The Mighty River
To showcase another account of my power -
Did you know that your body is approximately 60% water? Well, I do. I, Bhumi, am the one who gives you the refreshing water that you - and all living creatures - need to survive.
On a side note, water is a lot heavier than it looks. If you think that gallon jug of water you're holding is heavy, try holding a river. Say, the Ganges (Ganga) River.
The holy waters of the great Ganga had a little trouble getting down to the Earth. There was once a king named King Sagara, who had sixty thousand sons. He wished to perform a horse sacrifice to ensure the welfare of his kingdom, but that one "god" named Indra became jealous and stole the horse and tied it up by a sage named Kapil. When King Sagara's sons went to go search for it, they found it tied near the meditating sage, and assumed that the sage had stolen it.
Oh, Indra. Why they call him the "king of the gods," I don't know - which is funny, because I, as the Goddess, actually know all.
Continuing the story, however, all of King Sagara's sons became angry and charged at the sage, accusing him of stealing the horse. This disturbed the sage's penance, and, when he opened his eyes, he reduced all but one of the king's sons to ash. The one son that was spared was named Anshuman, who prostrated himself before sage and begged for forgiveness for himself and his brothers. Sage Kapila told him that the only way he could be forgiven was by bathing in the purifying waters of Goddess Ganga (another form of me, the Supreme Goddess) to save him. At that time, the Ganga River was not yet a part of the Earth.
Anshuman remained ascetic and devotedly prayed to Brahma for hundreds of years, but he was not successful. So, he relegated his task to his son Dilipa, who was also not successful. It was the devotion and asceticism of Dilipa's son Bhagiratha that managed to please Brahma, who granted Bhagiratha a boon. Of course, Bhagiratha asked for the waters of Ganga to be let onto Earth so that his curse may be lifted. Being the wonderful chivalric male that my friend Brahma was, he agreed to the boon and ordered Ganga to descend upon the Earth. It didn't really please Ganga that Brahma ordered her around like that, so she took it as insult. In her fury, she decided to descend upon the Earth (me, Bhumi) from the heavens with enough force to completely destroy it.
Now, note that Ganga (just like me) is also a form of the Goddess. I am Ganga, and I am also Bhumi. I am the Supreme Being of the universe, and all goes by my order. So, as you may have guessed, everything that happened was all planned. Oops, spoilers again.
On one hand, there was me (Bhumi) terrified and awaiting my doom. On the other hand, there was Ganga (also me), eagerly awaiting to destroy the Earth in her (my) fury. For a moment, it seemed like all life and all civilization was getting ready to be drowned out. All the creatures of the Earth cried out in alarm as they saw their impending doom fall from the heavens - ironically, in the form of purifying waters.
So, in came the majestic savior: Lord Shiva. Hearing the pleas of his devotees, he appeared on the Earth, his matted hair spread wide. He caught the furious waters of the Ganga in his matted hair, saving me and all my creatures from doom. Compassionately, however, he still decided to grace the Earth with Ganga's waters by releasing them in seven streams - the same seven streams that constitute the tributaries of the Ganges today. To this day, people pray to Shiva as the savior of the Earth and the one who tamed an angry Ganga.
The reality? It was all a show. I felt unfair having given Vishnu so much spotlight in his incarnation as Varaha (see the previous story), so I decided it would be fair to give Shiva some spotlight too. Poor guy...he spends too much time locked away in his abode on Mount Kailash. He seemed like he needed something to do.
It was by my will that everything happened. I showcased the potential of my fury through myself as Ganga, the potential devastation that could occur through myself as Bhumi, and my mercy through what I allowed Shiva to do. Few realize my role in the latter.
Don't underestimate me.
Author's Note: This week's story was based off of the story of Shiva and Ganga. The original story closely follows the order of events depicted here: the jealousy of Indra catalyzes a multi-generation attempt by the progeny of King Sagara to attain salvation. In my rendition, however, I emphasized the role of the Supreme Goddess in orchestrating these events - everything, from Indra's jealousy to Brahma's boon is depicted to be orchestrated by the all-powerful Goddess. Thus, I made it seem as if both Ganga and Bhumi were part of one entity, and the purpose of the episode was to give Shiva spotlight, even though his actions were planned by the Goddess's all along. One notable difference between this story and the last is that while the last story was told entirely through Bhumi's perspective, I slightly blur the distinction between Bhumi and the Supreme Goddess in general as the narrator in this story. To connecting this story with my other ones, I am hoping that this showcasing of the great power of Bhumi will foreshadow how she reacts to Rama mistreating Sita. She will be depicting that, despite the fact that Rama is an incarnation of Vishnu, it is ultimately Bhumi as the Supreme Goddess that has power and jurisdiction over all.
Bibliography: "The Story of the Lord Shiva and the Goddess Ganga" by Kyle Tortora. Source.
A GIF depicting Shiva with a gentle stream of the river Ganga coming out of his head. Source.