Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet
by William Henry Knight
Part 4 out of 5
Parts of the country not having been at the time correctly mapped,
these distances are in some instances approximations only.
The Religions of Cashmere and Thibet.
During all our wanderings, whether in India, Cashmere, or Thibet,
the most striking feature throughout, was the outward display of
religion and the prominent part which religious forms of worship
take in the every-day life of the people. Monuments and temples
everywhere bear testimony to the universal belief in a Supreme Being;
and Hindoo, Mussulman, and Buddhist alike, by numberless prayers and
frequent offerings, confess their desire to propitiate His power and
to cultivate His favour.
Every little village has its "Musjid" or "Shiwala," and everywhere,
and at all hours, votaries of the different sects may be seen, in
the fashion they have learnt from childhood, openly REMEMBERING,
at least, their Creator.
The naked Hindoo, with loosened scalp lock and otherwise closely-shaven
head, stands in running water, and with his face upturned to the sun
apostrophises the Divine Essence, whose qualities and attributes he has
alone been taught to recognise, through the numberless incarnations
of his degenerate creed. Five times a day the Mussulman kneels in
open adoration of his Maker, and, doffing his slippers, repeats, with
forehead to the ground, the formula laid down for him by the only
Prophet he has learnt to believe in. The Buddhist, too, mutters his
"Um mani panee" at every turn, and keeps his praying wheel in endless
motion, with entire confidence in its mystic virtues, and fullest
faith in the efficacy of those forms which he has thus been taught
to follow from his cradle.
Each worships after the fashion of his fathers before him, and each,
by the dim illumination of his own particular light, fancies himself
upon the true path, and is able plainly to perceive his neighbour
groping in the outer darkness.
Seeing all this, and turning in imagination to other lands, it is
curious to consider that the Church which possesses the only Lamp
of Truth, and who by the help of its light pronounces all these
zealous worshippers alike, to be but "Infidels and Turks," and
says to all, in language not quite so polite as that of Touchstone,
"Truly, shepherds, ye are in a parlous state," herself makes no such
public demonstration of her faith. To an Eastern infidel travelling
in the West, she would even appear, to outward eye, a tenfold greater
infidel than her neighbours. Except on one day in seven, he would
seldom find a place of public worship open to his gaze, while the Name
which he himself has learned to reverence to such a degree that every
scrap of paper that might chance to bear it, is sacred in his eyes,
he might hear a thousand times, and perhaps not once in adoration;
and while it commences every action of his own life he would there
find it utterly excluded from its accustomed place. Even the form of
parting salutation, which in almost all lands -- Infidel and Heretical
-- greets him in the name of God, would, in Protestant England, fall
upon his ear with no such signification. While the benighted Hindoo
greets his parting neighbour to the present day with "Khuda Hafiz" --
God the Preserver -- the Englishman's "Good-bye," like well-worn coin,
has changed so much by use, that now, no stranger could discern in it
any trace whatever of the image with which it was originally stamped.
And although the comparison between the apparent creeds of East
and West is truly that between a very large proportion of faithful
professors of a false religion and, to outward eye, a similarly
large proportion of unfaithful followers of the true religion, it is
interesting to form some idea of the different systems which have
existed for so many ages, and which, though proved alike by reason
and revelation to be of human origin and unequal to the wants of
human nature, have yet maintained their influence to the present day,
and hold among their votaries still such zealous worshippers of an
The oldest of all these religions appears to be that of the
Hindoos. The Vedas, or Scriptures, date as far back as the Books of
Moses, 1100 B.C.; and previously even to their then being committed
to writing by the Sage Vyasa, they are believed to have been preserved
for ages by tradition. The primary doctrine of the Vedas is the Unity
of God. There is, they say, "but one Deity, the Supreme Spirit, the
Lord of the Universe, whose work is the universe." "Let as adore the
supremacy of that divine Sun, the Godhead, who illuminates all, who
recreates all, from whom all proceed, to whom all must return, whom
we invoke to direct our understandings aright in our progress towards
His holy seat. What the sun and light are to this world, that are the
Supreme Good and Truth to the intellectual and invisible universe;
and as our corporeal eyes have a distinct perception of objects
enlightened by the sun, thus our souls acquire certain knowledge by
meditating on the light of truth which emanates from the Being of
beings; that is the light by which alone our minds can be directed
to the path of beatitude."
Every Brahmin must pray at morning and evening twilight in some
unfrequented place, near pure water, and must bathe daily; he
must also daily perform five sacraments, viz., studying the Vedas,
making oblations to the manes of the departed, giving rice to living
creatures, and receiving guests with honour. As to the doctrine of
a future state, they believe in the transmigration of the soul, but
that between the different stages of existence it enjoys, according to
merit or demerit, years and years of happiness in some of the heavens,
or suffers torments of similar duration in some of the hells. The
most wicked, however, after being purged of their crimes by ages of
suffering, and by repeated transmigrations, may ascend in the scale
of being until they finally enter heaven and attain the highest reward
of all good, which is incorporation with the Divine Essence.
Like more enlightened systems of religion, the Hindoo faith has
degenerated from the purity originally inculcated. The Monotheism,
though still existing, has been almost smothered by a system of
innumerable incarnations; by means of which the attributes of an unseen
Deity were to be brought to the understandings of the ignorant; and,
as might be expected, the hidden symbol has been almost lost in the
tangible reality. The later Scriptures, or Puranas, are believed to
have been compiled between the eighth and sixteenth centuries, A.D.;
and though still upholding the existence of a Supreme Being, by whom
all things are composed, they introduce a variety of incarnations
and divinities almost innumerable. Of these, the three principal are
Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, representing respectively the creating,
preserving, and destroying principles; and their wives, Sereswutee,
Lukshmee, and Dewee. These latter are the active powers which develop
the principles represented by the triad. The divinity most commonly
portrayed however, though not publicly worshipped, is Gunesh. Almost
every dwelling has her effigy rudely painted over the entrance; and she
is invoked at the beginning of all undertakings, and is the remover of
all difficulties. Her peculiar appearance is accounted for by the fact
of her having been killed at an early period of life by Siva, who cut
off her head, and, afterwards relenting, replaced it with the first
that happened to come to hand, which turned out to be an elephant's!
Gunesh was produced by the intense wishes of Dewee, and is now appealed
to at the commencement of almost every act in Hindoo life.
The following invocation to this "household god" will give some idea
of the position she holds in public estimation. It is taken from the
"Prem Sagur," or Ocean of Love, a history of the life of Krishna,
a son of Vishnu, who, with Siva and Dewee, or Mahadewee, monopolises
almost the entire public respect and adoration: --
"Oh elephant-faced Deity, obviator of difficulties, of exalted fame
Grant as a boon, pure language, wisdom, and felicity may be much
Thou on whose two celestial feet the world is gazing, worshipping
both day and night,
O mother of the universe, grant unto me, remembering thee, true skill
The "Ocean of Love" gives a full account of the various incarnations
of Krishna, the favourite divinity of the Hindoos, and opens with
the scene of his birth. Kans, his uncle, has placed guards, in order
that the child may be killed at his first appearance, it having been
predicted that Kans himself is to fall by the hands of Krishna. The
Cashmerian artist -- whose powers of colouring were his chief
recommendation -- has depicted the moment when Vasadeo and Devakee,
the father and mother, viewing Krishna, with long-drawn sighs, both
begin to say, "If, by some means, we could send away this child, then
it would escape the guilty Kans." Vasadeo says, "Without destiny none
can preserve him; the writing of Fate, that only will be accomplished."
Destiny being propitious, the guards fall asleep upon their posts,
as shown in the accompanying design, and another child is substituted
for Krishna. He is afterwards brought up as a herdsman, and spends
his childhood among the milkmaids of Braj, upon whom he plays all
sorts of tricks. "One day the divine Krishna played upon the flute
in the forest, when, hearing the sound of the instrument, all the
young women of Braj arose in confusion, and hastened and assembled
in one place. The dark-blue Krishna, with body of the hue of clouds,
stood in the midst; and such was the beauty of the fair ones, as they
sported, that they resembled golden creepers growing from beneath a
The description of the state of the world, on Krishna's appearance,
is given by the saintly Shukadeo to King Parikshah -- "O King, at the
time of the divine Krishna appearing, in the minds of all such joy
arose, that not even the name of grief remained. With joy the woods
and groves began to bear fruits and flowers, their verdure still
increasing. The rivers, streams, and lakes were filled with water,
and upon them birds of every kind were sporting; and, from city to
city, from house to house, from village to village, rejoicings were
celebrated. The Brahmins were performing sacrifice; the Regents of
the ten divisions of the horizon rejoiced. Clouds were moving over
the circuit of Braj. The deities, seated in their cars, rained down
flowers; the holders of the magic pill, the celestial musicians, and
heavenly bards, continually sounding drums, kettledrums, and pipes,
were singing the praises of the divine virtues; and, in one direction,
Urvasee, and all the celestial dancers, were dancing. In such a time,
then, on Wednesday, the eighth day of the dark half of the month
Bhadon, at midnight, while the moon was in the mansion of Rohanee,
the divine Krishna was born, of the colour of clouds, moon-faced and
lotus-eyed, with a girdle of yellow cloth passing round his loins,
wearing a crown, and arrayed in a necklace of five jewels, produced
from the elements of nature, and with ornaments set with gems, in a
four-armed form, sustaining the shell, the quoit, the mace, and the
lotus he presented himself."
Krishna afterwards espouses a fair lady, of the name of Rukminee,
and the marriage is thus poetically described. Rukminee has written
a letter, filled with love, and sent it by the hand of a Brahmin, to
the Root of Joy, Krishna: -- "The Brahmin having arrived at Duarika,
perceives that the town is in the midst of the ocean, and on the four
sides of it there are great mountains and woods and groves, which
add beauty to the scene. In these were various kinds of beasts and
birds, and the limpid lakes were filled with pure water, and lotus
flowers were blooming, upon which swarms upon swarms of black bees
were humming. To the distance of many miles orchards, containing an
endless variety of fruit and flowers, extended; along these enclosures
betel gardens were flourishing. The gardeners, standing at the wells,
were singing with sweet strains; and, working waterwheels and buckets,
were irrigating the high and low grounds."
Beholding this beautiful scene, and being gladdened thereby, the
Brahmin, still advancing, beholds that "on four sides of the city
are very lofty ramparts, with four gateways, in which folding-doors,
inlaid with gold, are fixed, and, inside the city, houses of five
and six stories high, of silver and gold, adorned with jewels, so
lofty as to converse with the sky, are glittering. Their minarets
and pinnacles are gleaming like lightning, and banners and pennons
of many colours are fluttering. The warm fragrance of perfumes was
issuing from windows, air-holes, and lattices. At every door were
placed pillars of the plantain-tree, with fresh shoots, and golden
vessels. Garlands and wreathed flowers were festooned from house
to house, and joyful music was sounding. From place to place, the
recital of the Puranas and discourse about Krishna was kept up. The
eighteen classes were dwelling in case and tranquillity."
On hearing the Brahmin's message, the warder says: -- " 'Great
sir, be pleased to enter the palace; the divine Krishna reposes,
in front of you, on a throne.' Krishna, descending, bows to him,
and shows him much respect, and those attentions which a man would
show to his friend. Having applied fragrant unguents, and caused
him to be bathed and washed, he partakes of food, possessing the six
flavours. Afterwards he gave him the betel leaf, made up with areca
nut, spices, and chunam; and having perfumed his body with saffron
and sandal wood oil, and arranged his dress, and put upon him a
necklace of flowers, he conducted him into a palace adorned with
jewels, and caused him to repose in a fair curtained bed, studded with
gems." After sleeping profoundly, the Brahmin awakes, and relates his
mission. Krishna goes to claim his bride, and orders his charioteer,
Darak, to prepare his chariot. Darak quickly yokes four horses. Then
the divine Krishna, having ascended, and seated the Brahmin, departs
from Duarika to Kundalpore. On coming forth from the city, behold! "on
the right hand herds upon herds of deer are moving, and in front,
a lion and lioness, carrying their prey, are advancing, roaring."
Having seen this auspicious event, the Brahmin, having mentally
reflected, said, "Sire, from beholding, at this time, this good
omen, it appears to my mind that, just as these are advancing,
having accomplished their object, just so you will return, having
effected yours." Arrived at Kundalpore, he finds preparations made
for the marriage:
"Swept were the streets, the crossings o'er-canopied, and with perfumes
sprinkled and sandal oil;
Clusters were formed of flowers of white and of red, and interspersed
with cocoa-nuts of gold.
The green foliage, fruits, and flowers, were in profusion, and from
house to house flowering wreaths.
Banners and pennons and flowers, in golden tissues, were suspended,
and well-fashioned vessels of gold
And in every house reigned joy!"
"As for Rukminee, with agitated frame, she gazed in every direction,
as the moon is dimmed by the morn. Extreme anxiety showed in the
heart of the fair one; she gazed, standing in a lofty balcony; her
frame was agitated, her heart most sad; she drew deep sighs. While,
through distress, tears rain from her eyes, she says, "Why has not
Krishna arrived?" When the marriage-day dawns, she sends, by a Brahmin,
to Krishna: "Receptacle of favour, -- When two hours of the day remain
I shall go to perform worship in the temple of Dewee, to the east of
the city." Her companions and attendants, arriving, first filled a
square place in the courtyard with pearls, and spread a seat of gold
set with pearls, on which they caused Rukminee to sit, and anointed
her with oil by the hands of seven married women whose husbands
were alive. Afterwards, having rubbed her with fragrant paste, they
adorned her with sixteen ornaments, and put on her twelve trinkets,
and having arrayed her in a red boddice they seated her, fully
adorned. Then the young Rukminee, accompanied by all her handmaidens,
went, with the sound of music, to perform her devotions. Screened by
a curtain of silk, and surrounded by crowd upon crowd of companions,
she appeared among the swarthy group who accompanied her as beautiful,
as amid dark blue clouds, the moon with its company of stars!"
Having arrived at the temple of Dewee, the royal maiden, having washed
her hands and feet and sipped water, proceeded to offer sandal oil,
unbroken grains of rice, flowers, incense, lamps, and consecrated food,
and with earnest faith performed the worship of Dewee according to
the prescribed ritual.
"After which she fed women of the Brahmin caste with delectable food,
and having attired them in fair garments, she drew a mark on their
foreheads with a mixture of rice, alum, turmeric, and acid, and
having caused to adhere some unbroken grains of rice, she received
their benediction. Hearing from an attendant that Krishna has
arrived, the Princess is filled with ecstatic delight, so that she
cannot contain herself; and leaning on the arm of an attendant, in a
graceful attitude, remains slightly smiling, in such a manner that no
description can express her beauty. The guards become fascinated and
remain immoveable. With trembling frame and coy of heart she finally
departs with Krishna."
The domestic life and appearance of Krishna and Rukminee is still
further characteristically described in the imaginative pages of the
"Ocean of Love:" -- "Once on a time, in a palace of gold, studded with
jewels, a gem-adorned bedstead, with curtains, was spread, on which a
bedding white as foam, and adorned with flowers, with pillows for the
cheek and for the head, continued to exhale perfumes. On all four sides
of the bed vessels containing camphor, rose-water, saffron, sandal
oil, and other ingredients, were placed; various kinds of marvellous
pictures were delineated on the walls on all sides. In recesses, here
and there, flowers, fruits, sweetmeats, and confections were placed,
and all that could be required for enjoyment was at hand. Clothed in
a petticoat and a full loose robe of dazzling splendour, embroidered
with pearls, and a sparkling boddice, and a long refulgent wrapper,
and wearing a glittering veil, covered with ornaments from head to
foot; with red lines drawn across the forehead, having a nose-ring of
the largest pearls, ornaments for the head, earrings, ornamental line
at the parting of the hair, marks between the eyebrows, ornaments for
the ears and forehead, a necklace composed of circular pieces of gold,
a string of gold beads and coral, a breast ornament, a necklace of five
strings and of seven, a pearl necklace, double and triple bracelets
of nine gems, armlets, wristlets, and other kinds of fastenings for
the arm; bangles, seals; seal rings, a girdle of bells, rings for the
great toe, toe ornaments, anklets, and other ornaments of all kinds
studded with jewels; the moon-faced, tulip-complexioned, gazelle-eyed,
bird-voiced, elephant-gaited, slim-waisted, divine Rukminee, and the
cloud-coloured, lotus-eyed Krishna, ocean of beauty, splendour of
the three worlds, root of joy, wearing a diadem like the crest of a
peacock, and a necklace of forest flowers, a silken robe of yellow
hue, and a scarf of the same, were reposing, when, all of sudden,
the divine Krishna said to Rukminee, 'Listen, fair one,' " &c.
Krishna afterwards takes 16,100 wives, and always at early dawn,
one would wash his face, another would apply a fragrant paste to
his body, another would prepare for him and give him to eat food of
six flavours, another would make nice betel, with cloves, cardamums,
mace, and nutmegs, for her beloved. "Each produced a daughter fair as
Rukminee; each ten sons, brave sons were they! 161,000 and all alike,
such were the sons of Krishna!"
Such is part of the history of the favourite divinity of the benighted
Hindoo as related in the flowery pages of the "Ocean of Love," and
the history may be, more or less, read in the every-day scenes of
Indian life which pass around one.
The description of Rukminee, strange as it is, corresponds with many
other fair portraits in the Hindee; witness that of "Oonmadinee,"
the daughter of "Rutundutt": --
"Her beauty was like a light in a dark house -- her eyes were those
of a deer, her curls like female snakes, her eyebrows like a bow,
her nose like a parrot's, her teeth like a string of pearls, her
lips like the red gourds, her neck like a pigeon's, her waist like
a leopard's, her hands and feet like a soft lotus, her face like the
moon, with the gait of a goose, and the voice of a cuckoo!"
More apparent even than in the earthly nature of the Hindoo's
conception of the Divine attributes, the falsity and the human
origin of his Faith may be seen in the effect it produces wherever
it is allowed to obtain undivided sway. Combining dirt, idleness,
and religion together, the Hindoo Fukeer, attired in the minutest
rag of raiment, at times in none at all, wanders from place to place,
and with long and matted hair, blood-shot haggard eyes, and scowling
visage, fancies himself upon the path which leads direct to Paradise.
Attenuated to the last degree, he suffers all extremes of heat and
cold, sleeps upon a bed of ashes, and sits moodily beneath the burning
mid-day sun, lives on charity while scorning usually to ask for alms,
and bears the reputation of a saint while reducing himself to the
very level of the beasts that perish.
Something of the cheerful feelings which actuate these religious
mendicants may be found in the following passage: -- "He may be
called a wise 'Jogee,' or 'Fukeer,' who has dried up the reservoir
of hope with the fire of austere devotion, and who has subdued his
mind, and kept the organs of sense in their proper place; and this
is the condition of persons in this world, that their bodies undergo
dissolution, their heads shake, and their teeth fall out. When men
become old, they walk about with sticks, and it is thus that time
passes away. Night succeeds day, and year succeeds month, and old
age succeeds childhood, and we know not who we are ourselves, and
who others are; one comes and another departs; and at last all living
creatures must depart. And, behold! night passes away, and then day
dawns; the moon goes down and the sun rises; thus does youth depart,
and old age comes on, and thus Time pursues his course: but although
man sees all these things, he does not become wise. There are bodies of
many kinds, and minds of many kinds, and affections or fascinations of
many kinds, and Brahma has created wickedness of many kinds; but a wise
man, having escaped from these, and having subdued hope and avarice,
and shaved his head, and taken a stick and water-pot in his hands,
having subjugated the passion of love and anger, and become a 'Jogee,'
who wanders and travels about with naked feet to places of pilgrimage,
obtains final liberation. And, behold, this world is like a dream."
The derivation of the word "Fukeer," and an illustration of the
disposition of the mendicant race, is given in a Persian tale,
called the "Four Dervishes." The story was originally narrated to
amuse a king of Delhi, who was sick, and was afterwards DONE into
Hindostanee by a Mussulman author, who styles himself, "This wicked
sinner, Meer Ammun of Delhi."
The speaker, a certain prince, who aspires to the title of "generous,"
has built a lofty house, with forty high and spacious doors, where, at
all times, from morning to evening, he gives rupees and gold mohurs
to the poor and necessitous, and whoever asks for anything he satisfies
him. "One day a Fukeer came to the front door and begged. I gave him
a gold mohur; again he came to a second door, and asked for two gold
mohurs. I passed over the matter, and gave him two gold mohurs.
"In this manner he came to every door, and asked for an additional
gold mohur each time, and I gave him according to his request. Having
come to the fortieth door, and received forty gold mohurs, he came
in again by the first door, and begged afresh.
"This appeared to me a very bad action on his part. I said to him,
'O avaricious man! what sort of mendicant art thou, who knowest not the
three letters of "Fukur" (POVERTY), according to which a Fukeer should
act?' The Fukeer said, 'Well, O liberal person, do you explain them to
me.' I replied, 'The three letters are F, K, and R. From F comes "faka"
(FASTING); from K, "kinaut" (CONTENTMENT); and from R comes "reeazut"
(ABSTINENCE). He is not a Fukeer in whom these qualities are not. Oh,
avaricious creature! you have taken from forty doors, from one gold
mohur to forty. Calculate, therefore, how many you have received. And,
in addition to this, your avarice has brought you again to the first
door. Expend what you have received, and return and take whatever you
ask for. A Fukeer should take thought for one day; on the second day
there will be some fresh bestower of alms.' Having heard this speech of
mine, he became angry and dissatisfied, and threw all he had received
from me on the ground, and said, 'Enough, father; be not so warm;
take all your presents back again. Do not again assume the name of
"Liberal." You cannot lift the weights of liberality. When will you
arrive at that day's journey?'
"When I heard this I was alarmed, and with many solicitations asked
him to forgive my fault, and to take whatsoever he wished. He would
not accept my gifts at all, and went away saying, 'If you were now
to offer me your whole kingdom I would not receive it from you.' "
This studied indifference about a matter of more than a thousand
pounds, though perhaps not often exercised upon so large a scale, is
just that which these wandering fanatics display towards every offering
they receive, and in every action of their useless lives. Whatever
may be said against them, however, their profession of poverty and
suffering is no mockery, as was that of the well-fed "monks of old,"
whose reasonings were something similar on religious points.
The Fukeer soliloquizes: "The condition of our being born is, that
our griefs are many and our pleasures few, because this world is the
root of misery. What happiness, therefore, has man? If any man should
climb to the top of a tree, or sit down on the summit of a hill, or
remain concealed in water, yet death does not allow him to escape. At
the most, man's age is a hundred years, half of which passes away in
night, half of the other half is expended in childhood and old age;
the remainder is spent in altercation, separation from those we love,
and affliction, and the soul is restless as a wave of the sea. No
one who has come into the world has escaped from affliction. It
is vain to fix one's affections on it, and therefore it is best to
cultivate and practise religion." And so, as a remedy for the evil
which he has discovered to exist upon the earth, and to work out a
successful escape from it, he sits himself down in dust and ashes,
and, mistaking the sign-post, adopts the path which leads him furthest
from the point he wishes to arrive at.
As the Hindoo is the most ancient of religions, so the Buddhist
is the one which is professed by the largest portion of the human
race. It is the religion of Burmah, Ceylon, China, Siam, Thibet, and
Russian Tartary, and is computed to claim as many as three hundred
and sixty-nine millions among its Votaries. "Gautama," or "Sakya
mounee," its founder, was born in Bengal about the seventh century
before Christ. Yet India at present contains no modern temples of its
worship, and no native of India, that I have ever met, knew anything
of its founder, or was even acquainted with the term "Buddha," or
"Buddhist." Its doctrines are the most curious of those that have
ever been promulgated, and appear even now to be scarcely understood
in all their ramifications. According to original Buddhism, there is
no Creator, nor being that is self-existent and eternal. The great
object is the attainment, in this life, of complete abstraction from
all worldly affairs and passions, and the ultimate result, of entire
annihilation. Like the Hindoo, the Buddhist believes in transmigration
of souls, and until utter annihilation is reached, he is doomed to
shift his earthly tenement, from form to form, according to the deeds
done in the flesh. It is, therefore, the great object of all beings,
who would be released from the sorrows of successive birth, to seek
the destruction of the moral cause of continued existence, that is,
the cleaving to existing objects or evil desire. It is only possible to
accomplish this end by attending to a prescribed course of discipline,
and by fixing the mind upon the perfections of Buddha. Those who after
successive births have entirely destroyed all evil desires are called
"Rahuts," and after death the Rahut attains "Nirwana," or ceases to
exist. The actual meaning of the word "Rahut," is "Tranquillity,"
and it appears to be the same word which is used on a small scale,
to express the soothing qualities of that far-famed Eastern sweetmeat,
the Rahut-lukma, or "Morsels of tranquillity."
The Buddhas themselves are beings who appear after intervals of
time inconceivably vast. Previous to their reception of the state,
they pass through countless phases of being, at, one time appearing
in human form, at another as a frog, or fish, &c., in each of which
states they acquire a greater degree of merit.
In the birth in which they become Buddha, they are always of woman
born, and pass through infancy and youth like ordinary mortals,
until at the prescribed age they abandon the world and retire to the
wilderness, where they receive the supernatural powers with which
the office is endowed. Their highest glory is that they receive the
wisdom by which they can direct sentient beings to the path that
leads to the desired cessation of existence.
The Buddhism of Thibet appears to be an innovation on the original
system of religion. It was introduced into the country about the
seventh century of our era; and although Sakya mounee, who is supposed
by the Thibetians to have lived one thousand years before Christ,
is still believed to be the founder of the present system, the Delai
Lama, at Lassa, is regarded as an incarnation of Buddha, and is the
supreme infallible head of the whole Thibetian religious community.
The original tenets, too, have been modified, and the modern Scriptures
have been adapted to three different capacities of mankind -- viz. the
lowest, mean (or middle), and the highest. The principles thus declared
are as follows : --
"1. Men of vulgar capacity must believe that there is a God, a future
life, and that they shall therein reap the fruits of their works in
"2. Those that are in a middle degree of intellectual and moral
capacity, besides admitting the former position, must know that every
compound thing is perishable, that there is no reality in things,
that every imperfection is pain, and that deliverance from pain or
bodily existence is final happiness.
"3. Those of the highest capacities, besides the above enumerated
articles, must know that, from the body to the supreme soul, nothing
is existing by itself, neither can it be said that it will continue
always or cease absolutely, but that everything exists by a dependant
or casual connexion."
One cause of the extension of the religion of Buddha appears to
be the broad basis upon which admission to the priesthood has
'been placed. No one can become a Brahmin except by birth, but the
privileges of becoming a Lama are open to all who are willing to
receive them upon the conditions implied in their acceptance. The
principal duties to be attended to, by one about to become a priest,
are thus laid down: -- "He who, with a firm faith in the religion
of Truth, believes in Buddha, shall rise before daylight, and,
having cleaned his teeth, shall then sweep all the places appointed
to be swept in the vicinity of the 'Vihara,' or monastery; after
which he shall fetch the water that is required for use, filter it,
and place it ready for drinking. When this is done, he shall retire
to a solitary place, and for the space of three hours meditate on
the obligations of his vow. The bell will then ring, and he must
reflect that greater than the gift of 100 elephants, 100 horses, and
100 chariots, is the reward of him who takes one step towards the
place where worship is offered. Thus reflecting, he shall approach
the 'Dagoba,' where relics of holy men are placed, and perform that
which is appointed; he shall offer flowers just as if Buddha were
present in person, meditate on the nine virtues of Buddha with a
fixed and determined mind, and seek forgiveness for his faults,
just as if the sacred relics were endowed with life. He shall then
meditate on the advantages to be derived from carrying the alms-bowl
and putting on the yellow robe." The injunctions on the priesthood
relative to their abstracting their thoughts and desires from all
earthly matters whatever, are of the strictest nature. "The door
of the eye is to be kept shut. When the outer gates of the city are
left open, though the door of every separate house and store be shut,
the enemy will enter the city and take possession; in like manner,
though all the ordinances be kept, if the eye be permitted to wander,
affection for worldly objects will be produced." A story is told of a
priest named Chittagutta, who resided once in a cave, upon the walls of
which the history of Buddha was painted "in the finest style of art."
The cave was visited by some priests, who expressed their admiration
of the paintings to Chittagutta, but the devotee replied that he had
lived there sixty years and had never seen them, nor would he, except
for their information, ever have become aware of their existence. There
was near the door of his cave a spreading tree; but he only knew that
it was there by the fall of its leaves or flowers; the tree itself he
never saw, as he carefully observed the precept not to look upwards,
or to a distance!
The priest of Buddha must possess but eight articles: three of these
are matters of dress; the others, a girdle for the loins, an alms-bowl,
a razor, a needle, and a water-strainer. The bowl receives the food
presented in alms; the razor is for shaving the head; the needle
keeps his yellow wardrobe in order; and the water-strainer is the
most serviceable of all, for "if any priest shall knowingly drink
water containing insects, he shall be ejected from the priesthood."
The Dagobas, or shrines of relics, which abound in such numbers in
Thibet, have also been found in India and other countries. Some of
them when opened have been found to contain what appears to be remains
of a funeral pile, also vessels of stone or metal, and, occasionally,
caskets of silver and gold, curiously wrought. "Some of these have been
chased with a series of four figures, representing Buddha in the act
of preaching; a mendicant is on his right, a lay follower on his left,
and behind the latter a female disciple." This somewhat describes the
appearance of the stone-carved figures at the monastery of Hemis.
These caskets have been set with rubies and chased with the leaves
of the lotus. Besides these have also been found small pearls, gold
buttons, rings, beads, pieces of clay and stone bearing impressions of
figures, bits of bone, and teeth of animals, pieces of cloth, &c. The
images are sometimes recumbent, at other times standing upright,
with the hand uplifted in the act of giving instruction. Sometimes
they have three heads and six or more arms.
In order to form clear and accurate ideas of the religion of Buddha,
it would be necessary to study a vast number of volumes, some of them
contradictory and of very doubtful authority, and the result would
appear hardly to compensate for the trouble, so altered has modern
Buddhism become from ancient, and into so many different systems
has it been divided in the many different countries in which it is
professed. Among its doctrines there is much that is virtuous and
true. It preaches benevolence and goodwill towards men, but enjoins no
active efforts to prove the sincerity of such goodwill. It requires
its members to "confess their sins with a contrite heart, to ask
forgiveness of them, and to repent truly, with a resolution not to
commit such again. To rejoice in the moral merit and perfection of
human beings, and to wish that they may attain beatitude; further,
to pray and exhort others to turn the wheel of religion, that the
world may be benefited thereby." Its general aim seems to be to
overcome all emotions and preferences of the mind, and all that would
disturb its repose and quiet. It seeks to destroy the human passions
and not to regulate them; and with faith in Buddha only as its aid,
it succeeds about as well as might have been anticipated.
Between these two religions of Brahma and Buddha, that of the "Jains"
sprang up, apparently a heresy from both. It has nearly died out
in India, though many ruins of its temples remain. The Jains agree
with the Buddhists as to the transmigration of souls, and carry
their respect for life to the still greater extent, that besides a
strainer to remove all animalculae from the water they imbibe, they
carry a broom to sweep away the insects from their path. They differ
from the Brahmins in repudiating their minor incarnations and gods,
as the following translation will serve to show: -- "A rajah, of the
name of Gondshekur, had a minister, Abhuechund, who converted him to
the Jain religion. He prohibited the worship of Vishnu, and all gifts
of cows, land, and balls of flour and rice, and would not allow any one
to carry away bones to the Ganges. One day the minister began to say,
'O great king, be pleased to listen to the judgments and explanations
of religion: Whosoever takes another's life, that other takes his life
in another world. The birth of a man after he has again come into the
world does not escape from this sin; he is born again and again, and
dies again and again. For this reason it is right for a man, who has
been born in the world, to cultivate religion. Behold! Brahma, Vishnu,
and Mahadeo, being under the influence of love, anger, and fascination,
descend upon the earth in various ways; but a cow is superior to them
all, for it is free from anger, enmity, intoxication, rage, avarice,
and inordinate affection, and affords protection to the subject; and
her sons also behave kindly to, and cherish the animals of the earth,
and therefore all the gods and sages regard the cow with respect. For
this reason, it is not right to regard the gods -- in this world,
respect the cow. It is virtuous to protect all animals, from the
elephant to the ant, and from beasts and birds to man. In the world
there is no act so impious as for men to increase their own flesh by
eating the flesh of other creatures. They who do not sympathise in the
griefs of animated beings, and who kill and eat other animals, do not
live long on the earth, and are born lame, maimed, blind, dwarfs, and
humpbacked, &c.; and it is a great sin to drink wine and eat flesh;
wherefore to do so is improper. The minister, having thus explained
his sentiments to the rajah, converted him to the Jain religion,
so that he did whatever the minister said, and no longer paid any
respect to Brahmins, Fukeers, Jogies, Dervishes, &c., and carried on
his government according to this religion."
Next among the religions of the East, whose outward observances so
forcibly attract attention, comes that of the Moslem -- "The marvellous
reformation wrought by Mahomet and the Koran in the manners, morals,
and religious feelings of so many millions."
Mahomet, in truth, although "THE False Prophet," would appear to
have been a considerable benefactor to his species. The Arabs,
at the time of his birth, were sunk in idolatry and the worship
of the stars, while their morals were under no control either of
law or religion. The Prophet's aim appears, in the first instance,
to have been, to secure a system of orderly government, and at the
same time to gain, for his own family, a dignity which should be
exalted beyond all fear of competition-the dignity of lordship over
the holy city of Mecca. This was then held under no higher tenure
than the sufferance and caprice of the Arab tribes. To perpetuate
this lordship by assuming an hereditary and inviolable pontificate
was Mahomet's first idea, and at a banquet given to the whole of his
kinsmen he revealed his scheme. They, however, rejected his appeal,
and he then proclaimed himself as an apostle to all, and setting
aside existing forms and traditions proceeded to a higher flight of
ambition. For election by blood, he substituted election of God;
and assuming a direct revelation from on high, he, by force of an
ardent and ambitious will, carried out his project even at Mecca
itself, where, to all who visited his shrine, he preached without
distinction. From the powerful opposition brought against him, Mahomet
was at last obliged to fly; but before doing so, and casting off the
high position he held among his own tribe and kinsmen, he assembled
his followers together on a mountain near Mecca, and there, without
distinction of blood or calling, he enrolled them as equal followers
in one community, and entered with them into a solemn and binding
agreement. "That night Mahomet fled from Mecca to Medina, and then
took its rise a pontificate, an empire, and an era." This hegira, or
"flight," is believed to have occurred on the 19th June, A.D. 622
but has been variously stated; it is, however, the era now in general
use among no less than one hundred and sixty millions of people.
Although himself an undoubted impostor, and the Koran a manifest
forgery, Mahomet would appear to deserve a larger share of
appreciation, or at least of charitable judgment, than he usually
"He was one richly furnished with natural endowments, showing
liberality to the poor, courtesy to every one, fortitude in trial, and,
above all, a high reverence for the name of God. He was a preacher of
patience, charity, mercy, beneficence, gratitude, honouring of parents
and superiors, and a frequent celebrator of Divine praise." The great
doctrine of the Koran is the Unity of God, and in this creed Mahomet
himself seems to have been a sincere believer. "Its design was to
unite the professors of the three different religions then followed in
Arabia -- who for the most part were without guides, the greater number
being idolaters, and the rest Jews and Christians, mostly of erroneous
and heterodox belief -- in the knowledge and worship of one eternal
and invisible God, and to bring them to obedience of Mahomet as the
only prophet and ambassador of the truth." The "fatiha," or opening
chapter of the Koran, is said to contain the essence of the whole,
and forms part of the daily prayers of all zealous Mussulmans. It
commences with the formula pronounced at the beginning of their
reading on all occasions whenever an animal is slaughtered for food,
and upon the undertaking of all important actions whatever:
"In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate. Praise
be to God, the Lord of the Creation, the all-merciful, the
all-compassionate! Ruler of the day of reckoning!
"Thee we worship, and Thee we invoke for help. Lead us in the straight
path -- the path of those upon whom thou hast been gracious, not of
those that are the objects of wrath or that are in error."
The Moslem faithful pray five times in the twenty-four hours: in the
morning before sunrise, at noon, before sunset, after sunset, and
before the first watch of the night: and that these observances were
not originally instituted merely that their prayers might be seen
before men, would appear from the injunction which lays down that
"what is principally to be regarded in the duty of prayer, is the
inward disposition of the heart, which is its entire life and spirit,
the most punctual observance being of no avail if performed without
devotion, reverence, attention, and hope."
Prayer was held by Mahomet to be the "pillar of religion" and the
"key of paradise," and in the performance of it, his disciples are
enjoined to lay aside their ornaments and costly habits, and all that
might savour of either pride or arrogance.
Its observance, however, at five stated times appears to be nowhere
mentioned in the Koran, although the custom is now an essential part,
and the most noticeable and characteristic feature of Mahomedanism.
Saints and sinners join equally in the form. A crime just committed,
or one in immediate contemplation, in no way interferes with the
"five-time prayers," and the neglect of them amounts to an abnegation
of the Faith. The summons to prayer was originally only one sentence,
"To public prayer." Mahomet, however, afterwards bethought himself
that a more elaborate and striking call would be an improvement,
and the present "Azzan," or call to prayer, was introduced.
While the matter was under discussion, Mahomet being unable to decide
upon any suitable form, a certain Abdallah dreamed that he met a man
arrayed in green raiment carrying a bell. Abdallah sought to buy it,
thinking it would just suit the Prophet for assembling together the
Faithful. The stranger, however, replied, "I will show you a better
way than that; let a crier call aloud --
"Great is the Lord! great is the Lord!
I bear witness that there is no God but the Lord;
I bear witness that Mahomet is the Prophet of God!
Come unto prayer, come unto happiness --
God is great! God is great! There is no God but the Lord!"
Mahomet, learning the particulars of Abdallah's dream, believed it to
have been a vision from on high, and sent his servant forthwith to
execute the Divine command. Ascending to the top of a lofty house,
this first of established Muezzins, on the earliest appearance of
light, startled all around from their slumbers with the newly-adopted
call, adding to it, "Prayer is better than sleep! Prayer is better
than sleep!" And ever since, at the customary five hours, have his
successors thus summoned the people to their devotions.
Concerning the future state, the Mahomedan believes that all will
be examined at the day of Judgment as to their words and actions in
"Their time, as to how they spent it; their wealth, by what means they
acquired it, and how they employed it; their bodies, wherein they
exercised them; their knowledge and learning, what use they made of
them," &c. "They enter Paradise, however, not by their own good works,
but by the mercy of God. At that day each person will make his defence
in the best manner he can, endeavouring to find excuses for his own
conduct by casting blame on others; so much so, that disputes shall
even arise between the Soul and Body. The Soul saying, "Lord, I was
created without a hand to lay hold with, a foot to walk with, an eye
to see with, or an understanding to apprehend with, until I came and
entered the Body : therefore punish it, but deliver me." The Body,
on the other side, will make this apology, "Lord, thou createdst me
like a stock of wood, being neither able to hold with my hand, nor to
walk with my feet, till this Soul, like a ray of light, entered into
me, and my tongue began to speak, my eye to see, and my foot to walk:
therefore punish it, but deliver me." Then shall the following parable
be propounded: -- "A certain king having a pleasant garden, in which
were ripe fruits, set two persons to keep it, one of whom was blind,
and the other lame -- the former not being able to see the fruit,
nor the latter to gather it. The lame man, however, seeing the fruit,
persuaded the blind man to take him on his shoulders; and by that means
he easily gathered the fruits, which they divided between them. The
lord of the garden coming some time after, and inquiring after the
fruit, each began to excuse himself; the blind man said he had no eyes
to see it with, and the lame man that he had no feet to approach the
trees. Then the king, ordering the lame man to be set on the blind,
passed sentence on them both, and punished them together.
"In like manner shall be judged the Body and the Soul."
Such are some few of the religious tenets of those among whom one's
lot is cast while wandering in the East. Sunk for the most part in
ignorance, and held as infidels for wanting faith in what they never
heard, they nevertheless attract attention chiefly by their Faith,
and by their zealous worship of the Being, whom, although in darkest
ignorance as to His attributes and laws, their original creed would
teach them to believe the one Eternal God.
Some idea of the number represented by these different sects may be
derived from the following table: --
Asiatic Religions Buddhists 369,000,000
ChristiansRoman Catholics 170,000,000
Greek Church 76,000,000
Other Religions 200,000,000
And when we reflect how great is the proportion of those who sit in
darkness, and that "even all who tread the earth are but a handful to
the tribes that slumber in its bosom," it is but natural to consider
what our own belief would bid us hold as to the future destiny of so
large a portion of the human family.
At the same time, the question, "Are there few that be saved?" not
having been answered eighteen centuries ago, would appear to be one to
which no definite reply was intended to be rendered, and which might
well be left till now unanswered, by those who hold the religion of
Faith, Hope, and Charity. When, however, the Church to which we belong
boldly affirms, in words which as the public profession of its faith,
should be beyond all doubt or misconception by either friend or foe,
that none CAN be saved but those who hold the Catholic Faith, as she
would have them hold it, then, at least, we may fairly consider the
matter so far as to doubt whether the answer thus forced upon us is one
which, even on such high authority, we are bound to accept. Before, at
least, concurring in a solution of the question which, thus virtually
bringing it within the limits of a simple arithmetical calculation,
would summarily dispose of so many millions of the human race, we
may remember that some things have been taught as possible which men,
and even saints, may deem impossible; and, before attempting to reduce
"goodwill toward men" to human and determinable proportions, we may
also remember that "good tidings of great joy" were promised to ALL
people, and that they may possibly prove therefore to have in some way
benefited even those who have never heard them with their mortal ears.
Meanwhile, in the matter of "Turks and Infidels," we may perhaps learn
something even from an Infidel creed, and, borrowing a definition
from the religion of Islam, may be allowed to hold with it, that
"Truly to despair of the goodness of God -- this is 'INFIDELITY.' "
CHAPTER A type=appendix
The Temples of Cashmere.
Extract from "An Essay on the Arian Order of Architecture, as exhibited
in the Temples of Kashmir," by Capt. A. Cunningham. "Journal of the
Asiatic Society," Vol. XVII.
The architectural remains of Kashmir are perhaps the most remarkable
of the existing monuments of India, as they exhibit undoubted traces
of the influence of Grecian art. The Hindu temple is generally a sort
of architectural pasty, a huge collection of ornamental fritters,
huddled together with or without keeping; while the "Jain" temple is
usually a vast forest of pillars, made to look as unlike one another
as possible, by some paltry differences in their petty details.
On the other hand, the Kashmirian fanes are distinguished by the
graceful elegance of their outlines, by the massive boldness of their
parts, and by the happy propriety of their decorations.
They cannot, indeed, vie with the severe simplicity of the Parthenon,
but they possess great beauty -- different, indeed, yet quite
The characteristic features of the Kashmirian architecture are its
lofty pyramidal roofs, its trefoiled doorways, covered by pyramidal
pediments, and the great width of the intercolumniations.
Most of the Kashmirian temples are more or less injured, but more
particularly those at Wantipur, which are mere heaps of ruins. Speaking
of these temples, Trebeck says: "It is scarcely possible to imagine
that the state of ruin to which they have been reduced has been the
work of time, or even of man, as their solidity is fully equal to
that of the most massive monuments of Egypt. Earthquakes must have
been the cause of their overthrow." In my opinion, their OVERTHROW is
too complete to have been the result of an earthquake, which would
have simply PROSTRATED the buildings in large masses. But the whole
of the superstructure of these temples is now lying in one confused
heap of stones, totally disjointed from one another.
I believe, therefore, that I am fully justified in saying, from my
own experience, that such a complete and DISRUPTIVE OVERTURN could
only have been produced by gunpowder.
The destruction of the Kashmirian temples is universally
attributed, both by history and by tradition, to the bigoted
Sikander. (A.D. 1396.) He was reigning at the period of Timur's
invasion of India, with whom he exchanged friendly presents, and from
whom, I suppose, he may have received a present of the VILLAINOUS
As it would appear that the Turks had METAL cannon at the siege of
Constantinople in 1422, I think it no great stretch of probability to
suppose that gunpowder itself had been carried into the East, even
as far as Kashmir, at least ten or twenty years earlier -- that is,
about A.D. 1400 to 1420, or certainly during the reign of Sikander,
who died in 1416.
Even if this be not admitted, I still adhere to my opinion, that the
complete ruin of the Wantipur temples could only have been effected by
gunpowder; and I would, then, ascribe their overthrow to the bigoted
"Ferishta" attributed to Sikander the demolition of all the Kashmirian
temples save one, which was dedicated to Mahadeo, and which only
escaped "in consequence of its foundations being below the surface
of the neighbouring water."
In A.D. 1580, "Abul Fazl" mentions that some of the idolatrous
temples were in "perfect preservation;" and Ferishta describes many
of these temples as having been in existence in his own time, or
about A.D. 1600.
As several are still standing, though more or less injured, it is
certain that Sikander could not have destroyed them all. He most likely
gave orders that they should be overturned; and I have no doubt that
many of the principal temples were thrown down during his reign.
But, besides the ruthless hand of the destroyer, another agency,
less immediate, but equally certain in its ultimate effects, must have
been at work upon the large temples of Kashmir. The silent ravages of
the destroyer, who carries away pillars and stone, for the erection
of other edifices, has been going on for centuries. Pillars, from
which the architraves have been thus removed, have been thrown down
by earthquakes, ready to be set up again for the decoration of the
first Musjid that might be erected in the neighbourhood. Thus every
Mahomedan building in Kashmir is constructed either entirely or in
part of the ruins of Hindu temples.
Takt I Suliman.
The oldest temple in Kashmir, both in appearance and according to
tradition, is that upon the hill of "Takt i Suliman," or Solomon's
Throne. It stands 1,000 feet above the plain, and commands a view of
the greater part of Kashmir.
The situation is a noble one, and must have been amongst the first
throughout the whole valley which was selected as the position of
a temple. Its erection is ascribed to Jaloka, the son of Asoka,
who reigned about 220 B.C.
The plan of the temple is octagonal, each side being fifteen feet in
length. It is approached by a flight of eighteen steps, eight feet
in width, and inclosed between two sloping walls. Its height cannot
now be ascertained, as the present roof is a modern plastered dome,
which was probably built since the occupation of the country by the
Sikhs. The walls are eight feet thick, which I consider one of the
strongest proofs of the great antiquity of the building.
This name means the old capital, or ancient chief town. The name
has, however, been spelt by different travellers in many different
ways. "Moorcroft" calls it Pandenthan, "Vigne" Pandrenton, and
The building of this temple is recorded between A.D. 913 and 921;
and it is afterwards mentioned between the years 958 and 972, as
having escaped destruction when the King Abhimanyu -- Nero-like --
set fire to his own capital.
As this is the only temple situated in the old capital, there can be
very little, if any, doubt that it is the very same building which
now exists. For as it is surrounded by water, it was, of course,
quite safe amid the fire, which reduced the other buildings to mere
masses of quicklime.
Baron Hugel calls the Pandrethan edifice a "Buddhist temple," and
states that there are some well-preserved Buddhist figures in the
interior. But he is doubly mistaken, for the temple was dedicated to
Vishnu, and the figures in the inside have no connexion with Buddhism.
Trebeck swam into the interior, and could discover no figures of any
kind; but as the whole ceiling was formerly hidden by a coating of
plaster, his statement was, at that time, perfectly correct.
The object of erecting the temples in the midst of water must have
been to place them more immediately under the protection of the Nagas,
or human-bodied and snake-tailed gods, who were zealously worshipped
for ages through Kashmir.
Of all the existing remains of Kashmirian grandeur, the most striking
in size and situation is the noble ruin of Marttand.
This majestic temple stands at the northern end of the elevated
table-land of "Matan," about three miles to the eastward of Islamabad.
This is undoubtedly the finest position in Kashmir. The temple itself
is not now (1848) more than forty feet in height, but its solid walls
and bold outlines towering over the fluted pillars of the surrounding
colonnade give it a most imposing appearance.
There are no petty confused details; but all are distinct and massive,
and most admirably suited to the general character of the building.
Many vain speculations have been hazarded regarding the date of the
erection of this temple and the worship to which it was appropriated.
It is usually called the "House of the Pandus" by the Brahmins,
and by the people "Mattan."
The true appellation appears to be preserved in the latter, Matan being
only a corruption of the Sanscrit Marttand maartta.n.d, or the sun,
to which the temple was dedicated.
The true date of the erection of this temple -- the wonder of Kashmir
-- is a disputed point of chronology; but the period of its foundation
can be determined within the limits of one century, or between A.D. 370
The mass of building now known by the name of Matan, or Marttand,
consists of one lofty central edifice, with a small detached wing on
each side of the entrance, the whole standing on a large quadrangle
surrounded by a colonnade of fluted pillars, with intervening
trefoil-headed recesses. The central building is sixty-three feet in
length, by thirty-six in width.
As the main building is at present entirely uncovered, the original
form of the roof can only be determined by a reference to other
temples, and to the general form and character of the various parts
of the Marttand temple itself.
The angle of the roof in the Temple of Pandrethan, and in other
instances, is obtained by making the sides of the pyramid which forms
it parallel to the sides of the doorway pediment, and in restoring
the Temples of Patrun and Marttand I have followed the same rule.
The height of the Pandrethan temple -- of the cloistered recesses,
porch pediments, and niches of Marttand itself -- were all just double
their respective widths. This agreement in the relative proportions of
my restored roof of Marttand with those deduced from other examples,
is a presumptive proof of the correctness of my restoration. The
entrance-chamber and the wings I suppose to have been also covered
by similar pyramidal roofs. There would thus have been four distinct
pyramids, of which that over the inner chamber must have been the
loftiest, the height of its pinnacle above the ground being about
The interior must have been as imposing as the exterior. On ascending
the flight of steps -- now covered by ruins -- the votary of the
sun entered a highly-decorated chamber, with a doorway on each side
covered by a pediment, with a trefoil-headed niche containing a bust
of the Hindu triad, and on the flanks of the main entrance, as well
as on those of the side doorways, were pointed and trefoil niches,
each of which held a statue of a Hindu divinity.
The interior decorations of the roof can only be conjecturally
determined, as I was unable to discover any ornamented stones that
could with certainty be assigned to it. Baron Hugel doubts that
Marttand ever had a roof; but, as the walls of the temple are still
standing, the numerous heaps of large stones that are scattered about
on all sides can only have belonged to the roof.
I can almost fancy that the erection of this sun-temple was suggested
by the magnificent sunny prospect which its position commands. It
overlooks the finest view in Kashmir, and perhaps in the known world,
Beneath it lies the paradise of the East, with its sacred streams and
cedarn glens, its brown orchards and green fields, surrounded on all
sides by vast snowy mountains, whose lofty peaks seem to smile upon
the beautiful valley below. The vast extent of the scene makes it
sublime; for this magnificent view of Kashmir is no petty peep into
a half-mile glen, but the full display of a valley sixty miles in
breadth and upwards of a hundred miles in length, the whole of which
lies beneath "the ken of the wonderful Marttand."
The principal buildings that still exist in Kashmir are entirely
composed of a blue limestone, which is capable of taking the highest
polish -- a property to which I mainly attribute the beautiful state
of preservation in which some of them at present exist.
Even at first sight one is immediately struck by the strong resemblance
which the Kashmirian colonnades bear to the classic peristyles of
Greece. Even the temples themselves, with their porches and pediments,
remind one more of Greece than of India; and it is difficult to
believe that a style of architecture which differs so much from all
Indian examples, and which has so much in common with those of Greece,
could have been indebted to chance alone for this striking resemblance.
One great similarity between the Kashmirian architecture and that of
the various Greek orders is its stereotyped style, which, during the
long flourishing period of several centuries, remained unchanged. In
this respect it is so widely different from the ever-varying forms
and plastic vagaries of the Hindu architecture that it is impossible
to conceive their evolution from a common origin.
I feel convinced myself that several of the Kashmirian forms, and many
of the details, were borrowed from the temples of the Kabulian Greeks,
while the arrangements of the interior and the relative proportions
of the different parts were of Hindu origin. Such, in fact, must
necessarily have been the case with imitations by Indian workmen,
which would naturally have been engrafted upon the indigenous
architecture. The general arrangements would still remain Indian,
while many of the details, and even some of the larger forms, might
be of foreign origin.
As a whole, I think that the Kashmirian architecture, with its
noble fluted pillars, its vast colonnades, its lofty pediments,
and its elegant trefoiled arches, is fully entitled to be classed
as a distinct style. I have therefore ventured to call it the Arian
order -- a name to which it has a double right; first, because it
was the style of the Aryas, or Arians, of Kashmir; and, secondly,
because its intercolumniations are always of four diameters -- an
interval which the Greeks called Araiostyle.
Extract from Vigne's "Travels in Kashmir."
The Hindu temple of Marttand is commonly called the House of the
Pandus. Of the Pandus it is only necessary to say that they are the
Cyclopes of the East. Every old building, of whose origin the poorer
class of Hindus in general have no information, is believed to have
been the work of the Pandus. As an isolated ruin, this deserves, on
account of its solitary and massive grandeur, to be ranked not only
as the first ruin of the kind in Kashmir, but as one of the noblest
among the architectural relics of antiquity that are to be seen in
any country. Its noble and exposed situation at the foot of the hills
reminded me of that of the Escurial. It has no forest of cork-trees
and evergreen-oaks before it, nor is it to be compared, in point of
size, with that stupendous building; but it is visible from as great
a distance. And the Spanish sierra cannot for a moment be placed in
competition with the verdant magnificence of the mountain-scenery
Few of the Kashmirian temples, if any, I should say, were
Buddhist. Those in or upon the edge of the water were rather, I should
suppose, referable to the worship of the Nagas, or snake-gods. The
figures in all the temples are almost always in an erect position,
and I have never been able to discover any inscription in those
I had been struck with the great general resemblance which the temple
bore to the recorded disposition of the Ark and its surrounding
curtains, in imitation of which the Temple at Jerusalem was built;
and it became for a moment a question whether the Kashmirian temples
had not been built by Jewish architects, who had recommended them to
be constructed on the same plan for the sake of convenience merely. It
is, however, a curious fact, that in Abyssinia, the ancient Ethiopia,
which was also called "Kush," the ancient Christian churches are
not unlike those of Kashmir, and that they were originally built in
imitation of the temple, by the Israelites who followed the Queen
of Sheba, whose son took possession of the throne of Kush, where his
descendants are at this moment Kings of Abyssinia.
Without being able to boast, either in extent or magnificence,
of an approach to equality with the temple of the sun at Palmyra,
or the ruins of the palace at Persepolis, Marttand is not without
pretensions to a locality of scarcely inferior interest, and deserves
to be ranked with them as the leading specimen of a gigantic style
of architecture that has decayed with the religion it was intended
to cherish, and the prosperity of a country it could not but adorn.
In situation it is far superior to either. Palmyra is surrounded by
an ocean of sand, and Persepolis overlooks a marsh; but the temple
of the sun in Marttand is built upon a natural platform at the foot
of some of the noblest mountains, and beneath its ken lies what is
undoubtedly the finest and the most PRONONCE valley in the known world.
We are not looking upon the monuments of the dead. We step not aside
to inspect a tomb, or pause to be saddened by an elegy. The noble
pile in the foreground is rather an emblem of age than of mortality;
and the interest with which we perambulate its ruins is not the
less pleasurable because we do not know much that is certain of its
antiquity, its founders, or its original use.
The Mystic Sentence of Thibet.
Explication et origine de la formule bouddhique: -- "Om mani padme
houm" Par M. Klaproth. "Nouveau Journal Asiatique."
Les Tubetains et les Mongols ont perpetuellement cette priere dans
la bouche. Les mots de cette inscription sont Sanscrits, et donnent
un sens complet dans cette langue. En voici la transcription en
o.m ma.ni padme hu.m
"Om" est, chez les Hindous, le nom mystique de la divinite, par lequel
toutes les prieres commencent. Cette particule mystique equivaut
a l'interjection, OH! prononcee avec emphase et avec une entiere
conviction religieuse. Mani signifie LE JOYAU; Padma LE LOTUS. Enfin
Houm est une particule qui equivaut a notre "AMEN." Le sens de la
phrase est tres clair; "Om mani padme houm" signifie "OH! LE JOYAU
DANS LE LOTUS, AMEN." Malgre ce sens indubitable, les Bouddhistes
du Tubet se sont evertues a chercher un sens mystique a chacune des
six syllabes qui composent cette phrase. Ils ont rempli des livres
entiers de ces explications imaginaires.
Cette formule est particuliere aux Bouddhistes du Tubet.
Selon l'histoire de ce pays la formule Om mani padme houm, y a ete
apportee de l'Inde vers la moitie du 7e siecle de notre ere.
La legende suivante traduite du Mongol contient des details sur la
conversion du Tubet par le dieu Padma pani, et sur l'origine
des six syllabes sacrees, Om mani padme houm. Ce dieu est appele en
Sanscrit "Avalokites' vara" ou "le maitre qui contemple avec amour;"
ce que les Tubetains ont rendu par "le tout-voyant aux mille mains
et aux mille yeux:" Les Chinois on traduit le nom par "celui qui
contemple les sous du inonde."
"Autrefois, quand le 'GLORIEUX-ACCOMPLI' (Sakya mouni ou Buddh)
sejournait dans la foret 'd'Odma,' il advint un jour, qu'etant
entoure de ses nombreux disciples un rayon de lumiere de cinq couleurs
sortit tout-a-coup entre ses deux sourcils, forma un arc-en-ciel, et
se dirigea du cote de l'Empire septentrional de neige (Thibet). Les
regards du Bouddha suivaient ce rayon, et sa figure montra un sourire
de joie inexprimable. Un de ses disciples lui demanda de lui en
expliquer la raison, et sur sa priere le glorieux-accompli lui dit:
" 'Fils d'illustre origine! dans le pays qu'aucun Bouddha des
trois ages n'a pu convertir, et qui est rempli d'une foule d'etres
malfaisans, la loi se levera comme le soleil et s'y repandra dans
les temps futurs.
" 'L'apotre de cet Empire de neige apre et sauvage, sera le
Khoutoukhtou' (Padma pani).
"Apres que 'Sakya mouni' eut prononce ces paroles, un rayon de lumiere,
eclatant comme un lotus blanc, sortit de son coeur et illumina
toutes les regions du monde et se plongea dans le coeur du BOUDDHA
INFINIMENT RESPLENDISSANT. Alors un autre eclat de lumiere sortit du
Bouddha resplendissant et se plongea dans la mer des fleurs de PADMA
(lotus), et y transmit cette pensee du Bouddha, qu'il s'en eleverait
et qu'il en naitrait un Khoubilkhan divin, destine a la conversion
de l'Empire de neige.
"Le Roi Dehdou qui etait parvenu a participer a la beatitude de
l'empire de Soukhawatee, voulant un jour offrir au Bouddha un sacrifice
des fleurs, depecha quelques-uns des siens aux bords de la mer des
PADMA (Lotus), pour y cueillir de ces fleurs. Ses envoyes apercurent
dans la mer une tres grande tige de Lotus au milieu de laquelle il
y avait un bouton colossal entoure d'une foule de grandes feuilles,
et jetant des rayons de lumiere de differentes couleurs. Les envoyes
en firent leur rapport au roi, qui, rempli d'etonnement, se rendit
avec sa cour sur un grand radeau a la place de la mer ou se trouvait
cette tige merveilleuse.
"Y'etant arrive, il presenta ses offrandes et prononca la benediction;
le bouton s'ouvrit alors des quatre cotes, et au milieu apparut
l'apotre de l'empire de neige, ne comme 'Khoubilkhan.' Il y etait
assis, les jambes croisees, avait mi visage et quatre mains; les deux
mains anterieures etaient jointes devant le coeur, la troisieme de
droite tenait un rosaire de cristal, et la quatrieme a gauche une
fleur de Lotus blanche, qui penchait vers l'oreille.
"Sur sa figure, dont l'eclat se repandait vers les dix regions du
monde, se montrait un sourire qui penetra dans tous les coeurs.
"Le roi et sa suite porterent le 'Khoubilkhan' au palais, en poussant
des cris de joie et entonnant des hymnes. Le roi se rendit devant le
Bouddha eternel et lui demanda la permission d'adopter pour fils, le
'Khoubilkhan' ne dans la mer de lotus. Mais sa demande ne fut pas
agree et il apprit, la veritable origine de ce 'Khoubilkhan.' Le
Bouddha infiniment resplendissant posa alors sa main sur la tete
de celui-ci et dit 'Fils d'illustre origine! Les etres qui habitent
l'apre empire de la neige, qu'aucun Bouddha des temps passes n'a pu
convertir, qu'aucun du temps futurs ne convertira, et qu'aucun du
temps present n'a converti, le seront par la force et la benediction
de ton voeu. C'est excellant; c'est excellant! Khoutoukhtou!
" 'Aussitot que les habitans de l'apre empire de neige te verront
et qu'ils entendront le son des six syllabes (Om mani padme houm)
ils seront delivres des trois naissances de mauvaise nature,
et trouveront la beatitude par la renaissance comme etres d'une
nature superieure. Les esprits malfaisans de l'apre empire de neige,
ainsi que tous les etres donnant des maladies ou la mort, aussitot,
Khoutoukhtou, qu'ils te verront et qu'ils entendront le son des six
syllabes, ils quitteront la fureur et la mechancete qui les anime,
et deviendront compatissans.
" 'Les tigres, les pantheres, les loups, les ours et autres animaux
feroces, aussitot, O Khoutoukhtou! qu'ils te verront et entendront le
son des six syllabes ils adouciront leurs hurlemens, et leur fureur
sanguinaire se changera en douceur bienveillante. Khoutoukhtou! ta
figure et le son des six syllabes rassaiseront les affames et calmeront
la soif des alteres; il tombera comme une pluie d'eau benite, et
elle remplira tous leurs desirs. Khoutoukhtou! tu es l'etre gracieux
destine a annoncer la volonte du Bouddha a cet empire de neige.
" 'Selon ton example, un grand nombre de Bouddhas s'y montreront,
dans les temps futurs, et y repandront la foi.
" 'Les six syllabes sont le sommaire de toute doctrine et l'apre
empire de neige, sera rempli de cette doctrine par la force de ces
six syllabes --
Om ma ni pad me houm.'
"Apres cette consecration, le Khoutoukhtou s'agenouilla devant le
Bouddha, joignit les mains et prononca le voeu suivant: 'Puisse-je
etre en etat de pouvoir faire parvenir a la beatitude les six especes
d'etres vivans dans les trois royaumes! Puisse-je, avant tout,
conduire sur le chemin du bonheur, les etres vivans de l'empire de
" 'Loin de moi le desir de retourner dans mon Empire de joie, avant
d'avoir acheve l'oeuvre si difficile de la conversion de ces etres. Si
une telle pensee, produite par le degout et la mauvaise humeur,
s'empare de moi, que ma tete se fende en dix parties, et mon corps,
comme cette fleur de lotus, en mille.'
"Apres ces mots, il se rendit dans le royaume de l'enfer, prononca les
six syllabes et detruisit les peines des enfers frois et chauds. De
la il s'eleva au royaume des animaux, prononca les six syllabes et
detruisit la peine que leur produit la chasse. Puis il se rendit dans
l'empire des hommes, prononca les six syllabes et detruisit la peine de
la naissance, de l'age, des maladies et de la mort. Il s'eleva apres
a l'empire des genies du ciel, prononca les six syllabes et detruisit
l'envie qui les tourmente pour se disputer et se combattre. Enfin,
il aborda le grand Royaume de neige (le Tubet).
"Ici, il apercut la mer d' 'Otang' comme un enfer terrible, et il
vit que derechef, plusieurs millions d'etres y'etaient, bouillis,
brules, et martyrises.
"Le Khoutouktou se rendit au bord de la mer et dit: 'Oh! que tant de
milliers d'etres qui se trouvent dans cette mer, ou ils souffrent des
tourmens inexprimables par la chaleur, le froid, la faim, et la soif,
puissent rejeter loin d'eux leur enveloppe funeste et renaitre dans
mon paradis commes etres superieures. Om mani padme houm!'
"A peine le 'Khoutoukhtou' avait-il prononce ces mots que les tourmens
des damnes cesserent; leur esprit fut tranquillise, et ils se virent
transportes sur le chemin du Bouddha. Le Khoutoukhtou ayant ainsi
rendu propres a la delivrance les six especes des etres vivans dans
les trois royaumes du monde, se trouva fatigue, se reposa et tomba
dans un etat de contemplation interieure!
"Apres quelques temps il vit qu'a peine la centieme partie des
habitans de l'empire de neige avaient ete conduits sur le chemin de
la delivrance. Son ame en fut si douloureusement affectee qu'il eut
le desir de retourner dans son paradis. A peine l'avait-il concu,
qu'ensuite de ce voeu, sa tete se fendit en dix et son corps en
"Le Bouddha infiniment resplendissant lui apparut dans le meme moment,
guerit la tete et le corps fendus du Khoutoukhtou, le prit par la main
et lui dit: "Fils d'illustre origine! Vois les suites inevitables de
ton voeu; mais parce que tu l'avais fait pour l'illustration de tous
les Bouddhas, tu as ete gueri sur-le-champ. Ne sois donc plus triste,
car quoique ta tete se soit fendue en dix pieces, chacune aura,
par ma benediction, une face particuliere, et au-dessus d'elles sera
place mon propre visage rayonnant. Cet onzieme visage de L'INFINIMENT
RESPLENDISSANT, place au-dessus de tes dix autres, te rendra l'objet
" 'Quoique ton corps se soit fendu en mille morceaux, ils deviendront,
par ma benediction, mille mains qui representeront les mille Bouddhas
d'un age complet du monde (en sanscrit Kalpa), et qui te rendront
l'objet le plus digne d'adoration.' "
Cette legende nous explique, non seulement l'extreme importance que
les Bouddhistes du Tubet attachent a la formule "Om mani padme houm,"
mais elle nous demontre aussi que son veritable sens est celui que
j'ai donne plus haut: Oh! le joyau dans le lotus; Amen! Il est evident
qu'elle se rapporte a "Avalokites' vara" ou "Padma pani" lui-meme,
qui naquit dans une fleur de lotus.
Um Mani Panee.
As will be seen by the foregoing extract from M. Klaproth's
explanation, the mystic sentence, instead of being as I have
represented it, is in reality, "Om mani padme houm," or, in a form
of spelling more English, if not more intelligible, "Om muni pudmay
hoom," and the meaning, supposing its derivation from the Sanscrit to
be beyond doubt, would, as therein translated, be, "Oh the jewel in the
Lotus, Amen!" Almost every traveller who has mentioned the inscription
in question appears to have followed M. Klaproth's pronunciation as
above; but this, although the one actually given by the value of
the Thibetian letters, is certainly not that in use by the people
among whom it is chiefly, if not alone, to be found. This I can vouch
for, as the words were so incessantly in the mouths of all to whom
I applied for information, that I had ample opportunity of hearing
and remembering their sound; and having written them on the spot in
the Persian character, the pronunciation would not be open to the
misapprehension or uncertainty to which, after the sounds themselves
had been forgotten, the English form of spelling might have rendered
A form, however, different from both these, is given by one who, with
the exception perhaps of M. Hue, had better opportunities than most
others for ascertaining the meaning of the words and hearing their
actual pronunciation: this was Captain Turner, who was nominated by
Warren Hastings, in the year 1783, to undertake an embassy to the
Court of Thibet, at Lassa.
He, however, makes no mention of the Sanscrit translation above given,
and confesses his inability to obtain, even at the head-quarters
of Thibetian Buddhism, a satisfactory explanation of the origin or
import of the sentence. The following account, taken from Captain
Turner's Report on his Mission, may be of interest, as it explains
the circumstances under which an event so unusual as an embassy to
the Court of Thibet was agreed to by the Grand Lama.
In 1772, a frontier warfare having broken out between the "Booteas,"
dependants of Thibet, and the English Government, in consequence of
the aggression of the former, Teshoo Lama, at the time regent of Thibet
and guardian of the Delai Lama, his superior in religious rank, united
in his own person the political authority and the spiritual hierarchy
of the country, subservient only to the Emperor of China. The Lama,
interested for the safety of Bootan, sent a deputation to Calcutta,
with a letter addressed to the governor, of which the following
is a translation: -- "The affairs of this quarter in every respect
flourish. I am, night and day, employed in prayers for the increase
of your happiness and prosperity. Having been informed, by travellers
from your country, of your exalted fame and reputation, my heart, like
the blossoms of spring, abounds with satisfaction, gladness, and joy.
"Praise be to God that the star of your fortune is in its
ascension! Praise be to Him that happiness and ease are the surrounding
attendants of myself and family! Neither to molest, nor persecute,
is my aim. It is even the characteristic of our sect to deprive
ourselves of the necessary refreshment of sleep, should an injury
be done to a single individual; but in justice and humanity, I am
informed, you far surpass us.
"May you ever adorn the seat of justice and power, that mankind may, in
the shadow of your bosom, enjoy the blessings of peace and affluence."
The Lama then enters into the subject of the disturbances between
his dependants and the British Government, and concludes: -- "As to
my part, I am but a Fakeer; and it is the custom of my sect, with
the rosary in our hands, to pray for the welfare of all mankind,
and especially for the peace and happiness of the inhabitants of this
country; and I do now, with my head uncovered, intreat that you will
cease from all hostilities in future. In this country the worship of
the Almighty is the profession of all. We poor creatures are in nothing
equal to you. Having, however, a few things in hand, I send them to you
as tokens of remembrance, and hope for your acceptance of them."
The Lama being in this unusually agreeable frame of mind, the British
Government yielded without hesitation to his intercession.
The governor himself readily embraced the opportunity, which he
thought the occurrence afforded, of extending the British influence to
a quarter of the world but little known, and with which we possessed
hardly any commercial connexion.
In 1774 a deputation was sent to carry back an answer to the Lama, and
to offer him suitable presents. It was furnished also with a variety
of articles of English manufacture, to be produced as specimens of
the trade in which the subjects of the Lama might be invited to
participate. The result was, that in 1779, when the Lama visited
the Emperor of China at Pekin, desirous of improving his connexion
with the Government of Bengal, he desired the British envoy to go
round by sea to Canton, promising to join him at the capital. The
Emperor's promise was at the same time obtained to permit the first
openings of an intercourse between that country and Bengal, through
the intermediate channel furnished by the Lama.
The death of both the Lama and the envoy, however, which happened
nearly at the same time, destroyed the plans thus formed.
Soon after the receipt of the letters announcing the Lama's death,
intelligence arrived of his reappearance in Thibet! His soul, according
to the doctrines of their faith, had passed into and animated the
body of an infant, who, on the discovery of his identity by such
testimony as their religion prescribes, was proclaimed by the same
title as his predecessor.
Warren Hastings then proposed a second deputation to Thibet, and
Captain Turner was accordingly nominated on the 9th January, 1783.
His mention of the sculptured stones and inscription is as follows: --
"Another sort of monument is a long wall, on both faces of which
near the top are inserted large tablets with the words 'Oom maunee
paimee oom' carved in relief. This is the sacred sentence repeated
upon the rosaries of the Lamas, and in general use in Tibet. Of the
form of words to which ideas of peculiar sanctity are annexed by the
inhabitants, I could never obtain a satisfactory explanation. It
is frequently engraven on the rocks in large and deep characters,
and sometimes I have seen it on the sides of hills; the letters,
which are formed by means of stones fixed in the earth, are of so
vast a magnitude as to be visible at a very considerable distance."
M. Hue's account of an explanation of the formula, which he received
from the highest authority at Lassa, is as follows: -- "Living beings
are divided into six classes -- angels, demons, men, quadrupeds,
birds, and reptiles. These six classes of beings correspond to the
syllables of the formula, 'Om mani padme houm.' Living beings by
continual transformations, and according to their merit or demerit,
pass about in these six classes until they have attained the apex
of perfection, when they are absorbed and lost in the grand essence
of Buddha. Living beings have, according to the class to which they
belong, particular means of sanctifying themselves, of rising to a
superior class, of obtaining perfection, and of arriving in process
of time at the period of their absorption. Men who repeat very
frequently and devotedly 'Om mani padme houm,' escape falling after
death into the six classes of animate creatures, corresponding to
the six syllables of the formula, and obtain the plenitude of being,
by their absorption into the eternal and universal soul of Buddha."
One traveller only I have been able to find who mentions the sentence
as I have done. M. Jacquemont writes, in his "Letters from Cashmere
and Thibet," in 1830: -- "I am returned from afar; I have often been
very cold; I have had a hundred and eighteen very bad dinners: but
I think myself amply recompensed for these trans-Himalayan miseries
by the interesting observations and vast collections which I have
been able to make in a country perfectly new. The Tartars are a very
good sort of people. It is true that to please them I made myself
a little heathen after their fashion, and joined without scruple in
the national chorus, 'Houm mani pani houm.' "
Judging by the system of spelling he has adopted in other instances in
his letters, this would be nearly -- as regards the two main words --
the same pronunciation as I have given. He however, in another part,
follows it still more closely, and at the same time shows that he
is aware of a translation which, although probably the true one,
has no connexion whatever with the words as he himself actually
He says -- "In Thibet they sing a good deal also -- that is, one or two
inhabitants per square league -- but only a single song of three words
-- 'Oum mani pani;' which means, in the learned language, 'Oh, diamond
water-lily!' and leads the singers direct into Buddha's paradise.
"But, though composed of three Thibetian words, it is evidently of
Indian origin, and I have proved it BOTANICALLY. The lotus is a plant
peculiar to the lukewarm and temperate waters of India and Egypt. There
is not one of its genus, or even of its family, in Thibet."
The words, however, are not, as M. Jacquemont says, Thibetian,
but Sanscrit; and, although one of the characters in which they are
clothed is the current Thibetian, it would appear that neither their
true pronunciation nor actual meaning is known to the people who thus
make such frequent use of them.
The sentence itself is in the mouths of all. In the monastery of Hemis
alone, probably as many as a hundred wheels are in continual motion,
bearing it within their folds not less than 1,700,000 times. The very
stones by the wayside present its well-known characters in countless
numbers, and the hills repeat it, and yet to those into whose daily
religious observances it thus so largely enters, it comes but as
a vain and empty sound, without either sense or signification. The
Lamas themselves, no doubt, believe that the doctrine contained in
these marvellous words is immense, and the higher dignitaries of
the Church may know their derivation; but, to the great majority,
even the mystic meaning and dim legendary history which the true
pronunciation and rightful origin of the words would bring to their
minds, are unknown, and they are thus deprived of that large amount
of comfort and consolation which they would otherwise derive from
the glowing and all-powerful sentence --
"Oh, the jewel in the lotus, Amen!"
A Sketch of the History of Cashmere.
A Mahomedan Writer, "Noor ul deen," who begins the history of Cashmere
with the Creation, affirms that the valley was visited by Adam after
the Fall; that the descendants of Seth reigned over the country for
1,110 years; and that, after the deluge, it became peopled by a tribe
The Hindoo historians add, that, after the line of Seth became extinct,
the Hindoos conquered the country, and ruled it until the period
of the deluge; and that the Cashmerians were afterwards taught the
worship of one God by "Moses;" but, relapsing into Hindoo idolatry,
were punished by the local inundation of the province, and the
conversion of the valley into a vast lake.
It would appear, from chronicles actually existing, that Cashmere
has been a regular kingdom for a period far beyond the limits of
history in general. From the year B.C. 2666 to A.D. 1024 it seems
to have been governed (according to these authorities) by Princes of
Hindoo and Tartar dynasties, and their names, to the number of about
a hundred, have been duly handed down to posterity. Of the titles of
these worthies, "Durlabhaverddhana" and "Bikrumajeet" will perhaps
be sufficient as specimens. During these years, the religion seems
at first to have been the worship of snakes, and afterwards Hindooism.
In the reign of Asoca, about the 4th century before Christ, Buddhism
was introduced, and after remaining for some time, under Tartar
princes, the religion of the country, was again succeeded by Hindooism.
The first Mahomedan king of Cashmere is believed to be "Shahmar,"
who came to the throne in A.D. 1341, and during the succeeding reigns
Thibet appears to have been first subdued, and was annexed for a time
to the kingdom.
The next monarch, who appears notably on the stage, was "Sikunder,"
who, influenced by a certain Syud Alee Humudanee and other religious
fanatics recently arrived in the country, began to destroy the
Hindoo temples and images by fire, and to force the people to abjure
idolatry. Previous to this influx of zealots, the country was in a
transition state as regards religion and Mahomedanism then began to
make some head in the valley.
After this period nothing of very great importance occurred in the
kingdom of Cashmere until the year 1584, when the great Akbar summoned
the then king "Yusuf Shah" to present himself in person at the court of
Lahore. Finding his orders not complied with, he despatched an army of
50,000 men to enforce obedience, and Yusuf Shah, preferring apparently
to die than fight, delivered himself up, and was sent to Lahore.
The imperial army was afterwards, however, repulsed in attempting to
subdue the country, and it was not finally conquered for two years,
when Akbar, overcoming all resistance, took possession of the province.
The purity of the emperor's motives in annexing the territory, and
his opinion of his conquest, are amusingly shown in the following
letter to his minister Abdullah Khan: --
"On the mirror of your mind, which bears the stamp of Divine
illumination, be it manifest and evident, that at the time when my
imperial army happened to be in the territories of the Punjab, although
I at first had no other views than to amuse myself with sports and
hunting in this country, yet the conquest of the enchanting kingdom
of Cashmere, which has never yet been subdued by monarchs of the
age, which for natural strength and inaccessibility is unrivalled,
and which, for beauty and pleasantness, is a proverb among the most
sagacious beholders, became secretly an object of my wishes, BECAUSE
I received constantly accounts of the tyranny of the rulers of that
region. Accordingly, in a very short time, my brave warriors annexed
that kingdom to my dominions. Though the princes of that country were
not remiss in their exertions, yet, as my intentions were established
on the basis of equity, it was completely conquered.
"I myself also visited that happy spot, the possession of which is
a fresh instance of the Divine favour, and offered up my praise and
thanksgiving to the supreme Lord of all things. As I found myself
delighted with the romantic bowers of Cashmere, the residence of
pleasure, I made an excursion to the mountains of that country and
Thibet, and beheld, with the eyes of astonishment, the wonders of
the picture of Nature."
This visit was in A.D. 1588.
The emperor then appears to have entered the valley by the Peer Punjal
Pass, and to have been received with every demonstration of joy by
the people in whom he took such a fatherly interest. The loyalty of
his children, however, was but short-lived, for about the year 1591
he again writes to Abdullah: --
"I must acquaint your Highness, that just at this time certain persons,
under the predominance of an unlucky destiny, raised an insurrection
in Cashmere and breathed the air of rebellion and dissatisfaction at
the bounty of Providence.
"As soon as the intelligence of this tumult arrived, regardless of
deluges of rain, I hastened away by forced marches, but before the
troops could get through the passes and enter into that kingdom,
certain Omrahs, attached to my interests, who had been obliged by
compulsion to join in that rash enterprise, availing themselves of
an opportunity, brought me the head of the rebel commander.
"As my forces were near, I visited a second time that ever-verdant
garden, and gratified my mind and senses with the beauties of that
With a view to keeping the capital in order, the Fort of Huree Purbut
was built, about A.D. 1597, at a cost of over 1,000,000L.
Means were at the same time adopted of rendering the Cashmerians less
warlike, and of breaking their independent spirit. To effect this,
it is generally believed in Cashmere that the Emperor Akbar caused a
change to be made in the dress of the people. Instead of the ancient,
well-girdled tunic, adapted to activity and exercise, he introduced
the effeminate long gown of the present day, a change which may have
led to the introduction of the kangree, or pot of charcoal, now used
in the valley.
During Akbar's reign much was done towards the improvement of the
province. The country was adorned with palaces and gardens, and
various trees and shrubs were introduced and cultivated.
About the beginning of the seventeenth century, Akbar visited
Cashmere for the third and last time, being succeeded, after a reign
of fifty-two years, by his son Selim, or Jehangeer, A.D. 1605.
Jehangeer, during the early part of his reign, visited Cashmere
many times, and the valley having been surveyed and brought to
order by Akbar, nothing remained for his successor but to enjoy the
delights of the country in company with his empress, the famous Noor
Jehan. In 1621, and in 1624, he repeated his visit, when he built many
summerhouses and palaces at Atchabull, Shalimar, &c., and in A.D. 1627
he visited the valley for the last time. He was succeeded in that
year by Shah Jehan, who, in 1634, also visited his territories; and,
besides improving the country by the introduction of fruit-trees,
flowers, &c. from Cabul, he invaded Thibet, and taking the Fort of
Ladak, annexed the country to Cashmere.
In 1645 he again visited the valley, and also in the following years,
being accompanied by many poets and savants; among the former was
a certain Hajee Mahomet Jan, a Persian, who composed a poem on the
country; but the difficulties of the road appear to have impressed
his mind rather more than the beauties of the scenery. He compares
the sharpness of the passes to "the swords of the Feringees," and
their tortuous ascents to "the curls of a blackamoor's hair!"
In 1657, Shah Jehan, being deposed by his son Aurungzib, was confined
in the Fort of Agra for life; and in the year 1664 the new emperor
also paid a visit to his Cashmerian dominions. Of this magnificent
expedition, M. Bernier, the monarch's state physician, gives an
amusing and detailed description, purporting to be
"A relation of a voyage made in the year 1664, when the Great Mogul,
Aureng-Zebe, went with his army from, Dehly to Lahor, from Lahor
to Bember, and from thence to that small kingdom of Kachemere, or
Cassimere, called by the Mogols the Paradise of the Indies, concerning
which the author affirms that he hath a particular history of it,
in the Persian tongue."
"The weighty occasion and cause of this voyage of the Emperor's,
together with an account of the state and posture of his army,
and some curious particulars observable in voyages of the Indies,"
are thus given by M. Bernier: -- "Since that Aureng-Zebe began to
find himself in better health, it hath been constantly reported
that he would make a voyage to Kachemere, to be out of the way of
the approaching summer heats, though the more intelligent sort of
men would hardly be persuaded, that as long as he kept his father,
Chah-Jean (Shah Jehan), prisoner in the Fort of Agra, he would think
it safe to be at such a distance. Yet, notwithstanding, we have found
that reason of State hath given place to that of health, or rather,
to the intrigues of Rauchenara Begum, who was wild to breathe a more
free air than that of the Seraglio, and to have her turn in showing
herself to a gallant and magnificent army, as her sister had formerly
done during the reign of Chah-Jean."
The Emperor appears to have made preparations on this occasion for
a voyage of a year and a half.
He had with him, not only thirty-five thousand horse, or thereabouts,
and ten thousand foot, but also "both his artilleries, the great or
heavy, and the small or lighter.
For the carriage of the Emperor's baggage and stores, no less than
30,000 coolies were required, although, for fear of starving that
little kingdom of Kachemere," he only carried with him the least
number of ladies and cavaliers he could manage, and as few elephants
and mules as would suffice for the convenience of the former.
Crossing the Peer Punjal, some of the ladies of the Seraglio
unfortunately paid the penalty of their too ardent desires to show
themselves off to "a gallant and magnificent army," for "one of the
elephants fell back upon him that was next, and he upon the next, and
so on to the fifteenth, so that they did all tumble to the bottom of
the precipice. It was the good fortune of those poor women, however,
that there were but three or four of them killed; but the fifteen
elephants remained upon the place." The historian rather ungallantly
adds, "When these bulky masses do once fall under THOSE VAST BURDENS
they never rise again, though the way be ever so fair."
On reaching the summit of the pass after this accident, the expedition
appears to have encountered more misfortunes, for "there blew a wind so
cold that all people shook and ran away, especially the silly Indians,
who never had seen ice or snow, or felt such cold."
Aurungzib appears to have remained three months in the valley on
After his death there is no mention of his successors having visited
Cashmere, and the local governors became in consequence, in common
with those of other provinces of the tottering Mogul throne, little
short of independent rulers. Under the tender mercies of most of these,
the unfortunate Cashmeeries appear to have fared but badly.
In 1745, however, a series of misfortunes from another source burst
forth upon the inhabitants of the happy valley. A dreadful famine
first broke out, during which it is said that slaves sold for four
pice (three half-pence) each. The famine produced its natural result,
a pestilence, which swept away many thousands of the people; an
eclipse also added to their terror, and storms of rain followed by
floods carried away all the bridges.
In the year 1752, the country passed from the possession of the Mogul
throne, and fell under the rule of the Duranees, and during many
years was convulsed by a series of wars and rebellions, and subject
to numerous different governors. In A.D. 1801, Runjeet Singh began to
come into notice, and, having consolidated the nation of the Sikhs,
had, in the year 1813 become one of the recognised princes of India. In
that year Futteh Shah entered into a treaty with him for a subsidiary
force for the invasion of Cashmere. The price of this accommodation
was fixed at 80,000L. yearly; but, before the expiration of the second
year, the Lion of the Punjab, on pretence of the non-fulfilment of
the treaty, invaded the valley on his own account at the head of a
considerable army. He was repulsed, however, and forced to retreat to
Lahore with the loss of his entire baggage. In A.D. 1819, encouraged
by recent successes against Moultan, Runjeet Singh collected an army
"as numerous as ants and locusts," and invaded the valley a second
time, and being successful, the country again fell under the sway of
a Hindoo Sovereign.
It, however, remained for some time afterwards in a disturbed state;
and for signal services against the rebellious frontier chiefs, who
were averse to Runjeet Singh's rule, Gulab Singh (the late Maharajah)
obtained possession of the territory of Jumoo, now included in the
kingdom of Cashmere.
Runjeet Singh, dying in 1839, was succeeded by his son and grandson,
successively, both of whom died shortly after their accession; and
the state of anarchy and confusion which ensued among the Sikh Sirdars
was terminated by Shere Singh being installed as Maharajah of Lahore.
Under his rule, in 1842, Gulab Singh further brought himself into
notice by reducing the kingdom of little Thibet with the army under
Zorawur Singh, and on the termination of the Sikh Campaign of the
Sutlej -- Duleep Singh being established on the throne of Lahore --
he was admitted, "in consideration of his good conduct," to the
privileges of a separate treaty with the British Government.
The result of these privileges was, that he was shortly afterwards
put in possession, for "a consideration," of the entire kingdom
As indemnification for the expenses of the Sikh Campaign, the British
Government had demanded from the Lahore State the sum of a crore and
a half of rupees, or 1,500,000L. The whole of this amount, however,
was not forthcoming, and it was agreed by Article 4 of the treaty
of 9th March, 1846, with the Maharajah Duleep Singh, that all the
hill-country between the rivers Indus and Beas, including the province
of Cashmere, should be ceded to the Honourable East India Company,
in perpetual sovereignty, as an equivalent for one million sterling.
Article 12 of the same treaty guaranteed to Gulab Singh, in
consequence of his services to the Lahore State, its recognition of his
independence in such territories as might afterwards be agreed upon;
and on the 16th March, 1846, the British Government, by special treaty,
made over for ever, in independent possession to Maharajah Gulab Singh
and the heirs male of his body, the greater part of the territories
previously mentioned in Article 4. In consideration of this transfer,
the Maharajah was to pay to the British Government, within the year,
the sum of seventy-five lakhs of rupees (750,000L.). To acknowledge
the supremacy of that Government, and, in token of such supremacy,
to present it annually the following tribute, viz.: -- One horse,
twelve perfect shawl goats of approved breed (six male and six female),
and three pairs of Cashmere shawls.
Thus, "on the 16th day of March, in the year of our Lord 1846,
corresponding with the 17th day of Rubbeeoolawul, 1262, Hijree, was
DONE at Umritsur," the treaty of ten articles, by which Gulab Singh
was raised to the rank and dignity of an independent ruler.
For seventy-five lakhs of rupees the unfortunate Cashmeeries were
handed over to the tender mercies of "the most thorough ruffian that
ever was created -- a villain from a kingdom down to a half-penny,"
and the "Paradise of the Indies," after remaining rather less than
a week a British possession, was relinquished by England for ever.
 -- VIDE Appendix A
 -- ROADS -- I. There are four authorized routes for European
visitors to Cashmere.
FIRST. The principal road from the plains by Bimbhur and Rajaoree. This
road over the "Peer Punjal" range is not open until May, and is closed
by snow at the beginning of November: it is the old imperial route,
and the stages are marked by the remains of serais.
 -- A hill conveyance something similar to a hammock, suspended from
a pole, with straps for the feet and back, and carried by two bearers.
 -- M. Jacquemont, in his "Letters from Kashmir and Thibet,"
carried away no doubt by the ardour of Botanical research, mentions
having made a similar discovery, in the following glowing terms: --
"The mountains here produce rhubarb; celestial happiness!"
 -- The Pass of the Peer Punjal is 13,000 feet above the level of
the sea; the highest peak of the range being 15,000.
 -- Supposed to designate "The City of the Sun;" Surya meaning in
Sanscrit "the Sun," and Nugger "a City."
 -- Cashmere seems to have been regarded for many ages merely as
a source of wealth to its absentee lords or present governors, and
to have suffered more than ever, since falling under the dominion of
Of the first of this dynasty, who subdued and took possession of
the valley in the year 1819, Vigne remarks, in his Travels, "Runjeet
Singh assuredly well knew that the greater the prosperity of Kashmir,
the stronger would be the inducement to invasion by the East India
Company. 'Apres moi le deluge' has been his motto, and its ruin
has been accelerated not less by his rapacity than by his political
jealousy, which suggested to him at any cost the merciless removal
of its wealth and the reckless havoc he has made in its resources."
 -- The Tukt-i-Suliman, an old Hindoo temple, the throne of Solomon
the magnificent, the prophet, the mighty magician, whom all pious
Mussulmans believe to have been carried through the air on a throne
supported by Dives or Afrites, whom the Almighty had made subservient
to His will. -- Vigne. The summit stands 1,000 feet above the level
of the plain, and the date of its erection is believed to be 220
B.C. VIDE Appendix A.
 -- "There is no God but God;" "In the name of God."
 -- This was written without being aware that the native name
of Mutton is a corruption of Martund, by which name the temple is
The meaning of Martund being in Sanscrit "the Sun," additional grounds
have thus been furnished for determining the origin of the ruin. VIDE
 -- On this subject a good deal of difference of opinion seems
to exist, and from Moore's descriptions of the furniture of his
terrestrial paradise, which have added so much to the fame of the
valley, it appears probable that his "muse," thinking it useless
to search abroad for materials which existed in abundance at home,
supplied him with what he supposed to be Eastern celestial creations,
entirely from his native shores. Vigne, however, says, "I do not think
that the beauty of the Kashmirian women has been overrated. They are,
of course, wholly deficient in the graces and fascinations derivable
from cultivation and accomplishment; but for mere uneducated eyes,
I know of none that surpass those of Kashmir." On the other hand,
M. Jacquemont, who found "celestial happiness" in a plant of rhubarb,
is unable to discover any beauty whatever in the Cashmerian ladies,
and has no patience with his neighbour's little flights of fancy in
depicting their perfections. "Moore," he writes, in his "Letters from
India," "is a perfumer, and a liar to boot. Know that I have never
seen anywhere such hideous witches as in Cashmere. The female race is
remarkably ugly." Instead of adding to such conflicting evidence, I
Back to Full Books