In 1975 Gurudev allowed us to perform an elaborate pada puja to him, which is forever presented and preserved in the beautiful photo we are all familiar with (left). In meditating on that photo, I was flooded with the realization that in the photo was the form and template of the shrine complex of LOTUS, Chidamburam, and Kailash!
The pile of flower petals at Gurudev’s feet is LOTUS; His Form is Chidamburam, and the Nataraj above his head is Kailash. In an instant I received a conception of the Kailash Stair, a project I have pondered for years…how to build it. Now, at last, I have a viable design which is buildable, will be durable, will fit the symmetry and beauty of the LOTUS and will complete manifestation of the vision we were given in 1975. The Kailash Stair is conceived as representing the human path of Awakening: the spinal column and seven chakras. As with Mt Kailash, to ascend the summit is a pilgrimage from primal ignorance and egocentricity to an increasing awareness of the One Truth which is manifest as all creation.
The stair is designed to be in a continuous straight trajectory on the center-line of the LOTUS, Chidamburam, Kailash shrines. As with the existing stair from LOTUS to Chidamburam, the stair is conceived in a 6 ft width, and with intersecting terraces for rest, viewing, and for meditation. As can be seen in plan, the first “Chakra Terrace” of the Kailash Stair is behind Chidamburam. On a radius from the center of the Murti of Gurudev within the shrine, curving ramps from either side will lead seekers up to the first Chakra Terrace and the foot of the ascending stair, about at the level of the Chidamburam roof edge. From this terrace, LOTUS is barely visible and the panorama of the landscape is hidden….much as the view from “first chakra awareness” is limited, yet promising of the light. The Kailash Shine above would also be hidden, while the ascending stair beckons the seeker to make the journey, to see more, to rise, and to realize the panorama of the Truth in Oneness.
Each subsequent Chakra Terrace provides an increasing revelation of LOTUS and the expanding horizon. At Chakra Terrace Two LOTUS is showing large, mysterious, edging out from behind the cupola of Chidamburam, surrounded by sky and distance. At Chakra Terrace Three the Grand Archway, the “Venturi Wall”, which focuses our attention through the great spiritual traditions towards the ONE, comes into view, but the purity of LOTUS is still mostly hidden. As ascension to each Chakra is achieved, more is revealed, and greater may be the urge to rest in the Light, to take in the vision given, to meditate from the vantage of the Chakra Terrace, and to gather strength and resolve to continue higher. As the seeker continues to climb the Kailash Stair the vision of LOTUS and the panorama of its setting, against the water, amidst the beauty of Nature, under the limitless Sky, will amplify the message of Truth is One, Paths are Many in a deep and personal way. From Chakra Terrace Seven, the Crown Chakra, two paths will lead upwards to Kailash and the darshan of Nataraja, from which perspective all is revealed…even the journey.
Take part in this beautiful project by buying a step! Suggested donation is $108 for a step.