Those Holy Mountains: What They Really Represent

By: Ranilo Abando (Manila, October 7, 2020) ***

Mount Kailash and Mount Meru are two of the most sacred mountains in the very old belief system in the Indian subcontinent.  In Buddhist texts, Mount Kailash is also Mount Meru. The Hindus believe that Mount Kailash is the home of the god Shiva and Buddhists believe that the mountain is the navel of the universe.  It is widely believed by those people that the mountain leads to heaven. 

Mountain climbers are reluctant to climb Mount Kailash because they do not want to desecrate the religious significance of the mountain in the hearts of people who believe in its sacredness.  Aside from the mountain being near the disputed border between India and China, the governments in control of the border are reluctant to allow mountain climbers access in the area to avoid offending the religious beliefs of the people.  When one mountaineer asked if the mountain can be climbed, one of the locals replied:   “Only a man entirely free of sin could climb Kailash.  And he wouldn’t have to actually scale the sheer walls of ice to do it – he’d just turn himself into a bird and fly to the summit.”  So Mount Kailash remains unclimbed. 

Some researchers identify Mount Kailash with Mount Meru.  Mount Meru is a mythical mountain of the gods of the Hindus, similar to Mount Olympus in Greek mythology. The Hindus consider the mountain as the center of the universe, and is believed to be geographically located in the middle of the earth. 

What made people believe that sacred mountains are at the center of the universe and home to the gods?  Some writers speculated on where Mount Meru was located.  Being in the center of the Earth, they speculated that it was probably located on the North Pole.

It is important to note that in the Bible, Mount Sinai is the sacred mountain where Moses received from heaven the morality laws called Ten Commandments, which he brought down to the Israelites.  It is also worth mentioning that Mount Mandara is the mountain that was used as a rod to churn the ocean of milk in the story contained in the Hindu Puranas. 

Please remember that the ancients worldwide were proficient in using allegories and metaphors to convey knowledge to those who would be able to understand them down the generations of people over long periods of time.  They used timeless objects like, water, mountain, river, ocean, etc. to convey information because those things will still be present — from their time up to our present times.  If they used only technical words in their language to communicate to us, then we would not be able to understand now what they are trying to convey, as their language would now be likely undecipherable.  The valuable information they contain are more likely lost now in translation.

My interpretation of their mountain allegory is the following: 

If one understands how reality is produced by the human mind, as I have discussed in my previous blogs, it would be easier to decipher what the ancients were trying to convey to us.  The sacred mountain allegory obviously represents the human mind

The mind generates the virtual physical reality inside of it, where the observer – the seat of consciousness, resides.  The apparent great expanse of our physical universe is only an illusion.  Therefore, the mind in this respect is actually the axis mundi (world axis), or the true center of this virtual universe.   Poor ancients… they  are ridiculed when they insisted that we are at the center of the universe.

Because the ancients kept using mountains and rods to represent the mind, I presume that the human mind is similar to a vertical column, where the lower portion produces the illusion of this virtual physical universe, and the upper portion likely produces a reality that is different from ours.  I will discuss this upper portion of the mind column in a future blog post and shed light on why the ancients kept telling us that the “gods” live high up the sacred mountains.

(Thanks to for the photo of the sacred Mount Kailash above)

Published by rabando

I am a Filipino and a geologist by profession but I have also been an ardent searcher for answers to the fundamental questions of human existence ever since 42 years ago. It has been a long, lonely and difficult journey. Why are we here? Where did we come from? What on earth is this world where I found my self in? Surprisingly, I found out that the answers are right there under our noses. There just need to be some adjustments in the way people think.

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