Lord Śiva is the parameṣṭhi guru which means the penultimate guru and Vedavyāsa is the guru of all creatures on this planet. The Vishvanath Jyotirlinga signifies His power as the Guruof everything, the supreme knowledge. This is the first jyotirlinga that appeared out of the earth’s crust and rose upwards like a column of light.

From centuries, the only agenda the Mughals carried was to destroy the Hindu existence in India and replace it with Islam. For the first time, in the year 1194 CE, the original Kashi Vishwanath temple was destroyed by Qutb-Ud-Din Aibak (under Mohammad Ghori) when he defeated the Raja of Kannauj. This was the first time when the original Kashi Temple (at least recorded from the time of Mahabharat) was destroyed. After 17 years, in 1211, a Gujarati merchant rebuilt the temple.

It was demolished for second time during the rule of either Hussain Shah Sharqi (1447-1458) or Sikandar Lodhi (1489-1517). Raja Man Singh built the temple during Akbar’s rule, but orthodox Hindus boycotted it. Raja Todar Mal further re-built the temple with Akbar’s funding at its original site in 1585. Almost a hundred years without a proper Kashi Temple!

In the year 1669, Alamgir Aurangzeb destroyed the temple and did not leave a brick in place. Instead, he constructed a Mosque over the remains of the temple and named it Gyanvapi (Well of Wisdom) Mosque. Gyanvapi was the name of the well which existed in the old Kashi temple, from where the water was used for Rudra Abhisheka. The Kashi Vishwanath temple was last rebuilt and restored to its glory by the Queen of Indore, Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar in 1780 after Lord Shiva appeared in her dream. She took the initiative to restore the temple and also provided the funds for it.

Gyanvapi Well

Gyanvapi Mosque
Maharani Ahilya Bai
Later Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Punjab covered the entire temple with a ton of gold, particularly the towers and golden chatra (umbrella) on top. It is believed that any wish made after seeing the chartra, is always fulfilled.
The inner sanctum sanctorium is a black stone Shiva Linga resting on a silver pedestal. Three shrines line the south direction while five (tattva) linga surround the temple – together called Nilakantheshvara. In jyotisa we learn that all evils come through the panca tattva in the trimsamsa chart. These are removed and the tattva restored by worshipping Nilakanthesvara Mahadeva in these temples.

In the Guru Gita, Mother Parvati prays –

ॐ नमो देवदेवेश परात्पर जगत्गुरु।
सदाशिव महादेव गुरुदीक्षा प्रदेहिमे॥
काशीक्षेत्रं निवासश्च जान्हवी चरणोदकम्‌।
गुरुविश्वेश्वरः साक्षात्‌ तारकं ब्रह्मनिश्चितं॥
om namo devadeveśa parātpara jagatguru|
sadāśiva mahādeva gurudīkṣā pradehime||
kāśīkṣetraṁ nivāsaśca jānhavī caraṇodakam |
guruviśveśvaraḥ sākṣāt tārakaṁ brahmaniścitaṁ ||

Upadesha: Learn this great prayer to Lord Shiva and may you always have the grace of the gurus.

During the present duration of Kali Yuga, Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana the only son of Maharṣi Parāśara, is the vedavyāsa. Vedavyāsa is a title and not a name. This truth is valid even today and will be true for many yugas to come. Many people including many Hindu believe that Vedavyāsa is a name – unfortunately knowledge of śāstra has fallen to such levels.

Just like this you will come across many names which can be either that of an individual (like devatā, rākṣasa, manuśya, gandharva etc.) or a title conferred to one holding a certain position. If you are not sure, don’t hesitate to ask me in the forums, else you will always in doubt for the rest of your life!

Before seeking the knowledge of the seers, it is necessary to propitiate them with prayers and mantras. At this stage of your learning it is really not necessary to understand the meaning of each and every sound you utter as you will learn all this in good time. It is important to try to say the alphabets, words and sounds in the manner in which we say it. After every mantra or prayer you will find an audio file for the same that should play in any modern browser which has flash player updated in it.