Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Varanasi

Many go to Varanasi in search for ‘Kashi’, the luminous abode of the gods, one of the holiest tirthas (literally a "crossing" or sacred place where mortals can cross over to the divine, or the gods and goddesses come to bathe on earth), where many return to die in the hope that they may achieve moksha, the salvation of the soul from the cycle of birth, where it is said that Shiva himself whispers the mantras of salvation into the ears of a dying person.

It is a place that is believed to have been in existence since the time of the Mahabharata, a city where Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath or where Adi Shankaracharya taught Hieun Tsang,the Chinese traveller.
It has an ancient history that Mark Twain once famously described as "older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together."

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