Ganga: The River that Flows from Heaven to Earth

Excerpts & Samples

By Vatsala Sperling

Publisher : Inner Traditions/Bear & Company

ABOUT Vatsala Sperling

Vatsala Sperling
Vatsala Sperling, Ph.D., fluent in a number of Indian languages and Sanskrit, learned these traditional stories at her mother’s feet and enjoys introducing them to children of the Western world. Before marrying and moving to the United States, she was the chief of Clinical Microbiolo More...



Tells how the Hindu goddess Ganga came to Earth as the Ganges River

• Introduces children to one of the most beloved characters of Hindu mythology

• Illustrated throughout with full-color paintings in traditional Indian style

The Ganges River, which flows from the high reaches of the Himalayas all the way down to the Bay of Bengal, is sacred to the Hindu people, who consider it to be the earthly form of the goddess Ganga. The story of how Ganga was born, and how she became a river, tells of a journey from a place even higher than the Himalayan mountaintops--a journey from Heaven itself.

Born in a pot of sacred water, the baby Ganga grows into a beautiful and lighthearted girl, the darling of Heaven. But one day her sense of humor gets her in trouble. When grumpy Sage Durvasa is caught in a whirlwind that blows his clothes right off him, Ganga makes the mistake of laughing at him. In a rage, the sage puts a curse on her: “You must go to Earth as a river!” Ganga is heartbroken and begs the sage to forgive her. He can’t take back the curse, but seeing that she is truly sorry, he gives her a blessing as well: her water will purify the souls of men, releasing them from sin.

When Sage Baghirath prays to the gods to help him release the souls of his ancestors, Ganga comes tumbling from the sky and follows the sage across India, the river unfurling behind her. To this day millions of people take comfort in her healing waters, and Ganga, too, takes comfort in relieving their suffering.
"This book begins long before the birth of Ganga and then follows through her birth, her life, and ends with how she becomes a river saving the souls of hundreds. Beautifully written and lovingly illustrated, this hardcover book is a wonderful keepsake for any family interested in Indian Culture or in teaching their children about various pantheons."
The Pagan Review, Jan 09

"Illustrated with richly beautiful watercolor and tempura paints in the style of classic Indian art, Ganga: The River that Flows from Heaven to Earth is a wonderful addition to children's multicultural lore shelves."
The Midwest Book Review, Jan 09

"There is also a note to parents and teachers, explaining that althoughthis is a story about ethereal beings, it is also about ethics and values that human beings can attain. Author Vatsala Sperling also includes a page of the cast of characters with a drawing of each one, as well as the phonetic pronunciation of the name and a brief description of the character. This addition makes the characters more easily differentiated and understood."
Susan LosCalzo, New Age Retailer, Spring 2009