Kailash mountain

P. Cooper pcooper at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Tue Apr 13 05:17:31 UTC 1999

On Sun, 11 Apr 1999, Venkatraman Iyer wrote:

> What are the earliest texts in Sanskrit talking of
> Kailash in Tibet as the abode of ziva?

I did some research on this question myself recently.  Of course, the
dating of early Sanskrit texts is very problematic, so it is probably not
possible to say what text contains the earliest reference to Siva at
Kailasa.  Nevertheless, among the early sources I found were the
Mahabharata, the Ramayana, and Kalidasa's Meghaduta.

More specifically, the episode of Sagara and the descent of Ganga, from
the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata, refers to Siva at Kailasa.  Turning to
the Ramayana, the Uttarakanda contains the famous account of the clash
between Siva and Ravana at Kailasa, though many scholars deem this to be a
later portion of the epic.

Of course, there are many Puranic traditions that place Siva at Kailasa,
but here again dating is a problem. Interestingly, many of the references
to Kailasa in the epics and earlier Puranas, as well as in Kalidasa, have
more to do with Kubera than with Siva.  In fact, the Rudrasamhita of the
Siva Purana even contains a story of how Siva moved his residence to
Kailasa to be near his frien Kubera.

I have more information, and specific textual references, which I would be
glad to share with any who are interested in this topic.  Feel free to
contact me on or off the list.


Paul Cooper
MA program in South Asian Studies
Jackson School of International Studies
University of Washington
pcooper at u.washington.edu

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