And the Ganges flows from his head down into the world
The river Ganges is very sacred to the Hindus. Those who take a
dip in the river are said to be ridden of all their sins and
It is believed that the river used to flow in the heavens till
the sage, Bhageerath, made severe penances and directed its flow
towards the earth to save his 60000 ancestors who were lying in
the nether world (patala) in a heap of ashes due to a curse
delivered by sage Kapila.
Since earth was not yet prepared to withstand the impact of
its downward descent, Lord Siva came forward to allow it to fall
on His head first and then flow down towards the earth. He also
made the Ganges His permanent companion. Three of them flowed
west and three east. The remaining seventh stream followed
Bhageerath to the nether worlds and helped all his ancestors from
damnation. The river is eternal and said to reward immortality to
those who come into contact with it.
Symbolically, on the earth plane, the river stands for divine
consciousness. It descended into the earth consciousness through
the efforts of sage Bhageerath.
Being divine consciousness, who ever immerses himself in it
becomes immortal. It is eternal because it is the highest
consciousness, which human beings are capable of attaining during
their spiritual endeavor.
In the body plane, the story of Ganga reveals the divine
origin of kundalini and its descent through the various chakras
of the body into the lowest chakra, the muladhara corresponding
to the patala regions of the world, where it remains coiled like
a serpent till it ascends again into the higher chakras during
ones spiritual sadhana.
If we interpret the word Bhageerath as
"bhaga"+"rathi" it means he who rides bhaga
(the reproductive organ) which is the place where the kundalini
ordinarily remains in a coiled state. Probably the sons of Sagara
whom sage Bhagirath rescued correspond to the various nerve
centers in that region.
The divine consciousness thus entering into earth plane (human
body) through Lord Siva made spiritual evolution possible on
earth as well in human body.
The second interpretation is that Ganga symbolically
represents a particular branch of divine and esoteric knowledge
with the powers to elevate the dead as well as the living towards
heavens, with the strength of its purity and illumination, which
was probably not available to the mankind, till sage Bhagirath
tried to bring it down into human awareness through his devotion
and surrender to Lord Siva, who ultimately helped him to receive
it and help his ancestors attain immortality.