The story of Mt Kailas

By Ugyen Dorje of Pangboche

It is said that the actual Mt. Kailas is located near the land of Shambala. It is not possible to go there without spiritual, psychic powers. The present so-called Mt. Kailas in Tibet is linked with the history of the Ramayana.

In order to revive the dead and injured soldiers of Prince Rama (who were fighting the Raksasa army of Ravana in Lanka), Hanuman (the mighty monkey ally of Rama) was sent to fetch from Mt. Kailas the sanjiwini medicinal herb which restores life. Unable to recognise the plant, Hanuman picked up the mountain and brought in to Lanka. When the herbs were collected, Hanuman is said to have tossed the mountain back in the direction of the Himalayan range, intending to restore it to its original place. But, since it was tossed from a great distance, it landed lopsidedly and some of the snow dropped into Tibet. This is now called Tise (Mt. Kailas). From the Hindu devotional point of view, Mt. Kailas is the worshipful abode of the god Shiva. For Buddhists it is the place of Chakrasamvara(Tibetan: Demchog).

There is also the story related about the contest between Milarepa and the Bonpo priest over the legitimate ownership of pilgrimage rights to Mt. Kailas. The contestants agreed that the one who first reached the summit of the mountain in the morning would be recognised as the legitimate lord of Kailas. At dawn on the morning of the contest, the Bonpo priest (Naro Bon-chung) started his journey to the summit riding on his ritual drum and beating it all the while. Milarepa waited until sunrise and rode in a flash on the rays of the sun to the summit, beating the Bonpo there. When Milarepa looked down and the surprised Bonpo looked up and saw him, so disconcerted and shocked was he that he dropped his drum and it broke in two and fell. It is said that the marks made from the falling pieces of the drum can still be seen on the mountain.

There is also the story of Lake Manasarovar. It is related that Cakravarti raja Nug Bam was preparing cooked rice to feed the entire world. The strained hot water from this rice cooled and became Lake Manasarovar.

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Copyright © Nawang Chuldim Sherpa 1995
Revised 11 December, 1995