There is a Sloka that is to be recited before going to bed at night.
Siva Siva Nataraja.
This Sloka ensures undisturbed sleep.
I shall explain the significance of this sloka in another article.
Why is that Kasi also called as Benares,
Varanasi is so important that Hindus flock to this city throughout the year, offer oblations to ancestors and oneself and why the Ithihasas Ramayana and Mahabharata, the Puranas speak highly of Kasi?
The first important reason is its antiquity.
Kasi enjoys the distinction of being the most continuosly lived city of the world.
Its history dates back to Vedic Times.
‘There is hardly any city in the world that can claim greater antiquity, greater popular veneration than Banaras”- P V Kane.
The earliest human occupation in Varanasi is found in the Atharvaveda (5-22-14).
Mahājanapada (Sanskrit महाजनपद) (literally “great realm”, from maha, “great”, and janapada “foothold of a tribe”, “country”) is one of the sixteen kingdoms or oligarchic republics that existed in ancient India from the sixth centuries BCE to fourth centuries BCE. Ancient Buddhist texts like theAnguttara Nikaya make frequent reference to sixteen great kingdoms and republics which had evolved and flourished in a belt stretching from Gandhara in the northwest to Anga in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent and included parts of the trans-Vindhyan region, prior to the rise of Buddhism in India.
Kasi is one of these tribes inhabiting the area.
The worship of Shiva precedes Vedas and there are evidences that Dravidian tribes were also living here.
Not only this.
Kassites who ruled Babylonia from 1500 BCE, but settled there from 1800 BCE bore names in a language related to Sanskrit.
Like Mitanni, who have very pure Sanskrit names (from 1400 BCE), they also spoke a language related to Sanskrit.
The fact is that they migrated from Gangetic plain, like Saurashtra (Zoaraster) migrated to Iran from Saurashtra coast of Gujarat (Please read Kanchi Paramacharya’s (1894-1994) talk on Zoaraster/Saurashtra.
Also read my article on Mittani Empire where I have detailed the Mittani link to Tamils.
Buddha used to frequent Kasi and two of the Jain Thirthankaras were raised here.
Adi Shankaracharya,Ramanujacharya and Madhvacharya, the three pillars of Hinduism visited Kasi
The Vedas are dated sometime around 5000 BC.
I have published articles to theceffect the Vedas can becdated much earlier.
So Kasi is at least 7000 years old.
The spiritually correct name of Kasi is Avimukta.
There is a legend that the name Kasi is due to the two small rivers that flow Kasi, Varana and Asi before they join the Ganges.
Pottery belonging to 800 BC has been enearthed here.
Even before Vedic times Ajivakas and Kaapalikas and Paspathad whovworship Shiva lived here.
Even today one can see Kaapalikas and Aghoris on Kasi.
Such is the hold of Kasi on Hinduism that QutbuddinIbak had the temples in Kasi razed and Mosques built in 1194 and this tradition was continued till Aurangazeb. .
Kasi had over hundreds of Temples according to Hieun Tsang the chinese Traveler.
He states that there was a Shiva Statue of 30 Mtrs.