Author: Diana L Eck
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780140190793
In this eloquent, finely observed study, Diana Eck shows how the city over the centuries has become a lens through which the Hindu vision of the world is precisely focused.
The sacred city of Banaras on the River Ganges is one of the oldest living cities in the world – as old as Jerusalem, Athens, and Peking. It is the place where Shiva, the Lord of All, is said to have made his permanent home since the dawn of creation. There are few cities in India as traditionally Hindu and as symbolic of the whole of Hindu culture as Banaras. In this eloquent, finely observed study, Diana Eck shows how the city over the centuries had become a lens through which the Hindu vision of the world is precisely focused.
She reveals the spiritual and historical resonance of this holy place where great sages such as the Buddha and Shankara taught, where ashrams, palace and universities were built, where God has been imagined and imaged in a thousand ways. She describes the rites of its temples, the busy life of its riverfront, and the exuberance of its festivals, She tells how people travel from all over India to Banaras for the privilege of dying a good death here, for they believe that on the banks of the River Ganges where ‘the atmosphere of devotion is improbable in its strength,’ it is possible to be released from this earthly round forever.
In her account of the sacred history, geography, and art of the city, its elaborate and thriving rituals, its myths and literature, and its importance to pilgrims and seekers, Diana Eck uses her wealth of scholarship to make the Hindu tradition come powerfully alive so that we come to understand the meaning of this sacred city to the millions of believers who have been coming here for over 2,500 years.
A luminous work, as befits this City of Light. I know of few books that capture the soul of a sacred city to the degrees that this one does.
—Huston smith, Thomas J. Watson Professor or Religion,
This book is attractively printed and illustrated with photographs and nineteenth centuries view…as admirable and lucid work.
—Andrew Topsfield, TLS
Banaras: An Introduction
Banaras in Historical Perspective
The City of Shiva
The Sacred Circle of all the Gods
The River Ganges and the Great ‘Ghats’
Seasons and Times
City of all India
City of the Good Live
City of Death and Liberation
Appendix I: Sanskrit: Sources for the Study of Banaras
Appendix II: The Zones of the Sacred City
Appendix III: The Shiva Lingas of Kashi
Appendix IV: The Cycles of Kashi Goddesses
Appendix V: Other Deities of Kashi
Appendix VI: The Year in Banaras: A Partial Calendar
Note on Transliteration and Pronunciation