One of the oldest and most popular sacred centres in India, Kasi is reputed for its Visvanatha temple of hoary traditions, according to one of which the Sivalinga in the temple was installed by Brahma himself.
2) Pilgrimage on foot to Kasi.
Devotees from many parts of India go on pilgrimage to Kasi on foot, bathe in the holy waters of the Ganga and thus earn spiritual satisfaction and release from worldly attachments. The reason for the above is stated in the Agni Purana as follows:
Once, at Kailasa Siva told Parvati that the temple at Kasi was called `Avimukta’ ( unreleased ) as it never perished, and all Japa, tapa, homa and dana made there never cease to give auspicious results. One should walk on foot to Kasi and live there. Having gone there one should never leave the place.
There are eight great tirthas at Avimukta, i.e.
Candesvara tirtha and
These tirthas extend to two yojanas to the east of the Kasi temple and half-a yojana to the west of it.
The river Varana is also there, and Varanasi is at the centre of all these. Whatever is done at Varanasi like bath, Japa, homa, worship of Devas, dana, obsequies for the dead, oneself living there etc. is productive of devotion and salvation.
(Agni Purana, Chapter 112).
3) References to Kasi in the Mahabharata.
(i) Pandu once conquered Kasi. (Bhishma Parva, Chapter 9).
(ii) Bhima married Balandhara, daughter of the King of Kasi. (Adi Parva, Chapter 35, Verse 77).
( iii) Bhimasena conquered Kasi. ( Sabha Parva, Chapter 30, Verse 6).
(iv) Sahadeva conquered Kasi. (Udyoga Parva, Chapter 50, Verse 31).
(v) In the war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, the King of Kasi fought on the side of the former. (Udyoga Parva, Chapter .196, Verse 2) .
(vi) Arjuna conquered Kasi. (Adi Parva, Chapter 122, Verse 40).
(vii) Sri Krsna conquered Kasi. (Drona Parva, Chapter 11, Verse 15).
(viii) Karna once conquered Kasi on behalf of Duryodhana. (Karna Parva, Chapter 8, Verse 19).
(ix) Kasi had been ruled by the Kings called Haryasva. Sudeva, and Divodasa. (Anusasana Parva, Chapter 30, Verses 12 to 15).
(x) King Vrsadarbha and Usinara had ruled over Kasi. (Anusasana Parva, Chapter 30, Verse 9).
(xi) Bhisma conquered Kasi during the Svayariavara of Amba. (Anusasana Parva, Chapter 44, Verse 38) .
(xii) The horse sent out in connection with Yudhisthira’s Asvamedha passed through Kasi also. (Asvamedha Parva, Chapter 83, Verse 14) .
( xiii) For the origin of the name Kasi see under Divodasa.
The city of Kasi is also known as Varanasi and Benares.
* Camatkara Candrika
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