Tag: #kashi

The Legend of Shankara – 13: Shiva summons Shankara

Ever since his ‘chance’ encounter with the chandala in Kashi, Shankara had become increasingly restless. He knew not what ailed him, but his peace of mind had been disturbed. No more could he enjoy the tranquil placidity of the atman, or the peace of the deep meditative states whereby he used to unravel the mysteries of the Vedanta. A sense of urgency pervaded his very being. There…

The Legend of Shankara – 11: The Manishapanchakam

The sun rose in the sky from the eastern banks of the river Ganga, washing the city of Kashi, which nestled on its western banks, in its golden light. The city was already alive with the sounds of Vedic chants, temple bells, conch shells, cymbals, and drums. The city and its inhabitants had risen early, always, since times immemorial, to take a dip in…

The Legend of Shankara – 10: Shankara goes to Kashi

From Omkareshwar, Shankara proceeded towards Kashi, the city of light, the immortal city, the indestructible city, the city which was supposed to be situated on the trident of Shiva, the immortal ascetic. Kashi was the natural choice, Shankara thought. It was the spiritual heart of India, the node of all metaphysical discourse, the center of learning since times immemorial, the city where the seeker and the sought could…

The Reunion XXXII: The Boat Ride on Ma Ganga

The next stop in our itinerary was Goleria Kothi, a heritage property on the ghats of the Ganga, where we would have our lunch and witness Ganga Aarti, a time-honored tradition of worshipping Mother Ganga every evening with fire lamps. It was a sort of fire worship offered to the deity by the priests on the bank of the deified…

The Reunion XXXI – The Kashi Vishwanath Temple at Gyanvapi

A lot had changed in the vicinity of the temple since we were here last. The temple area was being renovated, encroachments being demolished, and a pilgrimage corridor was being built for beautification of the Gyanvapi area. The area of construction, or rather demolition, had been cordoned off but it was still possible to peek between the aluminum sheets and…

The Reunion XXX – Visit to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple

And thus, the cars sped that morning once more, through the crowded and familiar streets of Varanasi. Crowded, but less crowded than we remembered them, and much cleaner. Familiar, but less familiar than before. It pained me to realize that I had started to forget the streets of Banaras and, if left alone, may not be able to find my…

The Reunion XXIX – Jyotirlinga: The Pillar of Light

Next morning when we woke, I felt light-headed and happy. No, it wasn’t just the drink we had last night, it was something else. Yesterday, I had exorcised the ghosts of my past, made my peace with God, bowed my head in acceptance and vowed to start afresh. I could feel the bitterness of the past receding, leaving a sweet…

The Reunion XVIII: Night at the Assi Ghat

Some of us boys stayed back at the club however, having sent our families to the hotel in different vehicles. The night was still young, and we wanted to make the maximum of it. We were in Banaras after such a long time that we wanted to drink in every moment, savor every second of our stay here; not waste…

The Reunion XIV: At the Vishwanath Temple

All the Shiva temples across India will have a small furrow like conduit cut out into the floor on one side, which serves to drain out the water or milk or other fluids which are used to wash the ‘lingam’; the ceremony being called ‘abhishek’ or anointing. This conduit runs from the base of the ‘lingam’ to a drain situated…

The Reunion XII: Inside BHU

Later, as we collected our shoes from the shoe stall, Shubhi asked me, ‘Papa, do we have to pay the person who takes care of our shoes?’ ‘No beta,’ I said, ‘The service is free of cost and is rendered voluntarily by the people residing in the temple premises. But as a gesture of good faith, and to contribute a…

The Reunion XI: Sankat Mochan Temple

The cavalcade moved on to the next destination on our itinerary – the Sankat Mochan temple. The temple is dedicated to the Vaanara deity or Monkey God from Ramayana, the immortal Hindu epic. He is popular across India as Hanuman or Maruti. His other, lesser known name is Sankat Mochan or ‘trouble shooter’, as Maruti rescues his devotees from all…

The Reunion X: Durga Kund Temple

We passed Bhelupur and I recognized an old theatre which had now been converted into a shopping arcade. ‘Vijaya was the name,’ I thought. The car sped along the congested roads with the chaotic traffic which had always been so characteristic of Banaras. But no, there was a difference now. The roads were wider, well paved, neatly painted and cleaner.…