Shalmali [Canto 96-97]

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Shalmali [Canto 96-97]

While Bhagirath was descending from mount Himalaya along with heavenly river Ganga, he encountered a place where one Sage named Janhu was performing his Yagnya. Everything got destroyed by the impact of strong flow of Ganga. Angered Sage Janhu made Ganga vanish. Poor Bhagirath could not believe his eyes when all of a sudden roaring Ganga disappeared. He realised that this was the act of Sage Janhu and once again prayed Sage Janhu for many years. Ultimately, Sage Janhu let river Ganga out and since then river Ganga is named as Janhavi. Bhagirath took permission of Sage Janhu and marched towards the hermitage of Sage Kapil.

After some time, one great Sage Satyatapa came to the hermitage of Sage Janhu. Janhu welcomed him, offered him water to wash his feet and offered him place to sit. Satyatapa said “I have come all the way to inform you that you have attracted a most hideous sin by your act of vanishing God River Ganga and this will hinder your process of Moksha. Your hatred for Bhagirath should not have taken this form.”

Janhus realised his misdeed and asked for a way to redeem his dreadful sin. Sage Satyatapa said you should go to Gokarna realm, on South of Rudrayoni there is one pious river named Shalukini. You should construct a hermitage around two and half kilo meters from this river but within Gokarna realm and prey God River Ganga in a deity form.

This is the hermitage of Sage Janhu where he did severe Tapasya and pleased God River Ganga who appeared before him as a personification of a woman and freed the sin of Sage Janhu. Since then the river Shalukini is named as Gangavali-Shalmali. On Deepawali evening palanquin of Lord Mahabaleshwar comes here for marriage of Lord Mahabaleshwar with God River Ganga.