Secrets From The Pandit’ji of Varanasi – 2013

Secrets From The Pandit’ji of Varanasi – 2013

  • The temperature in the waters of the Holy Ganga, on the morning of 25th January 2013, would have roughly been around 5 deg. Celsius. Her waters are cold, really cold. But when you take the dip with Faith, then nothing really matters. There’s a supernatural Force that takes you through the seemingly impossible.
  • Fresh from my Ganga-snaan & seated in front of a Panditji (who had offered us his small room to change our clothes) on the Dashaashwamedh Ghat – a conversation ensued.
  • Ganga is ageless, timeless. Ganga, either when flowing or when contained, does not deteriorate. Her waters never become stale.
  • Scientifically also, it has been proven that the molecular structure & microbial count of Ganga does not change when stored or contained. So in effect, her waters do not spoil.
  • Varanasi derives its name from the tributaries of Ganga – Varuna & Asi. The old, original Kashi is the city that is wedged between  Varuna Ghat on one end & Asi Ghat on the other end.
  • `Banaras’ is an Islamic derivative of the word `Varanasi’. `Kaashi’ is the Vedic name of this city.
  • `Kaash’ is a Sanskrit term that denotes – unlimited light, radiance, luminosity. Hence `Kaashi’ is the STHAAN (PLACE) where there is unlimited light, radiance & luminosity.
  • From the Sanskrit word `Kaash’ comes `Akaash’ – which again means the SPACE where there is unlimited light, radiance & luminosity. Akaash is Sky. Sky represents Eternal Space.
  • Space is the ELEMENT of Shiva. He IS space. Formless. Timeless. Eternal. Unlimited. The Light. The Force.
  • Exactly beneath the original length & breadth of ancient Kaashi, lies another ethereal Kaashi beneath the ground. It is called Pataal-Kaashi (subterranean-Kaashi).
  • Pataal-Kaashi is not visible to the naked eye. It’s on a different dimension. It can be accessed only through Yogic Meditation. Or else, if you’re lucky enough, an evolved Yogi can take you there with his/her powers.
  • When Kaashi nagri (city) began to be tainted with the vagaries of Kali-Yuga; its ancient residents of Sadhus & Yogis, pulled the city downward – onto a different plane, onto a different dimension – to maintain its sanctity & sacredness; and in its place erected a replicate city.
  • Pataal-Kaashi, seemingly, lives up to every description in the Vedas. The Ganga is unbelievably pure, clear, free-flowing & ethereal. The original Kaashi-Vishwanath resides there. And the city is teeming with Yogis & Siddhas & Rishis.
  • What makes present day Varanasi unbelievably Holy is that – this supposed city of Pataal-Kaashi radiates so much Spiritual Energy upward – that the very earth & soil of Varanasi is energized with electro-magnetic waves of the highest order. Waves that are jutting upward from Energies below.
  • Walk barefoot as much as you can on this soil, the Panditji tells me. You’ll absorb the Energy & it is also a mark of respect to the Yogis beneath.
  • Kaashi is known as `Maha Smashaan’ – the Greatest Crematorium. “Kaashi nagri mahaa smashaanam… Kaashi adhipati Shivam Shankaram”. Kaashi is the greatest crematorium & its ruler is Shiv Shankar.
  • In the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh – Shiva (Mahesh) is The Destroyer. He is the final destination of all Souls. Hence, He is described as being ever-present in the Crematorium, collecting souls after their last journey on Earth. Also, wherever He resides, by default, becomes a destination where souls wish to arrive.
  • In Hindu religion, Varanasi (Kaashi) is the dream destination where every Hindu wishes to culminate his present incarnation on Earth. In the event they cannot do so, they at least wish for their last mortal cremated remains, to be merged with the waters of Ganga at Kaashi.
  • In this context, the perennial residence of Shiva – Varanasi – is considered to be the Holy Crematorium. Hence the name tag of Maha-Smashaanam is attached to Kaashi & its ruler is Shiv Shankar.
  • After Shiva consumes “Haala-hala” – the poison before the nectar in Samudra Manthan (the Great Churning), He holds the same in His throat; neither can He consume it, nor can He spit it out.
  • This Poison generates unbelievable, unconceivable heat. On a base level, it is the heat of the Poison; on a symbolic level, it is the heat generated from the poisonous, demonic thoughts & intentions within us; the negativities that burn & destroy us eventually.
  • To cool himself, Shiva heads to the mystical Mount Kailash in the Himalayas & submerges Himself in ice glaciers. The Holy Ganga flowing from His matted locks does her bit to cool him constantly.
  • Parvati, his wife & consort, refuses to lead a secluded life in mountain glaciers. She demands a place for both of them. To appease Her, He creates Kaashi nagri & presents it as a wedding gift.
  • Shiva moves with Parvati to Kaashi & Ganga follows. Submerging Himself once again in the cold, soothing waters of Ganga – Shiva asks Parvati to entertain Her guests.
  • Parvati in Her role of the desired hostess – assumes the form of Annapoorna. Kashi Annapoorna – the Goddess of unlimited material & spiritual sustenance.
  • It is a fact vouched by residents of Varanasi that no one on this holy soil sleeps hungry. Man or animal, if you are hungry, you will be fed one way or the other.
  • USTAD BISMILLAH KHAN in an interview once said – that he belonged to a poor, large family with less income than the numbers of mouths to feed. Young Bismillah was often the one whose number was cut from the meals list. Young Bismillah started his training at the age of 6 from his uncle, Ali Baksh Vilayatu – a Shehnai player attached to Varanasi’s Vishwanath temple. His uncle would urge him to practice on the serene Ghats of Ganga.
  • Starting from home on an empty stomach, Young Bismillah Khan would make a run through the narrow `gallis’ (lanes) towards the Ghats. Forced to stop at every 3rd house for a bite of food, by indulgent mothers, Bismillah would reach the Ghats on a full-stomach of Puris, Kachoris, Jalebis, Malai & Dahi. The same routine repeated itself on his run back home in the evening.
  • Ustad Bismillah Khan has gone on record to say – “I never slept on a hungry stomach even for a single day in my entire stay at Banaras. Maa Annapoorna ki aseem kripa rahi hai.” (The blessings of Annapoorna).
  • In true Hindu tradition, Ustad Bismillah Khan has always remained an ardent worshipper of Goddess Saraswati & and has credited his musical journey to Her Blessings.
  • In a similar reverence to the Deity of Banaras City, Ustad Allauddin Khan re-christened his daughter Roshanara Khan, as Annapoorna Devi before he wedded her to Pandit Ravi Shankar.
  • To sum it up as my Mom phrased it – Shiva & Parvati are the perfect hosts of Kaashi. Everyone is welcome. They house everyone. They entertain everyone. They feed everyone. They indulge everyone. And each one leaves with spiritual gifts. The warm feeling of being well hosted makes you want to go back again. And yet again.

My uncanny conversation with the Naga of Allahabad. And my rather unusual personal synchronocity of events. Next.


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