Why is Mount Kailash considered holy to Hindus?

Mount Kailash

I pen down my thoughts on Mount Kailash, let me take you to Kailash Parbat as it is called in Hindi, in Sanskrit (Kailash) is a peak in the Kailash Range (Gangdise Mountains). It also forms a part of the Trans Himalaya in Tibet. It is situated near the source of some of the biggest rivers in Asia: The Indus river, The Sutlej River (a major tributary of the Indus River), the Brahmaputra River, and the Karnal River (A Tributary of the River Ganga), It is also considered a sacred place in four religions:  Bon, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. The Mountain lies near Lake Mansarovar and Lake Rakshastal in Tibet Autonomous Region, China.

Let me give you a detailed explanation about the meaning of word “Kailash”, in Sanskrit. The name which is derived from the word Kelasa means Crystal. Tibetan name for the mountain is Gangs Rin- po- Che. Gangs or Kang is the Tibetan word for snow peak analogous to alp/himal, Rinpoche means Precious one.

What are the Religious Significance?

We find in Hinduism, Lord Shiva, the destroyer of evil forces who resides at the peak of a legendary mountain named Kailasa, where Lord Shiva sits in a state of Perpetual meditation along with his wife Parvati. He is at once the Lord of Yoga and therefore the ultimate Ascetic, yet he is the divine master of Tantra. According to Vishnu Purana, the mountain states that its four places are made of gold, crystal, ruby, and lapis lazuli. It is a pillar of the world and is also situated at the heart of six mountain ranges symbolizing a lotus. In Jainism, Kailash is also known as Meru Parvat or Sumeru. Ashtapada, the mountain next to Mt. Kailash is the site where the first Jain Tirthankara, Rishabhadeva attained Nirvana/Moksha (Liberation). Tantric Buddhists believe that Mount Kailash is the home of Buddha Dehook or Chakrasamvara—who is Supreme in the Entire Planet. The Bon, a religion which is native to Tibet, maintain that the entire mystical region and the nine story Swastika Mountain are the seat of all spiritual power.

Geographical Description— We find that the region around Mount Kailash and the Indus headwaters area is well laid by wide scale faulting of metamorphosed rocks which have been intruded by igneous Cenozoic Granite Rocks. Mt. Kailash appears to be some sort of meta sedimentary roof pendant supported by a massive granite base. These sediments were deposited on the southern margin of the Asia block during subduction of the Tethys oceanic crust. Every year, thousands make a pilgrimage to Kailash, following a tradition going back thousands of years. Pilgrims of several beliefs believe that circumbulating Mount Kailas on holy foot is a holy ritual that will bring good fortune. The path around Mount Kailash is 52 Km long. Many people have many beliefs about Mount Kailash. Some pilgrims believe that entire walk should be made in a single day, which is not an easy task. The Mountain is located in a particularly remote and inhospitable area of the Tibetan Himalayas. A few modern amenities of late are provided for the Yaatris. It’s a popular belief that the stairways on Mount Kailash lead to heaven.

As we are all aware of the fact that the Political and border disturbances across the Chinese- Indian boundary, pilgrimage to the legendary abode of Shiva was stopped from 1954 to 1978. From there on, a limited number of people were allowed to visit the place., under the supervision of Chinese and Indian Governments either by a lengthy and hazardous trek by land from Kathmandu are available to Lhasa and thereafter travel over the great Tibetan Plateau by car. What amazes me is that despite its minimalistic infrastructure, modest guest houses are available for foreign pilgrims, whereas Tibetan pilgrims generally sleep in their own tents. The journey takes four night stops, finally which arrives at Darchen, which is an elevation of 4,600m a small outpost that attracts pilgrims every year at a certain point of time.

There are Procedures i.e., walking around the mountain – a part of it has to be done on foot, Pony, or by Yak taking some three days of Trekking from a height of around 15,000 ft.

Why was Mount Kailash the abode of Lord Shiva?

There are many viewpoints to this question- Lord Shiva does not exist in one shape or one form. He exists at various levels of reality. He is omniscient, omnipresent, he is considered as destroyer od the evils, Vishnu as the Protect of the Universe. Thus, we find Shiva is greater than everyone else in the world. He is Sadashiva, in Brahma Samhita by Jiva Goswami he says that his abode is very spiritual in Nature.  As we all Brahmaji as creator of this universe, so he created the first being himself, from there Shiva is the manifestation of Brahmaji.There are three principles, creation, maintenance, and destruction. As we all know Sadashiva is eternal and his consort Parvati devi, who also lives with him eternally. But in this material world he is also touched by ignorance-

Isksiram yatha dadhi vikara visesa-yogat.

Meaning—Milk is touched with some acid becomes curd, and like that Vishnu gets transformed into Shiva. He is in the transcendental because he is also in the spiritual world, nothing destruction happening over there. He is omniscient. Sadashiva is transcendental because he is also in the spiritual world. But in this world these three devatas-brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh are under one Prakriti.they are all one in nature. There are Rudra’s which are created after that by Brahmas when he was in angry form. But when we look at the Bhagavatam there is description of Kailash which is much-much bigger, which means Kailash is in the heavenly planets also. There is a replica of Kailash in Himalayas. But what we find is that there is a celestial Kailash that is there in the heavenly planets too. Shiva will exists as long as the universe exists.

Mount Kailash is actually the Sahasra Chakra in our body, which is the centre of supreme consciousness (SHIVA). When Kundalini (Shakthi) reaches there she (goddess Parvati) meets Shiva.  This is represented as Shiva Parvati Kalyan. What we find is that the Physical counterpart is Mount Kailash. According to Hindu Mythology, Shiva the god of destruction and regeneration resides at the Summit of a legendary Mountain named Kail. Mount Kail in Hinduism is regarded in many sects as Paradise, the ultimate destination of souls.

Is Lord Shiva residing in Kaliyuga?

All stories related to Lord shiva are from Satyayuga, Treta, Dwapar. In Dwapar yuga Lord Shiva tests Arjuna. In the Kaliyuga it would be in the form of prophecies. One thing is for sure as well know that Lord Shiva attended the wedding of Lord Venkateshwara (Vishnu deity in Tirupati), then Shivas incarnation as there are many epic stories related to Lord Shivas existence in Kaliyuga.Another interesting fact is that of Lord Shiva one of the great demi-gods, would appear in Kaliyuga as Shankaracharya. In the Shiva Purana, also it quotes that Supreme Lord Lord shiva who will appear in kali-yuga to delude atheists and produce a philosophy and texts to hide the supreme being and make Shiva look superior. That’s what we find in the verses of Padma Purana (6.721.89-116) that Lord Shiva who appeared in the form of Adi Shankaracharya  in the age of Kali as Shankaracharya.

As I conclude my thoughts on boundary less, omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent Lord Shiva who manifest himself in various forms such as Lingodh bhava-in the Phallus form and other forms. According to me Lord Shiva he himself is the creator and destroyer of evil forces.I feel once the sins go beyond the boundaries, Lord Shiva will open the Third-eye to destroy the evil and negative forces on this planet earth. I feel accordingly the time will come soon when Lord Shiva will open the third eye and perform Tandav. It is also believed that Kalki Avatar is partly Vishnu and Partly Shiva.

I hope friends with my Limited Knowledge on the subject matter, I tried to put the facts, I Know Lord Shiva can’t be researched upon as he is seamless, boundary less, exist everywhere in every form in this Universe. The need of the hour is that Hindustan is faced by many threats to counter inside and across the country. I pray Lord Shiva to continue to save our Nation from all kind types of evil forces and establish peace and harmony and the Golden era should be established.

Vande Mataram

Dr. Sukanya Iyer