Mount Meru, in the Hindu scriptures, is depicted as a colossal, sacred mountain glittering golden in color around which the entire universe extrapolates. Or, if simply put it is construed as the center of the universe with its axis passing through the center of the earth, and as the scriptures have it, the mountain already exuberant in its description has elevated significance as it is said to support (in literal terms) the highest of the Hindu heavens. It is also the adobe to the supreme gods of the dharma, the Brahma, the Shiva, the Vishnu, the Trimūrti or the trinity of supreme divinity in Hindu dharma, and also the devas, or the demi-gods. Well, at least this is what the scriptures state in their meticulous narratives.
The mountain is said to tower at the staggering height of 84,000 Yojana or about 1,082,000 Kilometers (single unit of the erstwhile corresponding to about 11.5 in the Kilometer scale). The figures when analyzed corresponds to 85 times the diameter of the earth, but it should not come much of as a surprise, as in these very scriptures it has been explicitly (and not to mention, in meticulous narrative) that the Sun along with all the planets in the Solar System revolve around Mt. Meru as one unit.
The Lokas of Mount Meru
In accordance with the very belief of the existence of a number of Lokas, or the planes; seven to be exact the different heights of the sacred mountain corresponds to different Lokas and different deities are said to reside these different levels of the mountain. To quote an Anglophile historian, who is accredited for his extensive research about the Hindu dharma, “The top of Meru is Swarga, the heavenly city of Indra, Vedic god of rain and storm, a paradise furnished with heavenly flowers and fruit and covered everywhere with bright gold dwellings.” is found in his book, ‘A Mountain in Tibet.’
Similarly, it is also stated that “The levels of mountain inside the Earth correspond to multiple levels of Hell”, which is a clear reference that “the foothills of the mountain initiate from the earth itself, but the whole of the summit (not to mention the exhilarating mountaintop) is not limited to the surface of the earth, and extends beyond”
The Guardians of The Four Directions of Mount Meru
Mount Meru is guarded at the four cardinal points, or in the four natural directions by four celestial Guardians who defend the world by keeping away the fallen gods or the demon gods-the Asuras.
- Dhritarashtra, the King of the Gandharvas, or the Celestial musicians, in his regal appearance and majestic visage, guards the east.
- The Guardian of the southern side is Virudhaka, the king of Kumbhanda, one of the kinds of dwarfish and a ‘lesser diety’. His right-hand hold at the waist a long sword with the left cradling the blade across the chest, a confirmation of his regal stature.
- The King of the Nagas and the guardian of the Western Direction was Virupaksha, who stands with his right hand at his waist holding a writhing snake entwined around his upper arm- no evil shall surpass- the deity stands duty-bound to the erstwhile phrase.
- The Guardian King of the North is Vaishravana, a god of the lower heavenly realms and leader of the Yaksha beings.
The Mysterious Mount Meru
A heavily guarded mountain with multidimensional existence, one metaphor being ‘reaching the celestial stars’ with the entire universe extrapolating around it, and not to mention the adobe of the Trimurti, the Brahma, the Vishnu and the Shiva; such a mountain can be perceived and as many scholars have deemed, to be allegorical; of metaphysical and spiritual existence rather than of physical existence (and in literal terms), right?
But few scholars have gone beyond the allegorical epithet of the mountain, and have tried to locate the mountain as a physical mountain. One speculation points to Mount Pamirs, in the northeast of Kashmir. Other scholars base the location on the reference to the mountain being located at the center of the earth and have speculated that Mt. Meru may exist at the North Pole. Japanese Buddhist traditions also mention Mount Meru and provide a map from the 16th century CE which locates the mountain somewhere in the Himalaya range of mountains.