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In a certain formal sense the Tibetans are undoubtedly a praying people, and the most pre-eminently praying people on the face of the earth. They have praying stones, praying pyramids, praying flags flying over every house, praying wheels, praying mills, and the universal prayer, “ Om mani padme haun,” is never out of their mouths. In reference to that formula, Koeppen, in his ‘Lamaische Hierarchie und Kirche,' p. 59, makes the following striking remarks, the truth of which every Tibetan traveller will allow : “ These primitive six syllables which the Lamas repeat are, of all the prayers of earth, the prayer which is most frequently repeated, written, printed, and conveniently offered up by mechanical means. They constitute the only prayer which the common Mongols and Tibetans know; they are the first words which the stammering child learns, and are the last sighs of the dying. The traveller murmurs them upon his journey; the herdsman by his flock; the wife in her daily work; the monk in all stages of contemplation,—that is to say,

of nihilism; and they are the cries of conflict and triumph. One meets with them everywhere, wherever the Lama Church has established itself ---on flags, rocks, trees, walls, stone monuments, utensils, strips of paper, , human skulls, skeletons, and so forth. They are, ac

, cording to the meaning of the believer, the essence of all religion, of all wisdom and revelation ; they are the way of salvation, and the entrance to holiness. These six syllables unite the joys of all Búdhas in one point, and are the root of all doctrine. They are the heart of hearts out of which everything profitable and blessed flows; they are the root of all knowledge, the guide to re-birth in a higher state of being, the door which the curse of birth has closed up, the ship which carries us out of the mutations of birth, the light which illumines the black darkness, the valiant conqueror of the Five Evils, the flaming ocean in which sins and sorrow's are destroyed, the hammer which shatters all pain '—and so forth.”

That is pretty well for a glorification of “ Om mani padme haun," and one becomes impatient to know what these mystic syllables mean, and how they come to possess such tremendous power. It is rather disappointing to find that the closest English version of them which can be given is “O God! the jewel (or gem) in the lotus ! Amen.” I have gone carefully into this subject, and little more can be got out of it. Substantially the prayer, or rather the exclamation, is not of Tibetan, but of Sanscrit origin. Koeppen translates is simply as—“0! das Kleinod in Lotus! Amen." But that is quite insufficient, because the great force of the formula lies in “Om,” the sacred syllable of the Hindús, which ought never to be pronounced, and which denotes the absolute, the supreme Divinity. In order to show the literal meaning, the words may be translated into their English equivalents, thus

Om Mani Padme Haun.
O God! the jewel lotus in Amen!

Om I have already explained. Mani is a Sanscrit word, and so is Padma, the nominative of Padme. Haun, I have been doubtful about, but Professor Max Müller informs me that exclamations like it, such as Hing and Hung, are common in Sanscrit, and he thinks he has met with Haun also.

I need not go into the mystic explanations of this formula, as, for instance, that each of the five syllables which follow the sacred “Om” is a representative against a particular great class of evils. Suffice to note that the repeating of this prayer—whether vocally or by various mechanical means—has become a sacred and protecting symbol, such as making the sign of the cross is among Roman Catholic Christians. However it may be with the more intelligent of the Lamas, to the ordinary Tibetan mind “Om mani padme haun” is only known in that sense, and as a prayer for the wellbeing of the six classes of creatures, -to wit, human beings, animals, evil spirits, souls in heaven, souls in purgatory, and souls in hell. Koeppen does not seem to have been aware of this special application of the prayer as it is now used, but that is really the meaning universally associated with it; and so it comes to be an aspiration of universal benevolence, which is supposed to have a protecting influence on those who give utterance to it, or reproduce it in any way. The 'Spectator,' in noticing my remarks on this formula, has very well asked, “After all, does it not amount to Our Father who art in heaven,' said by his more helpless children ?” The original meaning of a charm of this kind does not much matter when once it obtains general acceptance; and it is quite in accordance with the peculiar value attached to it, that the reproduction of it on stones, flags, and rolls of paper, should be regarded as religious worship, as well as the oral repetition of it.

It is in this way that the prayer-wheels and prayermills are used. These cylinders are filled with rolls of paper, on which this prayer, and occasionally other charms, are written many times, and the turning them

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from left to right is supposed to be a means of offering up the prayer. The Lamas kecp constantly repeating it when turning their hand-cylinders upon an axis which they grasp below. These cylinders are very often shortly called “Mani,” a word which is loosely applied to many matters connected with the Lama religion ; but, according to Cunningham, their proper designation is “Mani chhos khor," or the “precious religious wheel.” This agrees with Koeppen, who adds that they are not originally Tibetan, but were used in India four hundred years before the Christian era. On that latter point, however, he gives no authority for his statement, which is opposed to the opinion of Klaproth, and of such an experienced archeologist as Cunningham, who says of the prayer-cylinder, “I can vouch that I have never seen it represented on any piece of Indian sculpture.” I understand that about Dárjiling it is not difficult to get prayer-cylinders, but they are probably manufactured specially for the foreign market. Mr Heyde told me that the only way in which he had been able to supply the demand of friends for them was to get them manufactured ; and all my efforts to purchase from Lamas a specimen which had been in use were entirely fruitless.





STARTING from Padam in the afternoon of the next day, we proceeded in a north-westerly direction up the pretty, level, open valley of the upper Zanskar river, and camped at Seni Gonpa, where there is a small village. The next day also, on the journey to Phe, the road was good, and the valley pleasant, but we had to cross to the left bank of the river by a long and difficult jhúla. It was amusing to notice the looks of the dogs, as, wrapt in plaids, they were unwillingly carried over on the backs of coolies; and one of my servants became so nervous in the middle, that he was unable to go either backwards or forwards, until one of the mountaineers was sent to his assistance. After passing two villages, we came on a long stretch of uninhabited ground that extended to Phe, and here met with the commencement of a tremendous snowstorm, which, on and about the 16th and 17th September, swept over the whole line of the Western Himalaya

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