Friday, December 10, 2010

Himalayas - A Living Power Center

Shivling Mountain

When the ancient world leaves impressions of a superior world behind, we ignore it
When tradition tries to teach us its value we doubt it
When scriptures sing out the beauty of the superior world we don’t understand it
But when nature presents these secrets in gigantic imagery can we be blind to it?

The Himalayan soil echoes the presence of super powers of a different kind. Is it the beauty of this land or is it its magnetic presence, or is it its gigantic size that makes us feel ant like in this space or is it the presence of Gods that gives us this uncanny sense of bewilderment that leaves us slaves to its power?

This bewitching beauty added to the sheer size and unconquerable appeal almost makes anything on this soil appear Godlike. Daring to sound a little biased, the power of the supreme is felt far stronger here in these temples than in an adaptation anywhere else in the country. The feeling is not restricted to the shrines among these mountains alone, it envelops the earth that cradles the very temple.

From the theoritical stand point, there is no difference in what the temple of Ukhimath and Tungnath offer as compare to Tanjore or Ujjain. The power of the Shaivite rule echoes in stone as much on these high mountains as it does near a river in Thiruvanaikkaval or in a shrine like Ujjain. Yet there is an uncanny difference. Is it the lack of people, noise and endless queues, is it the lack of corruption or is it the stronger virgin appearance of this land or is there something more to it?

Baghirathi Mountain

The Himalayas present a platter of beauty, in snow capped mountain ranges rising one higher than the other with a majestic appearance that can humble our own presence. And yet we are familiar with only a few mountain peaks, each meticulously named after a person, symbol or event from our ancient mythologies.

Kailash Parvat

The Maha Nirvana Tantra beautifully paints the possible aura of Mount Kailasa and Mount Meru, the most sacred mountain peaks in the mystical Himalayan range. Mount Kailasa, described to be the paradise of Lord Shiva towers above the Manasarovar lake on its north west side. This paradise is described to be the summer land of both lasting sunlight and cool shade, musical with the song of exquisite birds and bright with undying flowers. The air is scented with the sweet fragrance of the Mandara chaplets, resounding with the music and song of the celestial gandharvas. This mountain is Gana Parvata thronged with spirits of superior beings [devayoni]. And in this region, rises the peak of Mount Meru considered as the center of the world represented by a lotus. It towers above all nature clustered by the souls of many who have been blessed a home in these heavens, living here, and worshipping this supreme center of power and forming a string of stars garlanding around its pinnacle.

Such is the power of the Himalayas that it is written "He who thinks of the Himalayas, though he may not behold them, is greater than he who performs all worship at Kashi."

It’s uncanny that the description of Mount Kailasa in the Maha Nirvana Tantra matches with the description of nature when Madhana, the Lord of love descended on Kailasa to distract Lord Shiva and make him aware of the beautiful Parvati. It’s strange that on one side there is the description of the perennial warmth of spring and blooming flowers and on the other the reality we see is snow capped mountains and bleak regions.

And yet in this breath taking spectacle, there are mysteries that are so obvious, that we cannot look away from them. Chaukhamba, as the name suggests might be a mountain with four towering peaks, but when viewed from any direction, it presents the feel of a deadly trishul of Kala Bhairava. Kailasa has been described to be enveloped by spring and blooming flowers and blossoming love, but what meets the eye today is the powerful yet cold appearance of the dormant third eye on the center of its brow. But what is even stranger are some staggering peaks that apparently have no character, but when the snow falls on them and the sky is cleared off the mystic clouds strange symbols appear inscribed on their very contours. The Om Parvat is an uncanny representation of the supreme, coincidentally carved out of rock in these bleak regions visible only when the heavens choose to display it to us. Trishul Mountain is another representation of the trident that has captured our imagination of religious symbolism.

Om Parvat

And then there are the other peaks that host sacred shrines at their feet or within them or are just named after mythological beings. While Mount Shivling and Bhagirathi are towering peaks with no apparent shrine or form, their presence is pronounced more by their geographical location, the sacred shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, and Gangotri speak of unknown powers of the other world that is yet to be touched and realized.

What leaves us wondering is the deep symbolic mysticism that is shrouded in these snow capped regions which makes an appearance to unsettle our otherwise uneventful ignorant lifestyles. Is there something beyond the spectrum of our daily life that we have not experienced yet? Are these mountains and scriptures trying to call us to something far deeper and potent that we fail to realize? How strange are these mountains that they melt our hearts when we set foot on their sacred soil?

To the sacred Himalayan Mountains that crown our land, I bow in reverence.

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