ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design

11. A Mountain of Myths

peak of Nanda devi Mont

Mountains evoke your spiritual self. When you see a peak reaching the sky, you feel closer to the gods above.
In India, as for the ancient Greeks, mountains are the abode of gods and dreamscape for many legends. India is spread with mountains: from the highest peaks of Himalaya in the north, to those ancient ones cutting the country in two halves (Vindhya) and the Ghat chains from the north to the south.
Every mountain has a story to tell despite of its height, and is considered as sacred. In fact, no former Indian (as well as contemporary ones) feels the urge to climb on their top. (that’s an occidental way of thinking)
In India you honor the mountains from beneath, walking on their slopes to praise them like divinities.

Mount Meru, also called Sumeru (“Excellent Meru”) is considered to be the center of all physical, metaphysical and spiritual beings on earth. Meru is the most important mountain in Hindu traditions and has clearly mythical aspects that make no comparison with reality. In fact, mount Meru has no physical presence in this world. Legend considers Meru as the house of Brahma, the Creator. According to Indian cosmology, Meru is 1,082,000 meters high (672,000 miles), which is 85 times the earth diameter. The moon, the sun and the stars rotates around Mount Meru, which is the inspiration behind the making of hindu’s temples roof towers.
It is sacred to Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
A legend tells that Mount Meru was once great friend with Vayu, the God of Wind. But one day, Narada, one of the seven supreme sages that loved to sow discord between the gods, persuaded Vayu to humiliate Meru to prove his supremacy. For a year, the God of Wind blow unremittingly against the Mount to destroy it – and he would have made it if Garuda, Vishnu’s pet, wouldn’t have protected it with his mighty wings.
However, even mythological birds must have some rest, and when Garuda closed his wings for a moment, Vayu stroke the last breath of wind towards Mount Meru’s summit which cracked and crumbled down in the sea – giving birth to Lanka’s isle. (Sri Lanka)

Narada played a role in other myths as well, like the one of Vindhya Mountains.
During his pilgrimage across the world, Narada reached the slopes of Vindhya and saw the opportunity to have fun and make some more disasters. He congratulated Vindhya and exalted its vanity – implying that it would have been much more greater if Mount Meru had never existed.
And thus, Vindhya Mountains started to grow bigger and bigger, until the sun was stuck in the sky, unable to set. The world stood still until another sage, Agastya, solved the matter and things could went back to normal.
All the gods and sages (Agastya as well) hastened to attend Shiva and Parvati’s wedding. The ceremony took place on Himalaya’s Mountains because Shiva lived on mount Kailash (today’s Tibet) and Parvati was the daughter of the King of Himalaya. World’s equilibrium was in danger: worn out by the recent exploit of Vindhya Mountains, situation became critical. Thus Agastya, with his family, journeyed to south to balance the world back with the weight of his wisdom and the power of his meditation.
But during his journey, he stumbled upon the immense Vindhya, that closed the way. Agastya was a mountain’s guru, and his request could not be left unheard. So Agastya asked his disciple, Vindhya, to bend down to facilitate his crossing and wait kneeled until his return.
Vindhya obeyed, but Agastya never came back. True to its word, Vindhya is still “bent down to earth”, waiting. That’s why those mountains are so short of stature.

Agastya settled on Mount Agasthyamalai, in western Kerala. Even today, he is being praised and blessed by gods and men that climb it to delight in his presence.


Nanda Devi from Auli by Michael Scalet

Mount Meru jaina by Anish Shah

Cosmologia puranica 

  Creative Commons License


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