Sherring, Matthew A.
The sacred city of the Hindus: an account of Benares in ancient and modern times — London, 1868

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THE SACRED CITY OF THE HINDUS.

CHAPTEE I.

Eakly history of Benares.—Sanctity of the city.—Mythic character of
Indian history. — Ancient Buddhist records respecting Benares.
S'akya Muni, or Buddha, preached the doctrine of Buddhism first in
Benares.—Antiquity of Benares.—Hiouen Thsang's account of his
visit to the city in the seventh century of the Christian era.—
Macaulay's description of Benares. — Connexion of Benares with
the religious history of half the human race.—Its connexion with
Buddhism.—Life and labours of Buddha.—Benares subsequently to
the fan of Buddhism in India.—The Brahman.—Sons of the Ganges.
—Devotees and pilgrims.—Benares, the religious centre of India.

The early history of Benares is involved in much
ohscurity. It is, indisputably, a place of great antiquity,
and may even date from the time when the Aryan race
first spread itself over Northern India. Although such
a supposition is incapable of direct proof, yet the sacred
city must, undoubtedly, be reckoned amongst the primi-
tive cities founded by this people. When it was first
built, and by what prince or patriarch, is altogether un-
known. But of its great antiquity, stretching back
through the dim ages of early Indian history, far into
the clouds and mists of the Vedic and pre-historieal
periods, there is no question. It is certain that the
city is regarded, by all Hindus, as coeval with the birth
of Hinduism, a notion derived both from tradition and
from their own writings. Allusions to Benares are ex-
ceedingly abundant in ancient Sanskrit literature; and

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