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respect for religion, because the monarch, by his public profession, made it the religion of the state.”
“ The propagation of this new religion, therefore, occasioned the erection of numerous temples and other religious places in Mongolia. The history of that country relates that the first temples in the empire were built on the river, and in the province of Scharräi-Gol, that is to say, without and to the north of the Chinese wall, and in the like direction from Liao-dunn, and that convents and schools were founded at the same time.
“ They call their temples Dazzang, Kiet, and Sümme. They are built of stone and wood. Among the roving tribes they are ordinary felt-huts, but of superior dimensions, and more solid and handsome than those which are used for habitations. It is in very few places in Mongolia that you meet with temples of stone, and that only in such settlements as have a large population and considerable markets. Numberless small temples are to be found in the great and small hordes; for every tribe and district has for each of its divisions a particular temple, to which and to no other it belongs, according to the regulations established among them.”
We have not space for detailing the curious decorations and multiplied utensils, which form the apparatus' and furniture of these sacred edifices. Suffice it to observe, that the former consists for the most part of grotesque paintings, carved work, and images of different saints and deities in the traditional characters they have sustained, or actions they have performed, or the symbols that are appropriated to them: and that among the latter, we meet especially with vessels for holy-water called bumbas, for the purpose of consecration, fine polished mirrors, altars with proper dishes and shalsas or meat-offerings; kürdä, or hollow cylinders of various sizes, filled in the interior with sacred texts, and prayers, coral rosaries, bells, and musical instruments of various constructions. Of these last the most curious is the great drum Kängärgä, which is moved about upon legs of carved work.
“ It is two or three arschines in diameter, about six werschock high, covered at both ends with camel-skin parchment, and on the outside commonly painted very curiously with dragons, and varnished. In the service of the temples it is hung upon poles, and beaten in very different times, both quick and slow, by means of a cudgel of regu. Jarly curved hard wood, covered at the upper end with leather, and provided with a handle at the lower. In the next place, a great po saun (Buräh) of brass, of singular workmanship, in three divisions, which are pushed out in blowing. The whole instrument is generally above a fathom in length, and when blown must be held by two persons, suspended from a pole. Further, metal plates, Zang and Zelnäh, of various sizes. In the middle is a round hollow with a broad brim, and they are beaten in time, at the public service, sometimes piano
and sometimes forte. Another metal instrument, Charrangai, is composed of a large plate with a curved border. It is hung up by cords, and struck by a stick. Small hautboys, Bischkühr-Gangurih, likewise a loud-toned wind instrument, made of the long arm-bone of a vanquished hereditary enemy. Choncho, or the priest's bell with its small brass sceptre. Dängschäh, a little metal bell, which is struck. Dung, the beautiful shell of an Indian sea-snail, which has a very piercing sound. Lastly, the Domber, a little drum, about the size of a very small flat saucer, beaten only by two large knots fastened to it by a short string. All these musical instruments have their prescribed uses, and belong to the sacred furniture of the temples and altars. The music itself is a mixture of tremendous sounds, which shake the whole temple, and would rather scare than attract the connoisseur. It is nevertheless perfectly regular in its way, by no means arbitrary, and the clergy are particularly nice in the choice of their musical pupils. Only the great drum, Kängärgä, the bells and bowls, Zang, are struck in time, to accompany the joyful psalms and hymns of praise to their gods, when the whole of the ecclesiastics join in these psalms, and in their general religious litanies, and thus give animation to their temple music. The remaining wind and other instruments are in general used in terrific exorcisms, but never with hymns of praise and litanies.”
All their sacred books are acknowledged by themselves to be of Indian origin, translated first into the Tibetian, and from the Tibetian into the Mongol language. The most revered of them were taken down immediately from the lips of the great and holy Schigimunih by his disciple Ananda. There is some difficulty in identifying this Schigimunih, with any of the trarscendant characters hitherto disclosed to us by Bhuddists or Brahmins, Boodeas or Tibetians. He was probably the Proto-lama, or inventor of the hierarchy. He appears, however, to have been a most voluminous composer, and to have found employment enough for his amanuensis, if the good-natured credulity of our traveller has not been a little imposed upon by these honest Calmucks. For he tells us, upon their information, that one of his works alone consists of " one hundred and eight prodigious volumes ;” to which has been assigned the name of Gandshuhr or the Miraculous Pillar of religion. It seems the venerable hierarch was determined to erect his church upon a foundation, as wide as the base of an Egyptian pyramid; “ the whole work,” we are informed, “is engraven in the Mongol language, and printed in two sizes, the one in long narrow Indian, and the other in Chinese folio." Yet even these 108 huge tomes do not give us the work in its perfect form; for there are still an appendix and an exposition, which considerably more than double its extent. To these volumes, observes M. von Klaproth, belong twelve more of mythology, called Jömm, and an exposition entitled Dandshuhr, composing in the whole two hundred and forty volumes. So that the Lama catechist has a somewhat arduous undertaking; and would find the Vedas and Upavedas, the Angas and Upangas, of Benares, a mere horn-book in comparison with the eclesiastical labours before him.
The Calmucks, it further appears, are cordial friends to an union of Church and State ; for they intermix the consideration of both these subjects in all their high convocations and sacred assemblies; and, according to the account before us, they are, on all such occasions, actuated by a spirit of peace and good-will that might at times be advantageously copied by better informed communities.
“ In the temples where all the ecclesiastics, and all their men of rank and elders in general, meet monthly for the purpose of divine worship, public concerns and national affairs, whether of a religious or political nature, are discussed by the whole assembly; as on such days the people from all the country round repair by hundreds, nay by thousands, to these solemnities. Nothing remarkable occurs of which they do not inform each other at these meetings, and on the subject of which they do not hold political conferences with their Lamas. The clergy and laity are on the most familiar footing. All of them are acute politicians, who view their constitution in its true light, and are actuated by the purest patriotism. The clergy govern all minds, and whether in unity or discord they invariably guide the helm. In all joint undertakings they are very resolute, but at the same time circumspect. They are fond of peace, and place their whole happiness in it, as is proved by their way of thinking and their declarations. Their system of religion is founded on purity of mind, rigid morality, and the welfare of the state and of mankind in general. No solemn prayer-day, no private devotions conclude without the most impressive and pathetic litanies and petitions for all ranks and classes of men. Of this religious system its votaries are extremely vain, and their law forbids them to compare it with any other. By religion they understand a distinct, independent, sacred moral code, which has but one origin, one source, and one object. This notion they universally propagate, and even believe that the brutes and all created beings have a religion adapted to their sphere of action. The different forms of the various religions they ascribe to the difference of individuals, nations, and legislators. Never do you hear of their inveighing against any creed, even against the obviously absurd Schaman paganism, or of their persecuting others on that ac. count. They themselves, on the other hand, endure every hardship and even persecutions with perfect resignation, and indulgently excuse the follies of others, nay, consider them as a motive for increased ardour in prayer. Out of respect for other religions they even venerate the images of the Greek saints, burn lights before them, or sacrifice to them unobserved when they are travelling among the Russians. As to the miracles of foreign saints, they believe and declare that these ate an universal work of God arising from the same source whence their own religion is derived. From motives of genuine religion they love a
men, and do all the good that lies in their power ; they one exhort the other to acts of benevolence, from a conviction that it behoves us to perform them not so much on account of others as for our own sakes. This notion they strive to propagate, because it is praiseworthy and becoming; as every fellow-creature in distress has an equal right to succour.”
The Lama religion is well known to possess a regular hierarchy; and, like Brahmism, is pretty well ascertained to be a branch of Buddhism. The Dalai Lama of Thibet is the supreme head of the system ; he is held to be immortal and immaculate : the visible representation of the Deity upon earth, uniting temporal with spiritual power. Below him are Lamas of different gradations, priests of various orders and dignities, monks and nuns; and in Thibet, though not among the Mongols, on account of their erratic mode of life, convents and nunneries. They hold in their creed the doctrines of a divine unity, a divine trinity, an incarnate God, a mother-goddess, holy angels, and beatified saints, a purgatory, and transmigration of souls, heaven and hell. In their rites and ceremonies they use clerical dresses, incense, holy water, and rosaries; they have regular religious festivals; have a written belief, prayers and thanksgivings, psalms, and penitential hymns. These last are entirely of oriental composition. They are, it seems, drawn up with exquisite elegance and beauty by the hierophants of the greatest learning and eloquence, and are imbued with all the peculiar unction and animation, the glowing metaphors and hightoned enthusiasm, that characterise the Sufi or Yogi mysticism. We are happy in being able, from the volume before us, to present specimens in proof of this assertion. We believe them to be the first specimens that have hitherto been offered to the European world; for Capt. Turner, to whom we are indebted for the best account of Thibet we have hitherto received, and who was an eye-witness of the splendour and decorations, and the rites and ceremonies, of the Lama churches, has given us no examples of the church-service: and it is a fact not a little singular that we should be indebted for a knowledge of the ritual employed at the mother church of Thibet to the wild and roving Mongols scattered over the banks of the lake Baihal, or the northern sides of the Caucasus. The following is the Lama Ittigel, Creed or Confession of Faith, the greater part of which is repeated by the Mongols on., all religious occasions at the commencement of their devotions. • «• To him who appeared in the ten regions of the universe, and in all. the three ages, as the first cause of all things; to him who overcame the 84,000 obstacles to holiness by a like number of celestial precepts; to this greatest of high priests and source of all the saints that ever appeared, be all honour of faith!
** To Burchan (God) be all honour of faith! To the Nomm (hea.
venly doctrines) be all honour of faith! To the Bursang-Chubrakgoot (propagators of the doctrines) be all honour of faith!
«i To the whole hosts of immaculate saints be all honour of faith! To the most glorious and sublime protection of religion be all honour of faith!'
“ These strophes are thrice repeated.
“ To the most righteous founder of all religion, his precepts and his instruments, be given by me, till I shall once attain my holy consummation, all honour of faith! May my imitation of all works pleasing to God tend to his due glorification in the sight of all creatures!' . · “ This paragraph is also thrice repeated.
«« To this threefold holy system be given by me all honour of faith! For wicked actions I confess myself to be full of constant penitence. Ah! may my sole delight consist in zealous endeavours to do good, as my duty commands, to all creatures! May thy divine-human example be the guide of my heart! Not only for the honour of thy threefold meritoriousness, but likewise for the performance of my duty, I wish to possess this degree of perfection. By the fulfilment of this duty may I become an example for the imitation of all creatures! May the object and way of all holy and meritorious examples be acknowledged with the most upright mind, and in the most cheerful manner! For the welfare of all creatures we will glorify this in thee!'
“ This part is likewise thrice repeated.
“. O that all creatures might be grounded in prosperity and happi. ness! O that all may be constantly kept at a distance from all tribulation and distress! May they be always undivided from felicity, and unassailed by affliction ! O that all creatures might remain severed from the two most dangerous of evils, lust and revenge!'
“ This is also thrice repeated. Whoever follows these examples is out of all danger from sensuality.
“To all true expositions, to all and each propagator of salvation, and instrument of the Most Holy, be honour and adoration !-He, the most perfect of beings himself, taught this, and thus prayed to his elementary principle. Therefore to this primary system (which he himself adored) be at all times honour and adoration! To him, who by bis glorious, resplendent beams dissipates all doubt-creating darkness, to the profound and immeasurable Sammandabadrih, he all honour and adoration! Thou who art become the faith of the whole world; thou who alone conqueredst all the inexterminable assailing hosts, perfectly glorified holiness! be pleased to descend into this place. In the same manner as at thy birth the principalities of heaven performed thy first consecration and baptismal mass with the purest celestial water,so I venture to renew the sacred rite by this representation. With a look of pure faith at thy former existence, I perform this act in gentlest manner. O that in this representation I may find and contemplate thee, once glorified, as thou really art! O that all creatures in the universe, pursuing the flowery road which leads to thy kingdom, where incense fills all the atmosphere, and the firmament is bedecked with sun, moon, and planets, may arrive in the pure régions of thy righteousness!"