Mountains & Wisdom

Mountains are majestic creation; they are piece of landform that is raised above the surrounding land usually in the form of a peak. Majority of geologists classify a mountain as a landform that rises at least 1,000 feet (300 meters) or more above its surrounding area. Mountains form when pieces of Earth’s crust—called plates—smash against each other in a process called plate tectonics that result in bulging of a piece of land. Mountains erode slowly through the action of rivers, weather conditions, and glaciers. Some mountains are isolated summits, but most of them occur in huge mountain ranges. The highest mountain on Earth is Mount Everest in the Himalayas of Asia, whose summit is 8,850 m (29,035 ft) above mean sea level. The highest known mountain on any planet in the Solar System is Olympus Mons on Mars at 21,171 m (69,459 ft).
Mountains seem to have a mystical presence, attracting those who are into the mysteries of life and death. The highest known permanently tolerable altitude is at 5,950 meters (19,520 ft). At very high altitudes, the decreasing atmospheric pressure means that less oxygen is available for breathing, and there is less protection against solar radiation. Above 8,000 meters (26,000 ft) elevation, there is not enough oxygen to support human life. This is known as the death zone. The summits of Mount Everest and K2 are in the death zone.
Mountains play a significant role in religions and philosophical beliefs. There are number of sacred mountains within Greece such as Mount Olympus which was held to be the home of the gods. In Japanese culture, the 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft) volcano of Mount Fuji is also held to be sacred with tens of thousands of Japanese ascending it each year. Mount Kailash, in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, is considered to be sacred in four religions: Hinduism, Bon, Buddhism, and Jainism. In Ireland, pilgrimages are made up the 952 metres (3,123 ft) Mount Brandon by Irish Catholics. The Himalayan peak of Nanda Devi is associated with the Hindu goddesses Nanda and Sunanda; it has been off-limits to climbers since 1983. Mount Ararat is a sacred mountain, as it is believed to be the landing place of Noah’s Ark. Jabal an-Nour (Mountain of the Light’ or ‘Hill of the Illumination’) is a mountain near Mecca in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia. The mountain houses ‘the cave of Hira’ which holds tremendous significance for Muslims throughout the world,as the (Prophet) Muhammad is said to have spent time in this cave meditating, and it is widely believed that it was here that he received his first revelation, which consisted of the first five ayats of Surah Al-Alaq from the angel Jibra’il. One cannot help but wonder why the prophets had a special inclination towards climbing mountains in search of wisdom and spiritual enlightenment. Surely, there is some message in it for those who contemplate.
Mountains are depiction of glimpse of Grandiosity of Creator. They give message of firmness, stability and immense unshakeable strength. Mountain climbing is the sport, hobby or profession of hiking, skiing, and climbing mountains. Mountain climbing and life have a lot in common. While mountaineering, one has to toil hard in order to reach the summit. It teaches the value of struggle, persistence and presence of Faith to reach at the peak (destiny) of your goal, your dream, and your vision. It also instructs that there are no shortcuts to attain your goals and dreams. You need to take the right path irrespective of how hard it is. And when you do take the right path despite of challenges and struggles, the view at the top is Magnificent; the effort is duly rewarded with the clear perception of things, the far-sightedness, and the vastness of the horizon. This also holds true for life. At the base one is full of enthusiasm and has one’s eyes set on the summit. The terrain is flat and easy; the onlookers cheer one up. It is when one begins to reach the summit that the real test of determination takes its toll. Sometimes it is the ‘decision’ to reach the top that keeps one going or the mystery of ‘what’s-on-the-other-side’ that keeps one on one’s toes. Most people abandon the journey for various reasons, but it has to be a conscious effort that would make all the difference in the end.

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