Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mt. Kailash: Shiva's Holy Abode

Mt. Kailash in Tibet is said to be a holy place. It is not very high, but no one has ever climbed it. Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Bon come to walk around it instead. As single circuit of 32 miles is said to cleanse one of all one’s sins of this life; 108 circuits guarantees nirvana; and a frigid bath in nearby Mansarovar Lake is said to take away the sins of one’s previous lives as well.

Kailash is located near the source of some of the longest rivers in Asia. Hindus believe it to be the abode of Lord Shiva. It is a forbidding place where the air is thin and hard on the lungs. Pilgrims - especially the old - sometimes die in the course of their Pradakshina (or circumambulation).

Such deaths never make the news because they are primarily solitary events - attempts by individuals to strike a peace with their Maker. When people rise up in significant numbers in revolt, however, the mighty take notice and begin to shake in their boots. They either flee or meet the challenge head-on with threats and bullets.

The odds right now are in favor of Kaddafi winning over the rebels. These will continue to fight on with whatever means they have available. They have put their young lives on the line. Years of selective oppression have brought them to this point of desperate decision. Inspired by the various uprisings in neighboring states, they know it’s now or never.

Contrast this with the protesters at Wisconsin’s state capitol. Many were bussed in from elsewhere (like Zimbabwean mercenaries) to shout slogans and carry signs. They’ve trashed the premises to the tune of sums. They’ve managed to disrupt the orderly flow of representative governance for weeks on end on the slender basis of some ideological throw-back currently promoted by the president of these United States. It’s no more than a Hollywood casting call for the idle, framed by the marble walls of a grand old capitol, unsupported by what ever drops off the relatively narrow journalistic frame. Their signs tell the story of feigned outrage and unlikely connections. They are there simply because a free nation allows it without consequence.

I note that the signs in the video above are all handmade and not designed to play to movie audiences. The blood that is bound to stain them is real - not Taco Bell sauce or Nathan’s mustard. Wisconsin’s demonstrators represent nothing but rent-a-mob thrills.

All the worlds major religions define sin within the context of something that was actually done. Inattention and ignorance therefore do not qualify as sin. While Libya’s rebels still stand a chance of salvation, not even Kailash could cleanse Wisconsin’s rabble of their stain.

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