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A Mountain as Multiverse: Circumnavigating the Realities and Meta-Realities of a Kailas Pilgrim.

Piasecki, S (2019) A Mountain as Multiverse: Circumnavigating the Realities and Meta-Realities of a Kailas Pilgrim. Performance Research, 24 (2). pp. 16-23. ISSN 1352-8165

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Abstract

This article explores the mountain as a site of pilgrimage. It considers the efficacy of pain and peril in bringing value to the 'sacred' point of arrival in the contexts of pilgrimage, expedition and objective exploration, focussing on the contextual history and contemporary experience of walks around Mount Kailash in Tibet, referring back to the other examples to form a comparative argument around the broader issues of relativity connecting the embodied to the spiritually realised. There are facts here, imaginings, reconstructions and subjectivity but these find consolidation in three foci: 1. The peaceful and unanimous appropriation of a single sacred space by multiple religions; 2. The ritual liminoid efficacy of a pilgrimage in a genuinely perilous environment; 3. The intertextuality of the symbolic space and the real space as they are performed within the unique natural mandala of Mount Kailas in Tibet. Kailash is the spiritual centre of the universe in Tibetan Buddhism, the home of Siva in Hinduism and is also a holy site in Bonism; it is therefore a multi-faith site with multiple symbolic existences operative at once. However, it was also once perceived to be the possible source of great rivers such as the Ganges and as such is bound up with colonial tales of secret and disguised Victorian expeditions to survey and map, usually ending in great peril. Pilgrims and expeditionaries walk around the mountain - indeed it is claimed to be a pilgrimage route to a 5th of the world's population - in a circumnavigation that takes them to some 18600 feet in the outer kora, higher on the inner, and as such the 'walk' claims lives annually. The article draws upon experiences of the walk, both secular and non-secular, both physical and meta-physical, exploring written accounts from the multiple perspectives of authors such as Krishna Yadav, Colin Thubron, Shri Swami Satchinanada, Gibbons & Pritchard-Jones, John Snelling, Charles Allen. The article concludes with a consideration of the higher space and a state of liminal realisation gained only when something is risked through the traversing of that space, discussing the crucial and causal link that connects exposure to self-endangerment, the charging of a sacred venue and the attainments realised.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Performance Research on 25/07/2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13528165.2019.1626146
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1901 Art Theory and Criticism, 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Divisions: Screen School
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date Deposited: 12 May 2020 08:56
Last Modified: 12 May 2020 09:00
DOI or Identification number: 10.1080/13528165.2019.1626146
Editors: Pitches, J and Shearing, D
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12926

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