Goutami Ganga or Godavari - Story of Maharshi Goutama and Lord Ganesh
Part of the water of the Ganga that got stuck in Shiva’s hair was brought down to bhoomi by Bhagiratha. The remaining part was brought down by the sage Goutama. But how and why???
Parvati was married to Shiva, but Shiva seemed to be fond of Ganga also. Parvati resolved that a way had to be found to remove Ganga from Shiva’s kesham. She tried persuasion, but Shiva refused to listen.
At the time, there was a terrible baragaalam on bhoomi which went on for fourteen years. The only pradesham that was not affected by the baragaalam was the Maharshi Goutama’s ashramam. Other then Maharshi Goutama's praja, even outside praja also gathered in the ashramam to save themselves from the baragaalam and Goutama made swagatam of them all. Lord Ganesha thought that he might be able to devise a way to free his maata of the Ganga problem. He went and began to live in Goutama’s ashramam.
Ganesha cultivated the snehitam of the other sages and became quite friendly with them.
One of Parvati’s companions were Jaya. Ganesha told Jaya that she was to adopt the form of a Go (cow) and up the dhanyam in Goutama’s kshatram. And the samayam she was struck, she was to lie down on the bhoomi and do naatyam as a mrityu shariram.
Goutama noticed that a Go was having his dhanyam as bhojanam. He tried to drive away the Go by striking with a blade of grass. As soon as he did this, the Go uttered a shrill below and fell down on the bhoomi. Ganesh and the other munis came running to see what had happened. They discovered that, to all intents and purposes, a Go had been struck down dead by Maharshi Goutama. They therefore refused to stay in an ashramam where such a paapam had been committed.
Maharshi Goutama tried to restrain them. Please do not go away and make don't do tyagam of me, he said. Tell me how I may perform tapasya for the same and to get out of this paristiti.
You will have to bring down Ganga from Shiva’s jattha (hair), replied Ganesha. When that jalam touches the mruta deham of the Go, your paapam will be forgiven.
Ganesha was so friendly with the other rushis that they all accepted his solution. Goutama also agreed to do the avashya karyam (needful).
Accordingly, Goutama went to Kailasa Parvatam and began to do prarthana to Shiva. Shiva was pleased at Goutama’s tapasya and offered to grant an aashirvaadam. Goutama naturally wanted the aashirvaadam that Ganga might be brought down to earth. Shiva agreed. It was thus that Ganga was brought down to earth by the Maharshi Goutama. Ganga has four upanadi in swargam, seven on bhoomi and four in the paataalam. Since it was Goutama who brought Ganga down to bhoomi again (first it was Bhagiratha), the river is also known as Goutami Ganga or since Maharshi Gowtama had killed a Go it is also called Godaavari.
OM NAMO NARAYANAYA