What is the significance of mountains in Hinduism?
Mountains, which occupy an important place in Hindu mythology, are a symbol of
strength when certain gods in their fury grow to resemble mountains, and of oppressive
weight when they are torn up and used as missiles by gods or demons. The most
important of these are of course the Himalayas, on the summits of which are the
heavens. Mountains, especially the Himalayas were also important as it was amongst
them that the holy men, the yogis and the sadhus lived doing meditation. It was
here that the important ashramas of the gurus were located and many are still
functioning. A person going on a trek in the Himalayas can easily find yogis
doing meditation in caves amongst the high snow-capped peaks.
Some of the important mountains are:
MERU, which bears on its summit Brahma's heaven, and acts as a pivot for the
three worlds around which the heavenly bodies revolve.
HIMAVAN, which took the form of a man when the gods wished Sati to be reborn,
and became the father of first the Ganga, and then of Parvati.
MANDARA, which is a revered mountain in the Himalayas and was thought to be the
only one mighty enough to serve as a pole in the churning of the milk ocean.
It became the home of Durga.
MOUNT KAILASA, the home of Shiva, which became involved in a dispute between
Indra and Kartikeya as to their relative powers and to settle the dispute they
agreed to race around it. Kartikeya won but became angry when Kailasa gave the
verdict in favor of Indra and hurled his lance at the mountain splitting it open,
thus creating the Krauncha pass.
Some other holy mountains are
Shaktiman (Madhya Pradesh)
Why are the rivers considered divine?
In India Rivers are given a divine status. The civilization of India was nurtured
in the river basin of the Ganga and the Jamuna, which has been the heart of ancient
India. The two rivers have been worshipped since ancient times. The Ganga has
been known for its purity and divinity and the Hindus believe that a bath in
her waters cleanses one of all sins. The river Jamuna is known for her devotion.
The river Saraswati was worshipped in ancient times when the Aryans lived in
Punjab. The Saraswati changed its course in later ages and gradually disappeared
in the deserts of Rajasthan. Apart from these three, the other rivers considered
sacred are the Godavari, Narmada, Sindhu (Indus) and Kaveri (Cauvery). Some other
sacred rivers are Sarayu, Gomati, Gandaki, Sabarmati, Tamsa, Chandarbhaga, Shipra