Mount Meru (mythology)

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Mount Meru (Sanskrit: मेरु) (also called Sumeru i.e the "Great Meru") is a sacred mountain in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology as well as in Jain cosmology, and is considered to be the center of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes. It is also the abode of Lord Brahma and the Demi-Gods (Devas).

The mountain is said to be 84,000 Yojanas high (which is around 672,000 miles or 1.082 million kilometers). Many famous Hindu and Jain temples have been built as symbolic representations of this mountain. The highest point (the finial bud) on the pyatthat, a Burmese-style multi-tiered roof, represents Mount Meru.

For the equivalent central mountain in Buddhist cosmology, see Sumeru.

Contents

Location

Mount Meru of Hindu traditions has clearly mythical aspects, being described as 84,000 Yojanas high, and having the Sun along with all its planets and stars in the Solar System revolve around it as one unit.

Geographical

The dimensions attributed to Mount Meru, all the references to it being as a part of the Cosmic Ocean, along with several statements like that the Sun along with all the planets (including Earth itself) circumbulate the mountain, make determining its location most difficult, according to most scholars[1][2]. However, a small handful number of western scholars have tried quite hard to identify Mount Meru or Sumeru with the Pamirs, north-east of Kashmir[3].

The Suryasiddhanta mentions that Mt Meru lies in 'the middle of the Earth' ("bhugola-madhya") in the land of the Jambunada (Jambudvipa). Narpatijayacharyā, a 9th century text, based on mostly unpublished texts of Yāmala Tantra, mentions "Sumeruḥ Prithvī-madhye shrūyate drishyate na tu" ('Su-meru is heard to be in the middle of the Earth, but is not seen there')[4]. Vārāha Mihira, in his Panch-siddhāntikā, claims Mt Meru to be at the North Pole (though no mountain exists there as well). Suryasiddhānta, however, mentions a Mt Meru in the middle of Earth, besides a Sumeru and a Kumeru at both the Poles.

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