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In the Brahma and Narada Puranas it is said that Lord Shiva expanded into the form of a mountain igiri) associated with Lord Brahma (Brahmagiri) because Brahma cursed him to accept that form. Shiva brought the curse upon himself because he displayed outrageous anger in response to one of Brahma's tricks: Shiva cursed Brahma that no one would ever worship him anywhere in the world.Some time later Brahma instructed the sage Gautama and his wife Ahalya to visit Lord Shiva, who resided on Brahmagiri. The couple received from Lord Siva a place to live near Brahmagiri.Then Gautama Rishi's ashrama became famous. During a three-year drought throughout the earth, his fields were unaffected, and many people flocked to him for food and water. That kept the sage Gautama extremely busy. Sowing and harvesting crops, he distributed food to countless souls.One day a large cow entered his fields and began eating his crops. Gautama approached her with a handful of grass and threw it toward her to drive her away. The grass happened to hit the cow, and at that moment the cow appeared to drop dead. The sage had apparently killed her and thereby committed a horrible sin.When people learned of it, they refused to accept food and water from such a sinner. One sage named Ganesh Rishi told Gautama that he could purify himself only by taking bath in the water of the celestial Ganges River. He advised Gautama to ask Lord Shiva to send Ganga to earth.Gautama Rishi then performed austerity for 88,000 years. He kept his body and soul together only by breathing and did not eat or drink.When Ganga-devi heard of Gautama Rishi's plan, she decided to disturb the sage because she did not want to leave the company of Lord Shiva on Mount Kailash. She resided in his matted locks of hair. In fact, she possessed great beauty and charm and sometimes enjoyed intimate affairs with him. Lord Shiva's consort Parvati once discovered him and Ganga together. Parvati became furious and told her son Ganesh, who then devised a scheme to get rid of Ganga.Ganesh asked Varuna, the lord of water, to arrange the three-year drought. Then after disguising himself as Ganesh Rishi, Ganesh advised Gautama to bring Ganga to the earth to atone for killing the cow. Now Gautama was unknowingly part of the scheme to deprive Lord Shiva of Ganga's company.So Ganga-devi sent some heavenly damsels into the company of sage Gautama, but they could not break his determination. Then Ganga sent her companion Jatika, who possessed supernatural powers. She took the form of Gautama's wife, Ahalya, and appeared before Gautama, freshly bathed and ornamented to catch his attention.But the sage thought, "How can my wife allow passion to overcome Rama Dasa collecting Ganga water at the lotus feet ofGodavari-mayi in the Gangadwara shrine below Brahmagiri in Trimbak.
her commonsense?" By dint of his saintly power he saw through the ;disguise of Jatika and cursed her to become a river that would merge :with Ganga.Continuing his meditation, Gautama pleased Lord Shiva, who appeared before him and ordered Ganga to come out of his hair. When she refused, Shiva thrashed his locks of hair against a rock and forced .. Ganga to appear on top of Brahmagiri. Parvati and Ganesh were greatly pleased.Ganga was welcomed by demigods and sages, but as soon as Lord Shiva disappeared, she did too. She couldn't bear his separation. Gautama Rishi begged her to come back, and eventually his sincere prayers pleased her and she returned.But immediately the demon Kohlasura opened his mouth and drank all the Ganga water. The distressed Gautama pleaded to Parvati for her help, and she beheaded the demon.When Ganga finally requested Gautama to take his bath, he hesitated. After all, she was so exalted that she had resided on Lord Shiva's head. The humble sage prayed to Lord Vishnu for guidance. The Lord responded in His form as Varahadeva and said He was busy killing Hiranyaksha, but that He would later bathe in the Ganga Himself.Because Gautama hesitated to bathe, Ganga disappeared again. He search for her all around Brahmagiri and discovered her on the southwestern side. There he spread kusha grass along her banks and threatened to curse her if she disappeared once more. At last he bathed in her water and was absolved of the sin of killing a cow. The place where he spread the kusha grass is called Kushavarta.Gautama then sprinkled Ganga water on the cow, who revived and pardoned Gautama and disappeared. Because the river gave new life to the cow, she became known as Goda or Godavari-. She is also known as the Gautami-Ganga, after the sage.Every twelve years the Kumbha Mela in Nashik takes place very near the Godavari, thirty kilometers east of Bralimagiri. Lord Caitanya went to Brahmagiri and visited Kushavarta-tirtha, according to Cc, Madhya 9.317. Lord Nityananda visited the Godavari on two occasions.(Right:) Padayatra-lndia crossing the Bhima River (known here as the Chandrabhaga Nadi), just outside the abode of Sri Vitthala in Pandharpur Dhama. At Pandharpur, the
river forms a crescent moon, or chandrabhaga.(Above:) Kushavarta-tirtha, where Gautama Rishi's blades of grass made the Godavari stay. During Kumbha Melas the nectar falls here, and demigods and holy lakes and rivers assume various forms to bathe, as stated in the Shiva Purana.