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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Shamballa

(ŚAMBHALA). A legendary place in central Asia, usually written “Shamballa,” where great spiritual adepts are said to reside. In the PURUŚAS, it is the place where the next KALKI-AVATĀR will come from. Tibetan Buddhist tradition points to Shamballa as the source of their revered Kālachakra system of tantra yoga. In the pre-Buddhist Bon religion which exists to this day, tradition states that Shamballa is part of the Olmolungring country, which is depicted in a square diagram divided into three regions, the center most region of which is Mt. Meru.

Theosophical literature speaks of Shamballa as the abode of the great hierarchy of adepts. In The Secret Doctrine, Helena P. BLAVATSKY says it is located in the Gobi Desert. It was, she said, “once a fair island in the inland Sea of the Tibetan plateau, now as fair a land, an oasis surrounded by barren deserts and salt lakes” (CW IV:263). She also wrote:

The fair Island is no more, but the country where it once bloomed remains there still, and the spot is well known to some of the “great teachers of the snowy mountains,” however much convulsed and changed its topography by the awful cataclysm. Every seventh year, these teachers are believed to assemble in Shamballa, the “happy land.” According to the general belief it is situated in the North-West of Tibet. Some place it within the unexplored central regions, inaccessible even to the fearless nomadic tribes; others hem it in between the range of the Gangdisri Mountains and the northern edge of the Gobi Desert, South and North, and the more populated regions of Kunduz and Kashmir, of the Gya-Pheling (British India), and China, West and East, which affords to the curious mind a pretty large latitude to locate it in. Others still place it between Namur-Nor and the Kuen-Lun Mountains but one and all firmly believe in Shamballa, and speak of it as a fertile, fairylike land, once an island, now an oasis of incomparable beauty, the place of meeting of the inheritors of the esoteric wisdom of the godlike inhabitants of the legendary Island.” (CW III:421-2)

The legend was given greater credibility when Nicholas Roerich undertook an expedition in Central Asia from 1923-26 from the Gobi Desert to the Altai Mountain Range, where he wrote of events that were said to be indicative of the real existence of Shamballa.

V.H.C.

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