Mount Kailasa, Divine Paradise on Earth

One of the greatest known in the Bhakti movement and better known as a follower of Vaishnavism was Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who composed the Shivashtakam. An excerpt is given below:

Namo namasthe tridaseshwaraya
Bhoothadhinathaya mridaya nithyam|
Ganga tharangothida bala Chandra
Choodaya Gauri nayanothsavaya ||

Salutations and salutations to him,
Who is the Lord of the thirty gods,
Who is the Lord of all beings,
Who is perpetually gracious,
From whose head the waves of Ganga are born,
Who wears the crescent of moon
And who is the feast to the eyes of Gauri,

Sutaptha chamikara Chandra neela
Padma pravalambudha kanti vasthrai|
Sa nrutya rangetha vara pradhaya
Kaivalya nadhaya vrusha dwajaya ||

Salutations and salutations to Him,
Who is like the moon resembling the molten gold,
Who wears dress of the colour of blue lotus and rich cloud,
Who gives boons while he is dancing,
Who is the Lord of salvation,
And who has a bull in his flag.

His imagery of Lord Shiva as Kailasanatha who sports the moon on His head, from whom the Ganges flows and who is dressed in the color of a blue lotus and rich cloud brings alive the beauty of Mount Kailasa.

Mount Kailasa, the abode of Lord Shiva, is paradise on earth where the mridangam of Nandikeshwara can be heard around the rocky boulders. Its a cold snow capped world in ice that sings in praise of Kailashanatha, where Ravana meditated and chose to take this very Kailasa back to his country. This is that rocky and icy cold terrain that Karraikkal Ammaiyar chose to climb, with her hands, such devotion is unmatched!

With the strong chilling winds eating into the skin, and the harsh terrain testing our endurance while we attempt the parikrama of this great Peak with limited energy reserves, all theories of the Linga representing a phallic symbol depicting the great God quickly fade away into the books.

In this bleak climate, trekking through boulders and glaciers there is little room for stories. The first sight of Kailasa, built up on anticipation can bring emotions so strong that all else just fails to ring a bell. This IS paradise, land where the earthly winds bring in the song of the Gandharvas, land where stones reverberate echoing the sound of the mridangam, land where the clear night sky and the cloudy cloak on the Great Kailasa just stops the heart from beating. This is paradise, this is beauty, this is sublime.

The pure waters of the Manasarovar reveal just how untouched this land is, how clear and pure this land is, far away from human existence. Sweet water, shimmering drops of sunlight and rhythmic sounds embedded in every ripple give a glimpse of what the heavenly world is up ahead. Reflecting in these crystal clear waters far in the horizon stand the great Kailasa.

The holy dip in the sacred waters of the Manasarovar purify the mind and the thoughts, for now the peak of Kailasa doesnt feel any more like a mountain at all. No, this appears now like the very forehead of the Lord, the horizontal rocky contours form the patterns of lines on the forehead, and the snow capped sides appears like the three lines of white ash that cover the Linga's Shiva bhaga. The deep crevasse running vertically down its center looks far more than just a geographical coincidence. As the pure waters of the Manasarover trickle down my face that vertical split down the center of the mountain appears more like the half opened third eye of Lord Shiva himself.

In this earthly world that is, as the sun rises and falls, as the winds sing in my ears, I now stand small in front this great phenomenon. The three eyed Lord sits on an icy throne, in deep meditation as the snow laden earth hides this power of his third eye that lies dormant, unnoticed by all.

There are no words to express the workings of the supernatural world, there are no theories to prove, there is only time to realize how wasteful we have been with this consciousness called life, the only sign of which is in the air I breath as my heart pounds awaiting this phenomenon to descend on me.

Stark among low mountains, this imposing wall of heaven rises high in front of me. Robed in silken clouds the Lord silently meditates. The earth is pure, this air is pure and these waters are pure and as I freeze, my emotions well up in the form of tears and I wonder, is this the great Peak of Kailasa that resides deep in every temple sanctum scattered around the Indian country side?

As we scale across the terrain taking this path for three days, crossing every ridge on the way numbering 5, I am left to belief, this is Shiva himself, this is the beeja mantra, this is Panchakshara, this is Na Ma Shi Va Ya, oh this is the Lord of dance, of victory, of conquest over sin, of endurance, of peace, of music, of life, of breath, of emotions, I feel Him in every beat, i feel Him in every pulsating nerve, I feel Him in the chill, I feel Him wake my emotions, I feel Him in the silence of my mind.

My heart beats faster, I am so small in front of this majestic imposing peak and i have no thoughts left in my head, I have no feelings left for the world, I have no worry that awaits me in time, I am nothing but a speck of nature, created to witness this greater consciousness that flows down in the form of a pure stream of melting icy water.

Oh Lord Shiva, this mind is numb, its swoons to your presence, it wants to break the shackles of its limits, it feels the presence of you as I collapse over these stones on which I stand. My consciousness fades, as I stare up to your being, the great peak that pierces the night sky, so clear with stars as the moon glows, almost resting on your side. This is what I lived for, this is what I missed all these years, this is all i am capable of, as my vision is covered with heavy tears of overwhelming love. I dont want to go back, I dont want to leave, I dont want to move any more... I wish to lie here and witness your beauty in every breath.

O Lord hold me close, take me with you, grant me a vision of your sublime self, just once for me in this earthly dwelling of mine. Guide me into your world. Take me into your paradise, as I leave this earthly body behind. Help me up the steps to this celestial world of the Gods, my soul knows nothing else, my breath slowly starts to fade. The winds sing louder as the known world fast drifts away. I am nothing, I am not... I am another drifting soul that has merged into the heavenly world of the Lord.
Om Na Ma Shi Va Ya|


JC said...

Nice description!

As 'I' said earlier also, China Peak (now Naina Peak) and Nainital (at a certain date in recent times) reminded me of Mount Kailash and Mansarovar, as their models - with the background 'Hindu belief' of 'man as model of the universe'...'I' also see the communication of the Creator in 'OM' through a graphical representation in Sun (appearing like a ball of fire/ or Moon indicating it on Shiva's forehead) seen in between the two peaks of a mountain (the Ganga-Yamuna valley) represented by the letter 'M'!

JC said...

'I' sometimes wonder if it is the effect of 'halahal' the believable 'deadliest poison' that is indicated to have emerged when 'churning of milky-ocean' under the supervision of Sage Brihaspati (that is Jupiter)' was started: we read various Hindu mythological stories/ bizarre instances cited therein for entertainment only, and missing the intended communication(s)...such as 'Mother Yashoda saw the whole universe in child Krishna's mouth' (which gets clarified only when one finds in the Gita the indirect clarification in the words of the 'ancient wise' that indicates the dark void of the universe to have been conveyed through 'Krishna'...and so on...

YOSEE said...

A lovely travelogue about your journey to a sacred space both within and without. The videos supplement your charged words effectively. What can I say but : “I wish I were there !”

Since human life began, mountains have been considered sacred because of their immensity, their unattainable summits and their upward thrust towards “higher worlds” which are the imagined world of the created or experienced gods. Frequent and repeated investment of wonder and veneration have made mountains ,all over the world, “ holy” : Meru & Kailas, Fujiyama, Olympus, Acropolis, Sinai & Calvary, Great Smokey, Macchu Picchu etc. They are either abodes of gods or gods themselves. Like Thiruvanamalai, itself the lingam, igneous rockery left over from an ancient volcanic eruption, supporting the myth of the lingodbhava.

The rarefied air at the summit of a mountain, the visual perspective from the top which makes the mundane world underfoot shrink to insignificant blurs are also highly conducive to evoking thoughts that are expansive, spiritual and questing in nature. Its was inevitable that when people began building temples for gods and manes , they raised them like artificial mountains : gopurams, pagodas,ziggurauts, pyramids, steeples, stupas, structures that rise up towards the heavens, graphic expressions of a nebulous thirst to soar towards a higher order. It is doubtless useful to establish குன்று தோறும் குமரன் குடி as a handy reminder of a noble goal.

Sacredness is not endemic or inherent in anything. It is invested by the observer, due to a pervasive feeling or an epiphanic experience and upon such investment, the sacred object ceases to be its natural form, becoming instead the very thing it is seen as a symbol of. Collective consciousness and racial memory consolidate the position. And then the eye sees what it wants to see. There is great comfort in that too. And opening of different doors of perception. We can learn to see trishool in a tripinnate leaf, vignesha in a conical plug of wet turmeric powder, narayana in an ammonite fossil, sridevi in a hexagon, shivalingam in an icy stalagmite,( and why not, divine attributes in outline maps of continents too !) And the Bliss of Brahman in a tiered mountaintop. Thought is powerful and adventurous. So be it. Destination alone matters.

workhard said...

Beautifully written, this is a nice meditative spot.


JC said...

Why Mount Kailash, comparatively a lower peak, and why not Mount Everest ('Sagarmatha' to a Nepali 'Hindu'), the highest Himalayan Peak considered as the 'Divine Paradise'?

Maybe, the hint lies in the fact that our Sun, an 'average star', is considered most important to us terrestrials (despite existence of much larger stars in the galaxy), for it believably provides light for vision and energy for sustenance of 'life' on earth for at least some millions of years as per 'modern scientists' even who estimate the present solar system to be around 4.6 billion years old. (Although the 'ancient Hindu concept' conveys real time as zero and apparent time as limitless - and 'Krishna' claims Himself to be the one who illuminates both sun and moon)...

injamaven said...

Boy, I'm impressed. You've been to all 12 JothiLingas?
and Kailasa. Your illustrations/photos/movies are wonderful and your blog very handsomely set up.
I'm so happy to have found this blog.
Wish I could do something like it.

ps if you need any other pix, I'd be happy to email
them to you. Sites between Dwarka, Delhi, Sundarbans
& Madurai.

Vidya said...

I cant believe I am reading this. Kavitha kindly accept my pranam. I keep reading about the sacred places and wonder whether in this life I will be able to go...Blessed are you..