Gaumukh, bringing the Ganges home
||Om Aham Gangai Mata Namaskaromi||
Gaumukh is the source of the river Bhagirathi that flows from the melting glacier feeding the Ganges as it heads out towards earth, towards Bhuloka into our world. It is a silent world of purity where the pranava mantra(Om) echoes in the stream, in its ripples and within the walls of the cave through which she flows. The air is fresh, cold, and pure, awakening our senses towards its presence in the winds that dance among the rocks in this little paradise. There is silence, peace and tranquility here as I sit among these rocks and close my eyes, listening intently to the sounds in this world, in this realm of life that is so rare to find.
The smoothness of the rock echoes the gentleness of the damsel as she dances her way down from the heavy locks of Lord Shiva's jatas into the realm of mankind. The tiny pebbles scattered around bring alive the shimmering jewelery that toss around her waist, emphasizing the feminine beauty she carries with herself. The ripples of the melting stream bring music in the mind, music that feel like the sweet sound of a damsel's anklets. The white snow brings alive the beauty in her veil, in her drapes that blanket the glacier. The shimmering sunlight in the waters glow like the necklaces and jewelery that adorn her form and the constant echo of stream awaken the vibrant presence of her sweet voice among these cave walls.As the beautiful words of Adi Shankara flow:
Mano nivruthi paramopa santhi
Sa theerthavarya mani karnika cha|
Gnana pravaha vimaladhi ganga
Saa kasikaham nija bodha roopa||
I am that kasika, which is the form of,
The real knowledge of the soul,
Which is pacifier of the mind,
Which is the greatest consolation,
Which is mani karnika among the holy waters,
And which is the clear flow of knowledge, the Ganga
She is here, she lives here and her ever shining presence brings calm to this world, washing away sins committed, releasing souls to the heavenly abode of Kailasa and keeping the sacred energy of the shrines of Lord Shiva alive as they are bathed in her waters. She is the personification of divine knowledge, she is the spiritual beauty that flows through the heart of the land, this dharma kshetra as Mani Karnika. This is the Ganges, her beauty and her purity that is so pronounced in this world as she descends from her mountainous heavenly abode to purify us.
Gaumukha, that which resembles the face of the cow, the gentleness of the cow and its enchanting beauty can be brought to live within the four walls of our homes. Gaumukha's real beauty, its experience and the enchanting sounds that reveal this celestial world of the Gods, of the river Goddess, of the Devas, of the great abode of Kailasa can be brought into our world, into our homes to be worshiped, to reside and to bless us when living at Gaumukh looks and feels so impossible.
How do we bring this divine experience home? How do we pray for this peace in our busy lives. How do we bridge the gap between that almost disappearing celestial world and ours that echoes of chaos and noise?
Gaumukha Shankha, the divine shell that resembles the face of a cow brings with it divinity that belongs to the heavens. Gaumukha Shankha by nature is so pure and sacred that it blesses the home in which it rests with peace and tranquility, that which is felt at the very feet of Bhagirathi, at the source of the Ganges. How beautiful it is, how strong the experience to realize that the beauty of Gaumukh at the seat of the Himalayas is reborn in the depths of the ocean in a mollusk. How tranquil is the feeling of holding the Shankha close to the ears to listen to the mystical sounds of Gaumukh constantly reverberating within its walls. How pure is the home that is sprinkled with water, fragrant with tulsi that has blessed the water within this Shankha through the day and the night.
Oh son of the ocean, from whose depths the divine Gods have raised you to give us a path to heaven, from whose self one can listen to the constant vibrant presence of the Ganges, I live to listen to the sounds of eternal bliss, to the pranava mantra that constantly vibrates within your walls. Its not the sound of the sea within yourself I hear, it is the music of the Ganges, the music of her waters, the music of her anklets, the music of the mystical penance that sage Bhagirathi performed to bring her down to earth.
As I descend into worship of the great Lord Shiva, as I place pure flowers at the feet of the Gaumukha shankha I raise the divine light in Arti, wondering with amazement over the many ways the Lord makes his presence felt within my humble home, within my heart and within my mind. Oh pure Ganga, who is imbibed in the water within this shell, who blesses the home where this shankha resides, I bow to you divine mother for considering my home, my world capable of being your earthly abode.
Other posts on the Ganges:
Potency of Lord Shiva
Scindhia Ghat, life with the Ganges, Varanasi
Worship at Shiva temple: Ahilyabai Ghat, Varanasi
From Giza and Varanasi to the Milky Way galaxy
Taraka Mantra - Passage to heaven
Manikarnika Ghat: Where life meets the world beyond
Enlightenment on the streets of Varanasi
Varanasi – Along the Ganges