History of the Search for Shambhala Part 3

About the history of the search for the hidden kingdom of Shambhala, a place of perfection in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.


A more detailed account of these "snowmen" guardians was given by Alexandra David-Neel, an explorer who spent 14 years in Tibet. While traveling through the Himalayas she saw a man moving with extraordinary speed and described him as follows: "I could clearly see his perfectly calm impassive face and wide-open eyes with their gaze fixed on some invisible distant object situated somewhere high up in space. The man did not run. He seemed to lift himself from the ground, proceeding by leaps. It looked as if he had been endowed with the elasticity of a ball, and rebounded each time his feet touched the ground. His steps had the regularity of a pendulum."

There have been a number of strange aircraft sightings in these areas. During Nicholas Roerich's expedition through central Asia in 1925--1926, his party suddenly noticed a huge disk in the sky. Three men with binoculars watched a large spheroid body moving very fast, suddenly changing direction and disappearing behind the Humboldt mountain chain. The Tibetan lamas accompanying Roerich exclaimed, "The sign of Shambhala!" Two airships were also observed by British mountaineer Frank Smythe while on Mt. Everest in 1933. He recorded having seen two dark objects, one with squat wings and the other with a sort of beak, surrounded by a pulsating aura, at an altitude of 26,000 ft. The most recent sighting was made near Shillong, Assam, in India in 1967. A whirling disk hovered 650 ft. above the ground and then dived into a river, creating a huge vortex and a lot of noise. It then reappeared, ascended, and flew in a zigzag pattern over the jungle until it disappeared.

The Search

While people (especially Tibetan lamas) have been searching for Shambhala for centuries, those who seek the kingdom often never return, either because they have found the hidden country and have remained there or because they have been destroyed in the attempt. Of the Westerners on record, Nicholas Roerich's expeditions in search of Shambhala are the most famous. In 1925 Roerich, a Russian poet and artist who designed scenes for Diaghilev's ballets, made an expedition from Kashmir to Khotan, where he and his group resided from October, 1925, to January, 1926. Upon his return to Russia in June, 1926, the commissar of foreign affairs and the commissar of education asked to see him. A new social order was then being established in Russia, and Roerich presented the commissar with a message from the Mahatmas (great souls) of the Himalayas. The message, now in the state archives of the U.S.S.R., reads:

In the Himalayas we know what you are accomplishing.... You perceived the evolution of society. You indicated the significance of knowledge. You bowed your head before beauty. To the children you brought all the might of the cosmos.... We stopped a revolt in India as it was considered to be premature. But at the same time we recognized the timeliness of your movement. Greetings to your who are seeking the common good!

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