An Empty Vessel receives the Ganga

As the student goes deeper into yogic practices he realizes there are two aspects to the movement of energy. The first is the ascent of energy from the lower yogic centers into the higher ones, which requires hard practice on the part of the student. Normally this energy is wasted in daydreams and negative emotions. The student works hard to stop these leakages and then practices techniques to take the energy upwards. The second is the descent of knowledge from higher forces, which requires the student to be free of all accumulated knowledge or information that he has gathered. The student has to drop all the baggage he has accumulated so that he can become free and receptive to higher knowledge. The descent of the River Ganga from the heavens is symbolic of the disciple receiving higher knowledge when he is ready.  

In our previous story, we saw that Saagar’s sixty thousand sons were born out of pumpkin seeds. The pumpkin is symbolic of the underworld or the subconscious mind where all our habits and conditioning is stored. Thus these sixty thousand represent the knowledge of the conditioned mind or information. As we see in the story Lord Shiva had said that they will die of a curse given by a Rishi. Initially, knowledge is necessary and so these sixty thousand dig up the earth and prepare a pathway to its core. Here they encounter the Rishi Kapila whose perception reduces them to ashes.

In yoga, the core of the body-brain system is known as Muladhara. In the Muladhara sits the rishi Kapila. The word comes from the root ‘kamp’—to shake. The Muladhara vibrates at a very high frequency. Yogis know that it is this vibration which is the source of all energy. Here there is perpetual motion. It is these vibrations which sustain our breathing and all body functions.

Once the Rishi burns Saagar’s sixty thousand sons, Saagar requests his grandson, Anshuman to retrieve the sacrificial horse. Anshuman means ‘a ray of light’. This is the moment the yogi is waiting for; when his inner vision opens and he is able to send a ray of light to the source of energy. Anshuman is the son of Asamanjas who Sagar had banished from his kingdom. The word Asamanjas means ‘chaos’. At present, our attention is fragmented and in chaos. Through practice we can make it steady and one pointed or Anshuman. Each one of us has to banish this chaos from our body-brain kingdom in order to proceed further on the path.

Anshuman succeeds Saagar as King and later his grandson Bhagiratha performs severe austerities which bring Ganga to the earth. The word Bhag means ‘prosperous’. The meaning being, the prosperous chariot, or the vehicle of prosperity. In these moments when we are free of all borrowed knowledge, there is a descent of intelligence or higher knowledge called Ganga. When we hear the stories of most scientific discoveries we will see that something came as a flash to those scientists in moments such as these.

Thus, the student reaches the core of his being, allows all borrowed knowledge to die and then becomes an empty vessel that can receive and be filled with higher knowledge.