KAILASH KORA: Into ‘The Pilgrimage of Pilgrimages’ & into myself

by Ashok Silwal

The invitation arrived in the evening:
You have to say YES or NO quickly, he said:
A free place for a pilgrimage, not just any one,
KAILASH, in Gangdisê range Tibet,
The sacred mountain, residence of Shiva,
Where he stays in perennial meditation with Parvati.
The center of the Universe for Tibetan Buddhists.
I was dumbfounded,
I didn’t believe my ears..
They were offering me a mythical experience
That I dreamed of from my childhood perhaps..
Solicitation was irresistible, more than temptation,
So it was an overpowering YES .

I would have seen the untouched crystal mountain,
I would have walk the ritual tour of the KORA,
I would have bath in the blessing waters
Of Manasarovar lake.

I know I would be in a group
But the trip would be very personal
In self isolation with the Universe;
I was leaving in this mood.

My mind, my heart, my body and soul ,
My whole being was in turmoil.
I did not sleep that night before leaving;
I prayed, I imagined,
It would have been a strong experience:
I felt small and scared
And i cried a lot that night …for the emotion.

Perhaps my most coveted journey in my life
Symbol of infinite spirituality
Began with the suggestive prayers and songs
Of Buddhists’ chant Mantra: I was in suggestion.

And we started walking
The pace was slow and heavy
The air was cold and pinched my cheeks and forehead,
We will reach the Dolma pass at 5600 meters.
And how many things I was discovering on the path..
Monasteries, painted stones, barren mountains walls,
Thousands of colorful prayer little flags…..
Landscapes for meditations, learning, feeling, experiencing..
Nature is austere in these parts,
It wants to make you reflect,
It does not want to disturb your inside thinking.

And animals become as human beings:
Yaks so heavily loaded with their beloving eyes,
Horses in their colored harness,
And birds flying close to me
Eating in my hands and making me cry again.

And always in our eyes, as a lighthouse,
The snow-covered and unmistakable summit
Of Kailash mountain, a perfect pyramid,
Acting as a guide.

I silent walk, often seeking solitude,
And also surrounded by the prayers in low voice.
I’m both in a state of excitement and fear,
Thirst and contentment.
There is fire, outside and inside.

My legs hurt, my stomach is upset,
But I know that suffering is part of the way.

The panorama is breathtaking,
The lakes welcome me as a blessing,
I want to embrace the Universe
These sacred places are talking to me:
And when the sky and the road were similar
I saw the faces of my father and of my brother..
But no tears in that moment: love and blessings to me.

Impressed by Kailash,
Gaining a spiritual affection with it,
I became very light and chaotic
As the clouds in the sky.
I was experienced cold and warmth together.
Tears again…but,
I was using the language of the smile:
With the Tibetan women in their colored traditional dresses,
With the Chinese University professor, my friend,
Giving me his hat in the snow,
With the porters, the pilgrim from Lhasa,
With the Chinese girls and the professional guide..
For all of us,
Kailash mountain was not human.

It was the Center of Faith,
Of Knowledge and Power,
It was the last Destination of the Soul,
The mountain of the mountains,

The KORA was ending in feet and legs,
But never ending inside, a so deep experience.
I felt a kind of plenitude, no desire just peace,
Becoming aware of my strengths and weaknesses,
Defining better my doubts and my certainties
My very personal and intimate tour
Towards Nature and Spirituality.
Inside printed for ever.

Remembering the teachings of Buddha:


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