Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Varanasi included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Vāraṇāsī


(Before reading the information given here refer to the details given about Kāśī under Kāśī and Divodāsa).

The name Vāraṇāsī.

Formerly this place was known as Prayāga. Later it got the name Vāraṇāsī and then Kāśī. The name Vāraṇāsī is originated from two rivers. Bhagavān Yogaśāyī who stays in Prayāga was born from a portion of Mahāviṣṇu. From the right leg of Yogaśāyī the river Varaṇā started and from his left leg the river Asī started. These two rivers are praised and worshipped all over the world. The temple of Yogaśāyī is situated in the place between these two rivers. As the place is situated between Varaṇā and Asī it is called Vāraṇāsi. (Vāmana Purāṇa, Chapter 3).

Other information.

(i) Bhīṣma went to Kāśī and took Ambā, Ambikā and Ambālikā, the daughters of the King of Kāśī, to his kingdom by force. (Mahābhārata Ādi Parva, Chapter 102, Stanza 3).

(ii) Vāraṇāsī is a holy place of pilgrimage. By bathing in Kapilāhrada, a holy bath there, and worshipping Śaṅkara, one could obtain the fruits of performing the sacrifice Rājasūya. (Mahābhārata Vana Parva, Chapter 84, Stanza 78).

(iii) The middle part of Vāraṇāsī is called Avimukta. Those who forsake their lives at Avimukta will obtain heaven. (Mahābhārata Vana Parva, Chapter 84, Stanza 79).

(iv) Once Śrī Kṛṣṇa made Vāraṇāsī a prey to fire. (Mahābhārata Udyoga Parva, Chapter 48, Stanza 76).

(v) A very great scholar named Tulādhāra Vaiśya once lived in Vārāṇasī. (Mahābhārata Śānti Parva, Chapter 261, Stanza 41).

(vi) Once, in ancient days, Śiva imparted to the hermit Jaigīṣu at this place, the eight miraculous attainments such as aṇimā, garimā etc. (Mahābhārata Anuśāsana Parva, Chapter 18, Stanza 37).

(vii) Vāraṇāsī is equal to the capital city of Indra (Amarāvatī). (Mahābhārata Anuśāsana Parva, Chapter 30, Stanza 16).

(viii) In ancient days a hermit named Saṃvartta used to come here daily to worship Śiva. It was at this place that the emperor Marutta accepted the hermit Saṃvartta as his priest. (Mahābhārata Aśvamedha Parva, Chapters 6 and 7).

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