Home » Gautama Maharishi – The Creator Of Godavari River
Gautama Maharishi - The Creator Of Godavari River

Gautama Maharishi – The Creator Of Godavari River

Creator of the river Godavari, Gautama Maharishi is one of the most revered rishis and in fact one of the Saptarishi as well in the Indian culture.  He is also known as Vamadeva Gautama in Rigveda. He has been prominently mentioned in Jainism and Buddhism as well. His father is Rahugana/Gotama and his wife is Ahalya. He is the founder of the Vamadeva family. Mandala 4 of Rig Veda describes him as Maharishi Vamadeva Gautama.

He is very famous for various stories. Two of them are prominently known to the world – the creation of the Godavari river and the curse of Ahalya. Let us first understand the story of the Godavari river’s creation.

Kotirudra Samhita in the Shiva Purana describes the story of the Godavari river’s creation. On the Brahmagiri mountain, the mind-son of Brahma, Gautama Maharishi was engrossed in penance and meditation. There was a drought in that area for a hundred whole years and hence crops could not grow there. For the goodness and wellness of the residents of that area, Gautama Maharishi started meditating in a direction to impress the god of the ocean, Varuna.

Varuna appears to Gautama after six months of his penance. Varuna denies the request of Maharishi Gautama as it would be against the wishes of the other gods who have made this happen in the area. Gautama wisely asked for a permanent result for water in this area to which Varuna asked him to dig a ditch. Varuna filled the ditch with water. Residents in the area were very happy with this. They started planting crops and enjoying the source of water.

One fine day Gautama sends his disciples to get water. The wives of other rishis demand to get the water first. The disciples come back and complain to Ahalya, wife of Gautama. Ahalya then goes to the water body and collects water before anyone else can. Rishis and their wives get angry at this incident and decide to take revenge. They pray to Lord Ganesha to appear in front of them and demand him to make Gautama leave the hermitage. Ganesha explains to them that Gautama Maharishi has done good to all of you and everyone must think calmly and not intend to hurt or harm anyone for a petty incident. Rishis insisted that Ganesha take action.

Lord Ganesha took the form of a cow and started eating the crops from Gautama’s field. To avoid the cow from destroying all his crops, Gautama throws grass at it. As soon as the grass touches the cow, he falls dead. Gautama is petrified that he has performed Gohatya. Gohatya according to Hindu traditions is the most punishable sin which knows no mercy since a cow is considered equivalent to a mother. He leaves his hermitage along with his wife and gets involved in circumambulating the mountains of Brahmagiri. He had to confess his sin to everyone he met and make lingams to worship Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva finally appears around him and tells him that he did not commit any sin. Gautama Maharishi is a great sage and he would continue to be that. Gautama requests Lord Shiva to bring Ganga here and purify him and other people of their sins.

Ganga agrees to stay only if Shiva manifests himself in that area which gave rise to Trymbakeshwara and twelve jyotirlingas. She was known as Gautami, a name arising from Gautama and later came to be known as the Godavari.

Ramayana tells the story of Ahalya’s curse. Lord Brahma created a beautiful girl and gifted it to Gautama as his bride. Indra was fascinated by Gautama’s wife Ahalya and appeared to her in the form of Gautama. He made love to her but while escaping was caught by Gautama. Maharishi Gautama cursed both of them for this act. Ahalya was turned into a stone and Indra was cursed with 1000 female genitals. Taking pity on them, he turned these curses into boons. Indra was given 1000 eyes while Ahalya was said to be brought back to human form on the touch of Lord Rama’s feet. She would then reunite with the Maharishi.

Click here to read about Vashishtha – The Wise Rival Of Sage Vishvamitra.

Mytho World

Welcome to the world of Indian Mythology!

Post navigation


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *