The origin of Kashi – Skanda purana
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The Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi is one of the most famous temples in the world. The description of Kashi, has been elaborately discussed in the Skanda Purana. The story goes thus:
Sage Agastya asked Lord Kartikeya about Kashi and how it came to be one of Lord Shiva’s favourite places and how people attained salvation after visiting this holy place. We are all familiar with the concept of Brahman. When Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva the same question, Lord Shiva replied saying when Brahman took a physical form in this world, it had taken the form of Lord Shiva, after which He created prakriti from his body. Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Kashi were formed at the same time, by the Almighty’s grace.
It is believed that even at the time of the great deluge, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati wouldn’t leave this holy place. Lord Shiva fondly named this place Anandvan, simply because he found such great joy here. Lord Vishnu, named Purushottam by Lord Shiva, manifested here, from the left portion of the Lord and Lady’s bodies. Lord Vishnu, then conducted a severe penance here, after which Lord Shiva blessed Him saying the very place He had done His penance would be called Manikarnika (Lord Shiva had lost His diamond earring here and hence the name). Lord Vishnu requested Lord Shiva to stay at this place and fulfill everyone’s wishes of attaining salvation and also named this place Kashi, because of Lord Shiva’s eternal presence.
Lord Shiva then elaborated saying people who visit Kashi would be absolved of all sins and would be blessed by Him. They have nothing to fear because He Himself would protect them personally. He also said that if people think about Kashi rather than being physically present there all the time, even they would be absolved of all sins.
Such is the magnificence of this holy place.
Please note that this is just the Skanda Purana’s version about the description of Kashi. There is a possibility of other legends associated with this as well.
The Kashi Vishwanath temple has one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in the world – http://www.ishtadevata.com/kashi-vishwanath-jyotirlinga-temple.html
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