Ganga enriches the spiritual lives of millions of Indians for whom the river is holy because river personifies goddess Ganga who descends to earth to cleanse the sins of the mankind. Residing in the kamandalu of Lord Brahma, Bhagwati Ganga, like Saraswati and Laxmi is one of the seven shaktis of the supreme goddess “mahamaya adishakti” (the original goddess).
The story goes far back when king Sagar, proud father of 60,001 sons ruled Bharat. The youths, so goes the legend, were so disrespectful to Kapil Muni, a holy man, while trying to trace the missing horse used in Ashwamedh yagna, that he reduced them to ashes with a withering look. On repeated repentance and requests by the sole surviving son of King Sagar - does Kapil Muni finally relent - King Sagar’s sons would attain liberation - only if their sinful remains are cleansed by the water of the goddess Ganga who resided in heaven.
Generation after generation do penance to appease Brahma but without success - and finally after much praying, pleading and “tapasya” (penance) by Bhagirath – the seventh generation of King Sagar, Ganga reluctantly consents to descend to earth. To contain its powerful fall, Lord Shiva steps in the way and lets the river tumble gently through his long hair onto the Himalayas.
Ganga then flows across Bharat to the edge of ocean, where she washes over the ashes and gives liberation - to the sons of King Sagar, an event commemorated even today. Ganga represents an innermost strain of pristine coolness, piety and purity. The river itself epitomizes all the characteristics India is known for: mythical, serene, all pervading and assimilative.
Ramanand Sagar’s ‘Jai Ganga Maiya’ is based on: Shreemad Devi Bhagwat / Shree Padma Mahapuran / Shree Bhagwat Mahapuran / Shree Durga Sapatashati / Shree Skand Mahapuran / Shree Vaman Mahapuran.
Others sources of inspiration include: His Holiness Shankaracharya / Maharishi Valmiki / Ved Vyas / Sant Tulsidas and also folk literature, popular legends of medieval and modern literature. The initial episodes of ‘Jai Ganga Maiya’ were preceded by a commentary by its maker Ramanand Sagar wherein he eulogizes the greatness of Ganga, a bridge between the past and present - past and future, quoting extensively from the modern day scholars like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Azad, Shankaracharya and Iqbal among others.
Year of telecast:
“Jai Ganga Maiya” was telecasted in 104 episodes on DD-2 Metro in the year 2003.
Direction and casting:
This serial was produced by Ramanand Sagar, Subhash Sagar under the banner of “Sagar Enterprises” and Prem Sagar and directed by Ramanand Sagar. Reena Kapoor played the lead role of Ganga.