Lakshmi Bandlamudi’s description of her journey to kailash and Mansarovar representing as they do Purush and Prakriti the masculine and the feminine nature of existence is deeply moving because she connects it to her own inner spiritual quest. Replete with mythical stories regarding Shiva and Parvati and written with a special emphasis on the feminine this book a moving testament of a living faith which ahs persisted for thousands of years.
Lakshmi Bandlamudi’s script is a sublimely cosmic dance in itself hinting at a difficult life and a less than easy journey; she nonetheless describes her journey of kailash the home of Shiva as a transcendental pilgrimage of the soul. The stony Tibetan territory she must traverse becomes almost irrelevant in her soul’s searching for answers to question which are both personal and universal.
Dr. Lakshmi Bandlamudi grew up in India and immigrated to the United States of America in 1981. she studied at Columbia University and city University of New York where she earned her Master’s and Doctoral Degrees respectively. She is a professor of Psychology at the city University of New York and teaches courses in cognitive development Psychology, theories of the mind and other courses in Women’s studies. She has published several papers in reputed journals and has presented papers at several international conference in the areas connection myths culture history and consciousness. She is also the recipient of Fulbright Award once in 1996 to Bulgaria and Romania and recently in 2004 to china.
For many people is south and central Asia, Mount Kailash is the holiest mountain the earth. In this book Dr. Lakshmi Bandlamudi presents as account of he own pilgrimage to the mountain and near by lake Mansarovar.
We Tibetans tend to regard the entire land of Tibet as a realm of dharma not only because of the profusion of temples and monasteries but because we regard even the physical features of the land as sacred. Many pilgrimage elsewhere it is the particular shape of a mountain or curve of a river the provides the indication of positive significance. Mount Kailash possesses from all over Tibet as well as from India and beyond. It is sacred to the Bongos practitioners of the indigenous pre Buddhist religion of Tibet. Buddhist associate it with adepts like the great yogi and poet Milarepa and regard it as own of the sacred location of the meditations deity Heruka for Hindus it is the adobe of the deities Shiva and Parvati while jains and Sikhs have their own special associations with it. What is more even for those without a specific faith the mountain’s physical and color makes it a natural symbol of purity.
In the past Indian pilgrims did not need permits to visit Mount Kailash and lake Mansarovar pilgrims had free access to these holy sites as if they were visiting just another part of India. Now both the internal and external situations of Tibet have changed beyond imagination. Therefore it is heartening to know that in spite of all that has happened pilgrims from India continue to brave the journey and go to pay their respects at these sacred sites. It continues to be my prayer that all of Tibet becomes a sanctuary a zone of peace a place of harmony between people animals and the environment treated with the same respect as Mount Kailash and its surroundings. I look forward to the day that the Tibetan people may freely welcome visitors from all over the world to Tibet to share that experience of peace and harmony.
These are the movements of an ordinary pilgrim to an extraordinary place on earth. I invite the readers to move back and forth from one plane to another the physical spiritual mythical philosophical historical and finally personal. The physical journey is both the story and a backdrop to record the spiritual journey. The tools and the method for spiritual pursuit are drawn from the inexhaustible myths and these myths enable us to understand abstract philosophy and these philosophies are laden with history. The mythical and cultural histories intersect with my personal history. The journey took me to great heights in every sense of the expression only to probe into the depths of my inner brings. It is journey outward and inwards and woven into this multidirectional movement is a personal tale of a daughter’s search for her lost father who had to be reclaimed on a higher plane. Taken together this multi layered narrative is the longing of the soul to dance and when the lord of dance recognizes this desire and extends his helping hand it transpires into movements with the cosmic dancer…
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