Man has always shared a love-hate relationship with nature. While hate has thrived on the perceived ‘wilderness’ impediment to the progress of civilization, love has blossomed primarily on awe-inspiring beauty and benevolence. Mount Kailash is one of the many gems borne by Nature that has found its way to the human heart.
The majestic, symmetrical peak, stands at a height of 21778 ft. in a remote south-west corner of Tibet. The diamond shaped Mount Kailash is flanked by a beautiful landscape characterized by two sacred lakes- Lake Mansarovar and Rakhast Tal. Together, the trinity forms the epicenter of the spiritual life of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Bons.
Hinduism: The abode of Shiva
The peak is of special significance in Hinduism in myriad ways. Numerous mythologies refer to it as the abode of Shiva, and the ultimate destination of souls. The Puranas hold that the mountain with its four faces made of crystal, ruby, gold, and lapis lazuli, sits at the centre of the world, surrounded by six mountain ranges symbolizing a lotus. Certain traditions also assert that the peak is Shiva’s linga and the Lake Mansarovar is the yoni of his love, Shakti.
Jainism: Enlightenment of Rishabhadeva
For the Jains, the mountain holds a special place in their faith, because this was where Rishabhadeva- the first of the tirthankaras, attained liberation from the cycle of karma. Sadhguru emphasizes the spiritual appeal of the mountain through these words describing the experience of the Jain savior-
“He (Rishabhadeva) came here with a mission. He had heard much about it. So he thought he will grab all this knowledge and go out and do something with it. After being touched by Kailash, instead of taking the knowledge and going and doing something, he decided to merge with the mountain. No being who has tasted it to some depth will be spared that temptation. When you are in touch with it, you begin to think, “This is it, why not?” Everything else – all the petty goals that we have set for ourselves to do this and that – become meaningless.”
Buddhism: Fortress of Chakrasamvara
The tantric practitioners of Buddhism regard Mount Kailash as the sacred fortress of Buddha Shakyamuni (Chakrasamvara)- a wrathful deity with four faces and twelve hands, who is also said to symbolize supreme bliss.
The peak is also a symbol of pride as this battleground witnessed the victory of Tantric Buddhism over the indigenous Bon religion. Legends have to say that the champions of the two faiths Milarepa (Tantric Buddhism) and Naro-Bon-Chung (Champion of Bon) had to prove the superiority of their respective faiths through a race to the summit. Although Milarepa chose to give his rival a head start, his acquired power through meditation (during Bon’s flight to the summit) enabled him to clinch a win at the nick of time.
Bon: Thonpa Shenrab Miwo’s pearls shine
Bon mythology holds that Mount Kailash is where the founder Thonpa Shenrab Miwo descended from heaven and disseminated his pearls of spiritual knowledge. He is said to have predicted the establishment of nine orders of Bon schools near the peak. The devout followers therefore regard the Himalayan gem as a nine-story swastika and a seat of spiritual power.
The magnetic appeal of the majestic peak is manifested in the sea of humanity that throngs for the Kailash-Mansarovar yatra every year- a yatra characterized by meditation sessions, sacred walks and holy dips.
Circulating the peak is believed to wash away sins, although setting foot on the slopes is considered a violation of sanctity. The Hindus and Buddhists do it in a clockwise direction whereas the Jains and Bons take the opposite way. Typically, it takes a follower three days to complete the magical 108 trips round the peak, but a certain meditation practice Lung-gom (essentially, a secret breathing technique) can enable him/her to do it in a single day for assured enlightenment.
The Mysteries around Mount Kailash
Known by various names such as Meru, Sumeru, Deva Parvata, etc. this venerated mountain is shrouded with ample mysteries and undiscovered knowledge-
- A man-made pyramid? Towards the turn of the 21st century, studies by Russian researchers led by Professor ER Muldasheva pointed to a possibility that the top of the mountain could actually be a vast pyramid of the ancient times, lying at the centre of a complex of hundreds of smaller pyramids soaring to a height of 100- 1800 m. Displaying the characteristic feature of pyramids, the mountain’s four facades are oriented to the cardinal points.
- Centre of the world? To say that Mount Kailash is the ‘Axis”- the spiritual centre where heaven meets earth, is more than a belief. Why? The evidence comes from scientific entities in the form of Google maps and NASA pictures, to suggest that the peak is at the centre of a system spanning the globe; connecting monuments and sites that have blipped on the radar for alleged paranormal activities.
- Time flies differently? An astounding mystery that has puzzled many, is the rapid ageing of those who visit the site. As per the popular estimates, 12 hours spent near the peak is equivalent to 2 weeks in normal conditions.
Winding up, we treat your eyes, to a beautiful, enlightening documentary on the Precious Jewel of Eternal Snow-