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Many people believe that Ganga married Shiva. Shiva married Parvati because she meditated him. He had a union with Mohini so as to ensure that Ayyappa is born. What is the story of why Shiva married Ganga?

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    "Shiva married Parvati because she meditated him."It is not like that.Shiva and Shakti are inseparable .But at the time of first creation they were separated.That caused intolerable suffering to Shiva.Adi Sakti hence re incarnated as Parvati(Gowri) & rejoined Shiva permanently . – Rickross Feb 20 '16 at 5:55
  • Shiva married Parvati because Adi Shakti was separated by Lord Brahma during creation as world was devoid of love. Siva- Sakti or SadaSiva, separated His half and gave Sakti to Brahma to create female species and thus people replicated with help of love. Brahma took the responsibility of marriage of Shiva (he wanted to unite them again) as that would complete task of creation. Shiva carries Ganga in his matted hair. I'm not sure of scriptures which really say Shiva married Ganga. – The Destroyer Feb 20 '16 at 6:49
  • @AnilKumar I am not asking for scriptures that say that Shiva and Ganga married(although if they existed it would be great).I am just asking the reason behind their marriage.Even if you say that they did not get married,lots of other people do.What is the reason they married according to them? – user4627 Feb 20 '16 at 7:44
  • I heard that there is reference to the marriage in the Skanda purana . However,I do not have access to the puranas.Can someone post the part where the marriage is shown and explain why they married according to purana? – user4627 Feb 20 '16 at 7:51
  • @KVickneshvara First you should confirm if scriptures mention such a marriage at all.Its only after that you can ask for reasons.:)AFAIK,Ganga was attracted towards Lord Shiva but since the marriage was out of question Lord Shiva denied the proposal.Lord Shiva is only married to Goddess Parvati. – Rickross Feb 20 '16 at 8:07
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According to the book Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic, by W.J. Wilkins:

The Vaishnavas of Bengal have a popular legend that she was the wife of Vishnu, as were also Lakshmi and Gangā. The ladies disagreed [....] and Vishnu, finding that one wife was as much as even a god could manage, transferred Sarasvati to Brahmā and Gangā to Siva, and contented himself with Lakshmi alone.

The story actually comes from the Devi Puran Book 9 Chapter 6:

16-21. Nârâyana said :-- Hear, O Nârada! I will now describe that incident, the hearing of which removes all the sins. Laksmî, Sarasvatî and Gangâ, the three wives of Hari and all equally loved, remain always close to Hari. One day Gangâ cast side-long glances frequently towards Nârâyana and was eagerly looking at Him, with smile on Her lips. Seeing this, the Lord Nârâyana, startled and looked at Gangâ and smiled also. Laksmî saw that, but she did not take any offence. But Sarasvatî became very angry.

Lord Vishnu perhaps realizing that he should best remain out of a the argument left the place and then started the curses and counter curses. Saraswati tried to attack Ganga but Lakshmi intervened so she got cursed by the former to turn into a river. Seeing this Ganga gets angry and curses Saraswati:

39-44. Thus saying, Gangâ became ready to curse Sarasvatî and addressing Laksmî, said :-- “O Dear Padme! As that woman has cursed you to become a river, so I too curse her, that she, too, be turned into a river and she would go to the abode of men, the sinners, to the world and take their heaps of sins.”

Hearing this curse of Gangâ, Sarasvatî gave her curse, “You, too, will have to descend into the Bhurloka (the world) as a river, taking all the sins of the sinners.”

By the end of the argument the three goddesses have managed to get cursed by each other. When all the action is over Lord Vishnu returns and tells them that they would all have to be born as rivers on earth as a consequence of their curses:

O Bharatî! Let you go also and incarnate in part in Bhârata under the curse of Gangâ. O Good-natured One! Now go in full Amsas to Brahmâ and become His wife. Let Gangâ go also in Her fullness to S'iva. Let Padmâ remain with Me. Padmâ is of a peaceful nature, void of anger, devoted to Me and of a Sâttvika nature.

This is how Lord Shiva ends up marrying Ganga.

  • Do you happen to know why the Tamils say that Ganga is married to Shiva? – user4627 Jan 12 '18 at 5:31
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    Hmm not sure about the local beliefs can only answer from the scriptures :) – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Jan 12 '18 at 7:01

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