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her father this time being Raja Mount Himálaya; and; on arriving at womanhood, she was again married to her former husband, Mahadeva. The happy couple travelled to Benares, for the purpose of spending their honeymoon; and, while there, what was their surprise to see old goat-headed Raja Daksh, who was still absorbed in his religious exercises ! He, too, was doubtless equally astonished to see Mahadeva, whom, of course, he recognized, although his mental eyes were closed in regard to Párvati, whom he did not perceive to be his own daughter Satí. The Raja pleaded with Mahádeva for the forgiveness of his sin. The god heard his petition, and granted it; and the old man, filled with joy, dedicated a shrine to Mahadeva, called Daksheśvar, which is said to be that situated in the interior of the temple of Bșiddhkál. This tale is as entertaining as many of the legends connected with the Black Forest;
the only difference, though an essential one, being, that · they are designed for amusement and fun, whereas
this, strangely enough, is intended for the promotion of religion.
Leaving this temple, and proceeding along the street by its southern wall, we come to a shrine standing at its south-western angle, and forming part of the Břiddhkál edifice. Its name is Alpmfiteśwar, from the god to whom it is dedicated, who, it is reported, is endowed with the miraculous power of prolonging the lives of persons apparently in act to die. The fame of this shrine is considerable; and it is the resort of a large number of worshippers, who seek for themselves and their friends an escape from sickness and death. In the
streets leading to the Briddhkál temple, a melá or fair is held every Sunday; and, once a year, in the month of Sawan, one on a large scale is held, which lasts for several days. These melás are partly of a religious, and partly of a secular, character; but their primary intention is the worship of some celebrated deity.
In a street leading to Briddhkál, a small temple obstructs the thoroughfare, called Ratneswar, from ratna, a jewel. The shrine is referred to in Hindu writings. A curious circumstance is connected with its modern history. Upwards of thirty years ago, an English magistrate of Benares, while making improvements in the city, determined that this temple should be levelled with the ground. The natives say, that, one night, the god Mahadeva appeared to the sáhib, or gentleman, in a dream, and, representing to him the great sin he was intending to commit, ordered him to forbear from the execution of such an evil design; and that, on awaking, the sáhib, in obedience to the divine admonition, laid aside his levelling project. It is reported, also, and commonly believed, that, while digging at the foundations of the temple, on this occasion, a jewel was discovered beneath it; but the natives themselves express considerable doubt about its genuineness.
ALTHOUGH the city of Benares is now regarded as sacred to S'iva, and as a place over which he exercises divine authority, yet it is commonly believed, by the inhabitants, that there was a time when such a divinity was not wor. shipped here, but divine honours were bestowed on a Raja called Divodás. The tradition, too, is sanctioned by the Kúśí-khanda. It is said, that this personage, whom Brahmá raised to the dignity of Raja of Benares, and vested with jurisdiction over both gods and men, took it into his head to banish all the gods from the city. This ruthless act seems to have produced immense consternation throughout the Hindu pantheon ; but the Raja possessed such supernatural power, that the deities were, thwarted in all their efforts to reenter the city. Leaded by Siva, they formed a conspiracy to unseat him, and, in order to effect their purpose, attempted to inveigle Divodás into some act of sin; knowing, that, the moment the sin was perpetrated, his divine power and authority would come to an end, and they would regain their lost dignities and prerogatives. But this miserable and disgraceful design, though instigated and approved by Siva himself, came to nothing; for Divodás was a man of unspotted purity and of the strictest integrity. At last, Gaņeś hit upon a scheme, which was singularly cunning and suocessful. In the character of a great Guru or teacher, he appeared, one day, at the door of the Raja's palace, and solicited an audience with him. This the Raja granted, and, in course of conversation, was so much pleased with the intelligence, learning, and sanctity of his new acquaintance, that he wished to sit at his feet, as his disciple. With this request Gaņeś refused to comply; but, taking advantage of the Raja's good opinion of him, he induced him to consent to follow out whatever instructions should be communicated to him in a dream. These instructions simply were, that he should quit Benares. Feeling bound to fulfil his promise, he abandoned the government, abdicated the throne, and retired from the place, and was, thereupon, conveyed, by Siva himself, to the Kailas mountain. On his departure, the gods reentered the city, and Siva became their supreme ruler and the head of the city. These are reported to be the old deities of Benares; and to them pilgrimages are made. The myriad deities which have been introduced, at various times, into the city, since this imaginary emigration of the gods, must, therefore, be looked upon in the light of interlopers.
In endeavouring to extract a few grains of truth out of this strange mythological story, we are led to suppose that there was a time when Benares was not imbued with Hinduism as it is now. This Raja Divodás, who, no doubt, was a real personage, may be conceived to have resisted the encroachments of Hinduism, on its first
approach to Benares, but was, eventually, obliged to succumb to it, and to surrender his crown to the Brahmanical invaders; or, it may be, that, in a remote age in the history of Hinduism, the Raja may have become possessed of the city, perhaps by right of conquest, and, being attached to another creed, may have forthwith expelled the Brahmans, together with the symbols of their religion, from the place, but, after violent opposition on their part, was, at length, outwitted and supplanted by them. The second supposition contains some show of historical truth; inasmuch as it is a well-established fact, that Brahmanism was compelled to retreat before Bud. dhism, not only in Benares, but throughout a large portion of India, and that Buddhism, after being the paramount religion for many centuries, was compelled, in its turn, to retreat before Brahmanism. As there is no record of any other creed having become supreme in Benares besides these two, which, we know, successively were so, it is not unlikely that Divodás, who was, evidently, a sworn enemy of the Brahmans and their gods, was a Buddhist. This ejection from the city by a subtle and knavish scheme, may, perhaps, be only another mode of expressing the downfal of the religion which he had strenuously supported, and the return and triumph of the Brahmans."
The temple of Divodáseśwar, in which Divodás is worshipped, stands in a court a short distance from Mir Ghát. The idol consists of a black emblem of Siva. It is not alone, but is associated with other gods, one of whom is called Bisbáhuka, or the Twenty-handed
"See Appendix C.