The mantra Om Mani Padme Hum (literally: “Aum, to the Jewel in the Lotus, hum) is recited by Tibetan Buddhists to invoke Chenrezi, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Repeating this mantra accumulates merit and eases negative karma; meditating upon it is believed to purify the mind and body. Spinning prayer wheels, physical or digital, are believed to confer the same benefit as speaking the mantra. It is often recited with the aid of a mala (string of prayer beads.)

Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying the mantra (prayer), Om Mani Padme Hum, out loud or silently to oneself, invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion. Viewing the written form of the mantra is said to have the same effect — it is often carved into stones, like the one pictured above, and placed where people can see them.
Spinning the written form of the mantra around in a Mani wheel (or prayer wheel) is also believed to give the same benefit as saying the mantra, and Mani wheels, small hand wheels and large wheels with millions of copies of the mantra inside, are found everywhere in the lands influenced by Tibetan Buddhism.
It is said that all the teachings of the Buddha are contained in this mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum can not really be translated into a simple phrase or sentence.
It is appropriate, though, to say a little about the mantra, so that people who want to use it in their meditation practice will have some sense of what they are doing, and people who are just curious will understand a little better what the mantra is and why it is so important to Tibetan Buddhists. We begin in the next section with some information about the mantra itself.
(from: Dharma Haven)

The World’s Largest Act of Faith

The Greatest Gathering: Every 12 years, the Hindu festival of Kumbh Mela brings tens of millions of people to the Ganges, the biggest organised gathering on the planet. A visual treat, this report explores the mind-boggling event.

Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela (कà¥?मà¥?भ मेला) (the Pitcher Festival) is a Hindu pilgrimage that occurs four times every twelve years and rotates among four locations: Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. Each twelve-year cycle includes one Maha Kumbh Mela (Great Kumbh Mela) at Prayag, which is attended by millions of people, making it the largest gathering anywhere in the world. On this occasion, pilgrims from every nook and corner of India – speaking different languages and dialects, wearing distinctive markings on their foreheads, donning various types of dress and observing different manners and customs – meet together for a holy bath in the sacred waters. Wave after wave, the pilgrims formed a veritable river of humanity that flowed unto the banks of the Ganges at Allahabad to celebrate the greatest spiritual festival ever held – Kumbha Mela, the world’s largest act of faith. It takes place nearby HaridwÄ?r. HaridwÄ?r, city in northern India, in Uttaranchal state. HaridwÄ?r is an ancient city on the Ganges River, located between the Gangetic Plain and the Himalayan foothills. It is one of the seven holy cities of Hindus, and its name means “door of Hari,â€? one of the names of the Hindu god Vishnu. The city’s Hari-ki-Pairi ghat (bathing step), located on the western bank of the Upper Ganges Canal, is revered by Hindus as the site of Vishnu’s footprint. Many pilgrims also visit the nearby Daksheshwar Temple. HaridwÄ?r hosts the Dikhanti (“birth of the riverâ€?) celebration every spring and is one of four sites for the Kumbh Mela, the greatest of the Hindu pilgrimage festivals. The Upper Ganges Canal, which draws water from the Ganges River for irrigation purposes, originates in HaridwÄ?r. A hydroelectric plant is near the city.