Manikarnika Sevashram Sanstha
The Manikarnika Sevashram Sanstha Kashi is located at Manikarnika Ghat, building No. C.K-10/40A which was brought under Manikarnika Sevashram Sanstha Kashi by Sri Liladhar Swarup who constructed the building.
Sri Liladhar Swarup alias Mahakalananda, the Peethadheeshwar of Kashi Sarvajnapeetha, was a Brahmachari (celibate monk) who had a spiritual intuition that in the future the Ultimate Embodiment of Superconsciousness of Parmashiva would incarnate on this planet in Thiruvannamalai, a town in Southern India, and be known to the world by the name of Nithyananda who would revive Hinduism worldwide and that he should be the inheritor of Sri Liladhar Swarup and his contributions. Sri Liladhar Swarup, cognizing the possibility that he may not live to see the happening of Nithyananda, made a will stating that he did not want any controversy after his lifetime about the ownership of the Manikarnika Ghat building and divested it with the Manikarnika Sevashram Sanstha Kashi, with the condition that the Peetha should be handed over to Sri Nithyananda. The then trustee of the Manikarnika Sevashram Sanstha, Radheshyam Khemka, as per the wishes of Sri Liladhar Swarup appointed The Supreme Pontiff of Hinduism (SPH) Bhagavan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam @ Sri Nithyananda Swami as Peethadheeshwar on 16th June 2008 in a grand public ceremony and appointed his disciples as Trustees to manage the affairs of the Kashi Sarvajnapeetha.
The SPH Bhagwan Sri Nithyanana Paramashivam also known as Sri Nithyananda Swami had been handed over the Kashi Sarvajnapeetha by the traditional initiation by Swami Hamsananda puri who in turn appointed his disciples as Trusees to manage the affairs of the kashi Sarvjnapeetha.
Subsequently as per the last wish of Liladhar Swarup alias Mahakalananda, Atal Akhada Mahamandaleshwar-Mahant Sukhdevanandaji, His Holiness Sri Tiruchi Mahaswamigal of Sri Kailash Ashrama Mahasamsthana and His Holiness Acharya Sri Vishwadevanand ji-Acharya Mahamandaleshwar of Mahanirvani Akhada handed over the “The Kashi Sarvjanapeetha” to SPH Bhagavan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam.
The guru parampara thus continued running the peetha located at Manikarnika Ghat building No. C.K-10/40A. The Kashi Sarvajnapeetha also has the spiritual significance that His Divine Holiness had his conscious Enlightenment experience at the Manikarnika ghat near the Mahakaal temple. SPH Bhagavan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam got his first Enlightenment experience of cosmic oneness or advaita at the age of 12 at Pavalakundru, Thiruvannamalai and conscious death experience at Manikarnika Ghat near Mahakal Mandir.
Manikarnika ghat holds the uniqueness of having the funeral pyre continuously burning 24×7 for over 2000 years in the sacred temple city of Varanasi.
The Kashi Sarvajnapeetha will continue to be maintained and run by Kashi Sarvajnapeetha Peethadheeshwar, SPH Bhagavan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam and people appointed by SPH.
The Supreme Pontiff of Hinduism In Kashi
The Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi is where The Supreme Pontiff of Hinduism Bhagwan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam experienced his own death and realized his oneness as Lord Viswanatha.
The Supreme Pontiff of Hinduism (SPH), Jagatguru Mahasannidhanam (JGM), His Divine Holiness (HDH), Bhagawan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam, when talking about Varanasi has said “this is most fascinating city. If you understand the chaos and the order and all, this is the most fascinating city; if you don’t understand and resist, it is the most frustrating city. This city is like me, always in ecstacy. If you understand the order, most fascinating; if you resist, most frustrating. I can say this city is literally DNA of Hinduism, it is DNA of Hinduism.”
The SPH Nithyananda Paramashivam overlooking the tower in Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi.
Bhagwan Paramashiva has given a boon to humanity, whoever dies in Varanasi and gets cremated at the Manikarnika ghat would get liberated.
SPH Bhagavan Nithyananda Paramashivam with his monks at theManikarnika Ghat – Bhagavan had his conscious death experience here.
Varanasi is ecstasy for people who seek the higher purpose of life. The highest purpose is enlightenment, no doubt, but even if somebody is seeking little higher than what they are seeking; even if they are seeking for health, or anything a little higher than what they are seeking; Varanasi fulfills them.
This is the land of Vishwanatha, protected by, maintained by Kalabhairava; fed, nourished, enriched by Mata Annapurni. When I say Annapurni, Kalabhairava, Vishwanatha, please understand they are literally living here and responding in the very physical plane. Like how you can talk to your friends or neighbours, relatives, to me and receive response, in that very plane all of them exist in Varanasi. I am not talking about they are deity in the temple. That represents them, no doubt. And I am not talking about they existing in the form of a principle. ‘God exists everywhere’. Please understand, I am talking straightforward, direct form. They exist, where you can talk to them, relate with them.
Death Experience and Oneness with Viswanatha
The Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi, the seat of the Kashi Sarvajnapeetha, is where Bhagwan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam experienced his oneness with Viswanatha which he described thus:
“The scene there, the very experience of just being there, I cannot describe to you verbally. You have to be there to experience it!
To tell you honestly, by just being there, the fear of death just disappeared from my system. You see so many bodies continuously being burned every day. You feel, ‘I am also going to go like this one day…all right’, that’s all! You feel there are so many people giving you company! It is like one more trip that you make, that’s all. You don’t feel lonely about death at all.
In your life, you may see one or two bodies being burnt, so you still have the fear of death. But at Manikarnika Ghat, there will be no ritual done. They will bring the body and straightaway dip it in the river Ganga three times while chanting, ‘Ram naam satya hai, Ram naam satya hai, Ram naam satya hai’. By this time, the fire will be ready, and the wood will be arranged. They will bring the body straight from the water and burn it, that’s all!
One strange thing that you see there is that none of the relatives will stay there and do any further rituals. The moment they dip the body in the Ganga and place the body for burning, they will go away, that’s all! The people who maintain the ghat will take care of the rest. You will not know how long it will take for the body that you brought to be burnt completely. There will be a queue and bodies will be burning continuously.
I thought to myself, ‘Let me try to sit here and see what goes on.’ I sat at the Ghat. In just an hour’s time, I felt that death is no more a strange incident which happens once in a while only for some relative or friend. I was sitting there watching bodies arriving one after another. It was like any other queue, that’s all. Different sizes, genders, ages, and communities of people arrived to be consumed by the same burning flame.
When you continuously see dead bodies being burnt you actually lose respect for death! As of now, you have too much of respect, too many ideas about death. That is the problem. Death is actually nothing but this. The breath that goes inside the body doesn’t come out, that’s all. Nothing much can be done about it. Neither can you rewind it nor fast- forward it.
As I was watching this scene continuously, initially the little fear that I had about death also disappeared and slowly it actually became interesting to watch. I went near the people who maintain the fire and started helping them. As I was helping them, I was thinking to myself, ‘After all, one day this body of mine is also going to become like this dead body that is burning now.’ When you remember that death is going to happen to you, the respect that you carry for your ego will come down. Because, whenever you think that something should not leave you, it is just the ego, nothing else. When you know for sure that everything is going to leave you, then the respect for the ego just drops drastically. The respect I had for my ego just dropped from me.
Then I decided, ‘After all I am going to die. Either I should have a conscious death experience now itself and live the rest of my life without the death-fear, or really die, that’s all.’ I decided that I have to see death happening to me one way or the other. There was a small Shiva temple around the corner and a small tower above the temple. I went and sat in that tower so that nobody would disturb me. I sat in that tower and from there I started seeing the dead bodies being burnt.
I still remember the strong click, the deep understanding and instant realization that triggered the whole experience that was to follow.
An elderly lady’s body was being burnt. She had a big belly. Her clothes were being consumed by the fire and then the fat that was in the belly started melting and flowing. Sorry for describing this so vividly but I have to do it to explain the strong experience! I could see clearly that because of the fat flowing, the fire was burning with even more intensity. That gave a very strong click to me and I said, ‘God! Yes, the very same thing is going to happen to this body also!’
That click opened up a deep fear of death inside me. The fear spread all over the body. But I faced the fear consciously. I could see very clearly the fear spreading all over the body, and when the fear hit my awareness, that became the experience of death. I went through a conscious experience of my own death and came out of it.
Understand, whenever your fear is suppressed, it stays inside you. Whenever the fear comes out and you are not consciously facing it, it becomes a fear stroke, and shakes your whole nervous system and breaks it down. When the fear is faced consciously, it becomes the death experience, that’s all! If you just escape from the death-fear, when the deep fear happens, it becomes death. When you face the deep fear consciously, it becomes death experience.
- Death-fear plus unconsciousness is suppression or perversion.
- Death-fear plus unconsciousness where you don’t suppress but you don’t face it either is a fear stroke or a nervous breakdown because you just get frightened and shaken.
- Death-fear plus conscious awareness is a death experience!
I was able to see very clearly the fear that arose. When I faced it consciously with awareness, it became my death experience. The body was dead. It was not moving.
For two and a half days I had no food, no water, no thought, no question, no doubt. The body alone was there. Only after the experience had passed, I realized that I had been like that for two and a half days! I could see with closed eyes that the body was dead and there was no movement. Suddenly, after two and a half days, the click happened again, ‘God! The body is dead but I still exist! I am there!’ That clarity, when it clicked, became such an intense ecstasy in me! The fear of death had left me once and for all.I saw that Vishwanath was simply alive there! Understand, because I died Vishwanath became alive!I was in such deep ecstasy, such joy, and such bliss! I slowly opened my eyes and I was able to move the body.
The SPH had practised conscious death process here in Manikarnika Ghat and experienced enlightenment through the death process.
The first thing I felt was such a surge of ecstasy and gratitude. I went down to the Ganga, sprinkled a little Ganga water on myself, took the Ganga water in the kamandalu , took a little ash from the fire, and went straight to the Kashi Vishwanath temple. I went up to the Shiva linga, offered the ash I had brought and did the puja with such inexpressible gratitude.
I saw that Vishwanath was simply alive there! Understand, because I died Vishwanath became alive! Until the day before, because I was still alive, Vishwanath was always an ordinary stone. I used to feel that to touch this stone, thousands of people are coming everyday from so far away… what foolishness! I always felt that the Vishwanath deity was an ordinary stone. I felt that way because I was still alive. When I died, I saw clearly, He became alive! Only one can be alive, either He or you. When you see the Truth, He will become alive. You will not be alive anymore as you now think. The fear of death left me once and for all. I can say that this is one of the very strong experiences that transformed me to search for the ultimate experience of enlightenment.