Hindus hold the river Ganga, called Ganges in the West, in utmost reverence, and affectionately call it Mother Ganga or Goddess Ganga. It originates from the Himalayas and flows through the plains of North-East regions of India. For centuries, Mother Ganga has been the subject of religious fables, folklores and poetry. Hindus literature refers to many sages and seers who composed their sacred verses or acquired divine enlightenment on the banks of Ganga. Since its water gives them prosperity by irrigating their land, Ganga is life-giving and thus considered sacred. It is also believed that the water of Ganga can be preserved for a long period of time without getting contaminated. Therefore, its water, called Ganga Jal, is also considered purifying, and used during most religious ceremonies. Every religious Hindu long for taking a dip in the Holy Ganga or sitting in the lap of Mother Ganga, believing that it would purify their body, mind and soul. When a Hindu is taking his last breath, the close family members pour a few drops of Ganga Jal (water) in his mouth as a last rite. When a Hindu Canadian is cremated, his ashes are taken to India and released with a ritual in the holy Ganga.
Book: Hindus of Canada
Author: Ajit Adhopia