Tag Archives: Reincarnation

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) 

Maha Shivaratri (Shiva’s night) and the Worship of Hindu God Shiva

Lord Shiva Cosmic Dancer (Hind God of creation and destruction)   Art -ManiN'13
Lord Shiva Cosmic Dancer (Hind God of creation and destruction) Art -Mani Navasothy’13

Maha Shiva Ratri  is the `Great Night of Shiva’  – when Hindu devotees of the God Shiva spend a whole night in total worship and prayers of Shiva – either in their homes or local temples.  

Shivarathri nights for coming years:  

  • Friday 24th February 2017;
  • Tuesday 13th February 2018;
  • Monday 4th March 2019;
  • Friday 21st February 2020


NEW: Click here to read about `Flames of Shiva Ceremony that you can perform)



Shiva:  Tribal God of the Dance

Shiva is a god with a 3rd eye on his forehead – which he keeps closed, as the opening of it can bring forth divine flames which no one can bear!   Shiva’s son Murugan (Karthigeyan) is said  to have been born of the flames that came from Shiva’s 3rd eye!)

Shiva wears a serpent around his neck, a Crescent moon on his hair, and the river Ganga  flows from her heavenly origins down to Shiva’s head, and after being slowed down, flows down to Earthly realms. Shiva is often seen to be meditating – on mountain realms, or in Crematoriums and graveyards.  He has a tribal look, and only wears a Tiger-skin cloth (or deer skin).  He holds in his hands a Trident (powerful weapon that targets any evil), and in his other hand carries a Drum..which he drums to reach a trance state in his dance!

Shiva taking on Karma

The day before (9th Match) is Pradosham, when Shiva is said to have taken in the poison of a great serpent and swallowed it so that it would not harm the worlds!   (This symbolises the bad Karma).

People often pray to Shiva to ask divine help in breaking the karmic cycle or birth, death and soul’s reincarnation..   It is said that the worship and devotion to  Hindu God Shiva enables a person  to convert the negative karma from One’s life into positive energy – as Shiva is the remover of sin and and Lord or mercy. Mere words or worship are not always enough, as it has been known through mythological and religious stories – that Shiva has come in many disguises and incarnations and tested his worshipers …at times to extreme breaking points.. and revealed himself at the 11th hour (so to speak), before a crisis occurs, and rewarding his worshipers.

Tales of Shiva’s appearances to his devotees

In one story, Shiva came in the guise of a man being a guest at a family man who’s good deed and genuine honour was well known. In his guise, Shiva asked the man to `kill his only son, cook him and serve it as a meal.. The Host (worshiper) though extremely distraught was willing to do so.. as it is a rule in Hindu Vedas (sacred writings) that providing food for guests is a great thing in itself. Shiva, once satisfied, not only brought back the life of the child, but blessed his worshiper and family. This is an extreme story.

Another one tells of a King building a great Temple for Shiva and setting a date for the Temple Consecration, for which he had prayed Lord Shiva to appear. Shiva refused because he had already agreed to attend another even greater temple in another part of the country. The King was so puzzled but chose to attend the other Temple Consecration, and went to the said part in search of a person. It turned out that the said man was – though firm devotee of Shiva- very poor and had been building  `an astral temple’ in his mind in regular meditations…and it was that Temple consecration which Shiva had chosen to attend.

A third story involves a Spider who was a devotee of Lord Shiva. In a forest, there existed a statue (Shivalingham) of Shiva. The dried leaves of nearby trees and other dirt often fell on the statue. So the Spider persisted daily and kept weaving webs above the statue, to create cover so that leaves and dirt will not fall on the statue. It is said that Lord Shiva appeared one day and blessed the Spider and gave it Moksha (ascension to divine  realm at Shiva’s place).

The Hindu teachings highlight 64 of such specific stories of Shiva’s devotees – (not all human).

Dance of Destruction 

Maha Shivratri falls on the 14th day of the dark half of ‘Margasirsa’ (February-March). The ceremonies take place  at night.  Some teachings say this  festival is observed in honour of Lord Shiva’s marriage to Parvathi (Goddess Shakthi in one of her incarnations).   On this festival people worship ‘Shiva – the Destroyer’. This night marks the night when Lord Shiva danced the ‘Tandav’- a cosmic dance of destruction. In the hindu stories, Parvati  was said to have died, and pining for her and out of extreme sadness and anger, Lord Shiva began the dance of Destruction that shook the Cosmos and all of creation. (Parvati was then incarnated on earth as a King’s daughter, and Shiva eventually married her and brought her back to Kailasa  – his dwelling on Mount Himalaya).  [ Gods and Goddesses often leave their divine realms and incarnate on Earth in human form, and eventually return ].

Story of the Great Flame (Shiva’s night)

The Story of Maha Shivarathri that I am familiar with from my childhood involves the divine Male Triplicity –  Lord Brahma (creator), Lord Vishnu (Protetor) and Lord Shiva (Destroyer and Re-creator).    The story states that an argument arose between Brahma & Vishnu ..as to which of the two is the greatest God. They could not settle the matter, so they approached Lord Shiva. Shiva smiled mischievously, and offered a competition. Shiva took up form as a large flame, and he suggested that whomever finds the end of the flame first shall be named the greatest God (Brahma or Vishnu).    Brahma took up form as a Swan and flew upwards, higher and higher, in search of the top of the flame.  Vishnu took up form as a Wild Boar, and dug deeper and deeper into the ground, in search of the bottom of the flame.  After a lot of effort, both Brahma (Swan) and Vishnu (Boar) gave up..  and it was then that realisation struck them both.

Both came to stand defeated, humble in front of the great Flame that is Lord Shiva, and praised him, as the greatest of all, as his was a form without beginning or ending. Shiva returned to hims normal form.

Shiva Rathree is said to be the night ..when this great search had taken place!

What happens on Shiva Rathri

Hindus observe a strict fast on this day and  keep vigil all night. The Shiva Lingam  ( phalic symbol representing Shiva’s union with Sakthi) is worshipped throughout the night by Abishekam (ritual washing  with milk, curd, honey, rose water, fruit mix, and so on).  Devotees continue to chant the sacred mantra “Om Namah Shivaya” .   Hymns in praise of Lord Shiva are sung with great devotion.

Shiva’s Mantra

It is said that  those who utters the names of Shiva during Shivratri, with perfect devotion and concentration, is freed from all sins, and will reach Kailasha –  the abode of Shiva.  Such devotees are liberated from the wheel of births and deaths.

What you can do on Shivarathri

Anyone interested in the spiritual work on this special night can worship Shiva in their own ways. Lord Shiva sees, hears and knows all.

  • Light  a Lamp or Candle on Shivarathri ..and keep a vigil all night.
  • Fast for a day and night – if possible. Or consume only milk and fruits. Or just milk-rice.
  • Do not eat any meat (if you must eat). Do not consume any drugs or alcohol.
  • Keep your mind pure of distractions – as hard a sthis may be (doing so for a whole night can be hard!)
  • If possible, create an altar in a clean and sacred place. Light incense. Decorate with flowers.  Have a glass of water or milk on the altar, as well as a Shivalingham or Shiva statue (or picture).
  • Cleanse the altar by ringing a bell over it a few times. You may also show Arthi (camphor blocks that are lit and burnt and wafted over altar or any statues).
  • If known, sing chants or hindu hyms.
    Silent meditation and prayers are equally fine.
  • Chant `Om Shivaya Namaha’   – several times out loud, or softly in a meditative state.
  • Visualise Lord Shiva as a cosmic force – the light of every star and galaxies (Old stars explode and die that their plasma and dust may coalesce  and form new Stars and planets).

Bright Stellar Blessings

-Manivannan Navasothy

ps. my late father’s name – Navasothy -is  that of Lord Shiva ..and means `Nine Flames’  🙂

Links to Hindu / Tamil features

NEW:  `Flames of Shiva Ceremony that you can perform

New: Hanuman  – Monkey God in Hindu epic Ramayanam

Vinayagar Shathurthi – Birthday of Elephant God Ganesh

Navarathri- Nine nights of the Goddess 

Sooran Por (Demon War) and Lord Murugan

Lord Krishna’s message – what is to happen? 

Thai Pongal- Tamil Harvest Festival