The Way to Shambhala…

The Way to ShambhalaThe Way to Shambhala…
By Edwin Bernbaum

Published by Anchor Book/Doubleday, New York 1980

This book is a classic for anyone interested in adventure, mythology and spiritual development. Written by Edwin Bernbaum who while teaching in the Peace Corps in Nepal in the mid-late seventies studied Tibetan religion, mythology and art and became interested in Shambhala – a mythical kingdom somewhere beyond the snow mountains north of the Himalayas.

“For centuries the people of Tibet and Mongolia have believed in the existence of Shambhala where a line of enlightened kings is said to be guarding the highest wisdom for a time when all spiritual values in the world outside will be lost in war and destruction. Then, according to prophecy, a great king will come out of this sanctuary to defeat the forces of evil and establish a golden age.

“Drawing on Tibetan and Sanskrit texts, interviews with lamas in Nepal and India, and his own experiences in the Himalayas, Edwin Bernbaum gives a detailed account of this fascination tradition, examining its basis in religion and history and its connection to the archetypal myths that have influenced both Eastern and Western cultures. As he explores the myth of Shambhala, showing how it symbolises an inner, spiritual journey to enlightenment, Bernbaum leads the reader through the actual terrain of the Himalayas, the mist-filled valleys and snow-covered peaks that have helped to inspire the idea of a mysterious sanctuary hidden in the remote mountains of Central Asia.

When filming in the Himis Monastery in Ladakh in the mid eighties we had the opportunity to visit the head lama. After speaking quietly with him and an interpreter for an hour he asked if we had any questions. I asked him, “where is Shambhala?” He waved his hands in a northward direction and indicated it was beyond the Himalayas, somewhere in the Gobi Desert region.

Monastery in the Himalayas by Garry Weare
Monastery in the Himalayas by Garry Weare

“Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges –
Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting to be found. Go!”
Rudyard Kipling

“Behind the ice walls of the Himalayas lie the empty deserts and remote mountains of Cental Asia. There, blown clear of habitation by the harsh winds of high altitude, the plateau of Tibet extends north over thousands of square miles up to the Kunluns, a range of unexplored peaks longer than the Himalayas and nearly as high. Beyond its little known valleys are two of the most barren deserts in the world; the Taklan Makan and the Gobi. Sparsely populated and cut off by geographical and political barriers, this vast region remains the most mysterious part of Asia, an empty immensity in which almost anything could be lost and waiting to be found.”
Edwin Bernbaum

Although there are differing opinions as to where Shambhala actually is, the lamas all agree that it is a place of majestic beauty. They are more specific about the kingdom itself and give a remarkably clear and detailed picture of it. According to their descriptions, a great ring of snow mountains glistening with ice completely surrounds Shambhala and keeps out all those not fit to enter. The texts imply that one can cross the snow mountains only by flying over them, but the lamas point out that this must be done through spiritual powers and not by material means.

The inhabitants of the kingdom live in peace and harmony, free of sickness and hunger. They all have a healthy appearance, with beautiful features, and wear graceful robes of white cloth. They speak a sacred language and all have great wealth but never have to use it. Tibetans have, in fact, taken the Sanskrit name Shambhala to mean “the source of happiness.”

Many Tibetans insist on the necessity of purifying the mind in order to go to Shambhala. Most forms of meditation used for this purpose tend to cut off, or silence, the habitual thoughts and preconceptions that block the kind of mystic vision, the vision that may actually penetrate into other worlds as solid and as concrete as ours. By clarifying his mind in this way, ridding himself of the mental conditioning that limits his awareness, the traveller to Shambhala may be gaining the ability to see into the fourth dimension and take an actual journey through a strange, but real, landscape of fantastic deserts and mountains that lie parallel to the ones we find on maps of Central Asia.

Spectacular Beauty, Tibet

If the high lamas of Tibet consider this majestic paradise to be symbolic then a powerful symbol like Shambhala can do more than stand for some hidden truth or aspect of reality; it can also act as a window that opens up a view of something beyond itself.

Maybe the “hidden valley” exists in the inner consciousness of the mind, reached only through the practise of disciplined meditation. According to one high priest, reaching Shambhala mentally means that one has reached the innermost mind locked in the heart centre. According to prophecy, the future king of Shambhala will come not only to deliver the world from the external tyranny, but also to liberate its inhabitants from the internal bondage of their own delusions. The main purpose of the final battle and the golden age is to bring about the conditions and teachings needed to attain enlightenment, to help people awaken the innermost mind and know the true nature of reality.

The prophecy implies that the solution of the world’s problems will come from an inner source hidden within each of us. Some of these myths exert a considerable influence on our lives, affecting not only what happens to us as individuals, but also what happens to society and the course of history itself…..the modern myth of progress…..the conviction that science and industry will transform the earth into a material paradise and establish a golden age of prosperity for all. This conviction lies behind much of the push for social reform and economic development that now determines the policies, as well as the fate, of governments throughout the world, regardless of their particular ideology. The myth of progress seems in fact, to have led us into the degenerate period of materialism that is supposed to precede the golden age of Shambhala.

We have come to this quandary in large part because we have lost sight of the inner side of the myth of progress. In striving to create an earthly paradise, we have overlooked the needs and nature of those who must live in it. A fascination with the problem of ever increasing material prosperity has led us to develop a one sided view of the myth that emphasises external progress at the expense of inner development…

The Final Gate to Journey

We need to recover a balance and perspective that will enable us to use, rather than be used by, the power of the myth of progress. The kind of insights we have gleaned from the Tibetan myth of Shambhala may be able to help us do this by redirecting our attention toward the inner meaning of the myths that shape our lives. We may even be able to use the myths of progress itself as a symbol to awaken the deeper mind and liberate ourselves from the bondage of our illusions.

Ultimately, however, each one of us needs to find and seek his own equivalent of Shambhala, that place, thing, person, or even idea that has the power to inspire us to take the inner journey to greater freedom and awareness. The myth of Shambhala is meant to encourage us to find a form of our own that reveals, rather than replaces, the essence of the kingdom itself.

In seeking the essence of Shambhala through whichever form we find to be ours, we come to realise that it lies hidden right here in the world around us. This realisation opens us to a growing sense of the sacred in everything we see. People and things that we had regarded with scorn or indifference becomes sources of wonder and awe. As we become aware of the sacred nature of all that surrounds us, we cease to see people and things to be abused and exploited. We come, instead, to cherish them for what they are, and to treat them with the utmost care and respect. If we can awaken this sense of the sacred in the world around us, then we may have a chance of bringing about the golden age of so many myths and dreams.

Blue Mountains, Tibet

Only exaltation of spirit
Enables one to cross the radiant bridge
Let each one who is illumined by spirit
Walk boldly into the temple

This entry was posted in Books. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to The Way to Shambhala…

  1. cosmicray says:

    Again,Thankyou Albe, such words of wisdom,
    leading us to discover the Self within and outside,
    To see the Cosmos as an example of ITs work and
    to give Thanx for the Prajna Truth bestowed upon us!
    ‘Walk boldly into the temple of the heart”
    Lots of Love, Razen

  2. Sue Bloom says:

    I have just purchased the Jan Feb 2012 edition of Australian Geographic to find a rare treat.
    Long time friend, intrepid cyclist and Australian Geographic sponsored adventurer, Dave Turner, gives the highlights of his epic 14 month bicycle journey of 15000km of the Himalaya in search of the mythical kingdom of Shambhala.
    His journey passed through Kunmin, Weixi, Lijang, Daocheng, Lijang, Deqin, Pasighat, Tuting, Itanagar, Se La Pass, Phuentsoling, Thimphu, Kalimpong, Gangtok, Kathmandu, Thorung La, Rohru, Sang La, Rampur, Hansi, Manali Shingo La Zangla Palace and ending in Leh.
    A great read with wonderful photos.
    If you are interested in further follow up with Dave, please send your contact details and I will pass them on to him.
    Sue
    0414 739 462

  3. Kris Dodson says:

    Thank you for this. This book is an old favorite which will forever make you reconsider the significance of elements which one faces on their journey.

  4. hanuman singh says:

    i am very interesting in to visit shamabala and i think to meet monks in himalayas

  5. hanuman singh says:

    i want the book named ” the way to shamabala “

  6. Indra says:

    Yes I feel like to joint the journey to Shambhala. Any info how to get there

  7. S.BHARATHI says:

    Wonderful article. It is possible to meet monks or rishis in Shambala. Any way to reach this place. Somebody else can answer me.

  8. IAM VERY DESIRE TO VISIT SHAMBALA WHICH IS HOLY AND PURIFACTION OF HUMAN BEING, EVEN IT IS VERY HARD TO REACH SHAMBALA, BUT MY VOILITION TELLS TO REACH SHAMBALA IN UNITE WITH SUPREME GOD, THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE IN OUTER IS ARBITRAL , BUT THE GREATER UNIVERSE IS IN SHAMBALA, SO THE PEOPLE IN UN IVERSE SHALL MAINTAIN UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD NESS AND REACH TO UNITE IN SHAMBALA

  9. Albe says:

    hallo ujjaneni, edward beaubam author of “the way to shambhala” suggests, after much exploration that shambhala is right where you are that it’s not necessary to trudge through the himalayas or the gobi desert to find this peaceful place, although i’m not sure you’ll find it in woolworths. if interested it’s a wonderful book and well worth the read.

  10. Shyam says:

    Shambhala is not about escaping from reality. Shambhala is within yourself. We should realize that THE MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT are three different things, and also learn to control them individually. One who does that, can achieve highest level of bliss, harmony and peace. :)

  11. Shyam says:

    Shambhala is not about escaping reality. Shambhala is making a way for peace, harmony and bliss within yourself with deep level of meditation and spirtuality. We have to realize that THE MIND, THE BODY and THE SPIRIT are three different things, and nurture them individually. Shambhala is all around you :)

  12. venugopal says:

    how to reach to shambala and how to find shambala place in himalayas

  13. padma.s says:

    i heard about this place from my friend and read about it.its simply awesome and unimaginable. with the grace of the lord and sadguruji iwant to explore this inner jouney and experience shambaala. jai shambo

  14. Pushap says:

    blue print is going to be ready soon ….. my extensive research towards Shambala (kalpa) will reward. I think i need a team.

  15. janaiah thagula says:

    i am very interesting in to visit shamabala and i think to meet monks in himalayas

  16. janaiah thagula says:

    please any information in way to shambala send my email

  17. Maryse Locke says:

    Once I have done a courageous and generous action for protecting a man against the will of a group of manipulative & aggressive individuals with conscience poverty, without any calculation at the back of anyone from my part, only with pure purpose, pure intention, pure love. I only listened to my heart and reacted to the injustice and harm done to this man, and even if I could lose my reputation, I protected him.

    Well! The surprise has been the treat I have received from my Spirit guides few hours after! They took me in the fourth dimension in some long galleries of about 3 meters high that have been dug in the ground by men long long eons ago, situated in a very high and cold mountain, probably in another Himalaya that exists in the fourth dimension. I have been received by a Tibetan monk wearing a reddish cloth, aged about 60 years old who was a guardian. The place was silent, and was having many thousands of small alcoves dug directly in the walls of the galleries. Each alcove was containing 2 or 3 beautiful carved ruby crystals; they had two sizes, about 30 cms and 50 cms high; they all had the same shape of a long cartridge vase with a sharp cover . The strange phenomenon was that the carving was taking place automatically and very very slowly, i.e. as soon as a generous action was done by a Soul living somewhere in the universes. I understood the direct link of a ruby crystal with a Soul when I saw the Tibetan guardian walking toward a medium size ruby crystal (30 cms) ; and in front of me he turned it with his both hands and said with a gentle voice of appreciation : “Good Girl!” . I looked around me. There were some ruby crystals that were really ancient (50 cms), with many ruby branches that have grown on the main crystal body. In the gallerie where I was, there was an opening like a window, with a really ancient ruby crystal set there; during the eons, its branches have slowly developed out of the opening in the cold atmosphere and the snow. I looked from that opening and saw the snow outside, and also realised that we were almost at the summit of a very cold high mountain, with other mountains around.

  18. Madhavi says:

    I want to visit this place any one else there to visit

  19. Madhavi says:

    I WANT TO VISIT SHAMBALA ANYONE THERE TO JOIN ME ANYONE WHO CAN GUIDE ME

  20. uday says:

    How reach shambhala in which way we will travel

  21. Shankar says:

    Hi,This Is Shankar… I would like to join Shambhala Journey.. Please let me know how to Reach That Beautiful Kingdom…Shankar 9611779824

  22. ravikiran says:

    Madam iam ravikiran from andhrapradesh iam also very interested to visit shambala if u wanna go plz inform to me

  23. Arvind ayaz says:

    I’m getting ready to travel in search of shambhala kingdom. If Hitler could reach and see shambhala. Why we can’t see it. These summer I’m planning to go. But some friends who are interested in adventuring.

  24. Arvind ayaz says:

    These april summer I’m moving to shambhala. I got all the information from my grandma she given be a book of ” way to shambhala “. After her death I trveld Kashi alone for to make my grandma soul happy . I tried to go shambhala at that time. But many monks and Nepal people stopped me to go there. At that time my age is just 16years. But now I’m 24. I collected more information about shambhala. As that it’s locat between k2 mountain and Gobi dessert. K2 mountain is dangerous mountain and it’s a magnetic mountain to travel from India we have to cross k2. Gobi dessert is from north part of China that has full of hot winds. Each every step is adventures and mysterious. I need some friends how has grip on geography and history. If you want to go shambhala you should be straight forward and be honest that what we do! If anyone wants to travel with me please send mail to my mail I’d ahmedayaz1223@gmail.com

  25. Dawn says:

    I had a dream of being in a craft with other beings, all were very happy. I was in what seemed to be the cockpit and there were a few around me in the cockpit while everyone else was towards the back of me but there was a partition separating the cockpit area from the rest of the craft. There were windows all around and outside the windows I saw three beautiful mountains and below was a lush green valley. The three mountains where different from each other and one mountain peak appeared cut off. The beauty of this place caused me to ask where we were and I was simply told, “In the EAST”. When I awoke from the dream I immediately started searching on Google for any image that resembled the three snow covered peaks and then I came upon this place known as Shambhala.

  26. Kiran says:

    I want to go that place. I know everything about sambhala

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *