Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Mt. Girnar, the Kailash of the West

Mt. Girnar, the Kailash of the West.

In the afternoon of 25 January 2016, from the campus of the Forest Guest House in Gir Taleti Junagarh, I was looking at my right side up and I saw Kailash, the same, I saw in 2007 from Darchen. Mt. Kailash is a sacred mountain for Hindus, Jains (Meru/Sumeru) and Buddha. It is a residence of Lord Shiva for the Hindus, the place of salvation of the 1st Tirthankar Adinath for Jains and a home of Buddha Damchok for tantric buddhists. The Girnar, the Revatgiri of Junagarh, is also a scared mountain other than Himalayas for Hindus, Jains and Buddhas. It is older than Himalayas. Girnar is also known as a sacred place for the mystic upasana.

The parikrama round of Kailash is 42 kms, and Girnar parikrama (bordevi) round is of 36 kms. Now I understand the importance of Mt. Girnar more, why thousands of people do parikrama of Girnar every year. It is the Kailash of the West. The Bhavnath Shiva Temple and annual gathering of nude shadhus to take holy bath in Mrigi Kund with Lord Shiva on Shivratri explain its divinity. It has Nath Sect Guru Gorakshnath temple and Guru Datatreya Padukas at the top most tunk. Hare Datt, Jai Guru Datta. Some Sadhus do their Sadhana in the interiors of its forests. Girnar has 9999 steps to climb up. Ambaji temple comes at 5000 stairs. 

There are Jain temples of 4 Tirthankars. Two brothers, Vastupal and Tejpal, the ministers of Gurjar King Virdhaval of Dholaka, abolished traveler's tax of Girnar and open the doors of Tirthankar Neminath temple without taxing. They built three temples of Tirthankars: Parshvanath (23rd), Ajitnath (2nd) and Mallinath (19th) in the fourth quarter of the 12th century. Women can't achieve liberation in Jainism. But Malli Bai was an exception. She became the 19th Tirthankar of Jains, known as Mallinath. 

Girnar mountain range is significantly famous for Shiva devotees of Nath sect of Hinduism for tantra mantra sadhana. 

Surprisingly, 19/24 Jain Tirthankars carry 'nath' suffix in their names. The Jain sadhana also has Mantras and Tantras. Goddess Padmavati Sadhana is performed on amavashya night. One of the reasons of following jain sadhus by their followers is their possession of magical powers and performance of miracles, the digambar Sadhus in particular. To treat the cause, they may be possessing knowledge of black magic too. 

J/Yunagarh was famous from the days of Chandragupta Maurya. Fort Uperkot and Sudarshana lake were constructed during Mauryan empire in 319 BC. Samrat Ashoka edicts inscribed on a mass granite gives an evidence of Maurayan empire over the garh. There are caves for Buddhist monks in the fort. The fort was abandoned for years, later revived and reconstructed by the Chudasama kings. Adi Kadi vav (step well) and Navghan well in the fort are very famous. 

Chudasama King Ra' Navghan was insulated by the Solanki King of Patan Siddhraj Jaisingh (1094-1143). His younger son Ra' Khengar succeeded him to take the revenge. When Siddhraj army attacked Junagarh, the Jubagarh army defended the fort for 12 years. His 2 nephews (bhanja) Desal and Visal were nephews (bhatija) of Siddhraj. They conspired against Ra'Khengar, opened the gates of the fort and finally Siddhraj conquered the fort and killed Ra'Khengar. 

It is believed that Girnar was taller but when Rakhengar's wife Rani Ranakdevi was forcibly taken away by Solankis, she became very angry and cursed Mt Girnar – “O, Girnar, are you blind? Do you not see your queen’s doom? How will you keep your head high after it? It started a terrible avalanche that threatened to tear the mountain apart. It mellowed Rani and she said, “Enough Girnar! Please do not destroy yourself”. Her words miraculously stopped the avalanche.

Ranak Devi gave curse to Siddhraj and immolated herself on her husband's pyre as Sati. The two disloyal nephews were executed by Siddharaj as reward for their betrayal to their uncle. “You were not loyal to your own uncle, so how could I trust you”?

Junagarh is a native place of Adi Kavi of Gujarati language, Bhakta Narsinh Mehta, who prayed Lord Krishna through his Prabhatiya, hai jagane jadava, krishna govalia, tuj vina ghenu ma kon jase. His famous bhajan, vaishnav jan to tene re kahiye..gave us the Mahatma from Mohandas.

Thoughtlessness of the mind is the starting point of the journey of the spiritual world. Girnar gives that stage of mind with its darshana, touch and parikrama. Thousands of pilgrims come here and experience its divinity. 

Now SC's recent judgment has cleared the way of the Ropeway Project. Probably, by 2018, we shall ride the ropeway. However, physically fit persons can access it any time.

Mt. Kailash and Mt. Girnar are mystical places and seats of spiritual power. Those who can't go to Kailash due to health hazard, don't miss Girnar/Revatgiri. It is the same, the Lord Shiva, Girnar, the Kailash of the West. 

27 January 2016

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