Tag Archives: abortion

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

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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

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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)