From time immemorial Ganga Maiyya (mother Ganges) has stood for purity, purity of the body, mind, spirit. Worshipped across India for its elevating, purifying and life giving waters. Every Hindu home cherishes the water that never putrefies even when stored for years! Mystical stories abound and are common knowledge about the descent of the holy Ganges from the heavens, but they, as all spiritual literature  the world over, needs unravelling by knowledgeable saints. Spurting from the toe of Vishnu, being held in Shiva’s locks, then falling softly on the earth, this seems rather incomprehensible. Ganga is a manifestation of gyaan (knowledge), which is often referred to as “gyaan Ganga” the flow of the knowledge of the Supreme Reality. This knowledge, “Brahma Gyaan” is  mindblowing. It strikes the receiver with a devastating force that destroys all his old ideas of the world’s reality and replaces them with a new concept of reality to which he awakens for the first time. He discards his old ways of thinking and living and is a metamorphosed human being. Such a being is thereafter referred to as. “Dwij” ( the twice born), once from the mother’s womb and then from the womb of knowledge of the Supreme Reality, as a transformed human being. Just as the waker destroys the dreamworld along with the dreamer, as soon as he becomes the waker! Gyaan Ganga, the stream of knowledge that has a divine source, (Vishnu Paad) has to be stored in the head of the teacher (Shiva’s locks) from where it flows gently as a trickle at first for all mankind to benefit from, when they reach this heavenly flow. Falling with full force, it may destroy the perceiver along with his perceived world! So the Adi Guru represented by Shankara dams the flow in his locks, then releases it softly to reach humanity. A sudden exposure to the knowledge of the Supreme  Reality can blast an unprepared mind with its force. It should reach man gently, purifying the mind of all its negativities and bathing it clean and ready to receive Supreme Divinity.