Mount Kailash - The abode of Lord Maheswara

MOUNT KAILASH - the abode of Lord Maheswara

Mount Kailash - circumambulation view
Magnificent circumambulation view of Mount Kailash
Anyone who recognizes the Divine Force implicit in nature and views its sportive play cannot but praise its glory saying, "You are omniscient, You are omnipotent, You are behind every miracle of nature'. It is only when a Sadhaka realises that the whole world is the stage for God's cosmic play and surrenders to God's will that his Sadhana will become fruitful - Swami Vivekananda

For most people, a trip to Western Tibet is virtually synonymous with a visit to Mount Kailash. The power of this strange, domed peak has gripped the imagination of the people of India and Tibet since time immemorial, with the result that it has long been one of Asia's most important (and remote) pilgrimage destinations. More recently, Mount Kailash's reputation as a sacred mountain as well as a place of natural beauty has begun to lure travelers and pilgrims from around the world. Beginning in 1984, when the Chinese authorities first opened Tibet to the outside world, Western visitors (the first since Lama Govinda in 1949) have begun to make their way into the area in trucks, land cruisers, and even a horseback and by foot. Today, it is still extremely difficult to reach the region, and the obstacle that people meet in trying to get here are frequently attributed to the sacred power of the mountain itself, which allows only those with sufficient spiritual preparation to gain a glimpse of its magical presence.

Mount Kailash is remarkable in that four of the largest rivers in Asia have their sources within 100 km (62 miles) of it; the Indus flowing to the north, the Brahmaputra to the east, the Sutlej to the west, and the Karnali (leading to the Ganges) to the south. As a mountain in this part of the world it is not particularly high, a mere 6,714m yet it is striking in the way it rises above the surrounding range and remains perpetually snow-capped. The stunning image of this white peak against the clear blue sky helps to explain the mountain's name in Tibetan, Gang Rinpoche, or Jewel of Snow.

Each of Mount Kailash's faces reflects different moods. The southern face reflects majesty or splendour; it is fully covered with snow. The western face is enveloped in an aura of compassion and benevolence. The northern face is stark, forbidding and daunting, while the eastern, only visible from a long way off, is mysterious and distant.

Traditional Buddhist cosmology has often connected Kailash with Mount Meru, the great mythological mountain that forms the axis of our world system. As the center of this world system, Mount Meru is often visualized surrounded by the various continents and adorned with the sun and moon and then offered to the buddhas and bodhisattvas as a mandala. In addition to Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Bon practitioners all hold Mount Kailash to be sacred. Hindus most frequently see the mountain as the abode of Shiva and his divine entourage. A well-known Sanskrit lyrical poem from the fifth century, The Cloud Messenger by Kalidasa, pays tribute to the mountain and its surroundings through a message sent by an exiled denizen of Kailash to his wife via a passing cloud.

The Jains, whose own faith was founded at the time of the Buddha in India, regard Kailash as the place where the first Jain saint gained emancipation. Followers of the Bon tradition in Tibet worship the mountain as the spiritual center of the ancient country of Shangshung and as the place where their founder, Shenrab, descended to the earth from the sky. Because of these and other religious association, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Bon ascetics and pilgrims have been drawn to the mountain for thousands of years. Once they arrive they gaze upon it, circumambulate it and sometimes settle down to practice austerities and meditation. The 11th century Tibetan Buddhist saint Milarepa is said to have resided there for 11 years. Padmasambhava is also associated with the mountain, particularly the valley on the western side, where he stayed in a cave.

"Ratnasanu sharaasanum Rajatadri Shrunga Niketanam
Singinikruta Pannageshwara Achutanana Sayakam |
Kshipradagda Puratrayam Tridivalairabi Vandhitam
Chandrashekaramashraye mama kim karishyati vyiamaha ||

In this way, Srimad Shankaracharya in his Chandrashekara Astaka glorifies the abode of Ishwara - the Holy Mt. Kailash. Even "Yama" the life taker can not touch the devotees who worship Parashiva he claims. This is Kubera's living place also. After his brother Ravana takes control of Lanke and Pushpaka Vimana, Kubera with the blessings from Parameshwara establishes Alakapuri in Kailash and becomes Yaksharaja.

Mountain Kailash
Mount Kailash
It is described in the Mahabharatha that Bhagavan Krishna went along with the Pandavas and Dhoumya Maharshi to Kailas from Badrinath. On reaching there after fifteen days they were welcomed by Lord Mahadeva Himself whose darshan and hospitality made them very happy. This is an example of the fact that Lord Mahadeva gives darshan only to deserving people.

"In Life, one gets what one deserves and not what one desires and He knows what one deserves - Swami Chinmayananda

Our ancients like Vyasa and great ones of recent times like Kalidasa have described this Kailas as the dear abode of Lord Mahadeva.

The Kailas peak full of dark black rocks with head adorned with glittering white snow stood like a leader amongst the long stretch of black mountains. "My body experienced horripilation and my mind immersed in the ocean of bliss was overcome with joy" - Sri Swami Tapovanam

I started walking slowly with my eyes pinned on to the lovely forehead of the Mount Kailsh. I started walking forward but my eyes, being rooted on the beautiful forehead of the Kailasa Montain, were incapable of looking here and there or even determining the path to be taken - Sri Swami Tapovanam

Ye samprapthaha param stanam Dyana Yogarata Naraaha |
Na tesham punravrutti Grore samsara sagare ||
Sarvagra sarvadha shuddha paripurna Maheshwaraha |
Shiva tulya balopethaha param Shivapuram Gathaha ||
Ithtanthena theshu Kailaseshu vastum Shilamasyasthiti Kailasa vasi |
- Shivatatva Rahasya by Chikkeruru Linga Jois

It is mentioned in 'Shiva Dharmottra" that there is a separate Loka called 'Paramashiva Loka' which is accessible to only dyana yogis. Those dyana yogis who embrace this Paramashiva Loka will not return to "samsara" sagara. They attain full satisfaction and live in total Bliss.

Yo veda dav svara proktho | Vedante cha pratishtithaha |
tasya prakruti Linasya | Ya paraha sa Parameshwaraha ||

Those who the Veda svara's are referring to, those who are proficient in Vedas, His oneness with Nature, who is GREAT is Maheshwara. When you visit Mt. Kailash - the Abode of LORD Maheshwara you can experience this total truth. We have to become one with Nature to get close to LORD. Mt. Kailash is Shiva and Shiva is Mt. Kailash.

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