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Himavā, Himācala, Himavanta

The name given to the Himalayas. It is one of the seven mountain ranges surrounding Gandhamādana.¹ It is three hundred thousand leagues in extent,² with eighty-four thousand peaks its highest peak being five hundred leagues ³ In Himavā, are seven great lakes, each fifty leagues in length, breadth and depth — Anotatta, Kaṇṇamuṇḍa, Rathakāra, Chaddanta, Kuṇāla, Mandākini, and Sīhappapāta; these lakes are never heated by the sun. From Himavā flow five hundred rivers.⁴

In numerous Jātaka stories, Himavā is mentioned as the place to which ascetics retire when they leave household life. It is full of woodlands and groves, suitable for hermits.⁵ In Himavā is a peak named Mahāpapāta where Pacceka Buddhas die.⁶ Nāgā go to Himavā to give birth to their young.⁷ The mountain is often used in similes; it is then referred to as the king of mountains (pabbatarājā) ⁸ Sīvalī Thera once went there from Sāvatthi with five hundred others. The journey took them eight days.⁹

The country round Himavā was converted by Majjhima Thera.¹⁰ He was accompanied by four others: Kassapagotta, Alakadeva (Mūladeva), Sahadeva and Dundubhissara.¹¹ Majjhima taught the Dhammacakkap­pavattana Sutta and eight hundred million attained salvation. These five elders converted five kingdoms and each ordained one hundred thousand persons.¹²

Devā brought for Asoka’s use, from the Himavā, twigs of the nāgalatā to clean his teeth, healthful fruits, myrobalan, terminalia and mango fruit,¹³ while, for the foundation of the Mahā Thūpa, novices (sāmaṇera) with psychic-powers brought sweet-scented marumba.¹⁴

The Kuṇāla Jātaka (q.v.) was taught in the region of Himavā. The Buddha took the Sākyan princes there and showed them the various features, including many mountain peaks, such as: Maṇipabbata, Hiṅgulapabbata, Añjanapabbata, Sānupabbata, and Phalikapabbata.¹⁵

On fast days the gods assemble in Himavā and hold discourses.¹⁶

¹ SNA.i.66. ² SNA.i.224. ³ SNA.ii.443.

⁴ SNA.ii.437; but according to Mil.114, only ten of these are to be reckoned, the others flowing only intermittently. These ten are: Gaṅgā, Yamunā, Aciravatī, Sarabhū, Mahī, Sindhu, Sarassatī, Vettavatī, Vītaṃsā and Candabhāgā.

⁵ A.iv.101; SNA.ii.407; cf. AA.ii.759. E.g., SA.i.265. ⁷ SNA.i.129.

⁸ SA.iii.120; cf. S.v.63. E.g., S.ii.137; v.464; A.iii.311; M.iii.166, etc. (Details are given at ThagA.ii.138; PSA.252)

¹⁰ Mhv.xii.41. ¹¹ Dpv.viii.10; MT.317. ¹² Mhv.xii.42 f.

¹³ Mhv.v.25 f. ¹⁴ Mhv.xxix.9. ¹⁵ J.v.415. ¹⁶ Sp.iv.759.

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