Saturday, February 2, 2008

SETHU – The first TarpaNam at the GANGES was done here!

No Aryan - Dravidian divide - it was one Aryavartha - (9)

The 60,000 sons of Sagara were made as a mound of ashes!

They died after excavating the earth on the eastern side of the present day India,

to an extent of more than 60,000 square yojanas (yojana = 8 miles),

- each of them digging out 1 square yojana of the ground

up to the layer called Rasaatala.

Rasaatala is the 6th layer below the earth.

Rasaatala is usually considered as one of the 7 hells.

According Hindu texts,

there are 7 layers below the earth characterized as hells

And 7 layers above the earth characterized as heavens.

Though not much can be understood about them

from other ancient texts,

the description found in Valmiki Ramayana

gives a better picture.

It is that the 7 hells are nothing but

the 7 layers of earth underneath the surface of the earth.

The successive layers are known as

Atala, vitala, sutala, talaatala, mahaatala, rasaatala and paatala.

Ramayana says that the Sagaras dug up to the surface of Rasaatala, the 6th layer.

This means that they had removed the top 5 layers.

Vishwamithra says,

"Oh, Rama, the legatee of Raghu's dynasty,

thus sixty thousand square yojana-s of the earth is dug over,

so as to make the earth's outermost plane as the unsurpassed rasaa tala,

the sixth subterranean and the nethermost plane. [1-39-21]”

The paatala is said to be the inner most layer covering the mantle.

There serpents like Vaasuki reside.

The Inner most of all these, far inside the centre

resides the 1000 hooded serpent, Ananthan.

Ananthan bears the world!

This is the symbolism of the 7 hells of the Hindu belief

The inner most iron core of the earth is characterised as Ananthan,

or Adhi sesha, who is pivotal to the existence of this earth.

That is why he is said to bear the world on his shoulders.

He is never said to shake his body.

If he shakes, the world will be destroyed!

Whereas from the Paataala upwards, the shaking up happens once in a while.

The Serpents at the Paatala,

the layer that coincides with the Mantle of the earth,

may rise up in fury once in a while

and erupt as volcanic flows.

The layer above this Paatala is Rasaatala.

The Sagaras did not disturb this layer but excavated till the outer surface of this layer.

(It is possible to ascertain the depth of the excavation!)

They also did not disturb the edges of the tectonic plates

whenever they had encountered them.

With such care, they dug a huge trough

before dying.

On seeing no sign of return of his sons,

Sagara sent his grandson Amshuman,

born to his other son, Asamanja,

to search for his sons and the horse as well.

Amshuman went through the excavated land and

reached the place where he found them as ashes.

The aggrieved Amshuman wanted to offer water oblations

to his departed Paternal uncles.

But there was no water anywhere around that place.

It was then, Garuda, his maternal uncle and Vishnu’s carrier

appeared and advised him to bring the Ganges to immerse the ashes,

so that they can reach heaven.

Garuda told Amshuman,

" 'Oh, best one among men, River Ganga is the elder daughter of Himavanta,

and oh, dextrous one, you have to offer water-oblation

to the departed paternal-uncles of yours in her waters,

namely the holy waters of River Ganga. [1-41-19]

'World purifier River Ganga will drift them

who are rendered as mounds of ashes to heaven,

and when she who is much adored by all worlds drenches this ash,

that River Ganga herself will lead the sixty-thousand sons of Sagara to heaven. [1-41-20]”

Amshuman went back with this information.

He could not bring the Ganga.

Nor his son Dileepa could bring her.

Bhageeratha, Dileepa’s son succeeded in bringing her down to the earth.

The Ganga followed him in the land and

When he entered the land excavated up to Rasaatala,

she too fell into that

and followed him

throughout the excavated land.

When he reached the place of the mound of ashes of the Sagaras,

the Holy Ganga

drenched the ashes for the first time in her journey!!

When the ashes got immersed in the waters of the Ganga,

the Sagaras crossed the sea of mortality and reached the Heavens.

The Four-faced creator Brahma appeared then and said,

" 'Henceforth heavenly Ganga will be renowned as


and 'Bhaageerathi,' as well,

and as this river is sanctifying three worlds,

namely, svarga, bhuu, paataala loka-s,

'heaven, earth and netherworld'

she will be remembered as the traveller on triple path. [1-44-6]”

Brahma told Bhageeratha to offer water oblations

to the departed Great grand parents, the 60,000 Sagaras,

by the waters of the Ganga.

The first TarpaNam at the Ganges

was thus done at the place where the Sagaras were rendered as ashes!

Brahma also asked Bhageeratha to take a dip at the Ganga at that place

so that he would be purified of sins and his merits can be fructified.

Bhageeratha was asked to perform water oblations

to the other forefathers and other departed souls too

before going back to his kingdom.

And after doing it, he went back.

But the Ganga continued to flood the excavated land

Spread over more than 60,000 square yojanas.

From this point on earth,

her glory went towards the land, where she flowed from the Himachala.

Aa Sethu Himachala –

this exactly depicts the path of glory of the Ganga from Sethu

back to her place of birth, the Himalayas!

It was only after the first tarpaNam here at Sethu,

the other places on her course started receiving the importance of holiness.

The question may be asked,

How this place is identified as Sethu?

The foremost justification is that the present sea in the east of India,

called Bay of Bengal was the one excavated by the Sagaras.

While at three places this information is recorded in Valmiki Ramayana

(written in earlier posts in this series),

the PuranaanUru verse on Pandyan Pal Yaaga shaalai Mudu kudumi Peruvazhuthi,

also has mentioned it,

“ gunaa adu karai poru thodu kadal guNAkkum”

The word “thodu” is said to signify ‘ThONdappatta” (dug )

(sagararaal thONdappattamaiyin, ‘thodu kadal’ endraar –

this expression is also found in Villi Bharatham written by PerundEvanaar)

This kadal or sea was in the east of Pandyan kingdom

where the river

PahruLi was following.

Therefore this sea drained by the Ganga was flowing

beyond the present day southern tip of India.

Now having ascertained that the Bay of Bengal was

indeed the Ganga Sagar,

we must look for the place where the first tarpaNam was done.

The only place in the east coast of India

which is considered as a holy place for doing

water oblations to departed ones

is the Agni theertham at Rameshwaram!

The path taken by the Ganga from the Himalayas

to this place traces the shape of a Dhanush (bow)

and the tip of the bow coinciding this place came to be known as

Dhanush koTi! (The extreme point of the bow)

The Ganga ran off

and she can be lost into the Then kadal – the sea of the South,

namely the Indian Ocean.

And she was running so for years,

until she was stopped

at the place of mound of ashes,

by the descendant of the Sagaras,

namely, Rama

who built a bund (Sethu)

- a well-packed bund (Sethu Bhandhana)

by which he not only crossed the sea,

but also favoured the mankind to come,

to offer their oblations at the Ganga water

that was stopped there by the Sethu!

And from Sethu to Himalayas her glory can be traced!!

Any analysis needs to be supported by cross references.

We will also look into cross-references,

to unequivocally establish


the Sethu or Dhanush koTi

and along with it Rameshwaram

find an integral part in the

way of life of all people of Aryavartha,

which extended till the Pandyan kingdom

in the now sub-merged Indian ocean!

(to be continued)

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