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Banaras - E7 J Krishnamurthy

Born in British India, Krishnamurthy was a philosopher, speaker and writer. His subject matter included psychological revolution, the nature of mind, meditation, inquiry, human relationships, and bringing about radical change in society. Denying allegiance to any nationality, caste, religion, or philosophy, he spent much of his life travelling the world, speaking to large and small groups and individuals.

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  • Dr Vishwanath Pandey speaks about the achievements of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, a visionary of modern India. Pandit Malaviya, who founded Banaras Hindu University in 1916 and helped Indians become self-reliant and gain self-confidence through his contributions in the field of education. His thoughts and actions changed the course of history in India.

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    After years of attack and desctruction, Mulagandhakuti Vihara was finally restored in 1931 and adorned with beautiful murals, a two-tonne bell, and a gold-painted Buddha statue amongst other ornaments. This temple in Sarnath is dedicated to the sage and spiritual guru Lord Buddha, on whose profound teachings the religion of Buddhism was formed.

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    In Hindustani music, a gharana is a system of social organization linking musicians or dancers by lineage or apprenticeship, and by adherence to a particular musical-style. A gharana also indicates a comprehensive musicological ideology which sometimes changes substantially from one gharana to another. This directly affects the thinking, teaching, performance and appreciation of music.

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    According to Hindu beliefs, the fire and the burning at the cemetery grounds in Banaras liberates one from the everlasting cycle of life and death. Dom Raja Jagdish Chaudhary is the keeper of this sacred flame revered by all Hindus. He offers an insight into his work, which may appall many, but is sealed to become his life and the fate of future generations of his family.

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    Ganga Aarti is performed every sunset on Dashashwamedh Ghat, the main ghat in Banaras. There are many Hindu legends associated with the ghat, including the most-well known one that Lord Brahma himself constructed the flight of steps to welcome Lord Shiva.

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    Sant Kabir was one of the most revered saints of his time. His criticism of meaningless rites of initiation in Hinduism and Islam brought about a revolutionary change in Indian society. Both the educated and uneducated are familiar with his teachings and can recite his couplets even today. The legacy Sant Kabir has left behind is commendable and will be remembered for many more years to come.

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    Born in British India, Krishnamurthy was a philosopher, speaker and writer. His subject matter included psychological revolution, the nature of mind, meditation, inquiry, human relationships, and bringing about radical change in society. Denying allegiance to any nationality, caste, religion, or philosophy, he spent much of his life travelling the world, speaking to large and small groups and individuals.

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    Truth can sometimes be difficult to believe, especially since it's not easily perceptible. One such truth is the existence of Mahavatar Babaji, the deathless guru said to be somewhere between 5000 to 6000 years old. However, several of Babaji's disciples are reported to have met him and even described these first-hand accounts in sermons, books, and pictorial illustrations. Many of these devoted disciples mahasamadhi monuments contain sacred soil from Babaji's cave. One such disciple is Lahiri Mahasaya.

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    Many believe that a dead human’s soul is able to find salvation or moksha when cremated at Manikarnika Ghat, one of the oldest ghats in Banaras. Yamraj, the God of Death is prohibited here, and his work of leading lost souls to their final resting place is done by Lord Shiva himself. Thus, Manikarnika Ghat is said to be the Gateway to Heaven”.

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    Built in 1750 by Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh, Ramnagar Fort is situated on the eastern right bank of the Ganga River, opposite the Banaras Ghats. Its prime and scenic location has made it a popular site amongst both Indians as well as foreign tourists.

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    Located in Sarnath and commissioned by the great Mauryan king Ashoka in 249 BCE, Dhamek Stupa pays homage to Lord Buddha and his spiritual and philosophical teachings. It is said to beerected at the spot where Buddha spoke for the first time after enlightenment. Surrounded by many astounding architectural sculptures as well as the path which Buddha himself once walked upon, Dhamek Stupa is now a tourist site for people from far and wide, many of them ardent followers of Buddhism and its founder.

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    With improvements in technology over time, there has been a shift in the production of silk in Banaras. Powerlooms, being more efficient and productive, are being chosen over handlooms to weave the delicate fabric. Silk workers who have been in the trade for long are looking for other means to earn their daily wages as silk weaving does not offer them monetary satisfaction.

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    Sant Tulsidas may have passed on almost 400 years go, but he has left behind a legacy that is revered by many. A great saint, poet and philosopher, he is renowned for his retelling of Ramcharitmanas in the Awadhi dialect of Hindi, the vernacular language of people of his time. His written works and belongings are preserved in a house on the ghats of Banaras, of which Head Priest Vishambhar Nath Mishra is caretaker.

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    Baba Kinaram, the founding father of Ancient Aghor, is also believed to be a reincarnation of Lord Shiva. Of the many folklores depicting him, one is a detailed narrative of his initial few days after entry into this world. It is said that after the birth Baba Kinaram neither cried nor suckled at his mother's breast for three days. After three days when three monks (who were believed to be manifestations of Lord Sadashiva - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh) came to visit, they took the newborn in their arms. It was only when they whispered something into Baba Kinaram’s ears that he cried for the first time since birth.

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