The idea of a going on a trek or a mountaineering feat is always toward a sense of achievement, to make yourself bigger than who you are. But the idea of a pilgrimage is to subdue yourself. It is to become nothing in the process of just walking, climbing and subjecting yourself to various arduous processes of nature. Places of pilgrimage in the ancient past were always located in such places where a person had to go through a certain amount of physical and mental hardship to get there, so that in the process, he becomes less than who he thinks he is. Today, things have been made much more comfortable. We are flying up, walking a little bit, and then driving down.
In terms of destination, the pilgrimage to Kailash is probably the greatest that one can make. Kailash is a tremendous spiritual library, and it has been for at least the last few thousand years. Generally, people say 10,000 to 12,000 years; many people say it is much more than that. In the Hindu way of life, people say that Kailash is the Abode of Shiva. When we say it is the Abode of Shiva, it does not mean that he is still sitting up there, or dancing, or hiding in the snow. What it means is this: When a person realizes and his perception goes far beyond what is normal, what he has perceived cannot always be transmitted to people around him; only a small part of it can be transmitted. It is very rare for any Master to find people he can transmit all of himself to. Most Masters go without ever being able to transmit what they really want to transmit. You do not want this to go lost. So where do you leave all this?
For thousands of years, realized beings always traveled to Kailash and deposited their knowledge in a certain way, in a certain energy form. They used this mountain as a scaffold to create this. It is because of this that the Buddhists say three of their main Buddhas -- Manjushree, Avalokiteshwara and Vajrapani -- all live there in the mountain. The Jains say Rishabh lives there, Hindus say Shiva lives there, and South Indian mysticism says their greatest yogi, Agasthiya Muni, who is the basis of South Indian mysticism and is one of the seven direct disciples of Shiva, lives in the southern face of Kailash. It does not mean that they are all actually living there, but that they deposited their work in Kailash because they could not transmit it to people. A variety of social situations did not permit one to do that. All 63 Nayanmars, saints from South India, also went to Kailash because they too never had the opportunity to transmit their perception to the people around them. So it is a treasure house of knowledge.
In terms of inner dimensions, anything that you ever want to know is in Kailash. If you know how to perceive and decipher it, everything about your own creation, about your making and existence, and about your liberation is all there. If one is willing to raise his perception to sufficient clarity, it is distinctly visible and available.
Above all, the journey itself is simply fantastic. Tibet as a land is so amazing and unique in terms of its natural beauty. Every land has its own beauty, but this is something different from what you normally see -- very different. The variety of terrain is quite incredible.
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