The "Forbidden Land", the "Land of Wonders", the "Land of the Living Gods"

For thousands of years, there is a rumor circulating that somewhere in Tibet, among the snowy Himalayan peaks and secluded valleys, there is an untouched paradise, a kingdom where peace and universal policy that is indescribable. A kingdom called Shambhala.

Shambhala, which is a Sanskrit word meaning “place of peace” or “place of silence”, is a mythical paradise spoken of in ancient texts, including the Kalachakra Tantra and the ancient scriptures of the Zhang Zhung culture which predated Tibetan Buddhism in western Tibet. According to legend, it is a land where only the pure of heart can live, a place where love and wisdom reigns and where people are immune to suffering, want or old age.

The Prophecy of Shambhala

The concept of Shambhala plays an important role in Tibetan religious teachings, and has particular relevance in Tibetan mythology about the future.  The Kalachakra prophesies the gradual deterioration of mankind as the ideology of materialism spreads over the earth. When the “barbarians” who follow this ideology are united under an evil king and think there is nothing left to conquer, the mists will lift to reveal the snowy mountains of Shambhala. The barbarians will attack Shambhala with a huge army equipped with terrible weapons. Then the king of Shambhala will emerge from Shambhala with a huge army to vanquish "dark forces" and usher in a worldwide Golden Age.
Though the Kālachakra prophesies a future war, this appears in conflict with the vows of Buddhist teachings that prohibit violence. This has led some theologians to interpret the war symbolically – the Kālachakra is not advocating violence against people but rather refers to the inner battle of the religious practitioner against inner demonic tendencies.

Shambhala’s hidden location

Over many centuries, numerous explorers and seekers of spiritual wisdom have embarked on expeditions and quests in search of the mythical paradise of Shambhala, and while many have claimed to have been there, no one has yet provided any evidence of its existence or been able to pinpoint its physical location on a map, however most references place Shambhala in the mountainous regions of Eurasia.

Ancient Zhang Zhung texts identify Shambhala with the Sutlej Valley in Punjab or Himachal Pradesh, India. Mongolians identify Shambhala with certain valleys of southern Siberia. In Altai folklore, Mount Belukha is believed to be the gateway to Shambhala. Modern Buddhist scholars seem to conclude that Shambhala is located in the higher reaches of the Himalayas in what is now called the Dhauladhar Mountains around Mcleodganj.  Some legends say that the entrance to Shambhala is hidden inside a remote, abandoned monastery in Tibet, and guarded by beings known as the Shambhala Guardians.

SHAMBHALA -land of immortals

James Hilton wrote about this mystical city in 1933 in his book “Lost Horizon“. Hollywood and raised in the 1960 film production, “Shangri-la“. Even the famous author James Redfield wrote The Celestine Prophecy is also writing a book called “The Secret of Shambhala: In Search of the Eleven Insight.” The mystery of Shambhala is also considered as a source for the Kalachakra, which is the highest branch of mystical and esoteric in Tibet.

The legend of Shambhala has existed since thousands of years ago. We can find a record of this kingdom in ancient texts such as the Kalachakra and Zhang Zhung that even existed before Buddhism entered Tibet. The Bön scriptures speak of a closely related land called Olmolungring. Hindu texts such as Vishnu Purana  mention the village Shambhala as the birthplace of Kalki, the final incarnation of Vishnu who will usher in a new Golden Age (Satya Yuga).

Whatever its historical basis, Shambhala gradually came to be seen as a Buddhist Pure Land, a fabulous kingdom whose reality is visionary or spiritual as much as physical or geographic. It was in this form that the Shambhala myth reached the Western Europe and the Americas, where it influenced non-Buddhist as well as Buddhist spiritual seekers — and, to some extent, popular culture in general.

Shambhala word comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “place of peace” or “Place of silence“. This kingdom has a capital named Kalapa and ruled by the kings of the dynasty Kulika or Kalki. This is where living things are perfect and semi perfect meet and jointly guide the evolution of humanity. Only those who are pure in heart that can live in this place. There they will enjoy happiness and peace and will not even recognize the suffering.

It is said that in the kingdom, love and virtue reign. Injustice never happened. Its people have a very deep spiritual knowledge and culture are based on law, art and knowledge are far higher than ever achieved by the attainment of the outside world.

Many adventurers and explorers have been trying to find this mystical kingdom. According to them, maybe Shambhala located in the mountainous region of Eurasia, hidden from the outside world. Sebahagian else who does not believe that Shambhala find only a symbol, a liaison between the real world with a world that exists beyond. But, again sebahagian people believe that Shambhala is a real world.

According to Zhang Zhung ancient text, Shambhala is identical to the Sutlej Valley in Himachal Pradesh. While the nation Mongolia identified it with certain valleys of southern Siberia.

Information about this kingdom up to the first western civilization through a Portuguese Catholic clergyman named Estevao Cacella who heard this story from the locals. Then in 1833, a Hungarian scholar named Sandor Corrosion Csoma even provide the coordinates of Shambhala is believed to be between 45 ‘and 50’ north latitude.
Shambala Himalayan Kingdom

Interestingly, according to records of Alexandra David Neel who has spent most of his life in Tibet, Shambala was not only known in Tibet. Far in the north of Afghanistan, there is a small town called Balkh, an ancient town which is also known as the “mother of cities”. Legend of the modern Afghan state that after the conquest by the Muslims, the city of Balkh is often referred to as a “wax up” or in Persian known as the “Sham-i-Bala”. I do not know, we do not know for sure whether the city is related to Shambhala a mystery or not.

The legend of Shambhala then drew the attention of a follower of the esoteric and theosophy named Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947) . In curiosity, he explored the Gobi desert to the mountains of Altai from 1923 until 1928. This trip took 15 500 stones and crosses 35 highest mountain peaks in the world. But the tremendous effort it still can not find the kingdom.

Even the Nazis who are also highly related to the esoteric world of Shambhala search expedition ever sent in 1930, 1934 and 1938.However, none of them who managed to find it.
Edwin Bernbaum writes in “The Way of Shambhala”: “While the explorers approached the kingdom, their journey becomes increasingly difficult to see. One of the Tibetan priest wrote that this event was intended to keep Shambhala from the barbarians who intend to master it.”

What was written by Bernbaum is associated with a forecast of Shambhala. According to the prophecy, humanity will experience a degradation of ideology and humanity. Materialism will spread throughout the earth. When the “barbarians” are united under the command of a wicked king, then the fog that envelops the mountains of Shambhala will be lifted and the king’s army with terrible weapons to attack the city.

Then the king of Shambhala to-25 named Rudra Cakrin will lead his troops to fight the Barbarian forces. In that battle, the evil king and his troops successfully destroyed and mankind will be restored to the peace.

Some scholars such as Alex Berzin, using calculations from the Kalachakra Tantra, believed that these events will occur in the year 2424 AD.

For some, the fact that Shambhala has never been found has a very simple explanation – many believe that Shambhala lies on the very edge of physical reality, as a bridge connecting this world to one beyond it.

As culture moves east to west, the myth of Shambhala rise from the mists of time. I think, a yearning for kedamaianlah which has caused the human race trying to find this utopian kingdom. Perhaps we will never find Shambhala, but perhaps also we need not look too far.

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  1. Let us hope and pray that we may also join the Shambhala force in the future...