Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pralaya in Kedarnath – some musings (part -2) (Dhari Devi connection)

Previous article:- Part -1  On the loss of Samadhi of Adi Shankara

In the previous article I raised a question whether the pralaya in Kedarnath signified the end of an epoch. This was prompted by the current trend of lack of interest in the preaching and commentaries of illustrious Gurus starting from Adi Shankara  and intrusion by Mleccha religionists and  researchers in belittling the wisdom imparted by these Gurus and Sruti texts. The current trend the world over is to see and dissect everything through some branch of science. This trend believes only in seeing and not in realising which is what devotion is about. In such a back drop, does the Pralaya indicate the coming of an Age of establishing even Faith through science?

I can see some leads in this direction. For example, the pralaya in Kedarnath brought into focus the nature of the terrain and the physical features in the vicinity of the temple of lord Kedarnath.  The oldest photographs taken in the year 1882 by the Geological Survey of India have surfaced now and have given important clues.  It shows that the temple stood on a raised or rocky structure in a kind of surrounding where water had flown. Take a look at that photo.

Scientists think that the shrine was originally located on a lake bed ((Read here). This is a valuable noting because this exactly fits with the etymological meaning of the word "Kedara" (केदार) which means "land under water"!

The pre-flood look of the temple confirms the opinion that the temple structure stood up in a shallow surrounding. Take a look at the temple as it looked before the pralaya.

The shops can be seen at a lower level. The buildings in the vicinity are also at a lower level. The 1882 photo shows that the temple was not a raised structure but was built on a naturally raised rocky formation. The etymological meaning of Kedarnath fits with this location. The mythological story behind the name Kedar is that a demon called Kedar was killed by Lord Shiva. This also fits with etymology as it could have meant a land that was pushed down.

This kind of interpretation of the meaning of names is one of the methods used by the sages to convey an idea.  We find a similar methodology in a narration in Mahabharata ((MB 13-93) where Yathudhani, a demoness was asked to find out the etymological meaning of the names of Sapta rishis and others connected with them. While the narration says that she fails to understand the meaning, we, the readers are able to understand the meanings and the collective implication of them in the light of current scientific revelations on human migration with change in climate. (Read here)   Therefore the etymological meaning of Kedara as a land under water needs to be given a serious thought.

Generally people think that Kedarnath came up or worship of Shiva as Kedarnath started with Bheema finding the hump of the Bull (Shiva) at the this place. That story on Bheema also says that the other body parts of the bull had fallen in other places which have hence become sacred worshiping places. Recently an-until- now – unidentified place of another body part of Shiva as Bull was found in Nepal. For a person of the current Times, this story (of the body parts of the Bull becoming the most sacred shrines of Shiva) would sound absurd. But one must know that the sages had not intended to spoon feed us on many a secrets of Divinity and salvation but wanted us to think, probe and seek the meanings. With this intention they formed strange stories so that they can be debated and hence remembered. The Mahabharata story on Yathudhani of finding the etymological meaning of the names of sapta rishis gives us a clue on the need to know the etymological meanings and link them up with events which are now established by science or other means.

In the case of Kedarnath, there is an olden  mythological story  of Shiva's obsession  with Uma which resulted in him forgetting his duties, as a result of which there was wide-spread anarchy in this world. 'He decided to undertake a severe penance to obtain his radiance. Living on air for 900 years, his penance had reached an unfathomable dimension. He decided to stop breathing and enter the ultimate state of samadhi - 'Bliss through Nothingness'. To prevent his inhalation, he placed a small wooden block in his mouth. This resulted in a tremendous generation of energy that escaped by blasting through his skull and fell on the himalayan mountains with such a mighty force that it flattened numerous himalayan peaks to the ground. This very spot is Kedarnath.'

This implies that the present location of Kedarnath had sunk – perhaps due to some geological activity. The Himalayas are folded mountains and there is continuous geological activity happening in them. The temple location could perhaps be a peak by itself which got sunk at some time in the distance past. What Bheema found was a self manifest Shiv linga of that peak.

The explanation of geological activity has another mythological dimension too. The famous marriage of Shiva with Parvathy – who was Meenakshi of Pandyan kingdom in Tamil lore – had taken place here in this region of the Himalayas. This story says that the Himalayas lowered due to the weight of many gaNas and sages who assembled to witness the marriage. In order or balance this, Shiva ordained sage Agasthya to go to the South. This again reiterates that this region or the peak in this region sank lower at some time in the past.

Having told the connection to the geological changes in the form of mythological stories on Kedarnath, let me now show some unique features of this region.

If Shiva was the bridegroom whose marriage was conducted here, where was Parvathy? She was in Kalimath and Dhari Devi, a little distance away. Dhari Devi also is consecrated on a natural formation of rock or part of a hill. (Picture below)