The story about Shangri La actually is a modern fairytale which has been told by English writer James Hilton in his book “The lost horizon”. The story is being set in the time between two world wars, in the Tibetan monastery in the lost valley of Shangri La which has been cut out of the rest of the world. All the great wisdom was there, in the minds of people who gathered around.
The Hiltons story is touching the bottom line. In the 20th century this was very popular book, that the retreating of American president in Camp David was called for some time Shangri La. Some went even further. For example, Hitler has sent a scientifically expedition in 1939 to Himalayas, in hope to find the lost super race of people, who have similar genetic resemblance as Germans. That project remained remembered as one of the biggest error in the history of science.
By all means “The lost horizon” was at that time the real story, at time when the west civilization was on the road to self-destruction, as Carl G. Jung said: “smell of soot was felt in the air”. That’s why the thought of lost paradise, far away from eyes of public was so irresistible. Another thing also influenced to relive this myth. Tibet in the middle of 30’s was the real personification of incomprehensible and Eastern magic, one of the lat untouched and unmarked places on Earth, the real forbidden land. The chosen place even today is very interesting, since all the things which happened to Tibet after the book was published, when China has occupied Tibet and the Cultural Revolution in the 60’s.
In this novel “The lost horizon”, the group of western tourists are saving themselves with a plane from the raging war and chaos in the world, by landing in the valley of the biggest mountains in the world. Even if the valley is being made up the writer is decrypting it in details. He is telling us about the monastery whose Capuchin lama is a twenty years old man. The monastery has al the cultural fortunes in the world and theirs habitants are against the violence and materialism. The great building is situated in the valet of the big white mountain, the most beautiful in the world. Burt there must have been an older story about some kind of lost paradise on which Hilton has based his story. Did the real Shangri La ever exist? Or maybe the better question would be, why the stories about paradise occupies human mind?
The story about the lost kingdom in Himalaya has for the first time draw the attention of some people 4 centuries ago. And, as all the stories which are saying about the lost treasure, have a lost map, which was found and then lost again. It was a part of autobiography of a missioner who was on the court of Mogul king Abu Ul Fata Jelaludin Akbar, one of the biggest Indian rulers. He is best known in history as one who tried to unite different religions and to cancel slavery.
On his court lived in unity and in respect all the religions and all the people from all over the kingdom, as well as the missioners from the west.
One Jesuit priest collected all the miraculous stories which he had heard on Akbars court, and after that he had made a drawing. On his map the space of Tibet was represented as a big blank space, except one place which carried a name Manasarvovar lacus- the lake Manasa Sarovar, and there was writing: here live Christians. This priest was old and he was not able to go across the big mountains in search for Christians, but much younger priest Antonio Andrade was so charmed by this story and decided to make his move and cross the mountains. Armed with faith and a little map he took of from Akbars castle and at the beginning on the mountain he was passing over some monks who were praying, but after a while the place became unpleasant. Some bad things started to happen and he was starting to curse himself and the mountains. But some kind of a miracle has happened to him. He managed to find a very wealthy kingdom even if there were no Christians as the map was saying. His journey was found in Calcutta in 19th century, and in 1926 was published as “Finding Tibet”. The resemblance of “The lost horizon” and this book is more than obvious.
The thought about lost kingdom on Himalaya was well known even in Buddhist stories, and there is a possibility that this story was mentioned on Akbars court. Name “Shambala” has firs appeared in text known as “kalachakra tantra” or “The weal of time which is teaching”. The teaching kalachakra belongs to the highest class of Buddhist teaching, and the followers can reach the lighting only in several years not as the practice is several decades. The place Shambala is a mystic and not a geographic place, but getting there is represented as a travel across the mountains that look like lotus flowers.
The story about Shangri La is a modern story with a powerful lure for the world as we know it today. One of stories is about evermore misunderstanding the East and its mysticism and their stories which are rising spirituality and freedom of the mind and liberating from material goods and dogmas. It is true that we live in time when we think that bad things are going to brake us, but the things are the same from as well as the mankind exists. The hope would not exist without the fear.
The story about Shangri La is a masterpiece in telling stories. As the times are tougher and the treat is bigger, the need for believing in better tomorrow and next day is bigger. The sad thing is that Shangri La exists only in our imagination. And imagination can sometimes be so strong.
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