Sunday, 9 June 2013

Kashi Viswanath

 It is the city of  temple town with 3500 years of  documented history and hence is the oldest living city of the world. People who live here attain Mukti though they didn’t visit any other sacred place. It is holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism.It is temple of the lord of gods Shri Kashi Vishweswara swamy well known as the Golden temple of India. It enshrines one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. It is located on the bank of Holy river Ganga in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Hindus believe that a visit once in life time , makes them to attain Mukti  and there is no birth again. It is believed that upon leaving their best likely thing there attains all their desires. It is also believed that who come and die in this sacred place attain liberation as Lord Shiva himself blows the mantra of salvation into the ears of the people who choose to end their lives at this sacred city. This temple is built in 490 AD. Pilgrimage includes visit to temple Rameshwaram in South India, where people take water samples of the Ganges to perform prayer at the temple and bring back sand from near that temple.

          sAnandamAnandavane vasanta mAnandakandaM hatapApavR^indam |
         vArANasInAthamanAthanAthaM shrIvishvanAthaM sharaNaM prapadye ||

It is located in Varanasi where the Varuna and Asi Rivers join the Ganges. As a tribe Kasha used to live there it is also called Kashi. Here Ganga flows in the shape of Bow. It is said that the original Shiva Linga is now in well as the priest who observed the demolition of temple by Muslim kings jumped into it along with it.

In Rigveda it is referred as the city of learning and archaeological remains say that it is populated by vedic people. Kashi has around 100 ghats and each one has its beautiful story behind it. But, few among them have got the significance in history. Great Indian writers Kabir, Ravidas and Tulsidas  who wrote much of his Ram Charit Manas have lived in the city.

Dashashwmedh Ghat:-  Two stories are linked to this Ghat when one says Lord Brahma created it to welcome Lord shiva and other says Lord Brahma sacrificed 10 horses here in Yajna. 

            Every Evening “ Agni pooja” is performed here dedicating it to Lord shiva, Goddess Ganga, Lord Surya Bhagavan, God Agni and the whole universe.

Manikarnika Ghat:-  Three Legends are there while telling about this Ghat in which one says Lord Vishnu digs a well with his chakra and while doing so losts his earring. Second says that Goddess parvathi hides her earrings and tells lord shiva that she lost them on banks of Ganges. Her Idea behind is to keep lord to stay around her searching about them. There is a legend that whenever a body gets cremated here. Lord asks the soul if it has seen the earrings. Third is when Mata sati body parts started falling on earth her Ear’s Ornament had fallen here. King Harishchandra works as a slave in Manikarnika at Harishchandra ghat.

Scindia Ghat:-  Agni – God of Fire is born here. Hindus propitiate at this place Vireshwara, the lord of all heroes, for a son.
Lalita Ghat:-  king of Nepal has built this. A wooden temple was built in Katmandu style.

Myth Behind the temple:-

       As we have already educated ourselves about the story of sati devi in my article Mighty Himalayas(). The rest of the story starts here. Lord Shiva unable to forget his wife keeps on performing Rudra Tandava with her dead body on his shoulder. To Bring the Mighty Lord back to the world of living Shri Maha Vishnu cuts the body of Sati devi into 18 pieces and throws on the earth. They fell at different places of the veda bhoomi and are well known as Ashtadasa Peethas. Among them one piece – Wrist fells here in Varanasi and is worshipped as Visalakshi devi.

              In all the places where the piece fells Lord Shiva also comes and lives. Kalabhairava (VeeraBhadra) protects the place against Tarakasar who wish to destroy the body parts of sati devi as there as an threat to his life from the born baby of Lord shiva and Parvati.

Sthalapuranam of Kashi Viswanath Jyotirlinga:-

Nirvikar chaitanya and Sanatan Brahma have assumed the form of Saguna Vishwarupa from the initial Nirgun Roopa or form. The Shiva Shakti roopa became the Purusha (man) and Stree (the woman) again. Prakriti and Purusha (Nature and man) (Shiva-Shakti) were once ordained by Shiva to do tapas in the universe in order to create the best being. He specified the best place for this purpose. When a prayer was held, Nirgun Shiva, with His own powers and aura, created a wonderful city called Panchakoshi. Vishnu, who resided there, spent a lot of time praying to Shiva after which several watersprings originated there. Vishnu was amazed at this wonderous event, and even as he tilled his head, a gemstone fell from his ear. Because of this place, it was also called Manikarnika. It is also believed that parvathi devi has also dropped her jewel here.

 The entire Panch Koshi area of Manikarnika waters were then gathered into the Trident by Shiva. Then from the navel of Vishnu was born a lotus flower with Brahma in it. Brahma was ordained by Shiva to create a world, at which Brahma created this wonderful world. It had fifty crore Yojanas of area and fourteen lokas. In order to save the lives of these who are bound by their own actions or karma.

 Shiva kept panchakoshi city away from the entire universe. In this city, Shiva Himself established the saviour Muktidayak JyotirLinga, which He can never leave. Shiva removed this very Kashi from His Trident and set it in this mortal world. It was not to be destroyed when Brahma’s day ends, but during Pralay i.e., final destruction of the world, Shiva saved it by keeping it safe in his trident. So the kashi is called avimukta kshetra. In Kashi, the Avimukteshwar Linga is there forever. Those who can never hope for salvation, attain Moksha here. 

This holiest city of Panchakoshi, with its capacity to destroy every conceivable sin, is the vehicle of a special Moksha by the name “Samyugha”. That is the reason why this city which is ruled by Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha, is the place, where even divines want to die. Sarwaguna from inside and Tamoguna from outside, are the qualities of Rudra here. When prayed to, Vishwanatha Bahagavan Sri Shankar made this abode and resided there with Parvati.

Once Vedavyas visits the golden city with his 10,000 disciples and decides to stay there for a while. He doesn’t find sufficient food for all the people with him. He gets angry and tries to curse the city, when Visalakshi Devi takes the form of Annapurna Devi and serves all of them with food. Goddess parvathi gets anger on Vedavyas as he tried to curse their living city tells him to leave and never visit again. Vedavyas leave the northern part of India and comes to Southern Part of India. Till today in the temple of Annapurna Devi food is served to thousands of people on every day. I personally visited this place and we love this food for sure. It is the prashad we get in this temple.

Among the many temples in Varanasi Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple have also a greater significance. It is on the bank of Assi River. It is believed that temple was built on very spot where Tulsidas had a vision of Hanuma.

Images of some Ghats:-


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