Varanasi is one of the most ancient cities of learning. This was a place where hundreds of enlightened beings lived at a time. Varanasi was made in such a way that every street had an enlightened being.
The first Sacred Walks to Varanasi will take place from 16th to 20th September, 2012. For this year’s yatra alone, participants have a rare privilege to be with Sadhguru for a day, in this ancient city known in the past as the Abode of the Enlightened. As spaces are limited, all interested are encouraged to register as soon as possible.
Varanasi Sacred Walks is a unique opportunity to experience what is considered amongst the holiest cities in the world. Here is a compilation of what Sadhguru has spoken about these places of spiritual and cultural significance.
The holiest of the holy sites in the east is Kashi or Banaras as it is known today. Kashi is held as the core of the universe. Nobody knows exactly when it was actually created; people say it was before time. It was created as a place of knowing, and the whole town was created in a certain form – in seven layers. One had to penetrate through these seven layers. The city was constructed as a tool for enlightenment where if a person went through the seven layers, by the time he reached Manikarnik, he would be a realized being. Before leaving the body, he would have already risen beyond the play of five elements.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple
There was a time in this country when people believed if you just enter this city you will be liberated, because it was such a powerful space. Above all, the heart of the city was Vishwanath… the temple was destroyed long time ago, but it is supposed to have been consecrated by the Adiyogi himself.
Another name for Kashi is ‘Maha-smashana’ which means ‘Great cremation ground’ and the central point, the core of Kashi is Manikarnik, where at least one corpse will always be burning. The point is that a necessary atmosphere was created for those who died and for those who were burnt there because people were looking at life and death as a means of rising beyond the elemental play, the elemental hive created in the form of individual body and the cosmic body. If anybody penetrated these seven layers, for sure he would have risen – he would be beyond the play of five elements. Nowadays it has just become a belief, but back then, there was a live process of Enlightenment and the city was constructed as a tool for enlightenment where if a person went through the seven layers, by the time he reached Manikarnik, he would be a realized being.
On a Pournami, some 2500 years ago, something very tremendous happened after which the world has never remained the same. In his own silent way, Gautama Buddha changed the world forever. He brought about a change in the world on the spiritual path; he brought about a different quality in the whole aspect of man’s aspiration to seek something higher. That man’s flowering on that full moon day 2500 years ago has made a significant change for every spiritual seeker all over the world, whoever they are. His presence has become so dominant. A person who grows on the spiritual path cannot ignore Gautama.
“After almost eight years of very body-destroying efforts, Gautama Siddhartha had become very weak. His body was destroyed almost to a point of death. At this time, he came to the river Niranjana, which was actually just a large stream with knee-height water flowing swiftly. He tried to cross the river, but halfway across, his body was so physically weak that he could not take one more step. But he is not the kind to give up so he just held on to a dead branch that was there and just stood.
It is said that he stood for many hours. We do not know whether he actually stood for many hours or a few moments which seemed like hours in that state of weakness. But at that moment he realized that what he was seeking was after all within himself, so why all this struggle? ‘All that is needed is absolute willingness, and it is right here. Why am I searching around the world?’ When he realized this, he had that little extra ounce of energy to take that step, walk across the river and sit down under the now famous Bodhi tree. He sat down with the determination that, ‘Unless the ultimate happens to me, I will not move. Either I will get up as an Enlightened Being or I will die in this posture.’ And in a moment he was there, because that is all it takes. All it takes is that it should become the only priority. Then it is just one moment.”
For further information, please visit our Varanasi Sacred Walks website.