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As per wisdomlib :

In the Vana Parva of the Mahābhārata, the legend of Aṣṭāvakra is described in greater detail. On losing the game of dice with the Kauravas, the five Pāṇḍava princes and Draupadi are exiled for twelve years. On their pilgrimage, they meet the sage Lomaśa, who shows the river Samanga to Yudhiṣṭhira. Lomaśa says that this is the same river, on bathing in which the deformed Aṣṭāvakra was cured of his eight deformities.

I want to know about this river Samanga, since it cured Ashtavakra, my assumption is this river must be divine. So how did this river came into existence? Is there any story behind it?

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  • Thanks for the question i was worried for ashtavakra as i taught why such gnani would suffer of deformity by his dads curse in womb.. @TheLittleNaruto you bought relief to the taught.. – Prasanna R Feb 5 at 3:43
  • @PrasannaR Even I didn't know until I watched one YouTube video, that made me end up asking this question. :-) – TheLittleNaruto Feb 5 at 4:32
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Please see SECTION CXXXV of Mahabharata

Lomasa said, 'Here, O king, is visible the river Samanga, whose former name was Madhuvila, and yonder is the spot named Kardamila, the bathing place of Bharata. The lord of Sachi, when fallen into misery in consequence of having slain Vritra, became freed from his sin, by performing his ablutions in this Samanga. Here, O bull among men, is the spot where the Mainaka mountain hath sunk into the interior of the earth; and it is hence called Vinasana. For obtaining sons, here Aditi in days of yore had cooked that celebrated food, (presided over by the Supreme Being). O ye bulls among men, ascended this lofty mountain and put an end to your inglorious misery unworthy to be uttered. Here, O king, before thee is the Kanakhala range, the favourite resort of sages. 'And yonder is the mighty river Ganga.

Kardamila Kshetra is situated north of Haridwar.

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  • Thank you for the answer. But how this river came into existence? – TheLittleNaruto Feb 5 at 5:57
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According to Śrimad Vyāsa Mahābhārat 3.136.24 (Kumbakonam) the river was the sacrificial ground of Varuṇa Dev, where the Vāndin (son of Varuṇa Dev; the one who used to debate in the court of King Janaka) used to cast the Brāhmaṇa-s who were defeated by him in debate (which included, Śri Aṣṭāvakra's father) to commence a sacrifice in the river:

अहं पुत्रो वरुणस्योत राज्ञस्तत्रास सत्रं द्वादशवार्षिकं वै। सत्रेण ते जनक तुल्यकालं तदर्थं ते प्रहिता मे द्विजाग्र्याः ॥

~ Vāndin said: 'O King Janaka, I am the son of Varuṇa Dev. Simultaneously with your sacrifice, there also have commenced a sacrifice extending over twelve years. It is for this that I have dispatched the principal Brāhmaṇa-s to that place (the river). They have gone to witness Varuṇa Dev's sacrifice.'

When Śri Aṣṭāvakra defeated the Vāndin, he too kept the same condition to cast Vāndin into the river. And this was accepted by Vāndin; when all the Brāhmaṇa-s rose out of water, he also entered the the waters; 3.136.37:

समुत्थितेष्वथ सर्वेषु राजन विप्रेषु तेष्वधिकं सुप्रभेषु। अनुज्ञातो जनकेनाथ राज्ञा विवेश तोयं सागरस्योत वन्दी ॥

~ When in enhanced splendour, the Brāhmaṇa-s had risen up, Vāndin, taking King Janaka's permission, entered into the waters of the river.

And then Śri Aṣṭāvakra's father told his son to take a deep in the sacrificial waters; 3.136.39-40:

ततोऽष्टावक्रं मातुरथान्तिके पिता नदीं समङ्गां शीघ्रमिमां विशस्व। प्रोवाच चैनं स तथा विवेश समैरङ्गैश्चापि बभूव पुण्या ॥ नदी समङ्गा च बभूव पुण्या यस्यां स्नातो मुच्यते किल्बिषाद्धि। त्वमप्येनां स्नानपानावगाहैः सभ्रातृकः सहभार्यो विशश्व ॥

~ Then in the presence of his mother, his father addressed him, saying, '(O son), thou speedily enter into this river.' And accordingly, he entered (into the water). (And as he plunged beneath the water), all his (crooked) limbs were immediately made straight. And from that day that river came to be called Samaṅgā and she became invested with the virtues of purifying (sins). He that shall bathe in her, will be freed from his sins.'

(The river was divine and was capable to purify sins due to 12 years sacrifice of Varuṇa Dev which became more, when Śri Aṣṭāvakra of great knowledge took a deep and his limbs became straight and thus the river was called Samaṅgā which means, having all limbs complete and straight)

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