As you might’ve guessed from the title of this post, the Sanskrit lettering above, located on a mountainside in Central Asia, spells out OM Mani Padme Hum, one of the best known Buddhist and yoga mantras or chants. The image can be found near the city Kyzyl, which is the capital of the Tuva Republic in Russia. Kyzyl, which is 6,240 miles from South Florida where we reside, is considered the exact center of Asia and the city even has a monument boasting about its central locale.
If you translate the mantra—OM Mani Padme Hum—OM is the imperishable sound of the universe at creation. (People chant OM to resonate with the universe.) Mani means jewel. Padme means lotus and Hum is the sound of triumph when all beings become enlightened. So translated literally OM Mani Padme Hum means A Jewel in a Lotus. So why would people go around saying A Jewel in a Lotus, A Jewel in a Lotus…over and over again?
That translation is accurate, but it doesn’t really explain the meaning, especially to Western minds. It’s about transformation to a higher state of being. It’s the Big Bang of self-development. The jewel within the lotus represents a secret truth about the mystery of life. It’s a prayer for all sentient beings to become enlightened.
So what is the world’s largest mantra doing on the side of a barren hill in Siberia? Apparently a sect of Buddhists in southern Russia at some time in the past sent out the message to the world.
Actually, it’s quite common in India, Nepal and Tibet to see the mantra carved on rocks, known as mani stones. The mantra is also written on paper and inserted into prayer wheels. It’s said that by doing so, the effect is the same as reciting the chant numerous times as it spins about in the prayer wheel.
If you want to try chanting the mantra, you can have an fun and trance-like experience by chanting along with MC Yogi on his song, Prayer Wheel, in which he repeats the mantra over and over. See if you can keep up to him when the rapper/yogi picks up the pace.
The Jewel in the Lotus is also the title of my meditation book. I can’t forget to say that!