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Kelāsa

1. Kelāsa.– A mountain range in Himavā. It is one of the five ranges which stand round Anotatta and is of silver colour, two hundred leagues high, bent inwards “like a crow’s beak.” (SNA.ii.437 f; MA.ii.585; UdA.300; AA.ii.759). It is sixty leagues in breadth, and Āḷavaka, on his way to his house, having heard to his great anger that the Buddha was there, placed his left foot on Manosilātala and his right on Kelāsa-kūṭa. The touch of his foot sent pieces of the rock flying, and his shout “I am Āḷavaka” was heard throughout Jambudīpa (SNA.i.223; SA.i.248).

Kelāsa is often used in similes to describe an object that is perfectly white (e.g., J.iv.232; vi.490, 515; the horse Kanthaka, Mbv.26; DhA.i.192; Cv.lxxiii.114), very stately (e.g., an elephant’s head or a big building, J.i.321; v.52, 53; Cv.lxxviii.77), or difficult to destroy (e.g., J.v.39).

In the Mahāvastu (ii.97, 109; see also iii.309, 438), Kailāsa is mentioned as the abode of the Kinnaras.

In Sanskrit mythology, Kailāsa is given as the abode of the gods, chiefly Siva and Kubera. See, e.g., Epic Mythology (passim) and Ved. Ind. s.v. The mountain range has been identified as belonging to the trans-Himālayan system and consisting of a group of mountains over twenty thousand feet in height (see Cv.Trs.i.280, n.4).

2. Kelāsa.– A vihāra in Sri Lanka, probably in the district of Malagana. At one time sixty thousand monks dwelt there with Khuddatissa at their head (M.xxxii.53). This is probably not the Kelāsa-vihāra (in Jambudīpa?) whence, we are told, Suriyagotta came with ninety thousand monks to the foundation of the Mahā Thūpa. M.xxix.43.

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