Kartikeya was delighted at the visit of the Sage couple and touched the body parts of the Sage who was fortunate to have lived at Kashi for such a long time. Purusha and Prakriti materialised Kasi on Earth itself not only as their Transit Abode but also as a Holy Place to destroy the Sins that human beings would tend to commit. Vishnu resorted to instant meditation and created a water-body named Pushkarini out of His sweat and duly dug with His Chakra Sacred Wheel. Visits to Kasi, extended stays at Kasi and if one is fortunate a death in Kasi are all matters of luck of human life. A youthful person feeling that the time is not yet ripe or ready for visiting Kasi since death is far away is as foolish as an old person thinking that let the few days left be enjoyed in family-life with children and grand children! The mere thought, or Vision or better still of the worship or the Abhisheka of the Holiest Linga of Lord Visveswara ought to create vibrations of life among the devotees whose faith and sincerity are directly proportionate to the intensity of their emotions.

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On 15 October Benares' last ruler signed the accession to the Indian Union. The state was founded by the local zamindar , Raja Balwant Singh , who assumed the title of "Raja of Benares" in mid 18th century, taking advantage of the Mughal Empire's disintegration.

In , Benares became a full-fledged state of British India. He is a religious leader and the people of Varanasi consider him an incarnation of Shiva. The earliest rulers of the later princely state of Benares were zamindaris for the Awadh Oudh province of the Mughal Empire. As the Mughal suzerainty weakened, the Benares zamindari estate became Banaras State, thus Balwant Singh of the Narayan dynasty regained control of the territories and declared himself Maharaja of Benares in Benares became a princely state in Most of the area currently known as Varanasi was acquired by Mansa Ram, a zamindar of Utaria.

Balwant Singh, the ruler of Utaria in , took over the territories of Jaunpur , Varanasi dildarnagar and Chunar in from the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah of Delhi and heirs of Deendar khan who founded dildarnagar Thengdom of Benaras started in this way during the Mughal dynasty. With the decline of the Mughal Empire , the Bhumihar Brahmins under the leadership of Kashi Naresh strengthened their sway in the area south of Avadh and in the fertile rice growing areas of Benares , Jaunpur , Gorakhpur , Basti , Deoria , Azamgarh , Ghazipur , Ballia and Bihar and on the fringes of Bengal.

The residential palace of the Naresh is the Ramnagar Fort at Ramnagar near Varanasi, which is next to the river Ganges. It is a typically Mughal style of architecture with carved balconies, open courtyards, and picturesque pavilions. Kashi Naresh donated over 1, acres 5. On 28 January , the Kashi Vishwanath Temple was taken over by the government of Uttar Pradesh and its management was transferred to a trust, with the late Vibhuti Narayan Singh , then Kashi Naresh , as President, and an executive committee with the Divisional Commissioner as Chairman.

When the Dussehra festivities are inaugurated with a colourful pageant, the Kashi Naresh rides an elephant at the head of the procession. Then, resplendent in silk and brocade, he inaugurates the month-long folk theatre of Ramlila at Ramnagar.

The Ramlila is a cycle of plays which recounts the epic story of Lord Rama , as told in Ramcharitmanas , the version of the Ramayana written by Tulsidas. The plays, sponsored by the Maharaja, are performed in Ramnagar every evening for 31 days.

On the last day the festivities reach a crescendo as Rama vanquishes the demon king Ravana. Maharaja Udit Narayan Singh started this tradition of staging the Ramleela at Ramnagar in the mid-nineteenth century. Over a million pilgrims arrive annually for the vast processions and performances organized by the Kashi Naresh. From , the state included most of present-day Bhadohi , Chandauli , Jaunpur , Mirzapur , Sonbhadra , and Varanasi districts, including the city of Varanasi.

Between and , the British gradually took over administration of most of the state, leaving the rajas to directly administer two separate areas — an eastern portion, corresponding to present-day Bhadohi district, and a southern portion, comprising present-day Chakia tehsil of Chandauli district.

These two areas made up the princely state of Benares from to The rajas retained certain revenues from rents, and certain administrative rights, in the rest of the territory, which the British administered as Benares Division , part of the United Provinces.

The rajas made their main residence in Ramnagar. Serious work on the Puranas began when the All India Kashiraj Trust was formed under the patronage and guidance of Dr. Vibhuti Narayan Singh , the Maharaja of Kashi , which, in addition to producing critical editions of the Puranas , also published the journal Puranam.

A rare collection of manuscripts, especially religious writings, is housed in Saraswati Bhawan. It includes a precious handwritten manuscript by Goswami Tulsidas. There are also many books illustrated in the Mughal miniature style, with beautifully designed covers. According to a popular Puranic story, when Vyasa failed to receive alms in Varanasi , he put a curse on the city.

However, because of Vyasa's bad temper Shiva banished him from Varanasi. Resolving to remain nearby, Vyasa took up residence on the other side of the Ganges, where his temple may still be seen at Ramnagar. Vyasa-Kasi location and significance: Vyasa Kasi, the name by which it is called by the people on pilgrimage to Kasi, through ages, is located near Ramnagar.

A temple for Sage Vyasa is located here facing Kasi on the opposite side of the river Ganga. Once upon a time the whole area was covered by a forest of Badari trees.

Badari is a thorny bush- like tree which gives small sweet and sour fruits. People who go on pilgrimage to Kasi will not fail to visit Vyasa Kasi. They travel through boats that ply on the river. But when once they reach Vyasa-Kasi, they finish their tour of the place very quickly and return to Kasi before sunset.

Nobody makes a night halt at this place. Sage Vyasa who had to live in this forest along with his disciples some — years ago, is also called by other names such as — Veda Vyasa, Krishna Dwaipayana, Paarasarya son of Rishi Parasara and Satyavateya son of mother Satyavati.

He had to live there as he was banished from the city of Kasi by Lord Viswanath, the reigning deity of Kasi. The details of the episode regarding the banishment of Sage Vyasa from Kashi are as follows.

Sage Vyasa who is also called Vyasa Maha muni was a great scholar of his times. He is credited to have gathered a group of scholars and classified the Vedas, which were lying as a Conglomeration of Richas mantras of different categories. He classified all these mantras into four different Vedas. He was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu who is also called Lord Narayana. He used to travel from one hermitage to the other, along with his 10, disciples, when he travelled from one pace of worship to the other.

During one of his journeys, it so happened that Vyasa was travelling through the famous Naimisharanya. At that time a group of great sages were discussing about various religious and theological issues. When Vyasa, along with his 10, disciples entered the conference, he enquired what they were discussing about. The sages gave due respect to him and told him that they were discussing about the relative merits of worshipping Lord Vishnu and Lord Maheswara.

They said that according to some, Lord Vishnu is more amenable to worship of his devotees than Lord Shiva. They asked Vyasa Muni to express his opinion on the subject. Vyasa Muni who was a staunch devotee of Lord Narayana Lord Vishnu raised his right hand and told them —"Please listen to me carefully.

Lord Vishnu is the only God who has been hailed as the supreme deity in the Vedas, the epics Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and the eighteen Puranas. He is the only God who is at the root of Creation, sustenance and destruction.

So he alone is competent to award salvation. It is not Lord Shiva or any other God". All the sages were surprised after listening to the above statement. They replied, "Great scholar, you know everything. But we will appreciate your statement, if you could kindly make the above declaration in front of Lord Visweswara, the presiding deity of Kasi and the scholars of Kasi. Sage Vyasa agreed to do so and asked everybody to follow him to Kasi. Sage Vyasa reached the holy city of Kasi along with his disciples and many sages of the forest.

He took his holy bath in the river Ganga and directly went to the temple of Lord Bindu Madhava Lord Vishnu and worshipped him as the Lord who has heads and who is the giver of happiness to all.

Afterwards he entertained the Lord with songs, and dance accompanied by musical instruments. Then he raised his right hand and declared that Lord Madhava is the only God who is competent to grant Salvation to human beings. As he was making the above declaration his hand became numb and remained stationery in the same position and he lost his voice too. Then Vyasa signalled to Lord Madhava to touch his throat which had stopped producing any sound. Lord Bindu Madhava helped him in regaining his voice and restoring the movement of his hand.

He spent a few days teaching his disciples about the great power of Lord Shiva. One day Lord Shiva wanted to test the devotion of Vyasa and his love of the city of Kasi. He asked his wife Annapurna, who was also called Visalakshi during those days, to ensure that sage Vyasa and his disciples do not get any alms from the households of Varanasi. Goddess Annapurna entered the heart of every house-wife and ensured that sage Vyasa or his disciples are not given any alms under one excuse or other.

So Vyasa and his disciples had to remain hungry for the whole day. Same thing happened during the second day also. Sage Vyasa was surprised that he and his students could not receive even a morsel of food for two days continuously in the sacred city of Kasi, whereas the disciples of other sages are getting plenty of food. He sent his disciples to find out whether anybody was stopping the housewives from giving alms to them.

They went out and made enquiries but found that nobody was stopping the women from giving alms. Sage Vyasa came to the conclusion that the citizens of Kasi had deliberately insulted him and thereby neglected their Dharma as natives of a holy pilgrim center. He became mad with rage and he said, "This holy city of Kasi is the center of all branches of knowledge, it is the house of the Goddess of wealth and prosperity and it is the place where every resident is assured of Salvation after death.

That is why perhaps these people have become proud and arrogant. After delivering the above curse the great Sage again went out with his disciples seeking alms. But he did not get any alms on the third day also. So he threw down the begging bowl so fast that it broke down into several pieces.

After that he began to return to his hermitage feeling helpless. While Sage Vyasa was returning to his hermitage along with his students, an elderly housewife, with a bright golden face and wide eyes appeared from a house nearby.

She called out for the sage and requested him to come near her. He does not take any food until he feeds a guest every day. But unfortunately no guest has arrived to-day to our house, asking for food. He is sitting hungry in the house. Could you please accept my invitation and come as a guest to our house? I am happy that you have invited me to your house for lunch. But I am not alone, and I cannot eat without providing food for my ten thousand disciples. They are also starving for the last two days.

Sage Vyasa and his students arrived at her house happily, washed their hands and feet and sat for lunch. They could not control their pleasure after looking at various dishes served before them an ate to their stomachs full.


Benares State

Nannaya is acclaimed as the Adi Kavi or the first poet of Telugu literature. Most of Telugu literature begins with this massive epic transcreated by these three great sage-scholars. Gonabudda Reddy 13th century : Gonabudda Reddy is known for his Ranganatha Ramayanam which is a pioneering work on the theme of Ramayana in Telugu. The whole work comprises seven khandas parts. The work has become a part of the Andhra cultural life and is also used by puppeteers for their shows.








Kasi Kahandamu


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