DANDAPANI HARIKESHA

D A N D A P A N I  T E M P L E :  V A R A N A S I

Dandapani

Dandapani temple is one of the important temples in Kaasi.  The title Dandapani is given by Lord Shiva to one Yaksha after satisfying with his severe Tapasya.  He is the staunch devotee of Lord Shiva from his childhood.  The name of Dandapani is Harikesa.  His duty is to protect the people of Kasi with his Danda (staff).  His duty is to see that who should be allowed into Kasi, and who should be sent out from Kasi.  One should visit him first and then see Lord Shiva later, then only one should be eligible to get Moksha.  There is a story behind the origin of Dandapani.

Once there lived a Yaksha King by the name of Rathnabhadra at Gandhamadhana Parvatha in the Himalayas.  He is very pious and Dharmic Prabhu (king).  He had one son by the name of Purnabhadra.  His (Purnabhadra) wife was Kanakakundala, a chaste wife.  They were living happily in Gandhamadana Parvata with all comforts.  But one desire was squeezing their mind always.  That is, they have no children.  That is the only main worry for them.  His wife Kanakakundala one day advised him not to worry too much, let us worship Lord Shiva for the sake of a son.  He will definitely hear our request and bestow a son to us.  Satisfying with her advice Purnabhadra started worshipping Lord Shiva severely for a son. Lord Shiva felt happy and bestowed a beautiful son to them. They named him Harikesa.  The boy has grown up happily and reached the age of eight.  At first, he uttered the name, Shiva.  He started worshipping Lord Shiva in the form of Partiva Linga and used to chant various names of Shiva along with his childhood friends, from his childhood.  One day his father scolded him saying that how many days you will worship a God like this, you are the only son for me, you get married and lead a happy household life.  He didn’t like his father’s advice.  One day he left the house without his father’s notice and started roaming aimlessly like a vega band in the forest.  He remembered his childhood days and recollected that one sadhu saying to his father that Kasi is the suitable place on earth, that one can attain salvation easily who lived and died in Kasi.  So he went to Kasi and started meditating on Lord Vishwanath.  He selected a suitable place under one Ashoka tree in Anandakaanan (Kaasi), and started doing Tapasya severely for years together.  His body weathered, peeled out all his flesh and only his skeleton was leftover.  Ant huts were grown over his body.

One day roaming in the sky, Lord Shiva was explaining the greatness of Kasi to Maa Parvati.  They suddenly saw Harikesa doing severe tapa under a tree.  Mata Parvati pitied him and requested Lord Shiva to bestow a boon to Harikesa.  Both of them appeared before Harikesa.  Lord Shiva gently touched the forehead of Harikesa.  He woke up from his Tapasya and started praying to them with prostration.  Lord Shiva lifted him and gave him many boons.  He presented a golden shaft to Harikesa and gave him the title Dandapani.  Lord Shiva made him head of a part of Shiva Ganas and assigned the duty of protecting the people of Kasi hereafter.  Those who visit Kasi should first salute Dandapani and then have a darshan, Lord Vishwanath.  Then only he will be eligible to enter into Kasi,  live in Kasi, and die in Kasi.  Then only Lord Shiva will bestow Moksha to the soul of a departed person. Kala Bhairava and Dandapani are both pivotal Gods to get Moksha to a person in Kasi.  Dandapani is the punisher and Kaal Bhairava is to inflict  Bhairava Yatana to the departed soul before getting Moksha.

To have Darshan of Dandapani one should enter the lane of Dunti Ganapati (Gate no .1), pass through the lane enter into main temple premises, at the Markandeya lingam see right side then one can see a small temple of Dandapani.  Go ahead and have a darshan of Lord Vishwanath and come out happily with heart satisfied.  There is another way from the side of Gyan Vapi well.  But one should not mistake seeing the Dandapani temple situated in a small lane near Kaala Bhairava.