We have begun visit of the most pleasant Kshetrams among North Indian Divya desams! Himalayas is a majestic symbol of our country. Ganga or Ganges river flows swiftly, as the melted ice on Himalayas. At present we are in Hardwar [हरिद्वार ஹரித்வார்], on the banks of Ganga. Periyalwar has composed in one pasuram [4.7.9], all the Kshetrams we are to visit! He lists Mathura, Salagramam, Dwaraka, Ayodhya, Badrinath, Devaprayag, etc. We have already visited Mathura. Hardwar, about 150 Miles from New Delhi, is the gate to enter Himalayas! Hrishikesh is about 20 Miles from here. Mountain route starts from Hrishikesh. Hima is snow and achalam is mountain. Thus Himalayas are considered as snow bound great mountains. Ganga originates from Gangotri at the top of the mountain. Alwar says that the mere uttering of the name Ganga, would absolve us of all sins. Ganga is the Sri Pada Theertham of the Lord; and so mere sight of Ganga would clear our sins accumulated over 21 births! Glory of Ganga can not be completed even in lectures for Two years. There is a sahasranamam [Thousand names] for Ganga, in Skanda purana in Kasi canto! Bhagirati, Jhanhavi, Tripadaka, etc., are some of the names. Gam bhuvam gata iti ganga - since she reached this Earth from sky, she is Ganga! Today's [24th June 2009] lecture is from Hari-ki-pauri.
In this spot, daily in the evening Harati for Ganga is celebrated.
Thousands of people daily assemble and float leaf floats with lamps in it and worship Mother Ganga, shouting Ganga Mata ki jai! In Srimad Ramayana, Sri Rama, Sri Sita and Lakshmana, crossed many rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, etc., and went into forests. Everytime they crossed a river, Sri Sita would worship that river and after praising the glory of the river would pray to protect the country! Because of it, even now Ganga is taking care of our country! From Gangotri, Ganga flows to Hardwar, then to Kashi and then finally terminate at Hoogly near Kolkatta. She travels about 1560 Miles! She is thus an economic source for India. She reaches plains from a height of 13,000 Feet! Hardwar itself is 1,000 Feet above sea level. This place is the first step to reach Hari! It is the entrance to Hari! Among the Moksham granting cities, Maya denotes Hardwar! Now, we shall see sloka 8 of Chapter 17. This sloka is connected with Hardwar. Earlier, Arjuna asked a question in the beginning of the Chapter, as to what benefits would accrue to a person not following shastras, but doing karmas sincerely. Sri Krishna replied that no benefits would be reaped by him, as following shastras is the only way to get any benefit. Explaining further, the Lord said karmas done in accordance with shastras, would make available benefits according to the qualities of the persons performing. If the person performed karmas according to shastras, with satva quality, he would reap some benefits different from those performing with rajo or tamo qualities. Now the Lord explains what types of food liked by persons with satva quality; liked by persons with rajo quality; and, liked by persons with tamo qulaity. What type of reaction will be there if we take satvika food or rajasa food or tamasa food. What good or bad results would be there taking such foods? Here, Sri Krishna tells which types of food are liked by satva quality persons; which types of food would nurture satva quality in us; what benefits accrue to us by taking such foods? Satva quality flourishes because of Ganga Mata! According to puranas, on a shukla tridiyai in Vaisaka month Ganga reached Earth. So it is celebrated as Baisaki festival, when harvesting is done. It is the same day as Akshaya tridiyai in South! By seeing or bathing or drinking Ganga water, satva quality will grow in us! There are many sages and siddhas meditating on the banks of Ganga! That is because of satva quality! Like snow, satva is represented by white color; while red and black represent rajo and tamo qualities! Now, sloka 8:
rasyāḥ snigdhāḥ sthirā hṛdyā āhārāḥ sāttvikapriyāḥ 17.8
These foods are liked by persons with satva quality. Which are they? We should try to follow this. If our food is good, satva quality would grow and enable us to devote more on the Lord. Ayu = for longevity, satva = doing good for us, bala = strength by generating more prana vayu or oxygen and maintaining body temperature steadily, arogya = health, sukha = happiness, rasya snigdha sthira = food eaten is well digested and providing nutrients to the body, hrdya = pleasant looking, ahara = foods, satvikapriya = are liked by satva quality persons. Food with good appearance and smell, providing energy and strength to the body, would increase longevity and health, and are liked by persons with satva quality.