Professor Fida M. Hassnain
Shambhala is a mysterious hidden land of a thousand names. The Sumerians call it as the House of the Mountains while the Celtics name it as the mystical ‘Avalon’ . The Hindoos call it ‘ Aryavarsha, the land from which the Vedas came; the Buddhists of Tibet and Ladakh know it as Shambhala. They believe that it is a Hidden Kingdom , where perfect and semi-perfect beings live, guiding the evolution of mankind. The Chinese call it ‘Hsi Tien’ or the Western Paradise. The Jews and the Christians have named it as the Garden of Eden . In the esoteric literature, Shambhala has adopted the name of ‘Shangrila ‘ or ‘Agestha’. Some have named it as the Land of Living ‘, because its inhabitants have drunk the ‘ Aab-i-Hiyat and conquered death. Some have described it the ‘Land of Wonders or the ‘Land of Apple Trees’.
For the last nearly 2000 years, the Shambhala legend has attracted attention of the research scholars interested into the hidden mysteries of this globe. For some, Shambhala is a myth, while for some, it is a hidden reality. Besides the scholars, even the powerful States, like England, Germany, Japan, Russia, and America have shown serious interest in finding this hidden land under the high mountain ranges spread over Mongolia, Central Asia, Tibet, Ladakh, Kashmir, Afghanistan and Persia. Hitler of Nazi Germany not only established a study centre in Munich but also patronised several expolorations by Sven Hedin and others to find Shambhala and contacts the Aryan race in this secret kingdom.
During 1925-1926, Nicolas Roerich made extensive tours between Khotan and Kashmir, in search of the kingdom of Shambhala, at the behest of Russia and the United States of America. The British did not lag behind and they asked Lord Gorzon, the Viceroy of India to sponsor the travels of Aurel Stein into the Central Asia. From his base camp at Mohand Marg, Kangan, Kashmir he conducted the most daring and adventurous raids in 1900, 1906, 1913 and 1930 upon the ancient Silk Road Outworldly, the purpose of this and further expeditions was to collect art treasures, manuscripts and curios for the British Museum, London but the hidden object search of the hidden land of Shambhala. Hearing about the treasure hunting activities of Aurel Stein, France and Japan also joined in such ventures and deputed Paul Pelliot and Count Otani into Central Asian region.
THE HIDDEN KINGDOM :
According to the Kalachakra Tantra; Shambhala is an underground kingdom, made up of eight regions, each surrounded by a ring of mountains spread within the Great Himalayas. The study made by the Russian about the Kashmir Pyramid Mystery fixes Shambhala within the Kailash Triangle, which covers the regions of Kashmir, Ladakh and Himachal. This kingdom has the capital in the centre, with the king’s palace made of gold and studded with diamonds, and precious gems. The people who live in the eight regions of the kingdom are highly advanced in science and technology. Besides using space crafts and fast vehicles, they possess powers to move at great speed in space and in heavens. These people, who are under evolution to become perfect beings are destined to guide mankind, when the world will be full of turmoil, killings and war.
Shambhala, according to the Buddhist legends is a kingdom of peace and tranquility. The people, who live in this snow–capped mountainous kingdom, are extremely beautiful, tall and robust. endowed with supernatural powers. The land abounds in meadows, lakes, forests, fields and apple gardens. All the crops are nourished by a type of celestial water as well as by celestial rays. Thus Shambhala is an important destination for pilgrims, who seek realities that exist beyond third dimension.
The Kalachakra Tantra, further states that it was Suchandra, the king of Kashmir, who introduced the practice of Kalachakra, for empowerment of the people to face the barbarians, who will attack the kingdom of Shambhala. In this battle, the barbarians will be destroyed and Satya Yuga or the Era of Truth shall prevail. The victory will be accomplished by the Awaited One – the Kalki in about A.D. 2424.
According to the Hindu legend, the Kalkin or the White Knight will emerge from Shambhala, lead his armies against the Sons of Darkness and attain final victory. We are told that this blissful land of sages is located in North of the Himalayas. Arjuna, the warrior Prince of the Bhagvad Gita travelled through this paradise of earth in search of enlightement. Is it a coincidence that Kashmir is called Rishi –Veir or Garden of the Rishis. It is described as the homeland of the Siddhas or enlightened sages.
KALACHAKRA TANTRA :
According to a Buddhist legend, it was Buddha, who taught the Kalachakra Tantra to Suchandra, the king of Kashmir, who is considered to be the first king of Shambhala. He then developed the practice of Kalachakra, which later became the highest esoteric branch of Tibetan mysticism. The Kalachakra, which reached Tibet from Kashmir in 1027, consists of medition as well as prophesy. It reveals the way to wage a war against internal enemies as well as external enemies, which are none other than evil forces. The Kalachakra Tantra is in fact, a spiritual journey to Shambhala – an inner quest for purification. This is the Yoga of utilizing the high energies.
The Kalachakra Tantra consists of five chapters. The first chapter deals with working of the four elements; earth, water and air and fire under influence of the solar system, according to a fixed time schedule .The second chapter deals with functions of the human body in the states of wakefulness, with dreams and sex.The third chapter deals with contemplation, while the fourth chapter deals with meditation practices. The final chapter deals into the states of enlightenment.
THE KINGS OF SHAMBHALA :
The prophesy of Kalachakra Tantra relates that there will be 32 kings of Shambhala and each king will rule for about 100 years. The last king, Rudra Cakrin will lead a huge army against the evil king; defend the kingdom of Shambhala with great courage, destroying the invaders. This event will be a turning point in the history of world, because hence-forth, the truth will prevail and the Age of Peace will usher.
To a casual reader, the above prophesy may appear as a superstition. But a careful study of various cultures would reveal that every nation of this globe is waiting for some Ascended Master who will come as the world teacher to bring peace to the disturbed world.. The Jews are expecting the advent of a Messiah while the Christians yearn for the Second Coming of Christ. The Muslims believe that a redeemer of Islam will come to this world and he will be Issa or Jesus. The Shia Muslims and the Sufis declare that Imam Mehdi, who and was hidden by God at the age of five, will return to rid the world of injustice, tyranny and turmoil. He is also known by the name of Muntazar, who will lay foundation of the New Age.
The Hindus of India, taking their information from the Vishnu Purana, talk about the advent of the Kalki Avatara on a white horse. It is stated in the Vishnu Purana that Kalki Avatara will be born in the kingdom of Shambhala and will be endowed with the eight superhuman facalities. By his irresistible might, he will destroy the barbarians and re-establish righteousness upon earth.
The Buddhists speak about the Buddha Maitreya, who they believe as the Coming Savior and Ruler of Humanity who will fight against all evil forces.
In about 4 B.C. Apollonius of Greece went in search of this underground world and traveled through Iraq, Iran and India. His travel accounts show that he went deep into the Himalayas, met another explorer, Andrew Thomas and then both met the king of this heavenly kingdom. With a warm welcome, the kind king allowed them to accompany him on a tour of his marvelous kingdom. They saw pillars of light shooting sky wards. The inhabitants eat and drink through the help of robots. On his return to Greece, Apollonius declared that the mysterious way to this hidden kingdom in the Himalayas was shown to him by a boy, who could speak Greek. It is probable that Alexander the Great may have been attracted towards finding this kingdom of God. The Greek anthology speaks about the fierce sea of Oceanus, which was the dividing line between the known world and the unknown world.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT :
Alexander was aware of the legend of Shambhala, for he knew that it was Apollonius of Tyana who in about 4 B.C. had declared that there existed a kingdom of gods in the East. Since then, many had searched this legendary kingdom. Alexander’s wanderings in Persia, Parthia and then Bactria seem to hint that besides connecting the West with the East, he was in search of something and wished to solve this mystery. In this venture, he had the backing of all the Greek intellectuals.
The route of Alexander the Great, from Macedonia to the river Bidaspes (Jehlam) in Gujranwala, Pakistan covers about 20,000 miles. In his geography, the Greek philosopher Ptolemy has given the exact location of Kashmir, which he names as Kaspeiria as the region below the sources of Bidaspes (Jehlam) and of Sandabal (Chinab). Alexander proceeded from Taxila to Sailkot and then halted at a place called Jehlam on the banks of the river Bidaspes. He crossed at a place known as Kandar at present where the grave of his horse still exists on the banks of this river. Porus the king of Gujarat, who commanded about fifty thousand soldiers, three thousand cavalry and one thousand elephants, decided to face the forces of Alexander the Great at a place around the fort of Mong. For this, he deputed a huge force under the command of his son, Hari to stop crossing of the river by the Greeks. However, Alexander the Great succeeded in crossing the river at a place called Xander near Jalalpur Sharif.The king of Gujarat, Raja Pours suffered a sever defeat but refused to surrender his person. Alexander the Great honored this brave king by reinstating him to his kingdom. At that time, Alexander suffered bereavement in the death of his consort, Helen. Beside, the grave of his horse of Alexander the Great, we have the tomb Helen at Helen in Gujarat.
DIVERSION OF THE ROUTE :
Due to these ominous circumstances, Alexander the Great asked his forces to return. From Taxila, he took the Northern route towards Bactria. Proceeding further, he reached Karshi, then Marakanda, then Cyroplis. None was aware about his moves; rather, he was in search of solving some mystery. He something; moved towards Bokhara on the river Oxus, then again retarded his steps and reached Marakanda. From that place, he wandered around Tashkent and again turned his face towards the South. It appears that he had failed in his secret mission. However, as the King of Asia, he had succeeded in mixing or joining the East with the West. After taking the daughter of Darius as his wife, he had encouraged thousands of his Greek soldiers to marry women from the East. This implies that he popularized the Brotherhood of Man; In this regard he can be counted as the first to have preached oneness of mankind.
Alexander the Great is described in Islamic traditions as Al-Sikandar Zul-Qarnain or the Lord of two horns, due to the reason that he is depicted as ram-headed in Greek coins. Another tradition attached with his name is that he went in search of Aab-i-Hayaat together with Khwaja Khizr
Aab-i-Hayaat is a Persian term meaning, the Water of Life. It s believed that anyone who drinks this water shall live for ever. According to a Persian legend, there exists a ciellitial islands, wherein bubbles the Aab-i-Hayaat or the fountain of Life. This cellitial land is located beyond the mountains of the Koh-i-Kaaf, which separates Persia from the Northern glacial regions. The Persian legend even tries to give the exact location of the hidden continent, containing the Aab-i-Hayaat.
Towards the North of Persia, there is a dry continent. Then along the 60 degree of longitude, one has to proceed towards the West into the cold continent. Then one has to proceed between 60 & 45 degrees of longitude to cross the icy and snow capped mountains. It will take about 7 months to reach land of the Aab-i-Hayaat.
Khwaja Khizr occupies a special distintion in the Islamic tradition to have gained immortal life after drinking the water of life. It is said that both he and Alexander the Great set out to reach the End of the world in search of the Aab-i-Hayaat but, due to unforeseen circumstances, each followed a different path, and Khwaja Khizr alone succeed in his quest.
According to a Kashmiri legend, it is Khizr or the Lord of the Seas, who has drunk the Aab-i-Hayaat and is living. He comes to the bank of the Wolar Lake in Kashmir for sojourn. According to another legend, Alexander the Great who is called Sikander-i-Azam in Kashmir, crossed over the Koh-i-Kaaf Mountains and succeed in reaching spring of the Aab-i-Hayaat. There he witnessed many skeletons, which had drunk from the Fountain of Life but were unable to move, despite being still alive. Seeing these alive but immobile skeletons, Sikandar-i-Azam felt repelled and left the place, without drinking water from the Fountain of Life.
NICHOLAS ROERICH :
Nicholas Roerich, (1874-1947) a world renowed Russian artist writer and explorer, after his settlement in U.S.A undertook his Asian expedition in 1923 together with his wife, his on and six friends. It completed its mission in 1928 after having visited Sikim, Kashmir, Ladakh, Khotan, Kashgar, Uramchi, Kansu, Mongolia & Tibet. His travel diary, published under the title of Altai-Himalya relates the tales about the hidden kingdom of Shambhala. According to him Shambhala is the Holy kingdom, where the earthly world links with the highest states of consciousness. It appears that he believed in the existence of an earthly Shambhala.Exact location of the earthly Shambhala is not known to anyone except the Mahatamas, who live in the Northern snows of the Himalayas.
Roerich wrote that Kashmir was full of antiquities with grand archaeological monuments depicting Roman influence. Besides the Sun Temple , he found the Throne of Solomon on the high summit . He felt amazed to learn about the curious legend – the visit of Jesus Christ to this ancient land.
Marc Aurel Stein (1862-1943), the great Hungarian scholar and archaeologist, spend most of his life in the service of the British Empire in India. Having selected Mohand Marg in Kashmir as his base camp, he spend most of his busy life in the search and acquisition of statues, manuscripts antiques frescoes and paintings from the temples, grave –yards and archaeological sites located on the post cities of the Silk Road that had connected China with Rome during ancient times. Exploring the hidden past in Iraq, Iran, India and Central Asia was a life long passion with him and he died also during his last expedition to Bactria.
Aurel Stein has been described as the greatest explorer of Asia since Marco polo. What were the ideas that influenced his and inspired him to undertake such a hazardous journey to that caves of the Thousand Buddhas 2400 miles away from his home? We know that from his school days to his grave, Stein was fascinated by the travels of Alexander the Great. But one strange thing in the route map of Alexander intrigued him. Why in his unhindered straight advance from West to Eastwards, the Alexander did roam in a round- about way between Tashkent, Bokhara, Cyropolis, and Derbent? Why did he side track his forward advance towards the East and crossed Kabul towards the North? Subsequently, it became evident to Stein that Alexander the Great was in search of Shambhala, in the sacred mountains of Central Asia. He had read that in about 4 B.C. Apollonius of Tyana, Greece had travelled toIndia, deep into the Himalayas, in search of this hidden kingdom. He was aware of the Muslim tradition about the Lord of two Horns, Sikndar Zul-Qarnain (Alexander the Great) going in search of the fountain of life in company of Khwja Khizr, the immortal Lord of the seas.
It is written in the Sikandar Nama that Alexander had found the spring containing Aab-i-Hiyat or the Water of Life, but had refused to drink it, seeing the living carcase of those who had drank it and were still alive since thousands of years. It is also certain that Stein after having spent much time to retrace the routes of Alexander the Great, was fascinated to follow in the foot-steps of this great Greek hero.
Aural Stein had read about Kashmir and its people, in the works of Hieun Tsiang, Marco Polo, Bernier and Vigne. He knew that it was Alberuni, the great Muslim scholar of Sanskrit who had openly stated in his Kitab-ul-Hind, translated into English under the title of India that the Kashmiris were very particular about preserving their identity, and they would not allow any one to settle in their country, except a few Jews. He had also read Bernier and Vigne speaking about the Jewish origin of the Kashmiris. Himself of Jewish parents and Hebrew blood running through his veins, Stein was eager to meet his kith and kin in Kashmir. He moved to Kashmir, to translate Kalhana,s Rajatarangini into English under the patronage of the Maharaja as well as the Viceroy of India
After his first visit, his duties were punched with frequent travels and sojourn in Kashmir. The British Viceroy at his back, the Maharaja of Kashmir gave extra patronage to Aurel Stein.In order to slow their favor, they go constructed for him a wooden hut and a servats’quarter at a beautiful meadow on the hills of Kangan at Mohand Marg.This scenic beautiful spot remained as his Shambhala, till the last years of his life.:
AUREL STIEN AND HIS SHAKTI :
It is believed that Aurel Stein led a singularly ascetic life and his sexuality was much more subtle but fascinating. But it is unrealistic to suppose that Stein had no sex life. According to the Tantra, the whole world is creation of the union of Shiva and Shakti. As such, one who wishes to energize his energies, he must have a female companion to coordinate with him .Fortunately; circumstances provided him with such a Shakti.
Aurel Stein had collected a number of art treasures and manuscripts and kept them in his wooden hut at Mohand Marg, Kashmir. Now, he thought of employing a Chowkidar for his pricious belongings at his sojourn. He expressed his wish to his friends. During that period of time, a poor Pandit, who had migrated from Badarwah to Kashmir along with his wife and a sister. This man was desperately in need of some subsistence. At the suggestion of his friend, Stein appointed this poor man as a Chowkidar of his estate at Mohand Marg, on regular basis. Accordingly the newly appointed care-taker, came to live at Mohand Marg, Kashmir accompanied by his wife and sister. The elder lady was a middle aged woman and the younger about sixteen. Both the ladies, with their looks disheveled and in tattered clothes looked ravishingly beautiful.
There was a language barrier between Stein and the ladies but in their silence they listened to the echo of his heart and soul. While he worked on his table, Gauri the young widow would sit near him and wonder as to what he was writing on the scattered sheets of paper. He would call Gauri for minor errands. But, as time passed, she became a special attraction for Stein. As if urged by the spirits, he imprinted a kiss of love on her lips. Then like a Kaula Yogi, she was propitiated by Stein, through Pancamakras. For that day onwards, she also responded by cooperating with him in his Chakra Puja rituals. It appeared that as a young widow, she was already a master of the Kamasutra.
FIRST EXPEDITION-1900 :
The advent of Gauri into the life of Aurel Stein proved very lucky for him. He had the unexpected good luck in gaining the support of the most powerful man in India. Lord Curzon, the new Viceroy, who gladly agreed to sponsor, Stein’s first adventure as a treasure seeker into Central Asia.
In 1900, Stein set off from his Shambhala in Mohand Marg, Kashmir to Gilgit, and then over the Pamirs Kashgar in Chinese Turkistan. In Khotan, he obtained the services of Turdi, a curio smuggler, who took him to the sand-buried graves and hamlets in Takla Makan.On his first digging, Stein obtained about one hundred and fifty pricesless Buddhist frescoes and stucco reliefs.Quite satisfied, with his first success, he now worked with zeal and speed. He collected a large number of Sutras from travel. For his road model, he admired tow heroes-Alexander the Great and Hieun Tsiang. He had heard about the Greek myth of Shambhala and felt convinced that Alexander the Great besides joining the West with the East also had a desire to visit the hidden paradise of Shambhala. As such, Stein led his second expedition on the some track, which Alexander had taken during his adventures in Bactria.
In May, 1906, Stein arrived in his summer camp at Mohand Marg, Kashmir making necessary arrangements for his important venture on the Silk Road.
His second adventure had taken two years and his plunder included tens of thousands of manuscripts, paintings, and art objects. Besides this, he provided the British Government thousands of photographs, survey maps and note books filled with anthropomorphic measurements. After spending two and a half-years, Aurel Stein, reached Leh, the captital of Ladakh.
During the years 1925 and 1928 Stein made two visits to the Middle East to carry out exploration in the North-Western regions of India. He identified the battle grounds where Alexander had conducted military operations, in Pir-sar in Swat, Aurnos near Peshwar and finally on the banks of the famous river of Kashmir, named Bydaspes by Ptolem
Stein began working on his fourth book entited: A History of the Expeditions in Asia. He had intentain to write his autobiography in which, he could reveal the secrets of his private life . But hr thought of writing his personal story at a later stage. Sitting in company of his consort, Stein would sing Hungarian songs, to the joy of Gauri who would hear these songs innocently, as if she understood the depth of the Hungarian love lyrics.
.He was also aware of the fact that both of them had attained the status of the Kaula-Yogis through the Tantric rituals. Their most sacred union had resulted in the expansion of higher consiousness. As such their formal wedlock seemed immaterial to them.
TRAGIC END :1943
Aurel Stein came back to India from England in 1940.
Stein was quite happy with his consort Gauri looking after him like a mother and a beloved. Stein had desired to enter Afghanistan several times but without success. . As fate would have it he received official permission to enter Afghanistan in 1943. As such he stated making preparations for his tour. Gauri felt worried and conveyed her resentment to him through signs and gestures. But, he was adamant and left for Kabul in October 1943. Hardly one week had passed when he died on 26th October, 1943 and was buried in the grave-yard of hippies. Gauri, wept and cried bitterly beating her breast. The grief was so sever, that she also died unsung and unwept like her Kaula Guru. She was cremated by the local Muslims and Pandits of Myngam, Ganderbal .
It is amazing that Shambhala is considered the source of the Kalachakra Tantra, which was bestowed upon Suchandra, the King of Kashmir by Sakyamuni Buddha in about 800 BC. The Root Text of the Tantra consists of about 12,000 verses. In order to preserve the sacred scripture, the King built a huge 3- dimensional Mandala , in his capital. The King also taught the Kalachakra Tantra to his selected disciples for 2 years before his death.His work was followed by the six Kings each reigning for about 100 years . The 8th King, Manjushri- Kirti condensed the Kalackakra Tantra into a simplified form.
The next king , Pandarika, wrote a commentary on the text and this text made its first appearance in the 10th century,
.The Kalachakra mentions that in toto, 32 Kings from the progeny of Suchandra, the first Kalachakra King of Kashmir, will rule over the Hidden Kingdom until the last King, Chakra Vertin will make his advent to usher in the Golden Age in about 2424 AD.
The King of the Golden Age, shall come out at the end of KulYug, from the city , the gods have fashioned on the mount Kailasha. He would come with flying ships to help us out of the spiritual darkness.The Kalachakra Tantra make an amazing prophesy that a great war will take place, in which the Forces of Darkness will be defeated by the Forces of Light. The Awaited One will establish peace, love and brotherhood in the new world.While Shah Naimat Ullah Qadri, who came before Nostradamus, fixes the year of the New Age in the year 2234 AD. while the Maya Calendar fixes it in the year 2012 AD.
1. The Kalki Purana.
2. The Vshnu Purana.
3. The Padma Purana.
4. The Srinmad Bhagavatam.
5. Nicolas Roerich, Shambhala.
6. Nicolas Roerich, Altai-Himalayas.
7. Blavatsky, the Secred Doctrine.
8. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche,Shambhala –the Sacred Path of the Warrior.
9. Milns,Alexander the Great.
10. Nizami Sikandar Naama-(Persian)
11. Peter Green, A Concise History of Ancient Greece.
12. Taran, Alexander the Grreat.
13. Molvi Atique-ullah, Sikandar Naama. (Kashmiri)
14. Kashmir-the Focus of Asiatic Civilizatio