Benaras(Varanasi) is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together. Mark Twain
Once created by Shiv and Parvati at the place where they stood at the beginning of time, Varanasi is one of the most kick-ass cities of India in terms of the legends and stories that it figures in. Officially one of the most ancient surviving cities in the world, it is now also home to the most exciting contest in the greatest elections on Earth. Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi face off in the very place that Brahma and Vishnu once did to determine who was greater. Whatever Arvind Kejriwal might be accused of by his detractors, his strategy and aggression has to be admired. Whether he wins or loses, he just took advantage of the fact that Modi is also an outsider to Varanasi and is probably vulnerable here. Whether the AAP does well overall or disappoints, victory in Varanasi could just upset the whole Modi applecard. Amazing chutzpah. Super fun for the audience. Bring it on.
The winner of the battle between Brahma and Vishnu was surprisingly, Shiva. Will we see the emergence of a new winner in this battle at Varanasi ? The top 2 prime ministerial candidates, facing off against each other (much like the story below). Will they be surprised to see a new prime minister, someone that surprises them and becomes the new Prime Minister ? Someone who isn’t obvious to the two frontrunners (hence ruling out Rahul Gandhi). Time will tell. For now, enjoy the story of Varanasi and the first battle. And let your imagination soar……Enjoy.
The original legend of Varanasi below. Hope you enjoy it.
Legend (and the Puranas) has it that Varanasi was the site of a great argument between Brahma the creator and Vishnu the preserver. They refer to the Vedas to decide who is greaterand discover to their dismay that it was Shiva, the destroyer who was supreme. As the two stood there arguing, a huge column of fire, originating in Varanasi, split the earth and the heavens.
Astounded, Brahma and Vishnu decide to determine the origin and extent of this luminous pillar. Vishnu went and explored the depths of the netherworlds as a boar and Brahma mounted his goose and tried to fly to the top of the pillar. Despite their efforts, neither could reach the end of this incredible beam of light.
When they returned to Varanasi, Shiva emerged from the light beam to meet them. Vishnu immediately acknowledged his greatness but Brahma took offence and slandered him. Enraged, Shiva took the form of Bhairav and chopped off one of Brahma’s heads.
Based on the pillar of fire from this myth, one of the early names of Varanasi was Kashi (the City of Light).