The Ganges, recently coming from the causal ocean, touching the lotus foot of Lord Vamanadeva, therefore it is considered to be purifying throughout all of the universe. In fact, Lord Siva, requested first to carry on his head. Therefore all of the different people, whether they’re Saivites or demigod worshipers or Visnu worshipers or everyone is respecting the Ganges as very sacred. Recently one of our life members, he was, told us about a friend of his who was a Muslim, who said that “When I am dying, don’t let anyone come in the room but secretly come in and pour Ganges water down my mouth. Put a tulasi on my chest.” So everyone is having great respect for the Ganges. In India you find that when someone dies and they are cremated, they bring the ashes and put them in the Ganges.
So this Ganges has got a certain purifying factor to take away or wash away the sinful reactions but the inclination to perform those sinful activities, that is not so easily washed away. Just like somebody may have committed so many crimes and then if he goes to the, he gets caught by the police and then if he makes a deal, pleads guilty on certain charges he can get all of the charges released just by serving one sentence and not contesting it in court. Well if one goes to the Ganges you can get relief from so many burdens but just like that criminal again the desire, once he gets out there is no guarantee that he won’t again commit further criminal activities. So even someone goes to the Ganges repeatedly there is no guarantee that the person will still not be inclined to perform unauthorized activities.
That’s why it is described that it is more auspicious and more purifying. Vidura was praised that “You are more than a holy place, you are a personified holy place.” by Maharaja Yudhisthira praised Vidura like that in the Bhagavatam because by the presence of the pure devotee of the Lord even the desire to perform materialistic activities is very quickly destroyed, very quickly it disappears. And instead the desire to render devotional service to the Lord is firmly established just by having association with pure devotees of the Lord.
‘sādhu-saṅga’, ‘sādhu-saṅga’ — sarva-śāstre kaya
lava-mātra sādhu-saṅge sarva-siddhi haya
H.H. Jayapataka Swami Maharaj
1984, 24th, April, SB Class, @ Miami, USA