everyone would see it that …when a couple conceive a baby, a Soul is choosing to be born through them!     I can  speak from a point of view of a person who has always wanted children.   So anyone speaking of miscarriages, or worse, abortions, actually fills me with sadness – for the loss of new human life!  I also feel the same sadness when I hear of thousands of children dying of starvation or illnesses  every day – in other parts of the world! So many potentials for life and souls are lost. 😦

So why this blog ? and what is the purpose of it?

Few days ago I began a 3-day major ritual for Shivarathri  (Night of Lord Shiva).  Some deeply relevant thought have surfaced …concerning these.   Call it `By Divine Order’ –  the story of  Ganga Devi  (Hindu river Goddess) drowning her new born babies ..popped into mind.  I had read about it some 3 decades ago.  On contemplating, I feel that Hindu story may be of some  value and  comfort …to many tormented parents who had had the misfortune of suffering a miscarriage …or worse gone down the helpless route of aborting their foetus. .. (why they did it ..pales, in comparison to  how they live with that knowledge for years afterwards!)    This blog is for them.

Story of Ganga Devi (River Deity) drowning her new born Babies


It is the beginning of one of the Hindu epics – Mahabharatham (Tamil word translates as “Great Epic”). In ancient times, a King called Santhanu Maharaja, was walking past a river one day when he encountered a nubile and very beautiful lady. He fell in love instantly and sought after her with much praise and adoration. She in term agreed to become his wife, but made a single condition – that  Santhanu (King) or anyone should never ever ask who she is, where she comes from, or question her deed – how ever good or bad those deeds seem to be. And if anyone should do so, she will immediately leave the marriage. King Santahnu agreed, and they were soon married. They lived happily for a while.
Soon the lady fell pregnant, and gave birth to a baby boy. The King was over joyed – but to his great horror, the lady took her new born baby to the river and instantly drowned the baby! The King was shocked and heart-broken but remembered his promise, and said nothing, as his wife smiled past him.

tamesa-sepent-smShe again fell pregnant, and she once more drowned her 2nd new born child. King remembered his promise and held back, with pain in his heart. This happened many more times in subsequent years.. all in all 7 new born babies were drowned at birth.

The moment came when the 8th  baby was born, and the lady began to take the baby to the river.  King Santhanu could bare the atrocity and pain no more, and stopped is wife, and demanded why she would do such a horrible thing to her own new born child?!   She in term revealed that she is none other than the divine river goddess Ganga herself, whom gods and men worship and adore in all the worlds. She said she would not drown the 8th baby, but will nurture him and will bring him to the King when the time comes. She then vanished with the child.

When the child was grown to his teen years, Ganga Devi brought his to the boy’s father, and vanished once more.

This child – Deva Virathan – grew up and became known as `Bishmar’ -meaning one who had performed an unbelievable act. (That is another story for another blog post).  He also became the great `grandfather’ (not directly as he had no children) to the Pandavars (5 bothers) & Gowrawars  (100 brothers) who ended up fighting the great war (which became known as `Mahabharatham’).

Story of the 8 Vashus and their curse 

Bishmar is one of the 8 souls of a certain group of ascended beings calls the Vashus.

One day all 8 Vashus and their wives were playing and having a picnic,when one of their wives saw a very beautiful Cow grazing. She wanted her husband to capture that Cow and bring it to her. The Cow (Nanthni) belonged to a great and powerful sage (Holly guru) called Vashishtar. And people generally did not intervene or disturb such sages. It has been known that sages spend most of their times in spiritual work and meditation, and thus naturally accrue powers, and if harmed or insulted, have a tendency to curse the offenders.
The wife of one Vasu kept insisting that she wanted the Cow, so eventually her husband and his 7 fellow Vasus caught the cow and took it home.  When the sage returned and found out what had happened, he immediately cursed the offending Vasus to be born on earth (which is seen as a punishment for ascended beings!)   The 8 Vasus ran to the sage and begged for forgiveness. The sage softened his curse and said the 7 who aided will have short lives on Earth and return, but the one who caught the Cow must pay for his bigger role in the crime, and must live a longer time on Earth.

The 8 Vasus then approached Ganga Devi (river Goddess of the sacred river Ganges), and asked her to be their `earthly mother’ and on being born, to kill them so that they may only live a very short time on Earth. She agreed.

And so it was she – who met the King Santhanu  and married him and bore his sons. And on each child being born

(one of the souls of the 7 Vasus), she drowned them, so that their soul may immediately be set free from long and troubled life on Earth, and return to their Ascended planes! The 8th Son (soul of the Vasu wh had stolen the cow) was not killed on birth (by the natural and fated intervention of the King). he became a great warrior Bishmar, and lived to see many of his bothers and their descendants (who ended up in war against one another).

Hindu sage

Hindu principle of Souls & Karma

Karma – the concept of  `values’ that we acquire for our good and bad deeds – is known by many people.    Hindus strongly believe that those with good or bad karma are born on Earth, again ad again.. and those who commit bad deeds accumulate further bad karma, and suffer in other future lives. The purpose of Souls (Hindu belief) is to work to remove the bad karma, so that the cycle of birth, death and reincarnation stops, and the Soul can ascend and stay in divine realms (called Deva Loka).

It can therefore be seen, if only as a comfort, that any child that has a short life on Earth – be it after being born, or before even being born (as in the case of miscarriage or even abortion) is a Soul that has somehow been fated and blessed to have escaped the life on Earth.

This is the only `comfort’ that any mother-to-be can take, if she has suffered a miscarriage, or has had the misfortune to have gone through an abortion.

I do agree that Karma and the cyclic journey of the reincarnating Souls is a belief system specific to Hindus and some other religions, and that rest of the people of our World do not have to adopt it. But the concepts of Karma, (more than just a passing joking or talking point in modern society), can help give some people spiritual focus, and even explain some circumstances in their lives, and offer a certain amount of comfort. Breaking the karmic cycle is achievable by all – a strong belief in Deity, pure and genuine spiritual work and honourable aspirations…charity, good deeds..and good living.. serving deities and fellow people …can all lead to One’s past bad Karma being balanced with `good Kama’ .

A final word  (warning) on this matter of Ganga’s story and miscarriages.   Though it gives us an explanation as to why some souls have a short (fated) lifespan on our world, it is by no means an option for any pregnant mother to abort her child, purely for the sake of `saving the soul from earthly life’.  No! In fact, such willing act…collects Bad Karma, and is not helpful – by whatever clever argument the parent may offer.

If you are interested in these matters, you  should dedicate much time learning hindu mythologies  and philosophies in their own contexts- and strive to live with any such learnt  ideals. And that is not easy!!

-Mani Navasothy

connect with me on facebook  www.facebook.com/ManiNavasothy

Comments welcome:  This post is written as a helpful and comforting spiritual feature.  I very much like to hear your own comments on these very sensitive topics.     (I encourage only genuine and respectful dialogue.. If your thoughts are private, please indicate that, and I will not publish your comments.  

Helpful websites / organisations

 The Miscarriage Association 

Child Bereavement help

Related Spiritual Thoughts

Childhood ideals & the Warrior codes in Hindu myths

What is to happen? (Krishna’s message on a Warrior’s Duty) 

13 thoughts on “Goddess Ganga Devi who drowned her babies (Karmic thoughts on Miscarriages)

  1. being reikika since the past 13 years I have learned to listen to deity’s which often cross my path in meditation and daily live

  2. I agree, and it’s good to hear. I often start new events or rituals (like the recent Thames-Isis rituals)..because of what I get in my meditative works, or when doing tarot readings etc.. Sometimes those `messages’ come quietly, and keep in the background.. and I have started to finally see them as some inner message…:-)

  3. Pranam
    Ref :MisCarriages
    Is there a two part Karma involved, one a gift to the escaped soul and two a penalty
    for the living(parents), because of their possible BadKarma from before being dead-
    beat parents and aint all this an Ultimate Divine Play. Is’nt freewill and divine will
    still all divine will.

    When it comes to Parenting, to my knowledge the Laws of Manu are silent and so
    are the Religious Heads, but they seem to be very generous in advocating the
    responsibilities of children towards their Parents. Please enlighten as able.

    Many Best wishes

  4. so if the baby did good karma in past so he/she didnt have to live a life is this world?? does that mean the parents did bad karma in past life that they had to go thru a miscarriage and saddness in life ??

  5. I lost my baby over a year ago. I had a miscarriage at 8 weeks and I was aware of the baby’s spirit leaving me through my mouth. I pushed a heavy hay bale which caused my miscarriage. Not a moment has gone by since then that I have not longed for my baby to return to me. I have found the story of Ganga Devi a great comfort. I believe it is those who are left behind who suffer and I am happy that my baby is at peace.

    1. Thank you Georgina for sharing your personal matter. I wrote that blog because it’s another way of looking at this deeply emotional matter..and I hope it brings some peace. After all , spirituality’s biggest gift for us humans is faith and faith’s gift is inner strength and peace. ..regardless of what particular spiritual path a person follows. For that reason, I would never discredit any religions.. Bright Blessings. -Mani

  6. Hi Mani, firstly thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. Indeed one must not view any life event in an isolated manner without understanding that it only a part of the continuum of time. Due to personal reasons I chose to let go of the soul and welcome it at a more appropriate time in the future. My specific question to you is, as per Hindu astrology and shastra are you aware of any specific pujas, samskar or yagna that one can perform to help cleanse their karma – specifically for events like this.

    1. Hi Ash.. sorry it me a while to get back to this question. My Hindu upbringing was for the first 15 years .basic school.. going to temple.. etc. Then I cane to UK. It is only in the past few years that have begun to truly immerse myself in Hindu magic and understanding deeper principles and practices.. (which are not taught in schools). One thing that has happened recent;y is.. through my relatives and connection with a Hindu Priest’s advise, I ended up doing a long ritual at a temple in London (The Nagapooshani temple – serpent form of Shakthi / Goddess) – that is meant to clear such negative afflictions.. It was a long involved ceremony.. that involved a ritual bath using the pooja items of part 1 outside the temple..throwing away all my cloths..(then shower) ..then continuing the ritual inside the temple..I felt quite cleansed after that..and have been vissiting that temple every week to light oil lamp on lime skins.. (I’ll write more about that soon..) In general I think Rah & Kethu & Saturn are the Planetary deities to work with for karmic stuff.. and Variravar (God with a dog) is seen as helpful for protection.. Blessings. -Mani

  7. I have suffered a miscarriage at 19 weeks. This was a boy and I had already became attached to this soul I didnt know. I became strong in the process. Looking around this world and all the terrible things that happen everyday, I became happy that he didnt have to endure any pain on this earth. My last 2 weeks of being pregnant, my husband and I read him the Gita, at our next appointment, there was no heart beat. this was the best send off we could give this soul that we may have wronged in the past. He has taught me to continue to do good and harm no one in the rest of my journey.

    1. Thank you Maha for sharing this with me and readers. I have had similar comments but some private and asked not to be shared. In all cases it has been helpful to them so am glad my journey and spiritual thoughts / feelings are useful to some people in the world. Blessings. Mani

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