Introduction To Jainism ► [06] Cosmos ► Mount Meru and Great Videha

Posted: 10.10.2008

Videha, the central continent of Jambūdvīpa, where we as inhabitants of Arya and Mleccha Khanda never travel, is described in detail in literature with its various mountains, lakes and rivers, its 32 provinces and as many capitals, each with its own king who, after a long existence in one or the four celestial realms of the celestial gods, have descended to earth to reign over their land as great leaders. The people of Videha can - unlike to us in the present dark age of ignorance, deception and misery - reach full liberation, and it is said that every day a number of them do so.

Mount Meru in the center of Videha consists of three cones on top of each other,[67] and is in total about one million kilometers high. There are three large terraces or mountain plateaus related to the three cones, on which forests grow and divine beings live. On top is a peak of beryllium with a sanctuary. At the foot of the mountain stretch four regions with eight mountains on which the guardians of the four cardinal directions reside. In these directions there are shrines of the Jinas, divine palaces, and lakes.

It will be clear that nobody has ever seen such a mountain with physical eyes, but that here again a mystical teaching must be hidden.[68] The Hindus as well, Buddhists, and even the Navahos in Arizona speak of such a mountain. The same applies to the Jambū tree, which - as in other cultures - is a symbol for the spiritual knowledge, which one acquires when one has climbed the path towards the top of Meru. The tree is described as consisting of jewels and precious metals only, and the fruits are as big as elephants - and they are immortality; in the tree the protection bird of all the dvīpas has its nest. In the four cardinal directions are the four guardians - which we encounter in some form in mythology all over the world.[69]