Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Ganges' Power to Soothe

There really is something magical about the Ganges. It's been spoken and sung about for centuries, and I never could understand what was so special about it, till the first time I got to see the river cascading between the pebbly banks, flanked by the Himalayan ranges, in Rishikesh.

This is a story I read long back in some magazine. Whether it is just folklore or whether it is history, I do not know. But after seeing the Ganges at twilight I am tempted to believe that this may have been a true incident!

It is said that on a full moon night, with a clear sky, and the Ganges flowing down with all her grace and glory, a king and his subjects were seated on the river bank, listening to the court musicians perform, deeply immersed in the beauty of nature. The whole scene resonated peace.

At that time, a messenger announcing the arrival of an enemy king to take over the kingdom, interrupted the king. The king promptly replied that such mundane things could be settled in the morning. He even extended an invitation to the invading king to join them, provided he does so silently without disturbing the beauty and silence of the night.

The enemy king, who was all prepared for war was overcome by surprise on being informed of the king’s reply, and accepted the invitation. On quietly joining the concert, he was so moved by the sight of the king and his subjects meditating to the heavenly music, and humbled by the beauty of nature he apologised and withdrew with his troops.

You must experience the charm of the Ganges meandering through the Himalayas, to believe this.

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