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Prophets and mountains

india Updated: Jun 29, 2006 15:22 IST
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Since long, mountains have been held to be a source of divine inspiration. Conquering a mountain is considered to be a human and spiritual feat. Seekers of truth, hermits and ordinary folks have found refuge in them. Indeed, humanity, irrespective of religion, views mountains as places for testing spiritual strength.

Mountains are indelible signs of stability and solidity. Scriptures speak of their mystery, transcendence and exemplary lasting quality. Their transcendental nature exhorts mankind to move beyond the ephemeral nature of our earthly existence to spiritual realms.

Mountains are considered to be the abode of gods in all religions. According to the Puranas, Mount Kailash is the centre of the world, and its four faces are symbolically made of crystal, ruby, gold, and lapis lazuli. The four rivers flowing from Kailash flow to the four quarters of the world.

The Tantric Buddhists believe that Kailash is the name of the Buddha Demchok (also known as Demchog or Chakrasamavara), who represents supreme bliss.

Sinai, the holy mountain, is where Moses is reported to have re ceived the Ten Commandments and the call to deliver his people from the cruelty of their Egyptian masters.

In the Old Testament, God was depicted as Lord of the mountains. A psalm says, "Before the mountains were born, you always were, O God." It was God as Creator who weighed the mountains with a balance and the hills with a scale. Mountains also provided the backdrop to many key events in the Bible and the Quran. From the days of the flood to the days of the prophets, the mountains continued to be important points of spiritual contact or revelation.

In the Biblical story of the great flood, only Noah, his family and the animals in his boat were saved. When the rain finally stops, Noah's boat rests on Mount Ararat. In the New Testament, Jesus is said to have often gone to the hills to pray and be alone. He delivered the famous Sermon on the Mount from a hilltop. Mountains are truly a source of faith for the world.

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