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The Vārāṇasīmāhatmya of the Bhairavaprādurbhāva

The Vārāṇasīmāhatmya of the Bhairavaprādurbhāva

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Edited by Peter BISSCHOP

The city of Vārāṇasī in North India is one of the most sacred Hindu places. Its unique location on the banks of the Gaṅgā adds to its special claims of holiness. These claims found expression in an extensive body of literature called Māhātmyas, texts composed in Sanskrit with the specific aim of promoting the “greatness” (māhātmya) of the town through the narration of tales of origin of individual sites. The present study presents a little-known Vārāṇasīmāhātmya which has survived in a unique compendium of such Māhātmyas in a palm-leaf manuscript in Nepal. It contains a critical edition of the text with an introduction & annotated English synopsis. In making this material available, this study aims to contribute to an understanding of the emplacement of Brahmanical Hinduism, in particular Śaivism.

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The Vārāṇasīmāhatmya of the Bhairavaprādurbhāva