Spiritual Symbolism of the Himalayas and Ganga
Religion and spirituality go hand-in-hand in India. The vast Hindu population drives a major part of the religious sentiment in India. The many sacred temples, water bodies, caves and mountain ranges are hallowed sanctities in the Indian sub-continent. Amongst these, the Himalayas and the river Ganges are the most revered symbols of spirituality associated with religious sentiments.
For instance, the mighty Himalayas are considered the epitome of pristine beauty where one can achieve ineffable peace. This peace then flows through your day-to-day life just like the river Ganga flowing from the higher regions to reach the plains and be available to the population at large. These natural entities have achieved a high religious value amongst the atheists in India and have given rise to varied connotations delving into spiritual and religious symbolism.
Exploring spiritualism at Dev-Bhoomi
As most of us know that the Himalayas is a mountain range comprising of humongous peaks, most of which comprise the planet’s highest peaks like Mount Everest which lies at an elevation of 8849 m. The Himalayas comprise many regions that are now regarded as sacred and spiritual owing to their natural beauty and even mythological significance. One such region is the Dev Bhoomi aka the land of Gods and Goddesses. Geographically, this area is the region of the Garhwal Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.
It is a belief that this Dev Bhoomi blesses its visitors who throng the hallowed abode, especially during the summer months. Furthermore, it is believed that practicing spirituality at this place is quite fruitful as one gains manifold outcomes for spiritual leanings. Even for naysayers who do not believe in such claims, the pristine and spellbinding beauty of the region in itself is conducive to all kinds of spiritual activities.
Furthermore, many pilgrimage sites are inter-spread across the Himachal and Uttarakhand regions with the mighty Himalayas serving as a majestic backdrop. Additionally, there are few others who feel that this area is rightfully called Dev-Bhoomi as the region also is the origin of various river bodies including the holy rivers, Ganga and Yamuna that start from here and flow through the length and breadth of this vast nation.
Besides, amongst the Northern Char-Dhams or holy pilgrimage sites for Hindus, taking a dip at Gangotri is considered most auspicious and purifies bathers of all their past negative karmas.
Hence, this connection between nature’s mighty manifestations, the majestic Himalayas and the holy Ganges that flows from Gangotri is opined by many as the reason for the sanctity of Dev-Bhoomi. Mythologically speaking, Ganga is considered the daughter of the Himalayas and she was ordered to descend onto the earth by King Bhagirath. Hence, this metaphysical rendezvous between father and offspring draws hordes of spiritual seekers who travel long distances to pay homage to the site.
Deciphering the Guru-principle
Every spiritual seeker looks out for a mentor or Guru who can show the way towards enlightenment. However, the Guru can take any form such as one’s life experiences and even physical forms such as deities carved in stone and natural entities like the mighty Himalayas and the river Ganges. Gaining the innate ability to construe this Guru principle within oneself where enlightenment flows seamlessly without any kind of resistance requires the cultivation of feelings and thoughts. In this regard, the Himalayas and the river Ganga represent the Guru principle as nature’s sublime manifestations. These natural entities are regarded as potent tools capable of offering profound guidance and divine blessings on one’s road towards awakening.
Many revered Indian saints have wandered and lived in the mountainous regions of the Garhwal Uttarakhand. The lives of saints like Swami Rama Tirtha and Tapovan Maharaj serve as an example that nature often is the catalyzing actor to achieve inner peace and stability of mind in order to achieve divine realisations. The Himalayan ranges have also served as an abode to the proliferation of Tibetan Buddhism and offered a safe haven to the current Dalai Lama who now resides in Mcleodganj in the Indian hilly state of Himachal Pradesh. The Tibetan sect continues to seek hidden teachings from enlightened and revered teachers of the past who resided in these mountains.
Key takeaways for spiritual seekers
This hallowed sanctity of Dev-Bhoomi where the Ganga flows with the mighty Himalayas serving as a pristine backdrop offers an amiable environment for spiritual activities like meditation and introspection. Symbolically speaking, the spiritual seeker initially seeks the solitude that comes from the quietness of the mountains and then by renouncing worldly engagements, seeks a divine abode and eventually spiritual awakening by residing in the mountains.
Below we have enlisted certain attributes that help bring about peace and inner harmony that the stillness of the Himalayas and the buzzing activity of the Ganges bring about in the spiritual seekers.
Stillness- the quiet, underlying layer of life
The Himalayan ranges offer a sense of inner stillness and solitude to the mind. In fact, simply the majestic presence of these mighty mountains acts as an anchor despite any inner changes and transitions in our inner and outer surroundings.
Spiritual seekers often go into frequent long or short periods of complete silence or maunam.
Conventionally speaking, most of us find it tempting to interact and talk at any given opportunity. However, spirituality teaches as well as trains our minds to dwell in the stillness of the body, mind and speech. The Himalayan backdrop in itself embodies solitude and stillness that serves as a catalyzing factor to turn inwards. This further helps one to effortlessly slip into states of quietness and solitude where one’s state of consciousness is reflected in part by the unflinching Himalayas.
Activity - the expression and energy of life
The Ganges is much revered by the Indians. Since times immemorial, the Ganges has been part of India’s rich history, mythology and legends. The Ganga-Ma’s turbulent flow is in contrast with the stoic yet majestic stillness of the Himalayas.
Life is all about movement and activity and the Ganges symbolizes this buzzing, activity of life. The Ganges waters which emerge from the Gangotri, flow uninterrupted through rocks, and mountain valleys to reach the plains where it nurtures life. This quality of the Ganges which never ceases to flow can be imbibed as a divine power by every spiritual seeker to keep on treading the life path despite the challenges.
The wisdom of spirituality can be gauged metamorphically in nature like the Himalayas that stand their ground with elan or the river Ganga that meanders effortlessly. The Dev-Bhoomi which sees the confluence of both the Himalayas and the Ganges symbolizes the underlying substratum of life’s stillness and activity. For those who view this phenomenon from the perspective of spirituality, this mystic land attracts them to make it their abode. This experiential understanding helps such souls discover the true symbolism of the Himalayas and the Ganges.