As Soota, Siva and Shankar offered worship sitting at Dirapuk, where the river comes down, gazing at the Northern peak of Kailasa – nature offered them another sight… (Click on the picture to enlarge )
Three horses, grazing in the mountainside… Shankar noted a peculiar fact… The horses were of different colors. One on our left was black, middle was white and the one on right was red. White, Red, Black… The colors of the three Guna-s – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas respectively… And if the horses represent the outgoing sense-mind apparatus, the scene was a representation of Maya – the projecting power of the Lord of Kailasa – who shone behind – partly visible – his complete glory unknowable…
Incidentally, Lha Chu valley (which we crossed) is also known for a small swayambhu image of Tamdrin (Hayagriva) which is seen on a rock. Tamdrin is a red horse-headed Buddhist protector deity, and a manifestation of Avalokiteshvara.
Also, Kailasa and horse have something special in common. The year of the horse ( known as Ta-Lo ), which comes once in twelve years, is the equivalent of Kailasa Kumbha Mela. One parikrama done on that year is said to be equal to multiple times in other years… Incidentally, this year, 2014 happens to be the ‘year of the horse’. Bless the folks who are visiting Kailasa now!
After our worship of Lord of Kailasa, our bodies frozen stiff, we return to the comparative warmth of our room-bunker. Soota is like a log of hungry ice and feels he could take a booster shot of something, anything… ‘Dash’ the superboy has mapped the guesthouse facilities. And he has zeroed in on one eatery that serves noodles. He brings some hot noodles from there, and Soota and co-yatri-s manage to ingest that…
We are at the Shishapangma guest house, below the Dirapuk Gompa on the northern side of Mt Kailasa. We were well and truly North!
Here is a picture of the Dirapuk Gompa from the Net… (click here for source)
Dirapuk or Dira-phuk is derived from ‘Dira’ –> horn of a female yak – and Puk -> cave. The great sage Gotsangpa, of 13th century AD, who is said to have (re)discovered the parikrama route, is said to have meditated in this cave for several years. He was led here by a yak – and so this name. It is said that the yak was actually Goddess Dakini, a lion faced Goddess, who is the guardian deity of Khando Sanglam La (which is the path in the inner Kora, that one takes from Dirapuk… )…
Here is a picture of the Dirapuk cave that one got from the Net (Click here for source )
Click to see a larger view…
You can see idols of Gotsangpa and Milarepa… Milarepa is the one with his right hand on the ear… One of the greatest sages the world has seen – Milarepa… Indeed he was ‘One’ with the consciousness that is Demcchog or Siva… And isn’t that painting outside the cave entrance beautiful!
Dirapuk is one of five monasteries that are around Mt Kailasa. These are Nyanri Or Chhuku Gompa (west), Dira-phuk Gompa (north), (Zuthul-phuk Gompa (east), Gengta Gompa (south), and Siluilg Gompa (south) [Source : Swami Pranavananda]. Incidentally, the Tibetan story of Kailasa or ‘Kailasa Purana’ is known as Kattgri Karchhak. Two versions exist, one compiled here, in Dirapuk Gompa, and the other in Gengta…
Regarding the Dirapuk Gompa, Swami Pranavananda says :
“Mount Kailash displays itself to the pilgrim in its full, magnificence here and one can have the best view of the Kailash from the top of the monastery. It is like a huge silver dome placed on a pedestal with two guards on either side, Vajrapani and Avalokiteshvara…One can spend days and nights like minutes without being tired, watching the splendor of the sacred Kailas Peak, sitting in front of one of the small windows or on top of the monastery. The grandeur and sublimity of the view and the spiritual atmosphere pervading there is simply indescribable. On a moonlit night the view is all the more grand.”
Shall we now have a look?
Here is a picture from the top of the monastery (taken from Net. Click here for source ) .
Isn’t it awesome!
Sharing some more photographs from the Net (some with same source as above and a few that I am not sure) … Click on any picture and use arrow keys to browse….
Om Mani Padme Hum! Mt Kailasa is the jewel in the lotus. It is like the central pod or pericarp of a lotus with its guardian mountains all around looking like petals. From Dirapuk, facing the Kailas, the names of the peaks from west to east are as follows: Chaagnadorje (Vajrapani), the Holy Kailas Peak (Kang Rinpocche), chenresig (Avalokiteshvara), Jambyang (Manjughosha), Chhogel-norsang and Shivari. This is from Swami Pranavananda’s book. On the other sides, the mountains are Dolma (Tara) peak, Padma Sambhava parvat, Ravan Parvat and Hanuman Parvat … Local names may be different…
Now, during the three day Kailasa parikrama, one would miss seeing Dirapuk gompa in all probability. The language barrier, the minimum guidance that one gets from the tour guides, and most of all the general stress of space and time, are all factors that just railroad one in a fixed track… How nice it would be if one could be free of these and spend a few days at least at each point, so that one does the parikrama over a week or more… Best of all would be to go the way of the monks, log out of time constraints altogether, live on such food as what chance brings, and carry on in a spirit of surrender to the great Demcchog, Siva, the Lord of Kailasa!
But that is not within the reach of us mortals…
There is one more spot that is, more often than not, missed during the kora. This place is called Charansparsh. This is a point, a few miles from Dirapuk, where one can go and touch the north side of Mt Kailas! It’s about 4 kms from Dirapuk, some 1500 feet higher (18000 feet or so). From Dirapuk, the trip to charansparsh takes around 4 hours or so, each way. So, one has to put aside a day for this! But imagine the gains! You can touch the feet of Mt Kailasa! And bring atmalinga shila from there! Swami Pranavananda describes the route to Charansparsh in his book. He mentions that one finds Guggul, a herbal incense, and many varieties of flowers on the way. One has to climb the Kamngjam glacier.. On the way one can pick up stones that have fallen from Kailasa. And after a strenuous trek you are face to face with the perpendicular wall of the holy mountain! He says – “The scenery of the surroundings is so serene, sublime, and grand, that one forgets all about the difficulty one might have to face in reaching the place. It often snows here. From Dira-phuk to this place it is about two miles in all”
One last point about this region of Kailasa Kora. Lama Govinda has this to say about adepts offering worship here – “Those who do so are favoured not only with the ‘darshan’ of the holy mountain in the indescribable beauty of a gigantic domed temple of perfect symmetry and breathtaking splendour, but also with a splendid vision (darshan) of their Ishta-devata, the deity or ideal of their heart, be it in the divine forms of Shiva and Parvati, or of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, or any other significant symbol connected with this place and its compelling atmosphere.”
Indeed, if you read through the charansparsh blog link given above, you would find an experience that corroborates this observation of Lama Govinda.
And during our kora, there was a person who had divine darshan as well. This person is a healer, who has long years of association with holy personages. He told us that he had darshan of Lord Siva and Parvati. A glorious vision, where Parvati was offering flowers at the feet of the Lord of Kailasa!
Soota and his co-yatri-s were not blessed with ishta daiva darshan! They were not blessed with good clear darshan of Kailasa peak either. The top was always hidden in a cloud cover… Night dinner was all but palatable… Next day was the toughest part of the yatra… Many co-yatri-s dropped out from further yatra, deciding to go back to base camp at Darchen.
Soota had his share of worries. His gloves was missing from the backpack. There is no way one can do the second day kora without hand protection… In haste, he thought a few other items were missing as well. Quick enquiry followed with the organizer and porters… The tour organizer had a cool head on his shoulders, and asked whether it was possible that he had left them back in Darchen. Soota agreed that it was possible. So a call was made to the guest house and his duffel bag opened by the supervisor there, and God be blessed, ‘the few other items’ were there. Not his gloves though, which had disappeared from his backpack. Maybe it had fallen off somewhere along the way….. Siva came to his rescue and was kind enough to loan him a pair of gloves for the morrow. He said he would manage with his inner gloves, and gave the outer…
So! Om Mani Padme Hum! All set for day 2….
Om Nama Sivaya! Om Nama Sivayai!
** To be continued…. **