“The city illumines the truth and reveals reality. It does not bring new wonders into the scope of vision, but enables one to see what is already there. Where this eternal light intersects the earth, it is known as Kashi”(Varanasi). (Diana L. Eck)
“I think Banaras(KASHI,VARANASI) is one of the most wonderful places I have ever seen. It it has struck me that a westerner feels in Banaras very much as an oriental must feel while he is planted down in the middle of London”. (MARK TWAIN)
Perhaps due to Varanasi’s unique festivals, beliefs and customs, Mark Twain said that ——–
It seems to me that the greatest importance of religious festivals is that during the period of Islamic imperialism and British rule, we remained connected to our roots through them. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS SUBJECT PLEASE VISIT :- https://nithinks.com/2021/03/10/dawn-of-civilization-and-shiva-shiva-ganga-varanasi/ Varanasi is the holiest city of the Hindus. Due to this, religious events can be seen here throughout the year, but Shiva is the city god here, hence the human form of Shiva, and the celebration of events related to his life is the identity of Banaras. Similarly, Rangbhari Ekadashi and Holi of Masan, which take place a few days before Holi, are festivals dedicated to Lord Shiva in Banaras.
wish for peace and prosperity of the whole world
The imagination of Shiva’s human form in Varanasi is also ancient. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS SUBJECT PLEASE VISIT :- https://nithinks.com/2021/03/14/mahashivratrishiv-barat-and-varanasi/ There is a belief that the festival of Holi starts, obedience is sought from the oldest person of the city (Shiva, of course).
It is believed that Shiva brought Parvati to his city Varanasi for the first time on this day after marriage. On the request of the towns people, Shiva went out to bless the towns people along with Mata Parvati.
In any festival of Hindus, there is definitely a love for nature, a sense of compassion for creatures, it is also associated with this festival.
Rang -Bhari Ekadasi is also known as Amal Ekadasi. It is believed that God resides in the tree. Lord Vishnu is worshiped on this day. Many people also worship Lord Vishnu sitting under an amla tree. Amla has great importance in the Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda. Consuming amla in any way is considered very beneficial for health.
Any person ( related to any religion, culture, civilization) can become a part of this festival. I believe that it should be a part of this unique festival at least once in life. Such religious festivals are not only symbol of our culture, civilization,
but also a history of non-violence and such a deep association of Hinduism with nature. Twenty-three hundred years ago, the Buddha’s message of non-violence, Ashoka’s first message of human rights was not a miracle, it had a specific thought for hundreds of years behind it. We can also get a glimpse of our tradition and history in Gandhi’s non-violence and Ramrajya.
Varanasi is not only one of the oldest cities in the world, but it is a tableau in the history of India. Surprisingly, this city is completely a modern city, but completely immersed in history, there is no time in the history of India that does not pass through Varanasi. Forgetting yourself for a while in any street of Varanasi is like a journey through a period of history.
Long and narrow is the ancient Path, – I have touched it, I have found it, – the Path by which the wise, knowers of the – Eternal, attaining to salvation, depart hence to the high world of Paradise.
Rangbhari Ekadashi Festival
I found that I had to choose one of two things.
- Let me wait for the procession at a distance so that I can click clear and good photos.
- Let me also be a part of the procession, and feel this festival wholeheartedly, I chose this , and joined the procession without hesitation.
There was a lot of crowd, people were running with colors and Gulal . The street was very narrow, there were old houses on either side of the streets. Children and women were standing on the roof of the houses, they were showering rose petals, colors, gulal on the procession. The view was fascinating, many small temples were also found on the way to Vishwanath temple. The procession speed was decreasing at the arrival of these temples, the procession was moving again after some religious rituals. Excitement was at its peak. By the time I reached my destination Vishwanath temple, I was drenched in color. The path of a few hundred meters was about an hour long.
RANG-BHARI EKADSI TO MASAN’S HOLI
MAHASAMSAN, KAAL, AGHROI
RIGHT HAND TO LEFT HAND
The world considers You inauspicious, O Destroyer of Lust who plays in the smashan smeared with the ash from funeral pyres, wearing a necklace of human skulls, with ghouls for comrades. But for those who remember You with devotion, O Bestower of Boons, You are supremely auspicious.
(Shiva Mahimna Stotra, 24)
Humans are not the only devotees of Shiva, the devotees of Shiva include Ghosts, Ghoul, Demons all. (BHOOT-PRET, PISACH,RAAKHCHAS ,GANDHARV,KINNER) It is believed that in the Rangbhari – Ekadashi, these Shiva devotees kept themselves away from the festival so that the townspeople would not be afraid to see them.
On the next day of Rangabhari Ekadashi, Shiva himself came to Shamsan to celebrate with these unique devotees, that is why the Holi of Shamsan is celebrated.
To understand the Holi of Masan it is necessary to understand a few things more.
AGHORA OR AGHORI
Aghora :- Aghora means ” DEEPER THEN DEEP‘ Aghora is the most unique and mysterious branch of Hinduism. Followers of this faith (AGHORI) worship the destructive form of Shiva-MAHAKAAL. The meaning of death has a completely different meaning to Aghori. Aghori believes that death is to be personified and deified. Aghoris crave not for physical death but for destruction of all their limitation .KILLING themselves by internal or external processes.
DEATH &THE SAMASHAN
” WHEN YOU COME INTO THE WORLD YOU ARE CRYING, AND THE WORLD IS LAUGHING.YOU MUST LIVE YOUR LIFE IN SUCH A WAY THAT WHEN YOU GO THE WHOLE WORLD WILL CRY,AND YOU WILL LAUGH.”
MAHASAMASHAN :- MANIKARNIKA
According to the belief of Hinduism, the body of a dead person is burnt. The place where the dead bodies burn is called samasan, or masan. Undoubtedly Manikarnika is the greatest Samasan .
It is believed that once Shiva and Parvati came here to bath. After taking a bath, Mata Parvati came to know that while taking bath, her earrings(karnphool) have fallen here, since then the place was named Manikarnika. This place has been considered very sacred among the Hindus.
Lakshmibai, (RANI OF JHANSI .INDIA’S WARRIOR QUEEN) born in Varanasi, was named Manikarnika after this place. (Her nick name was Manu for the same reason)
According to Hinduism, death in Varanasi leads to salvation. For this reason, Hindu dead bodies are brought to Varanasi from far away for cremation. Two ghats in Varanasi, Manikarnika and Harishchandra, are built for the cremation of the dead. It is very difficult to predict when the practice of burning bodies on Manikarnika started. It is believed that the burning of dead bodies never stops here. Burning of dead bodies has continued here for thousands of years. In Hinduism, birth and death are considered to be a cycle of life, for this reason there is such a belief about Manikarnika that —- here, the stopping of dead cremation for any reason is a sign of destruction of creation. The death of the person born is certain, this is the absolute truth. Death as a celebration – the same philosophy is hidden in the Holi of Masan.
MAHAKAAL–THE GOD OF TIME
Different names of Shiva are not just synonyms, they reflect different qualities of Shiva. Shiva is the public welfare form of God. Shankar is a symbol of the Lord’s demonic and destructive powers.
Mahakal represents the infinite powers of Shiva. In the Mahakal form, Shiva controls the time without any feeling to run the entire creation smoothly.
Mercy cannot be expected from Shiva’s Mahakal form, not even a change of rules. Mahakal itself is the time, completely disinterested, heartless. The only unbounded power of the entire universe. MASAN,SAMSAN OR BHASMA (ashes of dead persons )It is not only Holi but a symbol of the events of creation. My knowledge in this subject is very limited. For more information on this subject read Sadhguru’s Death an inside story or Robert E. Svoboda’s Aghora At The Left Hand of God . I have written this blog based on these books and my years of Varanasi.