(Varanashi)-Its History and Importance, Temples, Ghats and Kaal Bhairava.
For thousands of years, Kashi has been a cultural centre in northern India, and it is strongly tied with the Ganges. Hindus believe that dying here and being cremated along the banks of the holy Ganges river can help people escape the cycle of rebirth and achieve moksha, making it a popular pilgrimage destination.
The city is famous for its numerous ghats, stone slab embankments along the river’s edge where pilgrims perform ritual ablutions. The Dashashwamedh Ghat, the Panchganga Ghat, the Manikarnika Ghat, and the Harishchandra Ghat are notable because they are where Hindus bury their deceased.
Lord Shiva, one of the three main deities, together with Brahma and Vishnu, established Kashi, according to legend. During a battle between Brahma and Shiva, Shiva tore off one of Brahma’s five heads. As was customary, the victor took the head of his murdered opponent in his hand and let it hang from his hand as an act of humiliation and a symbol of his own bravery. A bridle was also placed in the horse’s mouth. Brahma’s head was so desecrated, and Shiva kept it with him at all times. The hanging head of Brahma slid from Shiva’s hand and vanished into the ground when he arrived in Varanasi in this state. As a result, Varanasi is revered as a sacred site.
The word “Kashi” literally means “to be luminous,” or “to be a light tower.” Kashi, according to Mark Twain, is older than legend. Nobody can ever figure out when this place was built. Kashi was thought of while Athens was not. It was there when Rome didn’t even exist in people’s minds. Kashi existed when Egypt did not. It is that old, and it was constructed as a city-like instrument to bring a union between the “micro” and the “macro” — this tiny human person has the phenomenal possibility of merging with cosmic reality and experiencing the pleasure, ecstasy, and beauty of becoming one with cosmic nature.
Many similar devices have existed in this country, but to build a metropolis like this is a crazy goal – and they did it thousands of years ago. The number of shrines was 72,000, which corresponded to the number of nadis in the human body. The whole thing is like a “mega human body” manifesting to make contact with a larger cosmic body. As a result, an entire tradition developed that if you go to Kashi, that’s it. You don’t want to leave because why would you want to go someplace else once you’ve linked with cosmic nature?
Kashi- The Most Ancient city on this Planet
Kashi is claimed to be the world’s most ancient city. The task was to capture historical traditions and culture that are the outcome of human ingenuity.
For centuries, Kashi, also known as Varanasi or Benares, has been the ideal pilgrimage destination for Hindus. Varanasi is the world’s oldest inhabited city. This city is located on the banks of the Ganges River. Varanasi is one of India’s most important holy destinations, with Hindus wishing to visit at least once in their lifetime. People think that if they take a bath in the Ganga River, their sins will be washed away.
Kashi is “more ancient than history, tradition, and legend combined, and appears twice as old as all of them combined.” The ancient ‘Janapad’ (kingdom) of Kashi had its capital in the holy city. Many spiritual saints and sages are linked to the city of Benares. In Sarnath’s deer park, Buddha preached his first sermon. In the eighth century, Parshvanatha, the first master of the Jains, was born in the town. Varanasi is the earthly incarnation of heaven.
Every devout Hindu aspires to walk the sacred ‘Pankoshi path’ at least once in their lives, bathing in the five ghats of Assi, Dashashwamedh, Adi Keshav (Varuna-sangam), Panchganga, and Manikarnika in proper order on the same day. Over 80 ghats, or embankment stairs, span for four kilometres along the Ganges’ left bank.
Varanashi is a ‘tirtha’ (bridge) connecting heaven and earth, a place where gods come to see this world and mortals move to the next. Parvati, Shiva’s wife, arrived at the City of Light with him. The town’s name is derived from a mixture of two rivers: the Varuna and the Assi.
Knowing your body’s limits is the most important thing you can do in life. You were born the day before yesterday and will be laid to rest the next day. Today is the only day you have left. Existence is like this. Life must blossom before death arrives. As a result, we set up every mechanism we could think of across the country to achieve this goal. This kind of mechanism can be found in a lot of places.
Unfortunately, most of them are broken, including Kashi, which is severely disrupted, although the energetic part of it is still rather active. This is because the physical construction of such areas, such as Dhyanalinga, is always simply a scaffolding. Kashi is said to be on top of Shiva’s Trishul or trident, rather than on the earth, according to tradition.
“In my experience, the real structure of Kashi is around 33 feet above the earth,” Sadguru explains. We should not have erected anything taller than 33 feet if we had any wisdom. We have, however, because sense has always been a precious commodity in the world.’ The energy structure might be up to 7200 feet long, according to geometrical estimates. However,It was given the name “Tower of Light” because those with eyes to see could see that it was a very tall edifice. It didn’t end there; it also provided you access to the unknown. The goal is to achieve something that only a human being could attain within himself or herself, using an orderly process distilled from thousands of years of human realisation.
It’s like reinventing the wheel and going through a lot of tedious processes if you have to figure things out on your own. However, if you must comprehend through the knowledge of others, you must be humble. This arrangement was made in order to carry a large number of people. People arrived and established a variety of methods and systems. There were nearly 26,000 shrines at one time, each with its own means for achieving enlightenment. When this mechanism known as Kashi was in full splendour, these 26,000 shrines acquired satellites, and various angles of the temple became little shrines of their own, bringing the total number of shrines to 72,000. This isn’t something that happened overnight. Nobody knows when the basic framework was created.
Sunira, who lived some 40,000 years ago, is said to have come here hunting for something. It was already a bustling metropolis at the time. No one knows exactly how ancient it is in terms of antiquity. Shiva was drawn to the city because it was so lovely. It was already a fantastic city before he arrived. They discovered three layers of temples that had all been shuttered for a long time only a few years ago. This indicates that the city sank through time and was rebuilt several times, one on top of the other. Because the ground recycles itself throughout time, the city is made up of three to five levels.
The Shiva Mythology And Kashi
Kashi’s folklore is based on the fact that Shiva himself once resided here. This is where he spends the winter. He lived as an ascetic in the Himalayan highlands, but when he married a princess, he had to make compromises. And, as a graceful man, he decided to relocate to the plains, where Kashi was the most magnificently constructed city at the time.
“If I’m going to be king, Shiva has to leave, because being a king with him around isn’t going to work.” People will congregate in his vicinity. “There’s a lovely storey here. Shiva had to leave Kashi for political reasons. The gods feared that if Kashi was not properly administered, it would lose its reverberance, so they appointed Divodasa as a king. He did, however, impose a condition: “If I’m going to be king, Shiva has to leave, because being a king with him around isn’t going to work.” People will congregate in his vicinity.” So Shiva and Parvati set off for Mount Mandara, but Shiva had no desire to dwell there. He wanted to return to Kashi, so he despatched messengers first. They went and fell in love with the city so much that they never returned.
Shiva then dispatched 64 celestial women. “Somehow corrupt the monarch,” he added. We can send him packing if we detect something wrong with him, and I’ll return.” They came in and established themselves throughout society, attempting to corrupt it. But they were so taken with the land that they forgot about the mission and moved in.
He then dispatched Surya Deva. He also came — all of Kashi’s Aditya temples are dedicated to him – He was so taken with it that he decided not to return. Surya Deva felt humiliated and afraid that he wouldn’t be able to complete Shiva’s task because his love for the city outweighed his commitment to the mission, so he turned south, tilted to one side, and sat down.
Brahma was then dispatched by Shiva. Brahma himself arrived and fell in love with it, never to return. “I cannot trust any of these individuals,” Shiva said, and he dispatched two of his most trusted ganas. They both arrived – they couldn’t forget Shiva, after all, they are Shiva’s people – but they were so taken by the site that they thought, “This is the only place Shiva should live, not Mount Mandara.” Then they became the city’s dwarapalakas.
Shiva dispatched two additional deities, Ganesha and another, to take control of the city. They began preparing the city, guarding the city, and securing the city, “Anyway, Shiva has to arrive, there’s no point in going back,” they said, guarding the city. Divodasa was then enticed by Mukti. He did not succumb to any form of corruption, but he was enticed by Mukti and accepted it. Then Shiva reappeared.
These are all stories of how individuals yearned to be here, not for the pleasure, but for the opportunities that the city provided. The city was more than just a place to live; it was a means of transcending all boundaries. It was a way for this little organism to communicate with the universe’ greater organism.
Kashi And The Kaal Bhairava
Lord Kala Bhairava is a violent manifestation of Lord Shiva who is greatly worshipped in India. He usually has angry eyes that resemble lotus blossoms, tiger’s teeth, fiery hair, a serpent around his neck or crown, and a garland of human skulls. Kala Bhairava wields a drum, a trident, and Lord Brahma’s severed fifth head with a frightening demeanour. Because he swallowed the halahala toxin, his throat is blue. As a result, he is known as the conqueror of death. His third eye represents unrivalled insight.
On Kala Bhairava, there are numerous interesting legends. His origin is described in the Shiv Mahapurana. Lord Brahma once told Lord Vishnu that he created the cosmos and that he should worship him. Lord Shiva became enraged and took the form of Kala Bhairava to punish him. He took one of Brahma’s five heads and hacked it off. Shiva was found guilty of murdering a Brahman. As a result, Bhairava had to lug the head around for the next 12 years. He wandered around like a nomad till the iniquity was washed away from him. Bhairava’s idol is frequently shown in this terrifying appearance.
Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains all adore Bhairava. He assists them in achieving prosperity, defeating foes, and acquiring material comforts. He also assists them in making effective use of their time in order to achieve their objectives. It is for this reason that he is renowned as the Lord of Time. Those who waste time on frivolous activities can become more effective and productive if they consistently worship Kala Bhairava. Through his power, he purifies our souls and bestows good fortune on believers. One finds oneself in the right position at the right moment to take advantage of the best possibilities as if by miracle.
Lord Bhairava is also known as ‘Kotwal’ or ‘Kshetrapalaka,’ which means ‘protector of the temple.’ As a result, the keys to the Shiva and Shakti temples are ceremonially presented to Bhairava at the end of the day and taken away from him in the morning. In such temples, he is usually honoured with a shrine. He is also a traveller’s guardian deity who rewards pilgrims. According to the Siddhas, one should light lights and place a garland of cashew nut wreaths on Lord Bhairava before embarking on a journey, especially during the night. This guarantees their safety and security.
The dog, which is normally seated on one side, is Kala Bhairava’s conveyance, ready to lick the blood streaming from Lord Brahma’s chopped head. As a result, one way to respect him is to care for and feed dogs. Those who worship Kala Bhairava are said to receive immense blessings and the gift of fortunate timing. There is a popular belief that feeding hungry dogs ‘halwa puri’ (sweet bread) can solve all of their troubles.
Bhairava is a person who can take you beyond your fears. Because time is the root of dread, Kala Bhairava is the fear of time rather than the fear of death. Isn’t it true that if you had an infinite amount of time, nothing would matter? You are entirely free of fear if you are free of the fear of time.
What would have taken many lifetimes to happen to you will happen in a microsecond, but with such force that you will be unable to contain it.
Shiva’s deadliest form is Kala Bhairava. It was promised that if you came to Kashi, no matter what type of a jerk you had been in your life, you would achieve Mukti. So he replied, “There needs to be some check,” because all the wicked creatures started approaching because they had lived horribly and wanted to die gloriously. Shiva assumed the guise of Kala Bhairava to carry out his mission.
That means that when the time comes for you to die, your many incarnations will be condensed into a single instant of enormous intensity, and whatever pleasures and pains you require will be fulfilled. What would have taken many lifetimes to happen to you will happen in a microsecond, but with such force that you will be unable to contain it. Yatana is the Sanskrit word for “ultimate agony.” It’s something that happens in hell, but he’ll make it happen in this world as well.
If you want to do that kind of work, you’ll need the appropriate attire. Shiva donned the appropriate attire and assumed the name Kala Bhairava in order to build Bhairavi Yatana for you. He inflicts such incredible anguish that you had never believed conceivable, but only for a little while so that nothing from your history stays in you.
Kala Bhairava worship
Kala Bhairava has been revered from the dawn of humanity. Sacred writings, on the other hand, indicate that the 60 years from April 2002 to April 2062 are the most essential. The finest day for pooja is the eighth day (Ashtami) after the Full Moon (Poornima). On the day Kala Bhairava came on Earth in the month of Margashirsha (November-December), devotees celebrate Kala Bhairava Jayanthi. On this day, several unique ceremonies are held in the 12 Jyotirlinga Shiva shrines in Ujjain, Kasi, Tiruvannamalai, and other places.
Chanda Bhairava, Asithaanga Bhairava, Krodha Bhairava, Ruru Bhairava, Unmattha Bhairava, Bheeshana Bhairava, Kapala Bhairava, and Samhaara Bhairava are the eight forms of Kala Bhairava. Because he guards the 52 Shakti Peethas, it is thought that Bhairava exists in 52 different forms throughout the holy locations. In the face of rising rage, hatred, and violence, it is important to protect Shakti for everlasting peace. It is required to pray to Lord Kala Bhairava, Sarabeswara, and Amruta Mrityunjaya for this.
The Aghoris, the Kapalika sect, Gorat Kashmiris, Assamese tantric practitioners, the Gowdas of Karnataka, Kathmandu and Sri Lankans, and many more communities worship Kala Bhairava. In Kashi, the Bhairava is highly regarded. He is known as the village guardian in rural areas of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and other states. Most village entrances have decorative grama devata statues.
Kashi’s Kala Bhairava Temples
The eight Kala Bhairava temples are positioned in Kashi’s eight cardinal directions, guarding the Mandala as a whole. Unmat Bhairava, Krodhana Bhairava, Kapala Bhairava, Asitanga Bhairava, Chanda Bhairava, Ruru Bhairava, Bhishana Bhairava, and Samhara Bhairava are the names of the Bhairava gods.
The Kashi Kshetra is claimed to be standing atop Shiva’s Trishul, with three important temples forming the three main points of the trident, according to the Kashi Khanda Purana. The mandala’s fulcrum is made up of these three primary temples. Omkareshwara is located in the north, Vishweshwara is located in the middle, and Kedareshwara is located in the south. Each temple has its own khanda or influence area.
The Importance of Ganga Arati and Kashi Rituals
There are a lot of ceremonies in Kashi. It was the focal point of all rites. There is nothing more certain than doing things internally — it is the most reliable method. That is what you should rely on once you have been introduced into a spiritual practice. These ceremonies, however, were intended for the general population. They have no idea what to do with themselves, but they are aware that something must be done with them. When this is the case, an instrument like Kashi, as well as the intricate ceremonies that came with it, is extremely valuable because it deals with large groups of people.
The most fundamental feature of Yoga is known as Bhuta Shuddhi, which is about striving for a sense of liberation from the five elements because creation is nothing more than the five elements’ mischief. There is a lot of sadhana in Bhuta Shuddhi with every aspect – earth, wind, fire, water, and space. We not only bow down to the five elements in order for them to work well for us, but we also learn how to make them work well. Only if these five aspects work together will you have a healthy body and a healthy life.
Ghats of Kashi
Varanasi is one of India’s holiest towns, with a number of temples and ghats where religious ceremonies are carried out. The ghats of Varanasi are located on the banks of the Ganges, a Hindu holy river. Every day, pujas and aartis are performed on roughly 87 ghats in Varanasi.
1.The all famous Manikarnika Ghat
Manikarnika Ghat is one of the holiest cremation places among the sacred riverfronts (ghats) along the Ganga in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. Death is viewed in Hinduism as an event in which one’s body is transformed into a new outfit. The results of one’s karma determine one’s new body or life. When atman is burned here, it is thought that he attains moksha and therefore terminates the cycle of rebirth. As a result, thousands of the elderly from all over the country seek to stroll up to the ghat’s edge and spend their final days absorbing the ghat’s charisma, which makes death painless and unimportant to contemplate.
The Manikarnika Ghat is said to have received the boon of eternal tranquilly from Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu is said to have pleaded to Lord Shiva for thousands of years, requesting that the holy city of Kashi, as Varanasi was once known, not be destroyed during the world’s impending annihilation. Shiva arrived at Kashi with his wife Parvati, pleased by Vishnu’s ardent prayers, and granted him his wish. As a result, any departed soul who has their final rites done in Varanasi achieves moksha (complete liberation from the cycle of birth and death). It’s no surprise that the Hindus consider this site to be the most sacred for cremation.
There are a few other legends about Maha Shamshana’s name. One of them is that Vishnu dug a well for Shiva and Parvati to bathe in (which is now known as the Manikarnika Kund).
One of Shiva’s earrings dropped into the well as he was bathing, and the well has been known as Manikarnika ever since (Mani refers to the jewel in the earring and Karnam to the ear).
Death is commemorated at the Manikarnika Ghat. Every hour of the day, remorseful mantras are performed, and the land is engulfed in smoke as dead bodies are burnt for eternal peace. Many worshipers refer to the ghat as the “portal to heaven.” According to Hindu tradition, the ghat is highly sacred, and those who are burned there receive moksha.
According to legend, Vishnu succeeded in persuading Shiva, after thousands of years of Tapasya, not to demolish the holy city of Kashi when he destroyed the world.
The Shaktism sect of Hinduism reveres the Manikarnika shrine, which is located near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The origin of Shakti Peethas is based on the storey of Daksha Yaga and Sati’s self-immolation.
Shakti Peethas are shrines that are said to be ensconced with Shakti’s presence as a result of the body pieces of Sati Devi’s corpse dropping to the ground as Lord Shiva carried it and roamed. There are 51 Shakti Peeth, which correspond to the 51 Sanskrit letters or Akshar. Shakti shrines can be found in every temple. Manikarnika’s Shakti is referred to as Vishalakshi and Manikarni.
2. Dashashwamedh Ghat
Dashashwamedh Ghat is the primary ghat of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, on the Ganga River. It is the most magnificent ghat and is located close to Vishwanath Temple. Brahma created it to welcome Shiva, according to one Hindu tradition, and Brahma sacrificed ten horses during the Dasa-Ashwamedha yajna performed here, according to another.
Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao constructed the current ghat in 1748. In 1774, Ahilyabahi Holkar, the Queen of Indore, repaired the ghat after a few decades.  The Jantar Mantar, an observatory erected by Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur in 1737, is located near the ghat and overlooks the Ganga.
Lord Bramha is said to have sacrificed ten horses (dasa- aswa, which translates to ten horses) during a yagna at the Dashashwamedh Ghat. The majority of festivals are held in this city on a huge scale. It’s not far from the Vishwanath Temple. This is also the ghat where Bramha is claimed to have ‘made’ Shiva.
3 Assi Ghat
Varanasi’s Assi Ghat is the city’s southernmost ghat. It is one of Varanasi’s largest and most popular ghats. Varanasi is recognised to most visitors as a site where long-term international students, researchers, and tourists live. Assi Ghat is one of the most popular ghats for pleasure and festival purposes. In the mornings, roughly 300 people visit every hour, and on festival days, 2500 people visit every hour. During holidays like Shivratri, the ghat can hold up to 22,500 people at once. Over 500,000 tourists visit the ghat during the Dev Deepawali festival. At the ghat, guests can participate in a variety of activities.
This is where Tulsidas, the famous poet, breathed his dying breaths.
4. Harish Chandra Ghat
Harish Chandra Ghat is one of Varanasi’s oldest Ghats. This ghat is named after Harish Chandra, a mythological king who formerly toiled at the cremation site here for the sake of truth and generosity. The Gods are said to have rewarded him for his resolve, kindness, and honesty by restoring his lost throne and dead son to him. Harish Chandra Ghat, one of two cremation Ghats (the other being Manikarnika Ghat), is also known as Adi Manikarnika (the original creation ground). Hindus from all over the world come to the Harish Chandra Ghat to have their loved ones’ remains cremated. According to Hindu legend, a person who is burned at the Harish Chandra Ghat receives salvation or “moksha.”
5. Chet Singh Ghat
The fortified Chet Singh Ghat, built by Maharaja Chet Singh in the 18th century, is named after him. The ghat and its environs were the scenes of a bloody battle between Chet Singh and Warren Hastings, India’s first governor-general. After Chet Singh’s loss, the British took possession of the gorgeous ghat, which they later surrendered to Maharaja Prabhu Narayan Singh in the late 1800s. Bathing is not recommended at this ghat because the Ganges stream can be fairly strong.
6. Man Mandir Ghat
The Man Mandir Ghat is one of Varanasi’s oldest ghats, dating back to the 17th century. It was formerly known as Someswara Ghat and was built by Raja Sawai Man Singh. It is a typical example of royal Rajasthani architecture.
7. Munshi Ghat
The Darbhanga Palace is located on the Munshi Ghat and is a sight to behold. The royal family of Bihar built the Darbhanga Palace, which was later expanded by then-finance minister Sridhara Narayana Munshi. The Darbhanga Ghat is home to the majority of the Darbhanga Palace, which has been transformed into a hotel. Both of these ghats are gorgeous and close together, so you may spend some time roaming about and admiring the architecture.
8. Tulsi Ghat
Tulsi Ghat, formerly known as Lolark Ghat, is named after Tulsidas, the saint-poet who penned the Ramcharitramanas. Tulsidas spent a significant amount of time at this Ghat. It was only in 1941 that Baldeo Das Birla solidified it. At the ghat, there is a Hanuman temple with a written copy of the Ramcharitmanas that was taken from the temple in 2011.
9. Lalita Ghat
During his exile in Varanasi, Nepal’s King, Rana Bahadur Shah, built Lalita Ghat. He planned to make a duplicate of the Pashupatinath Temple in Varanasi while he was here, so he started building this ghat.
There is a Nepali Temple as well as a temple devoted to Lalita, an Adi-Shakti avatar.
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is a Hindu shrine dedicated only to Lord Shiva and is one of the most well-known temples in the world. The temple is also known as Vishvanatha or Vishveshvara, which means “ruler of the universe.” The temple sits on the western bank of the holy river Ganga in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. The seventh Jyotirlinga, Kashi Vishwanath Temple, is housed in Lord Shiva’s Twelve Jyotirlingas. The Jyotirlinga is a black stone structure. The temple is one of Varanasi’s most important. It is said that the temple receives the first rays of the sun.
The temple has been demolished and rebuilt countless times throughout history. Aurangzeb razed the temple and replaced it with the Gyaanvipi mosque. The temple was established in the current configuration by the Late Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore around 1780. Two of the temple’s domes were decked in gold presented by Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, the ruler of Punjab, in 1839.
The temple is divided into three sections. The first compromise was a spire on Lord Vishwanath’s or Mahadev’s temple. The gold dome is the second, and the gold spire atop the Vishwanath carries a flag and a trident is the third. Each of the three domes is completely coated in pure gold. Sikh Maharaja Ranjeet Singh donated gold to cover two of the temple’s domes.
The third dome, however, was left uncovered. Later, the U.P. government’s Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs became interested in gold plating the temple’s third dome.
According to Hindu mythology, Brahma (the Hindu God of Creation) and Vishnu (the Hindu God of Harmony) once debated the primacy of creation. To put them to the test, Shiva penetrated the three worlds as a massive, never-ending pillar of light composed of three syllables (Om Namah Shivaya). They couldn’t seem to discover the end of the light. Both afterwards praised Lord Shiva’s power and greatness. It is known as Jyotirlinga because Lord Shiva lives there.
According to legend, Lord Shiva chose this location as his permanent home. Lord Shiva’s choice of location embarrasses Goddess Parvati’s mother. Shiva urged Nikumbh to find a home in order to satisfy the goddess Parvati in Kashi.
A Brahmin named Anikumbh built a temple for Lord Shiva at Nikumba’s request. All of Shiva’s devotees were blessed, but one son of Devdas was left unblessed. The temple was then demolished by enraged Devdas. Nikumbh cursed the location, saying that the field will remain empty. Lord Shiva returned to the location after hearing the gods’ promises to repent. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati began to bless his magnificent worshippers once more.
People in this country used to assume that simply entering this city would liberate them because it was such a powerful space. Vishwanath, above all, was the city’s beating heart. Although the temple was long ago destroyed, it is said to have been consecrated by Adiyogi himself. Kashi was burned to the ground three times in the last few centuries, particularly in the last six to seven centuries. There were 26,000 shrines in Kashi at one time, but just 3,000 remain today due to systematic destruction during invasions. The Kashi Vishwanath temple, which lies at the heart of Kashi, must have been a magical location to lure visitors from all over the world. It’s a pity that we weren’t alive when it was at its peak. It was torn down three times before being rebuilt.
When Aurangzeb arrived, he realised that if he tore it down, these people would rebuild it, since this is not a religion governed by a single leadership; a religion that exists in everyone’s homes and hearts. not for marketing either; it is a result of people making a connection. It is motivated by a phenomenal experience and relationship with the rest of existence, not by a belief. When he observed this, he decided to construct a mosque within the Kashi Vishwanath temple’s heart. He demolished the entire temple but left a little section standing as a warning and a lesson to the people of this culture that what had been done to the temple could not be undone.
The Kashi Vishwanath linga is currently located outside the temple grounds. It was once located at the Vishweshwara sanctum. That is now the focal point of the mosque, which spans the entire central space from north to south.
They planned to bury the linga in a place where no one could discover it after it was removed and thrown out. We’re not sure if they simply threw it away or if they broke it and then threw it out. Some claim that there are two pieces and that people tried to put them together out of emotion and love. There’s also a legend about a well called Gyanvapi. Gyanvapi is a Sanskrit word that means “knowledge well.” People concealed and maintained the linga in this well, according to legend, so that it would not be completely destroyed.
They hauled it out and set it up somewhere on the southern corner when things had calmed down. I’m not sure if they’re the same linga. People would want to replace it in order to keep their religion alive; otherwise, they would be psychologically broken by its absence. It may have been replaced, or it could have been preserved. Perhaps it was broken and they repaired it, or perhaps they created a new linga. We have no idea.
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