A Blog on Mythology and occasionally on Reality.

This is a Blog on Mythology, both Indian and World and especially the analysis of the myths.

In effect, the interpretation of the inherent Symbolism.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Symbolism of Mountains in Mythology.

It is said that in myths lie messages. So what have all the myths tried to tell us through the mountains? Mountains have provided refuge to truth-seekers, hermits, and even to ordinary men. With their beauty, mystery and transcendence, they can help lift our lives above the grime and dirt associated with the plains below.

High places have always been seen as a place for spiritual quest. Midway between the heaven and earth, mountains were a place where people like Moses could meet their god. Mountains are perceived to take you closer to the heavens. Let us analyse the symbolic value of the mountains more closely:

1.The movement upward: When our gaze moves up, it’s an expression of
elevation, a rise which is very positive

2.Highness: The height, at which a mountain stands, signifies the
difference in altitude, from where one observes it to where the mountain
is. This symbolises the majesty, steadiness, stability and superiority.

3.Every ascension symbolises a movement from the basic to beyond; a sense
of surpassing the ordinary to extra-ordinary. It embodies a movement of
going beyond the human condition. The struggle, the effort that takes
one to the highest peak is also mans achievement of the highest quality

4.A mountain seems away from the ground (of mortals) and seems to touch
the skies (heavens the abode of the gods). The top of the mountain seems
to ‘touch’ the heavens and is thus seen as the centre where the earth
meets the heaven.

5.The unreachable – The passage to the beyond may be possible or may not
be possible for the humans. But this highly valued ‘un-climbableness’ of
mountains symbolises the un-reachableness of the absolute – the absolute
virtue, power or immortality.

Till today to conquer a mountain is seen as a human and spiritual feat. When we are saddened by the transient nature of our earthly existence mountains through their sheer lasting quality can challenge us to look beyond ourselves and to hope for unending life.

However, the symbolism varies from culture to culture. In some cultures the ascension or trying to achieve the unachievable is considered as a violation. To set out to achieve this ascension in Tibetan or Hindu traditions is not seen as a good sign. It is a sign of arrogance and disrespect for the resident of the mountains, i.e. the Supreme Being, the God. But in the Chinese tradition, the climbing of a mountain is seen as a sacred journey.

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