What is Shambhala? Understanding the Mysterious Kingdom of 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, meaning those who have achieved enlightenment. Accordingly, the mythical Buddhist kingdom of Shambhala is a place where love and wisdom reign and where people are immune to suffering, want or old age.
Answering the question “what is Shambhala?” is no easy feat. Shambhala is said to be the land of a thousand names. It has been called the Forbidden Land, the Land of White Waters, Land of Radiant Spirits, Land of Living Fire, Land of the Living Gods and even the Land of Wonders.
- Real World Locations, Where Myth Meets Reality
- The Hemis Monastery: Home of the Legends of Jesus and the Phantoms of the Himalayas
The Hindus call it Aryavartha (meaning “The Land of the Worthy Ones”); the Chinese know it as Hsi Tien , the Western Paradise of Hsi Wang Mu; and to the Russian Old Believers, it is known as Belovoyde. But throughout Asia, it is best known by its Sanskrit name, Shambhala, Shamballa, or Shangri-la.
Shambhala is described as a land of paradise, believed by some to be hidden within Himalayan mountains. ( Mac / Adobe Stock)
The Legend of the Mythical Land of Shambhala
The legend of Shambhala is said to date back thousands of years, and reference to the mythical land can be found in various ancient texts. The Bön scriptures speak of a closely related land called Olmolungring. Hindu texts such as Vishnu Purana mention Shambhala as the birth place of Kalki, the final incarnation of Vishnu who believers claim will usher in a new Golden Age. The Buddhist myth of Shambhala is an adaptation of the earlier Hindu myth .
However, the text in which Shambhala is first discussed extensively is the Kalachakra. The Kalachakra refers to a complex and advanced esoteric teaching and practice in Tibetan Buddhism . Shakyamuni Buddha is said to have taught the Kalachakra on request of King Suchandra of Shambhala.
As with many concepts in the Kalachakra, the idea of Shambhala is said to have outer, inner, and alternative meanings. This makes it complicated for the uninitiated to truly understand what Shambhala really is. The outer meaning understands Shambhala to exist as a physical place, although only individuals with the appropriate karma can reach it and experience it as such.
The inner and alternative meanings refer to subtler understandings of what Shambhala represents in terms of one's own body and mind (inner), and during meditative practice (alternative). These two types of symbolic explanations are generally passed on orally from teacher to student.
As the 14th Dalai Lama noted during the 1985 Kalachakra initiation in Bodhgaya, Shambhala is not an ordinary country:
Although those with special affiliation may actually be able to go there through their karmic connection, nevertheless it is not a physical place that we can actually find. We can only say that it is a pure land, a pure land in the human realm. And unless one has the merit and the actual karmic association, one cannot actually arrive there.
Buddhist depiction of Shambhala from Sera Monastery in Tibet. ( Public domain )
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 so-called “dark forces” and usher in a worldwide Golden Age.
Though the Kalachakra 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 Kalachakra is not advocating violence against people, but rather refers to the inner battle of the religious practitioner against inner demonic tendencies.
According to Buddhist traditions, Shambhala is located in the Himalayan Mountains. ( Josh / Adobe Stock)
Shambhala’s Hidden Location and its Merging With Foreign Beliefs
The legendary story of Shambhala has appealed to a bizarre range of westerners, who have combined it with foreign myths and beliefs to create a mish-mash of ideas which are often confused with the original. Over many centuries, numerous explorers and seekers of spiritual wisdom have embarked on quests in search of the mythical paradise of Shambhala.
Amongst the German Nazis , for example, certain high-ranking officials have been remembered for their beliefs in the occult which led them to send official expeditions to Tibet. Study Buddhism reported that some postwar studies on Nazism made dubious claims that these expeditions were supposedly sent to find “the Aryan forefathers in Shambhala and Agharti, hidden subterranean cities beneath the Himalayas.”
While many have reported being there, no one has yet provided any evidence of its existence or been able to pinpoint its physical location on a map. Most references, however, place Shambhala in the mountainous regions of Eurasia.
- Was Alexander the Great Responsible for Creating Shangri-La in the Hunza Valley in Pakistan?
- Five Legendary Lost Cities that have Never Been Found
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.
Meanwhile, 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.
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. While many disregard Shambhala as the fanciful subject of myth and legend, for others, a belief in Shambhala stirs an inner yearning to one day find this utopian kingdom.
Top image: The mythical city of Shambhala, as generated by AI technology. Source: EwaStudio / Adobe Stock
By Joanna Gillan
Berzin, A. No date. “Mistaken Foreign Myths about Shambhala” in Study Buddhism by Berzin Archives . Available at: https://studybuddhism.com/en/advanced-studies/history-culture/shambhala/mistaken-foreign-myths-about-shambhala
Berzin, A. No date. “The Nazi Connection with Shambhala and Tibet” in Study Buddhism by Berzin Archives . Available at: http://studybuddhism.com/en/advanced-studies/history-culture/shambhala/the-nazi-connection-with-shambhala-and-tibet
New World Encyclopedia. 6 October 2022. “Shambhala” in New World Encyclopedia . Available at: https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Shambhala
No name. 24 December 2020. “Shambhala - The Magic Kingdom” in International Kalachakra Network . Available at: https://www.kalachakranet.org/kalachakra_tantra_shambhala.html
Schwarz, R. 18 January 2013. “Agharta and the Golden City of Shambhala” in Stranger Dimensions . Available at: https://www.strangerdimensions.com/2013/01/18/agharta-and-the-golden-city-of-shambhala/
Szczepanski, K. 23 February 2019. “Where Is Shambhala?” in ThoughtCo. Available at: https://www.thoughtco.com/where-is-shambhala-195407
Interesting how certain topics got the lurkers commenting... Makes me wonder..
But either a hidden city in sime forgotten crack in the himalayas, or its inside the earth, noone knows the moho or what it does.. any assumption that what is presented as fact actually is the best guess n opinion . I root for hollow earth.. either massive underground caverns, or a literal dyson sphere situation, with a 4th density energy dump providing the route for chemical synthesis, the moho actually being gravity machines (massive heat generation?)... But again... Who really can say they know??
infinitesimal waveparticles comprise what we call home the earth
manipulatable by thought ability supressed in humans since birth
You work on Shambhala has been copied in India by Arun Bhagwati. The book is on sale on Amazon. Check it out
"The one who is looking for Shambala has to look inside himself. For people Shambala means first of all pure knowledge which comes from another side of consciousness and opens up to any human who works over himself, over purity of his thoughts and keeps domination of agathodemon and Love to God… So don’t look it in the external world ... You just have to look inside of yourself and to find out who you are in fact and why you came to this world.” These lines are from the great book Sensei of Shambala http://books.allatra.org/en#sensei
So according to you .. Muhammad (Pbuh) Prophesized as Narashangsa,..
Then Hindus should start make IDOLs for Muhammad & Allah, & start to worship...... LOL
Muhammad (Pbuh) Prophesized as Narashangsa.
The word ‘Narashangsa’ is the combination of ‘Nar’ and ‘Aashangsa’ – Nar – means man and ‘Aashangsa’ means ‘praised’, therefore ‘Narashangsa’ means ‘the praised man’.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is mentioned as ‘Narashangsa’ in the Hindu scriptures in several places including:
Rigveda Book 1 hymn 13 verse 3
Rigveda Book 1 hymn 18 verse 9
Rigveda Book 1 hymn 106 verse 4
Rigveda Book 1 hymn 142 verse 3
Rigveda Book 2 hymn 3 verse 2
Rigveda Book 3 hymn 29 verse 11
Rigveda Book 5 hymn 5 verse 2
Rigveda Book 7 hymn 2 verse 2
Rigveda Book 10 hymn 64 verse 3
Rigveda Book 10 hymn 182 verse 2
Samveda Uttararchik mantra 1349
Yajurved chapter 29 verse 27
Yajurved Book 1 chapter 6 verse 4
Yajurved Book 1 chapter 7 verse 4
Yajurved chapter 20 verse 37
Yajurved chapter 20 verse 57
Yajurved chapter 21 verse 31
Yajurved chapter 21 verse 55
Yajurved chapter 28 verse 2
Yajurved chapter 28 verse 19
Yajurved chapter 28 verse 42
j. Kalki Avatar
It is mentioned in Bhagvata Purana Khand 12 Adhyay 2 shlokas 18-20:
“It is in the house of Vishnuyash, the noble soul Brahmana chief of the village called sambhala that Lord Kalki will be incarnated”.
“The Lord of the universe, endowed with eight spiritual powers and excellence was unsurpassed in splendour and glory. Riding on a fleet horse given to him by angels, and with a sword in his hand, the saviour of the world will subdue all the miscreants”.
It is mentioned in Bhagwat Purana Khand 1 Adhyay 3 Shloka 25:
“Then in the twilight of the Kali age, when kings will be as good as robbers, this protector of the world will be born of Vishnuyasa under the name Kalki“. The description of the Kalki Avatar i.e. the final Avatar is given in the verses Kalki Purana chapter 2 verses 4, 5, 7, 11 & 15.
1. Mother’s name Sumati i.e. Aaminah
The name of his mother will be Sumati (K.P.2: 4 & 11), which means gentle and thoughtful, Prophet Muhammad’s mother’s name was Aaminah, which means peaceful and gentle.
2. Father’s name Vishnuyash i.e. Abdullah.
His father’s name will be ‘Vishnuyash’ which means ‘worshipper of Vishnu’ i.e. ‘worshipper of God’. Muhammad’s father’s name was Abdullah which means ‘obedient worshipper of Allah i.e. God’.
3. Born in Sambhala i.e. Makkah
He will be born in a village called ‘Sambhala’ which means house of peace and security. Makkah is known as Darul Aman, which means house of peace and security.
4. Born in house of Chief Priest.
He will be born in the house of chief of the village Sambhala. Muhammad (pbuh) was born in the house of the chief of the Kaaba.
5. Born on the 12th day of Madhav i.e. Rabi-ul-Awwal.
It is prophesied that Kalki Avtar will be born on the 12th day of the bright (first) half of the month of Madhav. It is a historical fact Muhammad (pbuh) was born on the 12th day of the bright half of the month of Rabi-ul-Awwal.
6. He will be the Antim or final Avatar
He has been described as the ‘Antim’ i.e. ‘the last and final’ of all the Avatars. The Qur’an also mentions:
Muhammad is not
The Father of any
Of your men, but (he is)
The Messenger of Allah,
And the seal (the last and final) of the Prophets,
And Allah has full knowledge
Of all things
(Al Qur’an 33:40)
Thus the Qur’an states that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the Seal, i.e. last and final Prophet of Allah.
7. Will receive knowledge on the mountain from the Lord and then go towards North and come back.
Kalki Avatar will go to the mountains and receive knowledge from Parsuram, then go towards the north and come back. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did go to Jable-Noor i.e. the Mountain of Light, where he received the first Revelation from Archangel Gabriel. Later he went north to Madeenah and later made a victorious return to Makkah.
8. He will have the most graceful personality.
Kalki Avatar will have unparalleled grace. Qur’an mentions in Surah Al-Qalam chapter 68 verse 4:
And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character.
9. Endowed with eight special qualities
Kalki Avatar will be endowed with eight special qualities. These qualities are wisdom, respectable lineage, self-control, revealed knowledge, valour, measured speech, utmost charity and gratitude. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had all these eight special qualities.
a) Wisdom – He was very wise. It is no wonder that several people approached him for guidance, even before he claimed to be a prophet.
b) Respectable lineage – He belonged to the noble tribe of Quraysh who were the caretakers of the sacred Kaaba.
c) Self-control – He was the best example of self-control. From history, we learn that his enemies on many occasions tried to instigate him. However, he was always patient and responded wisely.
d) Revealed knowledge – Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) received the last and final revelation of God, which is the Glorious Qur’an through Archangel Gabriel.
e) Valour – Muhammad (pbuh) possessed great physical strength and courage. He took active part in the battles against his enemies and most of such battles were fought in self-defence against aggression by the other party.
f) Measured speech – Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) spoke with emphasis and deliberation that people could not forget what he said. In his intercourse with others he would sit silent among his companions for long time but when he spoke his speech was eloquent and full of meaning and advise.
g) Utmost charity – Muhammad (pbuh) was very charitable and never disappointed anyone who asked for help even in situations when he himself was in financial difficulties. Many poor people lived only on his generosity.
h) Gratefulness – Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was known for his gratefulness He showed immense gratitude to the Ansaars i.e. the helpers from the city of Madeenah.
10. Teacher of the World.
The Kalki Avatar will be the saviour of the world i.e. he will guide and teach the world. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not only guide and save the Arabs but the whole humankind. The Qur’an mentions:
We have not sent thee
But as a universal Messenger
To men, giving them
Glad tidings, and warning them
(Against sin), but most men
(Al Qur’an 34:28)
11. Shiva will present a steed to Kalki avatar.
It is prophesied that Shiva will present an extraordinary steed to the Kalki Avatar. Muhammad (pbuh) received a steed from Almighty God, which was known as ‘Buraq’ and whose speed transcended.
12. He will ride a horse and carry a sword.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) received a heavenly steed from Almighty God called ‘Buraq’ on which he made his heavenly journey known as ‘Miraaj’ or the ‘Ascension to the heavens’.
Moreover, we also learn from the history of the Prophet that he himself took part in battles, most of which were fought in self-defence, and on many such occasions, he rode a horse and carried a sword in his hand.
13. He will subdue the wicked
It is mentioned that Kalki Avatar will subdue the wicked. It was prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who purified (transformed) bandits and miscreants and established them on the path of truth. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) came at a time, which was known as ‘Yaumul-Jahiliyah’, which means the “age or era of ignorance”. People indulged in various types of vices. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) brought them from darkness to light.
14. He will overpower the Devil with four companions
It is prophesied that Kalki Avatar, with four of his companions, will disarm Kali i.e. the devil. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), with his four most trusted companions, fought against the mischief and the evil of the devil. These four companions were Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali (may Allah be pleased with them all). These four companions later became the first four Khalifas and spread the religion of Islam. In Islamic parlance these four are referred to as ‘the rightly guided Caliphs’.
15. He will be assisted by angels.
The Kalki Avatar will be assisted by angels in the battlefield. In the battle of Badr, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was assisted by angels who descended from the heavens. This is also mentioned in the Qur’an in:
Surah Ale- Imran chapter 3 verse 123-125
Surah Al- Anfal chapter 8 verses 8 & 9
In the subsequent articles in the present series, we shall InshaAllah study the similarities between the concept of life after death, fate & destiny, worship and other teachings in Islam and in Hinduism.
And all praises are for the One and Only God and Creator Allah, who alone is worthy of devotion, complete submission and worship.