Now the most sacred and widely followed Buddhist ‘mantra’ this Tibetan addition to the Buddhist rituals ‘Aum Mani Padmne hum’ literally means ‘hail to the jewel in the lotus’. The ‘Jewel’ is symbolic of the Divine Spark that the ‘lotus’ – the heart of the seeker of the divine light, houses. In totality the ‘Mantra’ celebrates the conscious knowledge of the Divine Spark and its presence in the heart, and once such knowledge has been attained the attainment of the Spark shall not be far off. Hence, the ‘mantra’ reveals upon the ‘sadhaka’ – practitioner, that he has the Divine Light within; and the moment he hails his knowledge of the Divine Spark his journey towards attaining it begins. Thus, the rare significance of the ‘Mantra’ in the path. For effecting deep relief the bracelet has been cast with extra thickness, and for affording appropriate base to such deep engraving the top and bottom edges as also the space under them have been adorned with courses of leaf-chased design.
The pairs of Vajra motifs flanking the ‘mantra’, tiny but prominently cast, not only balance the space but are also highly symbolic. Vajra is an addition to Buddhism by Yana Buddhism – Mahayana and Vajrayana. The Vajra is the symbol of the imperturbable male principle that stands for ‘upaya’ or method, or path. Originally the attributes of the Vedic god Indra, in Tibetan Buddhism ‘vajra’, known as Dorje, is symbolic of the absolute beyond all opposites, and represents three jewels as also the union of the spiritual and the material worlds. While its five points symbolize five Dhyani Buddhas, for Tibetan believers it is the symbol of unity and strength. The double-drum like looking motifs consisting of a holding rod in the centre and two balls, symbolic of drums, on two ends are suggestive of the music accompanying recitation of the holy ‘mantra’. The complex arabesque-type drawings on the reverse are Tibetan-Chinese additions, meant to reveal a mind that has yet not set to peace or is yet engaged in quest of light.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books. .