The ancient city of Varanasi is more than just a pilgrimage center, or a land where the dead are cremated. Varanasi has been described in the ancient scriptures to be designed in the form a mandala or a protective ring consisting of Ganesh, and 350 gods and goddesses with Shiva Vishwanath at the center. While the boundaries of Kashi are delimited by the sacred Panchakroshi road, the main city of Varanasi extends from Asi Ghat, circling around the confluence of the Ganges and Varana rivers. Yet within this is the sacred area, much smaller, called the Avimukta which starts at the Kedara ghat in the south and ends at the Trilochana Ghat. Within this is the Antargriha or the inner sanctum around the Vishwanath temple, shaped in the form of Lord Shiva’s trident, with Omkara to the north, Vishwanath in the center and Kedara to the south(refer to the map below).
Given the symbolic representation of the 3 main areas of Omkara, Vishwanath and Kedara marking Lord Shiva’s trident, it brings to mind something very uncanny. I would defer with the theory that the three sacred areas are edged on Lord Shivas’s trident.
Why? These 3 areas on the Gangetic plains with the river Ganges flowing surprisingly South to North within this ancient city of Kashi, as the river meanders through to the Bay of Bengal, resemble something equally spectacular far away in ancient Egypt.
In ancient Egypt, the sacred river Nile flows south to north right through the Egyptian countryside. Along the river, as we cruise down towards Giza, our eyes meet with one of the greatest ancient marvels, the pyramids of Giza. It is believed in Egyptology, that the 3 pyramids were built with absolute astronomical perfection in the period of the Old Kingdom to resemble a phenomenon in the Milkyway Galaxy.
In the early months of spring, in March when one stands along the banks of the Nile, we can witness a cluster of stars meandering through the skies above. Among these very stars is the famous constellation of Orion, who is identified by the 3 belt stars and the 4 stars that mark his body from shoulders to knees. Orion is one of the most ancient Egyptian Gods, revered and honored in the same way as Aton (Sun god) and Horus (Falcon god). The ancient Egyptians meticulously constructed these pyramids, not just to bury their dead but also to study what is beyond death and recorded them in their Book of the Dead. The 3 pyramids of Giza along the Nile are a mirror image of the 3 belt stars of Orion constellation along the Milkyway galaxy in the months of spring.
Varanasi has a few very striking similarities with Egypt, one which is the very placement of 3 sacred shrines along the river Ganges, mirroring the 3 belt stars of Orion along the cluster of stars of the Milkyway, through the Ganges which surprisingly flows south to north in this city too. It might be taken as coincidence, but a bit of deeper thinking increases the importance of Orion to much more than a mere constellation. Varanasi is the land of the dead, where it is considered a blessing to die in this land and be burnt here. Varanasi might throw light on the importance of obvious constellations, the mirroring of which on earth is still unknown, though meticulously done on the banks of the river Nile and the Ganges possibly.
It is also interesting to note other strange similarities found in the left hand path of the worship (Aghora) of Lord Shiva and Kali that involved sadhanas in burial grounds, which was performed in ancient days by Tantriks. This sadhana brought alive the Goddess, Shamshan Tara, before whom appeared a Jackal - a messenger of the Goddess during the ritual. Strangely the description given by various sadhakas regarding the blue hued jackal bears striking resemblance with the jackal god Anubis, who is the god of death and embalming in ancient Egypt.
Could it be that the ancient Hindus and Egyptians had found out some deeper truths that we are completely unaware of today? Could they have been involved in practices and rituals that woke the power of these deities and have them recorded in ancient paintings left behind all over their tomb walls and scriptures for us to see and understand? Is there more to the constellation Orion than 3 belt stars in the night sky?
Varanasi is as much a reflection of the Milkyway galaxy (alias the cosmic ocean) on earth as much as the ancient city of Giza is along the river Nile. The Ganges is as sacred as the Nile and “3 points” were considered the most sacred to both ancient worlds as the belt stars of Orion. While in the case of one civilization these stars represented death marked by pyramids, in the case of the other they celebrated the miracle of life marked by sacred shrines. Each interpreted the science in their own ways, but maybe the truth is the same. What is that truth or science?
We may need to wonder about the cosmic ocean by night more than just lay the ashes to rest into a watery bed of peace.
Click here for more on Shamshan Tara
Disclaimer: This link might hurt religious sentiments, it requires an open mind.
Also read about the life and works of Artist Silpi