Short for Kedarnath – a pilgrimage place in the Himalayas.
Kedarnath Temple - A Crazy Cocktail of Spirituality
Kedarnath is a tremendous space. The utterance of the sound “Shiva” attains a completely new dimension and significance in Kedar. It is a space which has been specially prepared for this particular sound. When we utter the word “Shiva,” it is the freedom of the uncreated, the liberation of one who is not created. It is not right to say this, but it is almost like on this planet, the sound “Shiva” emanates from this place. For thousands of years, people have experienced that space as a reverberation of that sound.
When we say “Shiva,” it is not about creating one more idol or god that we can ask for more prosperity or better things in life. The word “Shiva” means “that which is not.” Today, modern science is proving to us that everything comes from nothing and goes back to nothing. The basis of existence and the fundamental quality of the cosmos is vast nothingness. The galaxies are just a small happening – a sprinkling. The rest is all vast empty space, which is referred to as Shiva.
A heady mixture of energies
Kedarnath is a very heady mixture of energies. This is a place that has witnessed thousands of yogis and mystics of every kind. When I say every kind, you cannot imagine those kinds. These are people who made no attempt to teach anything to anyone. Their way of making an offering to the world was by leaving their energies, their path, their work – everything – in a certain way in these spaces.
Adishankaracharya was last seen at Kedarnath, before he set off into the mountains. This wall with a hand and staff marks the spot.
When you think of someone on the spiritual path, you would probably think of them within a certain kind of framework in terms of a certain kind of behavior, dress or speech. But this is not a land of just that kind of spiritual person. The kind that fits into your ways of understanding has been here. But there have been many more who are utterly wild, whom you can never recognize as spiritual. But these are people who have touched the very peaks of existence. When we say “a yogi,” we do not mean someone of a certain behavior or morality. A yogi is perfectly in tune with life. So tuned in that he can dismantle life and put it back together again. The fundamental life that is you, if you can dismantle that completely and put it back, only then you are a yogi. There have been many such incredible human beings.
For a person who is seeking some kind of spiritual uplift, Kedar is a boon whose proportions you cannot imagine. That’s how it is, if one is open to this. It is very difficult to explain what it means. After all, it’s just a mountain, an outcrop of rock. But what makes an enormous difference is what has done to the space by the type of people who lived here for thousands of years. This is the place where so many yogis shed their bodies. It is something you must experience. After being born in India, before you are too old and no good for anything, you must make it once to the Himalayas.
The Hump of the Bull
There is a legend that after the Kurukshetra war, the Pandavas were very affected because they had killed their own kinsmen – their own brothers and relatives. This was called Gothravadha. They felt guilty and soiled by this act and were looking for a way to absolve themselves of it. So they went looking for Shiva.
Shiva did not want to give them the pleasure of suddenly becoming free from this horrible act, so he converted himself into the form of a bull and tried to escape. But they espied him and followed him to try and catch him. Shiva went into the ground and when he came up, different parts of the body came up in different places. The forehead is Pashupathinath in Nepal, considered as the most significant. The hump of the bull is Kedarnath, the two forelegs are Tunganath, which is on the way to Kedar. The navel appeared in a place in the Indian part of the Himalaya called Madhya-Maheshwar which is a very powerful Manipuraka linga, and the matted locks of Shiva appeared in what is called Kalpnath. Like this, different parts of the body appeared in different places.
This description of body parts has something to do with the seven chakras. These temples were established as a human body. It was a great experiment – trying to create a huge body with a tantric possibility. One such body happened in the direction of the Indian Himalayas. Another such body flowed towards the western direction where they tried to convert Nepal itself into a body.
Biggest pit of eggs
So the yogis also, people who have the privilege and the burden of carrying a dimension which is not in the experience of common people… also wherever they sit and stand they lay their eggs, but why they always moved to hilly regions? Certain spaces which are identified as sacred is simply so that these eggs are not trampled upon, but rather experienced, made use of, so that something will fly out of it. So they choose places, Tapovan has been one bird’s nest where many, many yogis have chosen to lay their eggs, but the biggest pit of eggs is probably the Kedar. Kedar, every kind of bird laid its eggs, multicolored, and they gotten all mixed up.
So if you have been initiated in a certain way, you become open to a certain aspect of experience. There are so many other things there which you are not open to, but if you are initiated in a particular way, you become open to that particular dimension. Let’s say we have initiated you in the peacock’s ways, you become open to only the colors of the peacock. A parrot is sitting right there, you don’t know. So depending upon the type of initiations you have gone through, you become open to certain dimensions of experience. How many of you…? Ok. We’ll leave that there.