- Religion and Philosophy»
THE ABODE OF SNOW
Shiva, Parvati & Dharma
Happy Shiva Ratri! Shiva, Parvati and Dharma are connected with Mt. Kailash in the Himalayas. The word Himalaya means Abode of Snow. Mt. Kailash is unique in that it is one of the world's most revered sacred sites, and yet at the same time, one of the least visited. Its summit is just over 22,000 feet and is located in far western Tibet. Its remote location makes it difficult to reach, so only a few thousand people make the pilgrimage to this beautiful mountain each year. It's known as "the Axis Mundi, the center and birth place of the entire world." It's sacred to the Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and Bons. Kailash is the physical aspect of the spiritual Mt. Meru, where one can experience divinity on Earth.
The ecological symbolism of Mt. Kailash is mysterious and inspiring to many. Kailash is the land of eternal snow. At dawn you see the crimson light and experience Brahma's red lotus flower, which is the symbol of life and fertility. At noon you experience the sun right above with Vishnu's flower, the blue lotus flower, as the symbol of the sky. At sunset, you experience the golden rays of the golden lotus, deva's throne. At night you experience stillness and the great white lotus, "Siva's mystic flower of purity and heavenly bliss, which opens when the moon rises over Mahadeva's, Siva's brow."
The Himalayas are connected with spiritual purity and strength. The snow symbolizes spiritual purity. With an attitude of goodness of mind and body, one can experience bathing in the sacred pools of Kailash.
Mt. Kailash has four different face directions which symbolize a spiritual aspect. The south symbolizes majesty and splendour and is covered with snow. The west symbolizes compassion and benevolence. The north symbolizes forbidding and daunting because it is stark. The east symbolizes the mysterious and distant. It is the only direction visible from a distance. It is in nature where we become close to the Divine.
Lake Mansarovar is described as the "Lake of Mind (Manas)." Creative thought is expressed in the Mantras. Saraswati, goddess of thought, wisdom and the arts lives in this lake. She is called the Lady of the Lake (Saras), the swan. These are all expressions of creative thought: music, the arts, writing, speech and teaching. Right next to Lake Mansarovar is Rakas Tal or Rakshas, the Lake of Demons. So you can choose the Lake of Mind or Enlightenment or the Lake of Demons or Delusion and Destruction.
Kailash is where India and Tibet meet. Four great rivers are in this area: The Indus, Brahmaputra, Sutlej and Karnali (a tributary of Ganga Ma). It's the place of healing springs, tirtha, where all the rivers meet. This is the focus of all Hindu pilgrimages. Ganga Ma threw "herself down from heaven in seven streams upon Siva's brow."
Shiva, Parvati and Dharma live on Kailash. Shiva's Trident is called Trishula and is the "royal sceptor of the Saiva Dharma." The trident symbolizes desire, action and wisdom. He is called the Supreme Yogi. His powerful meditations destroy "the world of illusions. When He rises to dance, He takes on the functions of Brahma and Vishnu and creates and preserves the Universe itself."
Parvati, Shiva's wife/consort and feminine aspect, is connected with Mt. Kailash but is also connected with Mt. Nanda Devi, which means "Goddess of Bliss." It is her sanctuary, and only her greatest admirers can reach her there. Rishi Ganga is located here, one of the sources of Ganga Ma. Seven sages fled demons and took refuge with Parvati before becoming the seven stars of Ursa Major. It is closer to the ground, and thus is visited by more pilgrims than Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. Many bathe at Gomukh, the glacial source of Ganga Ma. There are many shrines and temples dedicated to Parvati in this area. She is seen as the source of life and renewal. It is considered by locals to be the mountain of the great world flood. In one story seven sages went with Manu and remained behind to dwell with Goddess Parvati.
Dharma is connected with Shiva and Parvati and is about the essence of life and the practice of ethics in the Universe. Dharma is about each person's indivdual dharma, or life purpose, and about Universal Truth found in the whole Universe. Dharma is about compassion for the poor, ecological wisdom, social justice and preventing discrimination based on race, sex and other categories. It is about using non-violence as a principle. Dharma is Mother Earth and Nature living its purpose. It is about cooperation, balance and equality. Being connected to Mother Earth and ecological balance, Dharma is the guardian deity of the Abode of Snow. Recently there has been an over abundance of snow in the northern latitudes. Many have asked why this is happening. Scientists say because of global warming Greenland is warmer and snow is melting at a higher rate there. Because of the warmer air, this effects some of the weather in the northern latitudes. An over abundance of snow is being created almost weekly. Dharma, the guardian deity of the Abode of Snow, is not happy because we are not upholding Dharma, by disrespecting Mother Earth. When we do this, the warming occurs and effects our weather. To make Dharma happy again, we must again respect our Mother. Some suggestions: cutting down on green house gases, planting more trees, cutting down on all forms of pollution and stopping the poisoning of our rivers all over the world. The Yamuna is in bad shape and so are other great world rivers. We must stop deforrestation in India, Brazil and other countries in northern South America and all over the world. Fossil fuel use must be reduced. Wind, solar and geothermal energy must become more predominant. Recycling all resources are necessary. Energy conservation is starting to become a very smart way of doing business. Public transportation, hybrids and electric car use will increase. We cannot continue our addiction to oil without consequences. The positive side is that we can create many new green jobs and eco tourism. We are starting to live the new consciousness starting with the Revolutions in Africa. From there change will happen all over the world. The Mayan Elders foretold many prophecies about this age. Did you know the Mayans knew about the Vedas? We will soon go back to the ecological wisdom of the Hindus found in the Vedas. Native American ecological wisdom will soon be very important knowledge. I come from a land that many consider the Abode of Snow, Minnesota. It is out of Minnesota that the green revolution is developing in government in the United States. Minneapolis' mayor has been an innovator in green governmental efficiency. Other governments will soon follow. Farmers in Pipestone, Minnesota have developed windmill cooperatives where four or five farmers buy a windmill together and then profit from the energy produced. Many other ideas are developing here. The United States has been a big polluter, but it is time for us to be world innovators again in the green job revolution. President Obama is calling us to become world innovators again. Yes, we can!
Dharma is waiting for us to get on board. Shiva and Parvati wait with Dharma for us to make better choices. Some of us are beginning to do this. Some of us have been doing this for a long time. It is time for us to live our Dharma for Mother Earth!
JAI SHRI SHIVA, PARVATI & DHARMA!
JAI SHRI THE ABODE OF SNOW!