Kailash mountain

P. Cooper pcooper at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Wed Apr 21 00:09:53 UTC 1999

On Tue, 13 Apr 1999, Venkatraman Iyer wrote:

> What is your  thought on uttara Ramayana and MBh. portions of Shiva and
> Mt. Kailash?  Early centuries of the common era??

Given the notorious difficulty of this question (dating the epics), the
dates you mention seem about as accurate and specific as one can
reasonably suggest.

Review of your initial posting reminded me of one important issue I
neglected to address in my earlier response: that of the location/identity
of Kailasa.  It is unclear, from the classical sources I consulted (epics,
kavya, Puranas, tantric literature) whether the Kailasa described therein
may be identified with any earthly mountain, much less the mountain in
Tibet that today bears that name. Yes, there are descriptions of Kailasa's
location in the north, but these are typically vague, and the lush,
fantastic descriptions of Kailasa don't tally at all with the ecological
reality of the Tibetan plateau.  As far as I could determine, it is not
until the 16th or 17th centuries that we find more detailed and
seemingly reliable Indian references to Kailasa as a specific geographical
location.  Again, I'd be happy to provide details if desired.

Sorry for the delay in responding.

Paul Cooper

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