Maanasa Kailasa Yatra – 7

The great temple of Pashupatinath is on the banks of river Bagmati. As one looks over one of the temple boundary walls, one sees the beautiful river flowing swiftly by.. And ghat steps built on it..  One see’s a gathering of people performing last rites of someone, at the banks of the river. Om Nama Sivaya!

One visits the other shrines in the temple… There is one where there are idols of Adi Shankaracharya and his disciples. It is He who is said to have initiated the tradition of Bhat priests from South India working as the chief priests at Pashupatinath. The priest at the Adi Shankara shrine gives  each of us a bead of Rudraksha… Then there is  this open air shrine where 108 Siva Linga-s are  installed…

Passing quickly from shrine to shrine, we finally collect chandana prasada, prostrate to Pashupatinath, and leave for our bus.

Our next stop is  a beautiful Buddhist temple. The temple of Boudhanatha..

This temple lies in the ancient Tibet-Nepal trade route. Traders and others who undertake journey to the Himalaya come here praying for a safe journey. Just the place for us to visit, as we set out to Mount Kailasa in Tibet.

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Here is a close up of the Stupa.

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Measuring around 360 feet in diameter and over a hundred feet in height, Boudhanath is perhaps the biggest Stupa in the world. Built in nine levels, the stupa symbolizes Mount Meru, the centre of the cosmos… Meru is synonymous with Mount Kailasa. This then is a must-visit temple for one who is undertaking a Yatra to Kailasa, surely!

At the top of the dome is a pyramid with thirteen steps, symbolizing the path to enlightenment.

As a whole, the complex represents the whole Macrocosm of creation, different parts of the stupa representing the primary five elements of creation – earth, water, fire, air, ether.

Let’s take a closer look at the pinnacle… Or shall we say, let’s see the seer who is seeing all of us…

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Lovely eyes aren’t they? If you look closely, there is a third eye, between and above the two eyes, which is mostly hidden by the cloth above. This third eye is the Eye of enlightenment.. And in the place of the nose, there is a symbol… And that is the Nepali symbol for the number “One”…  or Oneness of all that is.

Ok.. let’s now come to the base of the Stupa… At the bottom there is a many sided wall, which is  adorned here and there with old frescos. Here is one, which is behind a set of Buddhist prayer wheels…

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And here’s a picture of one of the frescos… Pretty…

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Lot’s of prayer wheels, big and small, in the temple..

Here’s a Buddha  Bhikshu (monk) sitting near a prayer wheel.

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The prayer wheels have the Buddhist mahamantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” inscribed… This mantra is associated with the Boddhisattava Avalokiteshwara, whose forms are depicted in 108 statues around the base of the stupa…

Here is a lovely statue…

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Avalokiteshwara is the Bodhisattava, who is said to portray the compassion of all Buddha-s. Literally, the name means “One whose eyes are looking down”… Reminds one of the eyes on the top of the Stupa…

Here’s a picture of my co-yatri Siva, standing at one of the upper levels, next to a pretty urn, near the steps leading up to the dome of the stupa…

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The whole complex is pretty rich with symbolism, and first timers like us pretty much miss much of it… But we sure can and do walk around just taking in whatever we can see…

In the circular complex surrounding the stupa, a certain building stands out, catching one’s eye.. Perhaps a monastery or a place of residence for the monks…

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A large bell hangs from an arch in front of the building. It has the mantra (presumably ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’) inscribed all over…  Here’s a close-up of the bell.

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Here’s a picture of one of the shops there…  A real pretty shop.

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And here’s a picture of the spirituality that is vibrant here … A Buddhist lady anchorite… And a devout pilgrim with the Japa bead necklace in hand…

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As one wanders around the complex, a great sense of peace fills the heart..

Stupa-s are typically hemispherical structures where relics of great Buddhist monks are kept – typically ashes of remains or other personal items… Boudhanath temple lore has it that the original temple was built on the remains of a great sage named Kashyapa, who lived a long time before Shakyamuni Buddha… Buddhism recognizes Kashyapa as one of the seven Rshi-s (saptarshi-s) who were seers of Veda. So is this the Samadhi of Rshi Kashyapa… One remembers hearing in a discourse of Swami Akhandananda Saraswati, that the Vedic name Kashyapa is explained in Nirukta, as derived from its reverse form – Pashyaka. Meaning – “Seer”. A Rshi is one who sees the Mantra-s of Veda… So the name Kashyapa – the Seer…  As is the name Avalokiteshvara… The Lord who who sees from above… Om Mani Padme Hum!

With these and such thoughts, one signs of this post… Preparing to leave next day for Tibet… For Maanasa-Kailasa…  And in Kailasa, will one be able to visit the Sapatrshi caves? Not this time. For it is not in the outer Kora path…

Back now to the bus.. And to Hotel Tibet…

Om Mani Padme Hum! Om Nama Sivaya!

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5 Responses to “Maanasa Kailasa Yatra – 7”

  1. ravianna Says:

    tks for the information that adi shankara`s shrine is in pasupathinath temple. Wonderful pictures of both the temples

  2. sivakamasundari Says:

    did you complete Parikrama of Mount Kailash?? I am waiting to see beyond the 7th part of this blog.

  3. highiqmoron Says:

    Beautiful pictures! Is Kashyapa, the same seer to whom the origin of Kashyapa Gothram is attributed to?

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