IN THE BEGINNING
in its lotus-shrine floated in days of yore on the surface of the lake of Naga Vasa." The opening verse of Buddhist philosophy says, "Know that when, in the beginning, all was perfect void and the five elements were not, then Adi Buddha, the stainless, was revealed in the form of flame or light," and the similarity to the first verses of another Holy Script is somewhat remarkable. The flame at Shambu-Nāth is this sacred and everlasting light, regarded as a symbol of the Supreme Deity, and is believed originally to have been derived from heaven. It is popularly supposed to be perpetual and never, since the beginning of time, to have been extinguished.
Of the age and history of this great building there is nothing really authentic, except records of restorations commencing from the sixteenth century, but tradition relates that the first Chaitya was built by Gorades, a raja of Nepal, between two and three thousand years ago.
A more joyous style of Nepalese architecture than the Chaitya is the "pagoda," whose fantastic forms and rippling golden roofs are19