Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the Heart

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the H

Postby admin » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:04 am

Six: Red Prophecy on the March: Mongolia to Tibet

Two kinds of medicinal herbs grow on the mountains there. One, called tujanaya, is very sweet and has sharp thorns, leaves like the teeth of a battleax, and red flowers the color of sunset. It always grows on rocks that face toward the south.

-- Taranatha, description of a route to Shambhala

In concealment lies a great part of our strength. For this reason we must cover ourselves in the name of another society. Do you realize sufficiently what it means to rule -- to rule in a secret society? Not only over the more important of the populace, but over the best men, over men of all races, nations and religions.

-- Adam Weishaupt, founder of the Illuminati, 1770s

On October 29, 1920, in Irkutsk, Southern Siberia, in a thick cloud of cheap tobacco smoke in a spacious downtown house, a group of young people, mostly former students in their twenties, was making a revolution. The house, recently confiscated from a rich lady merchant, accommodated the headquarters of the Siberian branch of the Bolshevik Party, which set aside a few rooms for its Eastern Secretariat, a bureaucratic structure affiliated with Comintern. The secretariat was a motley crowd of Jewish, native Siberian, and Russian revolutionaries working to incite the Asian masses to revolt against colonial oppression and then to turn them toward Communism.

For the whole day, the group had been struggling to figure out how to bring Communism to Mongolia. They wanted to make sure the Mongol nomads themselves took an active part in the enterprise, knowing all too well they could not just impose their secular ideology on that country. Fortunately, there was a good opportunity to rally the nomads around the Bolshevik cause. Mongolia was occupied by Chinese troops, and the runaway White general Roman von Ungern-Sternberg threatened an invasion. So first the revolutionaries would help the nomads liberate Mongolia. Then they would link their cause to the religion of Buddha to reach out to illiterate shepherds and lamas, and bring this backward country into the golden age of Communism.

Like many other revolutionaries, those present liked to talk, dreaming aloud about how they would build the commonwealth of free toilers of the Orient. The talks went on and on; it was getting dark, and they could not come to a conclusion of what would be a better option: to storm into Mongolia right away before Ungern took it over or to wait and see when the nomads were ripe for a revolt.

Figure 6.1. Sergei Borisov, head of the Mongol-Tibetan Section of Comintern. In 1925, disguised as a Tibetan Buddhist monk, he ventured into Tibet, trying to woo the thirteenth Dalai Lama to Red Russia's side.  

It was time to wrap up the debates. Naum Burtman, a dropout student who had just returned from a reconnaissance trip to Mongolia and was chairing the meeting, had to interrupt one speaker after another. He was nervously playing with an empty pistol, tossing it like a top. At least everybody agreed that the liberation of the country should be done with as much Mongol involvement as possible. That was the key to success. The most flamboyant speaker, who dominated the podium, was Sergei Borisov, a leader of the secretariat's Mongol-Tibetan Section. This intelligent tough-looking man with Asiatic features was the son of a famous Christian missionary priest, Stephan Borisov. He had come from the Altai, land of the Oirot, to study at Irkutsk Teachers College. Yet, like many of his comrades, he quickly caught the revolutionary fever and dropped out, devoting his life to bringing paradise on earth to the common people. Now, dressed in a workingman's blouse, Borisov, whose incipient baldness made him look older than his peers, insisted that they should immediately send Red Army troops to storm Mongolia before the counterrevolutionary Ungern snatched it.

Finally, around midnight, Burtman stepped in: "I ask all present to ask questions. Any questions? No questions. Do we consider it necessary to send the troops? Everybody agrees with the stipulation. Who is against it? Nobody. I suggest that Comrade Borisov, who came up with this idea in the first place, outline clearly the best way to bring the troops to Mongolia." Borisov explained that the invasion was to be presented as an indigenous Mongolian project and that the Mongols were to be an essential part. To accomplish this goal, the secretariat agreed to set up a Mongolian autonomous government and to mute for a while all talk about Communism, focusing instead on national liberation. Burtman again stepped in and finalized the debate in a high-pitched voice: "Thus, we all agree it is necessary to establish a provisional government from influential Mongols even though they are nationalists." [1]

Bolshevik Plans for Red Mongolia

In 1920 when the Reds were freely advancing through Siberia, finishing off pockets of the crumbling White resistance, the revolutionary frenzy among the Bolsheviks was so high that they were ready to roll immediately beyond Russian borders to liberate all Oriental people. The Eastern Secretariat set up by Boris Shumatsky and his Bolshevik brethren was the product of this revolutionary idealism. Soon this impromptu project of Siberian Bolsheviks was merged with Comintern and began to receive orders from Moscow. Four sections established within the new bureaucratic structure-Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Mongol- Tibetan -- were entrusted with igniting revolutionary fires in their respective regions.

The guidelines of the Mongol- Tibetan Section were clear: radicalizing the Mongol-Tibetan masses, extending the influence of Soviet Russia on those masses, and involving them in the struggle in Asia with world imperialism. Yet the same guidelines prescribed that the section's agents take into consideration cultures and traditions of the area. Because social and class sentiments were still dormant in these remote areas, Communism was not an immediate item on the Bolshevik agenda; Comintern agents were instructed to play on nationalism. The first task was hijacking national liberation movements to help oppressed nationalities win their freedom, to educate them, and to build up their industries. Only then would it be possible to turn the populace toward Communism.

The short-term goal for Mongolia was to "master ideologically the national movement of the Mongol popular masses, safeguarding and cleansing it of harmful layers that might shadow its social side." Muting their Communist zeal and restricting themselves to the national liberation of the Mongols from the Chinese and White Russians, Comintern agents were not to antagonize Mongol princes and especially lamas. Only when the country was free would Bolshevik fellow travelers step in and empower themselves by rallying common people and simultaneously phasing out princes and rich lamas. In the meantime, agents of the Mongol-Tibetan Section were to travel all over Mongolia and Tibet, educating people about the revolutionary prophecy from the north, building the network of Com intern cells, and recruiting new adepts. [2]

Elbek-Dorji Rinchino and Borisov, who ran this section, were socialists, but first of all they were ardent nationalists who dreamed about the liberation of their own people. When they realized that the Reds were winning and were promising self-determination for indigenous people, they cast their lot with the Bolsheviks and evolved from loyal fellow travelers into full-fledged revolutionaries. Rinchino, a Buryat intellectual with a law degree from St. Petersburg University, dreamed of uniting the Buryat and Mongols, who spoke similar languages and shared a similar culture, into a vast pan-Mongol socialist republic that would be a beacon for all Buddhists. In fact, he was the one who had created the Mongol-Tibetan Section, bringing along his friend Borisov. Rinchino would become the first Red dictator of Mongolia, and Borisov, who joined the Bolshevik Party in 1920, became deputy chair of the Eastern Section of Chicherin's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs.

The third leading member of the section, and the only one with hands-on knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism, was Choibalsan, deputy chair of the section and the only leading Mongol in Com intern at that time. As someone who knew how to read and write Mongol and could also speak Russian, this plump twenty-five-year-old was an excellent middleman and a great asset to the Bolshevik cause. Along with his partner Sukhe-Bator, Choibalsan was responsible for propaganda and publishing and was working closely with Rinchino and Borisov to recruit nomads to Red Russia's side.

Choibalsan had apprenticed to a lama as a teenager but tired of the drudgery of monastery life and escaped into the wider world, wandering into Urga, capital of Mongolia. There, by chance, a few compassionate Russians noticed his skill for languages and had him enrolled in the school for interpreters. The youth did not waste this opportunity and worked hard, and he was then sent to the Siberian city of Irkutsk to continue his education. Between 1914 and 1917 in Irkutsk, Choibalsan rubbed shoulders with Leftist students and eventually became close to them. By 1920 he was one of the two most important Mongol revolutionaries. The other was his friend Sukhe-Bator, a flamboyant show-off military man who was banding the nomads into an organized army and liked to pose for Russian photographers artistically holding a cigarette in his long fingers or sitting erect on his horse like an aristocrat observing his warriors from above.

Figure 6.2. Sukhe-Bator, a prominent Bolshevik fellow traveler in Mongolia, 1921.

Choibalsan did not do such foolish things, preferring to stay in the shadows. He still had things to learn from his Buryat, Jewish, and Russian comrades and would rather listen than talk. The modesty played well. His more flamboyant comrades felt it safe to make him a member of the Eastern Secretariat and deputy chief of the Mongol-Tibetan Section, which gave him the pleasant sense of a mission. [3] The former apprentice lama still had a hard time processing what his educated friends Borisov and Rinchino called socialism and Communism, and he could not yet digest some of the books they were reading. But he firmly grasped one simple truth: he was destined to help liberate his country from the hated Chinese and the Whites and then bring a new golden age of prosperity. Surely it would be a fulfillment of the glorious Shambhala prophecy that his monastery tutor had told him so much about. This was enough for now to empower Choibalsan. The details of what Lenin and Marx had to say about this new golden age he could learn later.

The union between the Mongol nationalists and Red Russians was formally consummated in August 1920 when Rinchino brought his friends Sukhe-Bator, Choibalsan, Danzan, Bodo, and several other men to Irkutsk to meet the chief Siberian Bolsheviks, Boris Shumatsky and Phillip Gapon. With Shumatsky as their chaperon, the nomadic revolutionaries then boarded a train to Moscow, where Lenin, Commissar for Foreign Affairs Georgy Chicherin, and other Bolshevik dignitaries welcomed them, promising to back up their nationalism and to deliver arms and ammunition. The visitors were pleasantly surprised when Chicherin greeted them wearing a traditional Mongol robe. These Bolsheviks surely could be good allies!

It was shortly after this that the young Bolshevik revolutionaries in Irkutsk, at Borisov's instigation, voted to send Red troops into Mongolia. In the meantime, Rinchino and several other Comintern agents were already in the field contacting discontented Mongol nomads and lamas. When everything was set up for a quick invasion and liberation of Mongolia, Shumatsky, as head of the Eastern Secretariat and the man who called the shots for Siberian Bolsheviks, changed everything. Returning from Moscow, he ordered the revolutionary young Turks to hold on. Everyone was surprised. How could he leave Mongolia defenseless when Ungern, the mad White baron, was ready to roll into and take over the country? Wait and see, was Shumatsky's answer. This turned out to be a brilliant strategy. Shumatsky correctly assumed that by fighting each other Ungern's Whites and the Chinese would weaken themselves, and Mongolia would fall into the hands of Red Russia like a ripe fruit. His plan would work better than he expected.

Figure 6.3. Commissar for Foreign Affairs Georgy Chicherin (r.), who worked hard to woo Asians to the Bolshevik side, is shown wearing a Mongol robe during a reception for Mongol delegates.

Ungern's suicidal plans to restore the Chinese monarchy and to drag Mongolia into a war with Bolshevik Russia soon alienated the Mongols, and they turned away from the White general. The Bolsheviks quickly jumped in to encourage Mongol nationalism and help get rid of the "homeless Russians." the name the nomads gave to the emigre White Russians. In the meantime, Mongol soldiers who originally sided with the baron began to talk openly about switching sides and joining the Red Mongols. Bodo, Choibalsan, Danzan, Sukhe-Bator, and twenty other radical nationalists who had already been attracted to the message of national and social liberation coming from Moscow gathered in the borderland town of Kiahta. There, groomed by Borisov, Rinchino, and other Comintern agents, they were able to raise a small army of five hundred nomadic warriors. This indigenous detachment, the nucleus of the future Red Mongol army, embodied the Comintern strategy of "using Mongol national feelings for the defense of Mongol independence under the flag of a Mongol army." To give additional stimulus to the revolutionary spirit of this ragtag crowd of shepherds, drifters, and junior lamas, Borisov gave them food, warm underwear, and tobacco. [4] Simultaneously, assisted by Choibalsan and Sukhe- Bator, he worked hard to organize those who had at least some elementary education into the Mongol People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP). Beefed up by Buryat and Kalmyk revolutionaries imported from Siberia, MPRP was to become a Comintern tentacle ensuring that the nomadic masses were moving in the correct direction.

The Bolsheviks' plans proceeded smoothly. The Red Mongols' efforts received a handy theological backup when, at the end of 1920, Gutembe, a prominent lama oracle, conveniently went into a trance and came up with a prophecy that the Mongol state needed urgent help from outside. Comintern folk became so excited that they dispatched three Mongol agents to confirm the prophecy and to secure its power for the Red cause. Gutembe turned out to be very helpful, informing the visiting revolutionaries that just before their arrival one of the avenging gods had entered his body, told him how rotten the present state of society was, and also issued guidelines. As a special favor for the Red Mongols, the oracle went into trance again to ask the god more questions. Lighting his oil lamp and incense, reciting a ritual text, and brandishing a sword, he began raving and foaming from the mouth. After an assistant poured a glass of vodka into his mouth, the oracle relaxed a little and assured the Red Mongols that soon they would succeed. [5]

Meanwhile, Borisov was moving back and forth cementing and equipping the Red Mongols gathering on the Russian-Mongolian border ready for action. In 1921, the operational budget of the Mongol-Tibetan Section, which became the headquarters of the Mongol revolution, reached $112,000 Mexican dollars. [6] Of this amount, the bulk ($100,000) was spent to acquire weapons and supplies for the Mongol revolution. Borisov himself delivered much of this cargo in a caravan that reached the border in February of 1921. In addition, the Oirot revolutionary officially set aside $6,000 for bribes to be paid to various Mongol and Chinese headmen to smooth field trips of Comintern agents through Mongolia. Borisov neatly called it a special "engagement and counterintelligence fund" for "materials payments and gifts to people who are not yet revolutionized by our propaganda:'? Bringing the Red Shambhala kingdom to Mongolia was not a cheap business.

The Triumph of Red Shambhala in Mongolia

On June 22, 1921, when Ungern was defeated and captured, the small Mongol army, beefed up by Buryats and Kalmyks, was already marching deep into Mongol territory. The arrival of the Red Mongol troops in Urga on July 7, 1921, was announced by the piercing sounds of trumpeters marching in front, blowing into traditional Buddhist shells. The trumpeters were followed by the Mongol cavalry in two lines. The squadron on the left rode with a red banner, while the one on the right carried a yellow banner. To nomadic revolutionaries the whole scene was very symbolic. The red banner stood for the rivers of blood they spilled in the cause of national liberation, which would eventually lead people to the "golden age kingdom;' symbolized by the yellow. [8] The ceremony culminated in the ritual sacrifice of a White officer named Filimonov, chief of Ungern's counterintelligence service, to one of the avenging god-protectors of the Buddhist faith. His blood was used to smear the banners of the Red Mongols -- an ancient ritual to appease the wrathful gods and secure new victories. [9]

The Shambhala army was coming again from the north, just as the legend said. Only now it was Red Shambhala. It was now time to engage old prophecies. Choibalsan, Sukhe-Bator, and rank-and-file Red Mongols were happy to portray the victory as a triumph of the prophetic Shambhala kingdom. In fact, when the five hundred nomadic warriors were waiting on the Russian-Mongolian border before the attack, they put together a song, "The War of Northern Shambhala;' calling Mongol soldiers to rise up in a holy war against aliens, particularly the Chinese. One of the lines went, "Let us all die in this war and be reborn as warriors of Shambhala." [10] The nomadic warriors were convinced that if they participated in the sacred war they would be able to liberate themselves from samsara (the cycle of reincarnations) and end up in the happy Shambhala dreamland.

Figure 6.4. "Red lama" commissar of new Mongolia with his scribe, 1928. Note the sacred tanka scroll in the background with the face of Lenin, which replaced Maitreya and other Buddhist deities in the new Mongol iconography.

In the early 1920s, not only Shambhala but the entire Buddhist faith and existing prophecies were used by the Red Mongols to entrench themselves among the populace. For a while, Communism linked to Buddhism was advertized as some sort of Bolshevik liberation theology customized for common shepherds and lamas. Until at least 1928, Choibalsan, Rinchino, Sukhe- Bator, and their comrades deliberately tied their political and social reforms to messianic and prophetic sentiments popular among Inner Asian nomads. [11] Moreover, the political system of Red Mongolia briefly became a strange hybrid of Communism and Buddhism. In this Red theocracy, the Bogdo-gegen acted as the formal head of the country, while the government was run by Bolshevik fellow travelers, many of whom themselves came from the ranks of Buddhist clerics.

Figure 6.5. Remains of Ja-Lama's magnificent fortress in the Gobi Desert, 1928.  

A major headache for the new Red Mongol regime was that the western part of their country was only loosely connected to Urga. There the notorious Ja-Lama, who had returned to "his people" in 1917 from his exile in Russia, was still running wild and free. The Avenging Lama and self-proclaimed grandson of the legendary Amursana had gotten a second wind. Ja-Lama held up a rich caravan of fifty Tibetan traders loaded with gold and silver, which gave him startup capital to build another fiefdom and to lure supporters. [12] Soon with a small army of three hundred warriors, he settled in a desert area conveniently located near a trading route on the border between Inner and Outer Mongolia. Following his totalitarian dreams, Ja-Lama was turning this area into an orderly desert oasis, using slave labor of prisoners captured during his raids to erect a magnificent fortress. Canals and wells were dug, and aqueducts built. A group of Chinese prisoners tended opium fields, one of Ja-Lama's major sources of revenue.

At first Shumatsky, Borisov, and Rinchino had high hopes for Ja- Lama and thought about making him a guerrilla commander who could help them finish off pockets of White resistance. At one point, the Mongol-Tibetan Section sought "to establish urgently a formal connection with the partisan movement of western Mongolia by sending Dambi-Dzhamtsyn [Ja-Lama] a responsible representative of the [Mongol] people's party, who would steer this movement ideologically in a correct direction." [13] The Bolsheviks even offered the "lama with a gun" the official title of a national leader, Commander of Western Mongol Revolutionary Forces, and sent symbolic gifts: a Russian military cap and two small hand grenades. [14] Yet the reincarnation of Amursana was not a fool. As a former Russian subject who had rubbed shoulders with Marxist revolutionaries during his Siberian exile, he could easily figure out the Bolsheviks' true intentions. Besides, obsessed with a totalitarian dream of his own, Ja-Lama did not want to share power with anybody. His plan was to set up a large modern theocracy that would unite the Altai, western Mongolia, and western China -- areas that had composed the glorious seventeenth-century Oirot confederation. So Ja-Lama flatly rejected the advances of Com intern agents.

Despite all his experience and cunning, the ruthless lama did not know how devious and imaginative his opponents could be. Unable to tame the unfriendly reincarnation, Shumatsky, Borisov, and their Mongol comrades decided to beat "Amursana" on his own spiritual ground by making up their own reincarnation in order to split Ja-Lama's flock and confuse local nomads. For the role of Red Amursana, the Bolsheviks picked Has Bator, a young lama priest and new convert to the Red Mongol cause, who, after a short training and indoctrination in Irkutsk, was sent to western Mongolia with two dozen Comintern agents and one thousand Red Mongol and Buryat troops. The goal of this "military-political expedition;' as Shumatsky labeled it, was to put local anti-White and anti-Chinese guerrilla units under the Comintern wing. [15]

Bolsheviks and their Mongol fellow travelers initiated a sophisticated game of image making to bill Has Bator as the new and better reincarnation. They made him three luxurious felt tents decorated inside with antique weapons. Simultaneously, word was spread that the real Amursana had finally come from his northern land. Part of the game was creating an aura of mystery around the newly anointed one. Every day Red Amursana received mysterious packages from somewhere.I6 Several nomadic communities embraced this message and left Ja-Lama for Has Bator. Unfortunately, the new Amursana was not able to live up fully to Bolshevik expectations, lacking the courage to play his part well in a life-or-death situation. At one point, surrounded by a renegade band of cutthroat Whites, he lost his nerve, literally peed in his pants, and deserted his comrades by escaping into the fields, where the counterrevolutionaries quickly caught and shot him. The Whites chopped off the head of the poor revolutionary reincarnation and carried it around as proof that the Red pretender was destroyed.

The person who helped finish Ja-Lama was his own comrade-in-arms Hatan Bator (Hard Hero) Magsarjav (1878-1927). Ja-Lama and Hard Hero fought the Chinese together in 1913. Later General Magsarjav aided the Red Mongols to such an extent that they named him secretary of war in the new revolutionary Mongolia, which eventually secured him a spot in the pantheon of Mongol Communist heroes. What made the newly minted revolutionary general a dangerous opponent of Ja-Lama was that he was an oracle endowed with large spiritual power of his own. Hard Hero frequently went into a trance, predicting the dates and outcomes of his battles. Magsarjav was believed to be invincible to his enemies, and like his former friend Ja-Lama, he did not miss a chance to "prove" it. After a military clash, Magsarjav could be seen pulling from inside his robe a bullet or two that had "hit" him and was still warm. Like other oracles, during his trances Magsarjav merged with avenging Buddhist deities, building up his anger to fight enemies of the faith and nation. Besides, Hard Hero was equally ruthless and did not shy away from chopping off the heads and ripping open the chests of his opponents, whose blood he used to smear revolutionary banners. [17]

The Bolsheviks did not want to waste their time storming the totalitarian paradise erected by Ja-Lama. In 1923, the OGPU secret police along with State Internal Protection (GVO), its sister organization in Mongolia headed by Khaian Khirva, developed a special operation to dispose of Ja-Lama once and for all. Acting as religious pilgrims, a Mongol secret police agent named Nanzan, along with two other Red "lamas" went to Ja-Lama's headquarters to receive blessings. While talking to Ja-Lama, Nanzan suddenly pulled out a revolver and shot him point-blank a few times in the head. Like many others Mongols, the agent was under the impression that Amursana might somehow be invincible to bullets, so to make sure the notorious lama was finished, with trembling hands Nanzan emptied his Colt into Ja-Lama's neck and chest, severing his head.

The sudden execution of Ja-Lama so stunned and demoralized his flock that nobody offered any resistance, and the secret police pilgrims triumphantly left the compound carrying the head. Nanzan dropped it into a bucket filled with vodka for preservation and carried it to one of the major towns in western Mongolia, where it was placed on a lance at a central plaza to prove the famous Ja-Lama was finally gone. The new masters explained to the local populace that the new Red order in Mongolia was a fulfillment of the old Amursana prophecy.

In other parts of the country, Bolshevik fellow travelers similarly milked other epic tales and legends. "But of greatest appeal was the promise of achieving an earthly utopia with the aid of an apocalyptic army from the unearthly realm of Shambhala," as historian Larry Moses reminds us. [18]

Bolsheviks at the Gates of Lhasa

The romantic expectations of the coming worldwide revolutionary holocaust and their stunning success in Mongolia inspired the Bolsheviks to roll on southward to Tibet and farther to storm the Himalayan heights on the way to India. So Tibet was the next item on their agenda. Ideally, the goal was to replay in the Forbidden Kingdom the Mongol scenario: find a national liberation cause to latch onto, use existing prophecies, build up revolutionary cells, and stir the indigenous folk to rebel against an oppressor. In Mongolia, the oppressors were the Whites and Chinese merchants. In Tibet, the major candidate for this role was to be England.

In their revolutionary geopolitics, the early Bolsheviks never separated Siberia and Mongolia from the rest of Inner Asia. In their dreams, a map of the entire area was soon to be painted red. Chicherin, Commissar for Foreign Affairs, envisioned Mongolia as "a solid jumping ground in the advancement of revolutionary ideas to Tibet and India." [19] In this game of setting Inner Asia on fire, Sergei Borisov was again destined to become one of the major players. By 1921, senior Bolshevik comrades noticed the zeal of this Oirot fellow traveler, made him a member of their party, and, on top of this, awarded him a position of consultant at Chicherin's commissariat.

In fact, Tibet and her environs were already on the Bolshevik agenda as early as the fall of 1920, before Ungern stormed into Mongolia. The guidelines set by Comintern for the Mongol-Tibetan Section directed its agents "to gather data about the situation in Tibet and her relations with China and England, political sentiments, armed forces, and the extension of foreign influence:' Comintern agents were also instructed "to find among Tibetans who live in Mongolia, particularly in Urga, persons who by their political convictions can be used by the section as interpreters both in Irkutsk and in Urga, and also be sent to Tibet for propaganda work." The next set of guidelines issued two weeks later instructed the agents to "urgently establish connections with Tibet" and to "urgently find among Tibetans who live in Mongolia" qualified people for propaganda work. [20] The Bolsheviks clearly shared a naive belief that all Tibetan Buddhist areas would soon fall easily into their hands.

Although the Bolsheviks were still working to secure their victory in Mongolia, Chicherin, Shumatsky, and Borisov were already contemplating a reconnaissance expedition to Tibet in the summer of 1921. In early July, amid information about progress in Mongolia and the capture of Ungern, Shumatsky reported in a secret cable to Chicherin and Meer Trilisser (then a Com intern boss, later chief of the foreign intelligence branch of OGPU): "We are now thinking about the best route for the expedition and gathering all necessary gear. As far as the machine gun is concerned, do not send it. I will get it here. If I receive all the items I requested from you, the Tibetan expedition will depart no later than August 1." [21]The most important item, which Shumatsky and Borisov were impatiently awaiting, was a wireless radio set they planned to leave with the Dalai Lama to set up a direct line of communication between Lhasa and Moscow. Two young Kalmyk revolutionaries, who were undergoing a crash radio course, were expected to stay and operate the device in Lhasa.

Yet the expedition had to be postponed because the silver set aside for the Tibetan venture was spent for urgent Mongolian needs. A few more months passed before Shumatsky raised new funds to get the project going. Finally the radio set arrived in Irkutsk, and the polyglot Bolshevik cabled Chicherin: "The radio transmitter has been received. I easily delivered it here by myself. Please make sure that those chaps who study radio and cable communication in Moscow know how this particular model works in order to be able to start it right away upon arrival in Tibet." [22] The former Dalai Lama tutor Agvan Dorzhiev, who was with Shumatsky and Borisov all this time, whetted the Bolsheviks' Tibetan appetites, trying to sell them his cherished project of uniting all Tibetan Buddhists into a large theocratic state under Red Russia's protection.

But Tibet turned out to be a tough nut. It was not so easy to crack as Mongolia, and the Dalai Lama was not as submissive as the Bogdogegen. The Bolsheviks operated under a false impression that in Tibet they could easily milk the English threat, stretching out their helping hand and drawing the populace to their side. Unfortunately, the hated English imperialists did not even want to take over Tibet, preferring instead to keep it as a buffer between India and Russia-China. It took Moscow three expeditions to realize that there was no imminent threat to Tibet from England and that the Dalai Lama was simply a shrewd diplomat who skillfully played China, Russia, and England against one another without allowing any of them to get a foothold in his country. Given the traditional isolation of the Forbidden Kingdom, it was not hard for the Lhasa ruler to pursue this policy. After all, still in effect was the 1870s' decree, "If somebody penetrates our country, whoever he is, all possessions of this person shall be confiscated, and he shall be sewed into a skin bag and thrown into a river." [23] Even though the Dalai Lama used some knowledge of the English to make his nation a bit more modern, he always kept them at bay.

To reach out to Tibet, the Reds used two approaches. First, they tried to lure the Dalai Lama to their side. Second, they wanted to identify within the Tibetan populace discontented groups they could incite to ignite a revolutionary holocaust. First and foremost, the Bolsheviks needed reliable information about Tibet, which still remained terra incognita for Moscow revolutionaries. From Dorzhiev, Shumatsky found out that one of the secretaries of the Dalai Lama was a Kalmyk monk named Sharap Tepkin. This prompted Shumatsky, with some hesitation, to chose Vasilii Khomutnikov, a Red Army cavalry officer of Kalmyk origin who had fought against the Whites during the Civil War and then helped the Red Mongols build up their army, to lead the first mission to Lhasa. Although he was crude and could barely write, he was loyal to the cause and, most important, was a Kalmyk, which the Bolsheviks expected would ease access to the Lhasa ruler.

On September 13, 1921, Khomutnikov, with nine Kalmyk and Buryat comrades, traveled as part of a caravan of "peaceful" Mongol pilgrims and merchants, carrying fifteen hundred rifles, one million cartridges, machine guns, and grenades. This impressive arsenal had been seized from the bloody Baron Ungern. On top of this, using expedition funds, Khomutnikov continued to purchase rifles from local people en route. As a military man, he might have reasoned that soon his comrades would need all these weapons to bring revolution to the Himalayan kingdom. Alarmed by such hazardous cargo, Tibetan border guards blocked the pilgrims on the border, but a reference letter from Dorzhiev to the Dalai Lama unlocked the doors. Once in Lhasa, Khomutnikov did not hide his Bolshevik identity and openly tried to sway the Dalai Lama to his side. Yet, despite generous gifts of silverware, a golden clock, and a mysterious talking machine (the wireless radio), the Lhasa ruler was apprehensive about the cavalier advances of the Red emissary and did not want to take sides. Only after Khomutnikov repeatedly assured the Dalai Lama that the Bolsheviks respected Buddhism did he warm a bit and even asked the Moscow visitor for Red Russia to send military instructors and to help organize the manufacturing of gunpowder. (Creating a well-equipped modern army was a major concern of the Dalai Lama.) Khomutnikov answered that his government would be happy to accommodate the military needs of the Lhasa ruler. Still, the cautious Dalai Lama wanted to have more time to think this over, so it was decided to talk further about military cooperation as well as about establishing diplomatic relations during a second expedition from Soviet Russia to Tibet. Khomutnikov also received permission to look around, and he talked with several people from the government and with monks, some of whom expressed strong anti-English feelings. Encouraged by these talks and by the Dalai Lama's promises, the Bolshevik ambassador, who spent almost three weeks in Lhasa, left the Tibetan capital on April 9, 1922.

Comintern Agent Borisov Becomes a Lama Pilgrim

The Bolsheviks' hopes for Tibet rose in 1924 when they learned about clashes between reformers (a military faction) who favored England and conservative lamas who resisted modernization. Chicherin and Borisov saw this as the beginning of a class war in the Himalayan kingdom between the pro-English "capitalist" faction and "progressive" clergy. So it was time to send a second mission to find out what was going on in Tibet and to try again to win over the Dalai Lama. Borisov, now done with his job of turning Mongolia Red, could devote himself to Tibetan matters.

To smooth this new Lhasa mission, the atheist Borisov was to act like an influential Buryat lama pilgrim on a mission to reach out to His Holiness on behalf of both his Siberian brethren and the Soviet government. Updating the Soviet elite about the coming expedition, Commissar for Foreign Affairs Chicherin stressed, "Comrade Borisov and his travel companions will conduct this expedition in the capacity of religious pilgrims." [24] Besides Borisov and a few other fake lamas, the party was filled out with several genuine Buddhist pilgrims to make the masquerade more credible. The whole Buddhist showmanship was intended to hide Red Russia's advances into Inner Asia. A year earlier, aggressive efforts of the Bolsheviks to push the revolutionary tide to the Indian border had prompted the English government to threaten Moscow with shutting down all trade with Red Russia. In response, the Bolsheviks, hungry for Western technology and goods, promised to mute their revolutionary zeal.

In 1927, two years after his trip to Lhasa, Borisov revealed the details of this second Tibetan venture in a talk at the Communist University of the Toilers of the East (KUTV), which trained revolutionary activists for Eastern countries. Shumatsky, who headed this university in 1926-27, invited his old comrade-in-arms to share his experiences. Borisov stressed that, besides his attempts to draw the Dalai Lama to the Bolsheviks' side, he tried to court monks from several large monasteries that openly challenged Lhasa's modernization efforts. It was not a totally flawed strategy. Aside from the Panchen Lama's Tashilumpho, the hub of separatism that numbered four thousand monks, there were three other major monasteries, Drepung, Sero, and Ganden, that did not want to pay taxes either and hated to lose their privileged status. This conservative priesthood refused to cooperate with the Lhasa government, pointing out to His Holiness that universal taxation, the army reform, and the opening of an English school and a power station went against traditional Buddhism. [25]

Borisov found this monastery-grounded opposition very useful for the Bolsheviks: "Some of these heretical spiritual movements sometimes move as far as rejecting the holiness of the Dalai Lama. These lingering sentiments always existed, and monks are very susceptible to them." Under these circumstances, continued the Red Oirot, "the only thing that remains to be done is to make sure these sentiments move in an appropriate direction, become organized, and develop along revolutionary lines." [26] Borisov believed that planting revolutionary cells among junior-rank lamas was the way to organize them. In fact, he attempted to wiggle into the Drepung monastery, which had a large Buryat-Kalmyk colony with pro-Russian sentiments. The plan was to turn the monastery into a base for future Bolshevik operations.

The Borisov expedition left the Mongol capital at the end of January 1924 and after a long six-month trip finally reached Lhasa. Despite their Buddhist disguise, English intelligence agents quickly spotted and figured out the Red pilgrims through their own Kalmyk agents. After Khomutnikov's cavalier attempt to sway the Dalai Lama to the Bolsheviks' side, the English had become paranoid and started to monitor visitors coming from Red Mongolia. The person assigned to ward off Red pilgrims from this area was British intelligence agent Lt. Colonel Frederick Bailey, Political Officer in Sikkim from 1921 to 1928. The man was perfectly cut for this type of job. A fluent speaker of Tibetan and basic Russian, he was a born explorer and a daring adventurer. Among his hobbies were mountain climbing and butterfly collecting. In fact, he immortalized his name by discovering during his Asian ventures a few unknown specimens of butterflies. All in all, Bailey was a classical gentleman spy of the Victorian Age. A seasoned shadow warrior, he had already rubbed shoulders with his Moscow opponents, penetrating Russian Central Asia right after the 1917 revolution to find out what was going on in the Bolsheviks' backyard. Bailey did not restrict himself to gathering intelligence, but also took part in organizing White resistance to the Reds. At one point, playing with fire, through a trusted contact he was even able to get taken on as an agent for the Bolshevik secret police and was sent on a clandestine mission to Bukhara, a Muslim fiefdom challenging the Bolsheviks. One of his assignments was searching for the whereabouts of the English spy Bailey! [27]

Like his predecessor, upon arrival in Lhasa Borisov showered the Dalai Lama with various gifts: porcelain vases, golden cups, silver plates, and many other items. Although Tibetan authorities realized those in the party were not true Buddhist pilgrims, they let the visitors wander around, take hundreds of pictures, and film military installations, gun workshops, communications, and other strategic places. The Dalai Lama did not mind playing the Russian card for a short while to tease his English neighbors a bit. He even called these "pilgrims" harmless. Worried about such a reckless attitude, Bailey worked hard, trying to use his intelligence information to wake up the Lhasa ruler to the danger. But the Dalai Lama had his own game to play. He received the Bolshevik ambassadors, smiled at them, assured his friendship, and gave numerous promises, but he did not bind himself by any agreement establishing military ties, as the Red Russians hoped. Thus, despite his long stay in Lhasa and persistent attempts to tie His Holiness to Moscow, Borisov returned to Moscow empty-handed in May of 1925.

It was obvious that the Dalai Lama's sympathy for Soviet Russia and the revolutionary potential of the Forbidden Kingdom were the Bolsheviks' wishful thinking. His Holiness, who never trusted the Red Russians, simply used them as a counterbalance to British and Chinese advances. Strange as it may sound, some in Moscow continued to believe in the Dalai Lama's friendly disposition to the very end of the 1920s. In a 1928 memo the chief of the Eastern Department of the OGPU secret police still insisted that the "masses of Tibetan population" and their ruler looked favorably at Russia and Mongolia. [28]

Before he had to flee, the young Dalai Lama had a number of meetings with the “Great Chairman” and was very impressed by him. As he shook Mao Zedong by the hand for the first time, the Kundun in his own words felt he was “in the presence of a strong magnetic force” (Craig, 1997, p. 178). Mao too felt the need to make a metaphysical assessment of the god-king: “The Dalai Lama is a god, not a man”, he said and then qualified this by adding, “In any case he is seen that way by the majority of the Tibetan population” (Tibetan Review, January 1995, p. 10). Mao chatted with the god-king about religion and politics a number of times and is supposed to have expressed varying and contradictory opinions during these conversations. On one occasion, religion was for him “opium for the people” in the classic Marxist sense, on another he saw in the historical Buddha a precursor of the idea of communism and declared the goddess Tara to be a “good woman”.

The twenty-year-old hierarch from Tibet looked up to the fatherly revolutionary from China with admiration and even nurtured the wish to become a member of the Communist Party. He fell, as Mary Craig puts it, under the spell of the red Emperor (Craig, 1997, p. 178). “I have heard chairman Mao talk on different matters”, the Kundun enthused in 1955, “and I received instructions from him. I have come to the firm conclusion that the brilliant prospects for the Chinese people as a whole are also the prospects for us Tibetan people; the path of our entire country is our path and no other” (Grunfeld, 1996, p. 142)...

The Fourteenth Dalai Lama and communism:

The Kundun’s constant attestations that Buddhism and Communism have common interests should also be seen as a further currying of favor with the Chinese. One can thus read numerous statements like the following from His Holiness: "The Lord Buddha wanted improvement in the spiritual realm, and Marx in the material; what alliance could be more fruitful?” (Hicks and Chogyam, 1990, p. 143); “I believe firmly there is common ground between communism and Buddhism” (Grunfeld, 1996, p. 188); “Normally I describe myself as half Marxist, half monk” (Zeitmagazin 1988, no. 44, p. 24; retranslation). He is even known to have made a plea for a communist economic policy: “As far as the economy is concerned, the Marxist theory could possibly complement Buddhism...” (Levenson, 1992, p. 334). It is thus no wonder that at the god-king’s suggestion, the “Communist Party of Tibet” was founded. The Dalai Lama has become a left-wing revolutionary even by the standards of those western nostalgics who mourn the passing of communism.

Up until in the eighties the Dalai Lama’s concern was to create via such comments a good relationship with the Soviet Union, which had since the sixties become embroiled in a dangerous conflict with China. As we have seen, even the envoy of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Agvan Dorjiev, was a master at changing political fronts as he switched from the Tsar to Lenin without a problem following the Bolshevist seizure of power. Yet it is interesting that His Holiness has continued to make such pro-Marxist statements after the collapse of most communist systems. Perhaps this is for ethical reasons, or because China at least ideologically continues to cling to its communist past?

These days through such statements the Kundun wants to keep open the possibility of a return to Tibet under Chinese control. In 1997 in Taiwan he explained that he was neither anti-Chinese nor anti-communist (Tibetan Review, May 1997, p. 14). He even criticized China because it had stepped back from its Marxist theory of economics and the gulf between rich and poor is thus becoming ever wider (Martin Scheidegger, speaking at the Gesellschaft Schweizerisch Tibetische Freundschaft [Society for Swiss-Tibetan Friendship], August 18, 1997).

-- The Shadow of the Dalai Lama: Sexuality, Magic and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism, by Victor and Victoria Trimondi

Phuntsog Wangyal (far left) with the Dalai Lama, Chen Yi, and the Panchen Lama in Lhasa,1956

“Phunwang showed that you could be a true Communist while at the same time proud of your Tibetan heritage,” stated the Dalai Lama.

-- Phuntsog Wangyal - obituary, by The Telegraph

"Mongol Embassy" to Lhasa and Cold Reception

In 1925, the Dalai Lama dismissed his war secretary, Tsarong Shape, head of the pro-English military faction, and several of his associates whom His Holiness suspected of plotting a conspiracy. This gave the Bolsheviks a second wind, and they were ready to continue their Tibetan advances. Chicherin optimistically predicted "the defeat of the Anglophile clique" and hoped that this time the Soviets would sway the Lhasa ruler to their side. To take advantage of the favorable political situation, a third mission would be sent to Tibet. Chicherin did not want to procrastinate with this project. The timing was too good to be missed: "An uprising has erupted in Tibet against the Anglophile clique which seized all power in the country. If we don't hurry up, some more developments might take place, so that Britain, by means of bribes and by attracting the material interests of the [Tibetans], can usurp power again." [29]

Learning from the previous experience of poor disguises, Chicherin and Borisov wanted to play it safe, keeping Red Russia out of the picture. Now, instead of playing Buddhist pilgrims from Siberia, the Bolsheviks were to become a Mongol religious mission sent to establish an embassy in Lhasa and discuss an important theological issue. The plan was to obtain Lhasa's permission to open a Mongol embassy, which the Bolsheviks could later use to organize a shipment of military hardware and to gradually hijack the Tibetan army by infiltrating it with loyal Kalmyk, Buryat, and Mongol advisors.

To lead this 1927 expedition, Chicherin and Borisov chose Arashi Chapchaev (1890-1938), a Kalmyk schoolteacher and recent graduate of the three-year Marxist program at the Communist Academy. Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin personally approved this choice. Since the Kalmyk Bolshevik was an educator, he would pose as a Buddhist teacher under the assumed name Tsepag Dorji. Dressed in a red robe, he was to travel with his lama apprentice -- the role assigned to another Kalmyk Bolshevik, Matstak Bimbaev. The party, which numbered fifteen people, included several other "Mongols," among them Jigme-Dorji Barduev, a Buryat lama priest who had taken part in the Borisov expedition, and Shagdur Landukov, a Kalmyk military advisor to the Mongol Red Army. At the same time, a few genuine Red Mongol fellow travelers with a good knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism were added to make the mission more credible.

A formal cover for the Mongol embassy was found in the important theological issue of recognizing a new reincarnation of the Bogdogegen, head of the Mongol-Tibetan Buddhists. When the old Bogdo had died from old age and numerous ailments in 1924, the Red Mongols and their Moscow patrons immediately sensed that this was a perfect occasion to end the Buddhist theocracy in Mongolia and replace it with a normal Red dictatorship. They forbade the search for a new reincarnation: lamas and the nomadic populace were surprised to find out that the deceased reincarnation was to be the last. The Red Mongols explained that Bogdo was now reborn as a great general in Shambhala, and there was no point in searching for a new reincarnation since henceforth Bogdo's permanent abode would be this magic kingdom, not the earthly realm. [30] Shrewd Red Mongols like Rinchino were not convinced their magic trick would work. Not wishing to completely antagonize the populace and the large number of lamas, they suggested an option to resolve the issue. Because all Bogdo's earlier reincarnations were traditionally found in Tibet and approved by the Dalai Lama, they would go to Lhasa and discuss this important matter with His Holiness. The Mongol embassy delegation headed by Chapchaev pursued this theological scheme when they arrived in Lhasa in April 1927. When the flattered Dalai Lama, who did not care much anyway about his junior counterpart (the deceased Bogdo had lived a rowdy life as a heavy drinker and womanizer), seemed to welcome this plan, the Bolsheviks thought they might kill two birds with one stone: pacifying Buddhist clerics in Mongolia and simultaneously receiving another chance to get a foothold in the Forbidden Kingdom.

The Lhasa ruler expected genuine religious pilgrims but, to his dismay, found out from his own sources and from Bailey that this group of pilgrims armed with twenty rifles and two Lewis machine guns were not even Mongols but once again Bolsheviks from Russia. Infuriated, the Dalai Lama at first refused to give Chapchaev a formal reception. The Red pilgrims were kept under constant surveillance and could not even relieve themselves without being watched. All their movements were now monitored by a double spy ring: the Dalai Lama's agents and Bailey's Kalmyk and Tibetan spies.

The situation was even worse than with the Borisov party. It did not help that the atheist Chapchaev and his friends were particularly lousy actors. Lhasa monks noticed that the visitors had a hard time following tedious Buddhist rituals. [31] Yet it was not entirely bad acting that showed up their Mongol disguise. One of them, Gomojitshin, a Buryat from Siberia working for the Mongol Department of Foreign Affairs, began having doubts about the Red cause. Disgusted with their pathetic Buddhist masquerade, he solicited and received a secret private audience with the Dalai Lama, during which he revealed the covert goals of the embassy. [32]

To make things worse, the most devastating and unexpected blow to the Bolshevik scheme was leveled by Dorzhiev, the Tibetan ambassador to Russia, whom both Chicherin and OGPU considered a loyal Bolshevik fellow traveler. By the mid-1920s, this old lama with sad eyes who dreamed about a vast Buddhist theocracy under Soviet protection had become increasingly frustrated with the Bolsheviks. For a short while, he had allied himself with them, hoping Communism could help return Buddhism to its original roots. Yet quite soon Dorzhiev saw that his faith did not gain anything from this alliance. Tibetan Buddhism in Russia was on the decline, and Bolshevik authorities in Siberia constantly harassed his brethren. Realizing that the Bolsheviks were simply using him to split the Buddhist community in Russia, the old monk started a double game. While still pretending to be loyal to the Bolsheviks, Dorzhiev secretly decided to do everything to safeguard his fellow believers in Tibet from Soviet advances.

In his formal letter introducing Chapchaev, Dorzhiev praised Russia and Mongolia for their treatment of Buddhists and asked the Dalai Lama to give the "Mongol pilgrims" the best treatment. Yet simultaneously, through a trusted merchant, he smuggled to His Holiness another letter in which he wrote: "I am an old man and will die very soon. Mongolia is not a peaceful country as it was formerly. The government is deadly against religions and monks, and they are helpless. Please don't have anything to do with the mission. I had to write a letter at their dictation to Your Holiness for these Bolshevik agents to take with them, but please do not take any notice of that letter." [33]

Although the Dalai Lama was angry, he did not dismiss Chapchaev and his company right away but, as always, played a good diplomat. After all, he did not want to endanger the large Tibetan community in Mongolia. Besides, the Lhasa ruler still held a large amount of money in the Mongol central bank and did not want to lose it. Still refusing to receive Chapchaev, the Dalai Lama nevertheless allowed the visitors to wander around, gather intelligence, and socialize with local Mongol and Buryat monks. Yet all their movements were monitored. Finally, the Mongol diplomats were permitted to have an audience with His Holiness. But in exchange for this favor, as the stunned visitors learned, they were to promise to leave Lhasa immediately after they finished their talk.

During this meeting, the Lhasa ruler played his favorite game of expressing friendship without promising anything. Trade between Mongolia and Tibet? Sure, let us trade; we might buy Mongol horses, they will be good for our cavalry. We Tibetans might even want to buy gunpowder from you. Opening a permanent Mongol mission in Lhasa? We would like to do it, but England, which does not have an embassy either, might be mad. Let us continue talking about it, and we will see. Chapchaev tried this and that, but he was not able to accomplish the major goal of the expedition-opening a permanent Mongol embassy. At the same time, the Dalai Lama repeatedly shifted the conversation to the conditions of Buddhists in Siberia and Mongolia, surprising the Bolshevik visitors with his detailed knowledge of the situation. Chapchaev sensed that somebody had filled in His Holiness very well. Yet he never could figure out who.

Thus, the Bolshevik plan to tie Tibet to Red Russia through Mongolia completely fell through. Red pilgrims again had to leave Lhasa empty-handed. If they still had some expectations about the Dalai Lama before coming to Lhasa, now they realized that His Holiness could not be duped, played, or manipulated. The Lhasa ruler did not feel at all that his budding nation needed Russian, or for that matter English or Chinese, presence.

In December 1927, two months before the humiliated Chapchaev and his "Mongols" departed from Tibet, a messenger brought to Lhasa unpleasant news from the governor at Nagchu on the northern border: another group of pilgrims coming from Mongolia was about to enter the country. Not again, Lhasa officials might have thought in desperation. Yet there was something odd about this new party, which stood out among real and false pilgrims coming from Siberia and Mongolia. The head of the party, a sage-looking man with a trim beard, insisted that he and his European friends were Buddhists from the West. They also traveled under a strange flag covered with stars and stripes and called themselves Americans. Still, trusted people reported to His Holiness that the man in charge was a Russian. The Dalai Lama was also surprised to hear that this strange expedition carried another flag, a familiar sacred scroll with an image of Buddha Maitreya. The sage-looking man insisted that he and his people came to consummate the union between Western and Eastern Buddhists under His Holiness's leadership.

Who was this man? Whom was he working for? Was he a genuine ambassador or, like these recent Red Mongol visitors, a wolf in sheep's clothing? Welcome to the world of Nicholas Roerich, Shambhala warrior and one more pilgrim on a mission to unlock the Forbidden Kingdom.
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Re: Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the H

Postby admin » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:14 am

Part 1 of 2

Seven: The Great Plan: Nicholas and Helena Roerich

Make no little plans, they have no power to stir men's souls.

-- Daniel Burnham, American architect

On December 26,1923, in eastern Tibet, one hundred heavily armed Buddhist monks, hidden in the morning fog, saddled their horses and quickly galloped northward away from Tashilumpho monastery, heading toward Mongolia. In the middle of the crowd, shielded on all sides by his bodyguards and followers, rode the ninth Panchen Lama (1883-1937), abbot of the monastery and the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was running for his life from the wrath of the Dalai Lama. In the eyes of Lhasa, the Panchen Lama, who ruled as a powerful local lord and refused to pay taxes, was a dangerous separatist defying the efforts of His Holiness to turn Tibet into a modern nation-state. The officer sent to chase the fleeing party was quite fond of the mild and friendly abbot and did not rush to fulfill his assignment. Pretending to be ill, he camped with his detachment for two days, and when the pursuit was renewed, it was too late: the Panchen Lama was far ahead of his pursuers, deep in Chinese Mongolia beyond the reach of the Dalai Lama. The runaway abbot settled into a self-imposed exile near the border with Red Mongolia.

After the Panchen Lama's escape, a prophecy spread throughout Inner Asia that the runaway abbot would come back to Tibet as the king of Shambhala and punish evildoers. The Panchen Lama's own grim predictions added to the general excitement:

The time has already arrived when it is rather difficult to escape such terrible sufferings. Dead bodies will fill the ravines and channels and rivers of blood will flow. Even if there will be roads, there will be no one to walk along them. Even if there will be yurts, there will be no one to live in them. Even if there will be clothes, there will be no one to wear them. Remember that the supreme nobles will be exterminated by diseases, and also the lower poor ones will be troubled by illness. Rich and poor will be equal. Only good ones and evil ones will be distinguished. [1]

The flight of the Panchen Lama stirred diplomatic and spy games that involved England, Japan, China, and Red Russia. Surprisingly, each, for its own reasons, wanted the Panchen Lama back in Tibet. China had plans to use him as a puppet to keep the Land of Snows in its orbit and disrupt nation-building in Tibet. Britain wanted to reconcile the runaway abbot with the Dalai Lama to make Tibet into a nation that would serve as a buffer between British India and Red Russia and China. The Bolsheviks were wary of the Panchen Lama hanging around the borders of Red Mongolia, where he enjoyed skyrocketing popularity and could present an ideological challenge to the sprouts of Communism. Added to this was a slim hope that he might be used to help the Bolsheviks get a foot into the Forbidden Kingdom. Finally, Japan, a latecomer to this game, wanted to use the Panchen Lama and his Shambhala war to squeeze the Chinese out of Inner Asia.

In the same fall of 1923, a peculiar, sage-looking European appeared in Darjeeling in the northernmost part of India near the Tibetan border. A plump man with a round face and a small Mongol-styled beard, he moved and talked like a high dignitary. He announced that he was a painter, and, indeed, from time to time people could see him here and there with a sketchbook, drawing local landscapes. Yet, even for an eccentric painter, he acted strangely. To begin with, he argued that he was an American, although he spoke English with a heavy Slavic accent. He also demonstrated a deep interest in Tibetan Buddhism, particularly in the Maitreya and Shambhala legends, which was not unusual -- except that the painter had a ceremonial Dalai Lama robe made for himself and donned it occasionally, hinting he was the reincarnated fifth Dalai Lama, the famous reformer in early modern times. His behavior raised the eyebrows of local authorities, who passed this information along to the British intelligence service.

As strange as it might sound, the "sage" did strike a chord with some local Tibetan Buddhists, for several visiting lamas did recognized him as the reincarnated Dalai Lama by the moles on his cheeks. At that time, no one except several close relatives and disciples of the painter knew that he had a grand plan, which included dislodging the Dalai Lama, bringing the Panchen Lama back to Tibet, reforming Tibetan Buddhism, and establishing in the vast spaces of Inner Asia a new theocracy, which he planned to call the Sacred Union of the East. He saw the flight of the Panchen Lama as an occult signal of the coming Shambhala war that would bring to the world the new golden age of Maitreya. The name of this ambitious dreamer was Nicholas Roerich.

Education of a Practical Idealist

Roerich, who liked to call himself a practical idealist, came from a family with Baltic German roots on the paternal side; his father was a notary and his mother, a Russian, came from the ranks of city burghers. Nicholas had three siblings: an elder sister and two younger brothers. Since early childhood, his great passion was archaeology. As a nine-year- old, Roerich already took part in archaeological digs. This love for the past, legends, and fairy tales would remain with him for the rest of his life, and from the beginning he took legends and prophecies seriously, considering them reflections of actual events.

Another of Roerich's passions was art, for which he had a great talent. By 1917, he was already a famous and accomplished painter, working in the Art Nouveau style and portraying spiritual scenes, gradually shifting from Slavic primitivism to Oriental mysticism. Favorite subjects were various Buddhist and Hindu mythological characters depicted against mountain landscapes of blue, purple, yellow, and orange. [2] Many contemporaries noted one characteristic that united his canvases-they were cold and solemn. Devoid of emotion, Roerich's images were reminiscent of spiritual messages. A fellow painter and colleague described his art thus: "The world of Roerich represents a fairy tale clad in stone. He spreads colors on his paintings firmly like a mosaic. The forms of his art do not breathe and have no emotions at all. They are eternal like the rocks of cliffs and caves." [3] Roerich himself explained that his goal was to capture and depict the ideal forms of life and therefore he liked to paint from his head rather than from his heart.

In 1901 Roerich met and married his soul mate, Helena Shaposhnikova, the daughter of a famous St. Petersburg architect. It was a happy marriage: Helena and Nicholas were not only a couple but also fellow dreamers, which contributed to Roerich's conversion to the life of a spiritual seeker. They would share all their spiritual and geopolitical adventures. Their two sons, George and Svetoslav, who were made part of their Great Plan, later became scholars, explorers, and painters. The only troubles were the horrible headaches and fits that haunted Helena, the results of two serious head traumas. One was received during her childhood and another in adulthood when she fell on her head from an upper bunk in a train compartment. After the second trauma, Helena began to have visions of fire and flames that consumed her entire body. Another serious damage to her health might have been caused by prenatal trauma suffered when her mother had unsuccessfully tried to abort her. [4]

Everything changed when Helena reinterpreted those fits as an invitation to converse with otherworldly forces. Such an approach was unusual during that time when Freudian psychiatry was becoming a cultural fad and such things were treated as illness. Helena later claimed that a message came from her otherworldly teacher informing her that the fits were the result of the discovery of new energy centers in her body and that the work of these centers was what produced the excruciating pains. [5] The fire and flames she saw inside herself accompanied by visions and voices became the manifestation of Agni Yoga (Fire Yoga), a spiritual system the couple later worked into a new creed after they moved to the United States in 1921.

As soon as she converted her sickness into spiritual experiences, Helena's life became a bit easier. Now the headaches, horrific images, and visions that continued to haunt her became messages from otherworldly spiritual teachers. Moreover, Helena soon learned to put herself intentionally into a trancelike mood in order to receive information from the "other side." The other side was two spiritual masters who represented the Great White Brotherhood hidden in the Himalayas -- spiritual baggage Helena borrowed from the famous Helena Blavatsky, founder of Theosophy. Just as in the case of Blavatsky, Helena Roerich's hidden masters were Hindu men who first appeared to her in London's Hyde Park. Eventually, the spiritual masters who visited Helena began to appear to Nicholas as well.

From early on, Nicholas Roerich nourished grand dreams. The painter was convinced that he was predestined for a great role in life. In fact, he never tried to hide his self-importance: "I have a big ego. Although this sometimes gives me moments of difficulty, I am glad that I have much of it. Like a good whip, my ego makes me move forward fast. Without such a source of energy I would not be able to accomplish many things." [6] Since childhood, Roerich was also fond of playing roles of imagined persons, usually great historical and mythological personalities. Eventually this habit became his second nature. His round face, pink cheeks, well-groomed hair, and small beard seemed like a mask that could be cast aside in an instant and replaced by another one.

This ability to wear different masks later helped him play different roles and cultivate useful people. The mysterious Roerich skillfully penetrated different spheres, including the court of the tsar. Smart, cunning, and polite, he knew well when and how to flatter and be courteous. His approach was usually very simple: "Make friends with a person" and "listen to him and let him speak." This talent in captivating useful people not only brought him many contacts and riches, but also enabled him to pursue his utopian projects. In fact, in their relations with people, Nicholas and Helena never thought in terms of emotions and friendship. The world was strictly divided into those who were useful and those who were useless. The people who surrounded them were just pawns in their schemes. Such an approach was natural, for the couple was not concerned about individuals-their goal was to bless all of humankind. Thus, one of their closest associates, Frances Grant, was a "good instrument." Rich and powerful philanthropists from New York, Washington, and Chicago were "useful for the future." Even the painter's own brother Vladimir was put on this grading scale: he would "be useful in our work." [7]

In 1909, another important event in Roerich's life aroused his interest in Tibetan Buddhism and triggered his quest for Shambhala. A group of Tibetan Buddhists in St. Petersburg headed by Agvan Dorzhiev, the Buryat Buddhist monk and envoy of the Dalai Lama to the Russian court, received Tsar Nicholas II's blessing to erect a Tibetan Buddhist temple in the Russian capital. Backed by bohemian spiritual seekers and cultural dignitaries fond of Theosophy and Buddhism, Dorzhiev was able to convince the tsar (who was prone to mysticism) that it would be good for both spiritual and geopolitical reasons. Playing on Russian- English rivalry in Asia in hopes of shielding Tibetan sovereignty from English and Chinese advances, the Dalai Lama's ambassador told the tsar that inhabitants of the Forbidden Kingdom viewed the Russian emperor as the king of northern Shambhala who would protect their country from the aliens' intrusions.

Roerich eagerly joined the project, designing stained glass for the temple. The painter also became fascinated with Dorzhiev's stories about Shambhala, the mysterious Buddhist paradise somewhere in the north. No less captivating was the Buryat lama's dream of bringing all Tibetan Buddhist people together in a united state under the protection of the Russian tsar. Roerich and the "learned Buryat lama," as the painter referred to Dorzhiev, had many cohorts among Russian intellectuals and aristocrats, whose cultural life was saturated with the occult. The early twentieth century in Russia was the time of the so-called Silver Age -- an incredible resurgence of humanities, music, art, and esotericism. Even some Marxists, to Lenin's dismay, paid tribute to this cultural renaissance, openly pondering how to elevate humans to the status of gods and how to turn communism into the religion of a new age. In St. Petersburg and Moscow salons, people were talking about the end of the Enlightenment era and its rationalism, turning away from Western civilization to the Orient. Theosophy, the first modern countercultural spirituality, which at that time was heavily loaded with Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism, flourished among Russian people of arts and letters.

At the end of 1916, just on the eve of the Bolshevik takeover, Roerich and his family, as if sensing which way the wind would be blowing, conveniently left St. Petersburg and settled in a quiet summer cottage amid pine woods in Finland, away from the coming revolutionary storm. This turned out to be a very smart decision, allowing the Roeriches to avoid the bloodiest period in Russian history: the Communist Revolution of October 1917, mob attacks on "bourgeois" intellectuals, and the brutalities of so-called War Communism imposed by the Bolsheviks on Russia. This lack of hands-on experience with the "joys of Communism" might explain why later it became so easy for the couple to make friends with Red Russia.

Soon, invited by a rich admirer to exhibit Nicholas's paintings in London, the Roeriches moved to England. Here they could forget about everything and continue their Silver-Age lifestyle, joining the Theosophical Society and frequenting occult and spiritualist salons. In 1919, replicating experiences of her famous predecessor Helena Blavatsky, Helena Roerich had her spiritual breakthrough: in London's Hyde Park she "met" her Himalayan spiritual masters (mahatmas), named Morya and Khut-Humi. Later, Khut-Humi somehow dropped out, and the couple dealt only with Morya, who became their spiritual guide for the rest of their lives.

Although the Roeriches were able to rub shoulders with fellow spiritual seekers in England, they were not happy in London. Helena and Nicholas wanted something bigger than just being a minuscule part of a large Theosophical crowd. There was no room for them to spread their wings to become spiritual teachers. The great occult celebrity Peter Ouspensky far overshadowed the newly arrived couple with budding mystical aspirations. Just across the English Channel in France, the flamboyant George Gurdjieff was a magnet drawing European seekers to his spiritual school. Even in the world of painting, Nicholas Roerich was relegated to a secondary role in the shadow of such European giants as fellow emigres Wassily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich. Helena and Nicholas, who liked to compare themselves with Prometheus, could not stomach such a situation. Like this ancient Greek hero, they dreamed about storming heights, stealing fire to bring it to people.

For a while they played with the idea of moving to India and making that country a staging ground for their worldwide spiritual mission. In fact, they had already made contact with the famous Hindu writer and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore, who promised them "light, space and quietness, but not dollars." Yet the Indian option was swiftly cast aside. In one of her letters, Helena made a sarcastic remark about this offer: one could find such "treasures" in any desert. [8] The couple did need money and fame, and in this respect America sounded far more appealing. Again, like their prominent predecessor Blavatsky, they chose to move to New York City. Morya, the newly acquired spiritual guide from the Himalayas, backed up this decision. Before embarking overseas, Roerich confided to one of his friends: "He guides me and my family. Now he has given me a new assignment-to instill spirituality into American art and to establish an art school there named after the Masters." [9]

Soon after arriving in America in October 1920, the Roeriches pioneered their teaching, an offshoot of Theosophy called Agni Yoga that invoked fire, the recurrent image from Helena's visions and a symbol of destruction and creation. At the center of Agni Yoga was the idea of reincarnation, giving people the opportunity to improve and raise themselves to the level of the divine beings in the Himalayan Great White Brotherhood. These masters, who included Morya, guided humankind in its spiritual development and from time to time sent out sages to speed up this spiritual evolution. Of course, Helena and Nicholas were thinking about themselves as these sages-messengers sent to enlighten humankind. In his Shambhala (1930), the painter hinted about their historical mission: "Verily, verily, the people of Shambhala at times emerge into the world. They meet the earthly co-workers of Shambhala. For the sake of humanity, they send out precious gifts, remarkable relics. I can tell you many stories of how wonderful gifts were received through space. Even Rigden-jyepo [Rigden-Djapo, king of Shambhala] himself appears at times in human body. Suddenly he shows himself in holy places, in monasteries, and at time predestinated, pronounces his prophecies." [10]

Communication with the brotherhood was conducted through Morya, who began to issue detailed instructions regarding all aspects of the Roeriches' lives, from their political preferences to family matters. To get in touch with the master, Helena entered a trancelike state and recorded her messages by automatic writing, a technique popular among contemporary spiritualists. Although not blessed with divine headaches, Nicholas nevertheless learned how to get in touch with Morya, and from time to time he contacted the master, relying only on automatic writing. Turning his head aside and covering his eyes with the palm of one hand, the painter usually "talked" with Morya while simultaneously writing down the messages from the otherworld.

The new teaching drew initial converts: Frances Grant, a reporter, and a Russian Jewish couple, Sina Lichtmann-Fosdick and Maurice Lichtmann, two piano teachers who had moved across the ocean long before the revolution and had become almost fully Americanized. Soon another Jewish couple joined the group: Natty and Louis Horch, who had lost their first child and were searching for spiritual comfort. Louis, a currency speculator whose face was disfigured by a horrible trauma to his skull, turned out to be a treasure trove for Nicholas and Helena. By the early 1930s, he would blow more than one and a half million dollars funding Roerich's artistic and geopolitical ventures. In 1924, Nicholas Roerich added to this group George Grebenstchikoff, a writer and expert on Siberian geography and ethnography. Another prominent member of the inner circle was George Roerich, one of the Roeriches' two sons, whom they specially sent to Harvard and then to the Sorbonne in France to be groomed as an Orientalist. George was expected to learn about Tibetan and Hindu traditions-necessary assets for a future Shambhala warrior who was to assist his parents in their geopolitical plans.

Figure 7.1. Nicholas Roerich's inner circle, December 7, 1924. Left to right, sitting: Esther Lichtmann, Sina Lichtmann-Fosdick, Nicholas Roerich, Natty Horch, Frances Grant; standing: Louis Horch, Sofie Shafran, Svetoslav Roerich, Maurice Lichtmann, Tatiana Grebenstchikoff, George Grebenstchikoff.

There were other close contacts and associates who were never fully informed about the Roeriches' ultimate goals. Among them were industrialist and philanthropist Charles R. Crane; Frank Kellogg, U.S. Secretary of State under Hoover; and later on Henry Wallace, FDR's Secretary of Agriculture, who was admitted into the painter's inner circle but at the same time was not completely devoted to his plans. The most trusted disciples received specially designed rings and esoteric names -- symbols of belonging to the elect. [11] The rest of their friends and acquaintances, Nicholas stressed, should not be told of their longterm goals. For the general public, Roerich was to remain simply a painter and archaeologist interested in Oriental cultures. In 1922, after establishing his Master School of United Arts in New York, Roerich reminded the inner circle, "There are two sides of our school: the pretend illusionary one, which exists for all surrounding people, for many things must not be mentioned, and the real one-those wonderful events and miracles known only to US." [12]
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Re: Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the H

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Part 2 of 2

Dreams of an Asian Spiritual Kingdom

The couple believed that World War I and the collapse of empires, along with bloody class and ethnic fights all over Eurasia, were a necessary purgatory: an Armageddon that would eventually bring a new golden age of universal happiness and spiritual bliss, which the Roeriches interchangeably called the Shambhala kingdom and the age of Maitreya. To Nicholas and Helena, the disorder that reigned in Inner Asia after the downfall of the Russian and Chinese empires and the expanding prophecies about mighty heroes that would come to deliver people appeared to provide an ideal stage for them to tryout their role of saviors. Sometime by 1923, the Roeriches concluded the moment was right for them to plug into and use Shambhala and similar prophecies to build in Asia a powerful spiritual state based on reformed Buddhism: "For those who imagine Shambhala as a legendary invention, this indication is superstitious myth. But there are also others, fortified by more practical knowledge." [13] The Roeriches assumed that, if properly channeled, these prophecies might develop according to the scenario prescribed by the Great White Brotherhood.

The flight of the Panchen Lama from Tibet in December 1923 was seen as another powerful sign from the otherworldly brothers for them to step up. Without an assertive spiritual leader, thought Roerich, Tibetan Buddhists would "become prey to the intrigues of the retrograding lamaistic parties." To signal the coming of the new age, the painter would act as that assertive leader by bringing the Panchen Lama to Lhasa, fixing the situation, and making sure that the thirteenth Dalai Lama would be the last. The authority of the Yellow Pope (a derogatory nickname Roerich frequently used to refer to the sitting Dalai Lama) was to be erased: "The sacred army will purge Lhasa of all its nefarious enemies," and "the realm of righteous will be established." Roerich was convinced that all Tibetans were just awaiting "the prophecy that a new ruler from Shambhala, with numberless warriors, shall come to vanquish and to establish righteousness in the citadel of Lhasa." [14] An expedition to Inner Asia, headed by the painter and disguised as a scientific archaeological enterprise, was to accomplish this task.

The final goal of this venture gradually crystallized into what Helena and Nicholas called the Great Plan-an idea to bring all Tibetan Buddhist people of Asia, from Siberia to the Himalayas, together into the Sacred Union of the East with the Panchen Lama and Roerich presiding over this future theocracy. This state was to be guided by reformed Buddhism cleansed from what the painter and his wife considered "shamanic superstitions," adjusted to the original teachings of Buddha, and injected with the Roeriches' Agni Yoga. The couple envisioned this utopia as a commonwealth of people who would live a highly spiritual life and work in cooperatives-the economic foundation of this new state.IS Their theocracy would stir a spiritual revival in the rest of the world. This grand dream certainly did not spring up overnight. For Helena and Nicholas, the Great Plan was a work in progress that continued from 1921 to 1929 and then was renewed in 1933-35.

Although they were dreamers, the Roeriches were not totally out of touch with reality. In fact, Nicholas and Helena's geopolitical scheme would not have sounded outlandish to their contemporaries, as many of them, both on the left and on the right, seriously believed there were absolute solutions to the world's problems, and that political and cultural messiahs were capable of delivering salvation. These solutions were usually based on collectivism and suppression of individuals to the will of a nation, class, or religion. With their grand geopolitical scheme designed to guide humankind to the correct spiritual path, the Roeriches perfectly fit their time.

At the end of 1921, the otherworldly teacher Morya gave his first hints on how to proceed with the unification of Inner Asian peoples into a spiritual kingdom: "In this life, without a fairy tale, you must visit us in Tibet, then go teach in Russia. I witness this by those happy events that take place in America" (August); "Think about Tibet, help to bring about harmony" (September); and finally, "Urusvati [Helena], I lead thee to the revealed Lhasa" (December). [16] The master also recommended they reread such spiritual classics as Ouspensky's Tertium Organum (1922) and Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine (1888) in order to be armed philosophically for the grand Asian journey.

On July 29, 1922, when "conversing" with Helena and Nicholas, Morya delivered a stunning revelation: in his past life, Nicholas had been the fifth Dalai Lama (1617-82), one of the most prominent Tibetan leaders, who brought the people of the Forbidden Kingdom together and had the famous Potala Palace built in Lhasa. On that same day, the painter learned that the Great White Brotherhood had chosen him to go to Tibet as a spiritual ambassador and then to proceed farther north to Russia. The otherworldly master added that when they went to Tibet the couple would have to shed their European dress and replace it with Oriental garments. After Tibet, upon their arrival in Russia, Maurice Lichtmann would welcome them with the Torah in his hands and on behalf of the Jewish nation would "deliver a welcoming address to the East." At the end of their journey, prop he sized Morya, representatives of various Inner Asian and Siberian peoples would come together and consummate the Sacred Union of the East. Eventually, out of this Asia-centered theocracy the superior race of people would spread the light of true spirituality all over the world. [17]

Like many Western intellectuals, including contemporary Theosophists, Helena and Nicholas were convinced that humankind's enlightenment and salvation would come from the East. This habit of looking to the Orient as the source of high wisdom has a long history. It started during the Enlightenment and then received an additional boost from Romanticism in the first half of the nineteenth century. By the beginning of the twentieth century, quite a few intellectuals had built up in their minds an idealized ancient Orient soaked in rich spiritual life and contrasted it to the imperfect contemporary West that scared Western seekers with its materialism, industrialization, and individualism.

Much like contemporary Theosophists, the Roeriches merged their Asia-centered geopolitical utopia with Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory, which had become fashionable at the end of the nineteenth century not only in the sciences, but also in the humanities and popular media. Following their predecessor Blavatsky, the Roeriches talked about a coming superior race that would dislodge spiritually degenerate races in the process of evolution. The Great White Brotherhood from the Himalayas and its messengers (the Roeriches) could speed up this evolution by navigating human beings toward the better future beyond materialism. To be exact, both Blavatsky and the Roeriches meant a spiritual evolution, not a biological one.

At that time in the West, this kind of talk about superior and inferior species and races, as well as grading cultures into primitive and advanced ones, was common, taken for granted, and never raised any eyebrows. Politicians, writers, scholars, and scientists all shared this mindset.

For the purpose of this book we describe diversity as the different sub-communities within college and university settings who are marginalized based upon factors like race, sexual orientation, and gender from the academic and social systems on campuses... White privilege, racism, and sexism are embedded in the very fabric of this country. The struggle to cure the "isms," in higher education began with small steps toward "unleashing the suppressed voices" silenced due to dejure and defacto policies and rules...

The concept of white privilege describes the reality that white Americans have implicit and embedded opportunities and power that have allowed them to maintain hegemony in different spheres of American life including higher education. White privilege, in conjunction with other environmental constraints, as well as national and international systemic hindrances has combined to shape the discourse on diversity over the past thirty years...

"People of color" is a term that describes racial ethnic minority populations. On a campus climate continuum, students of color share some similar and different perceptions of the environment for students who look like them at predominantly White institutions. We believe the underrepresentation includes the ethnic minority groups African American, Asian Pacific Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos.

-- Unleashing Suppressed Voices on College Campuses: Diversity Issues in Higher Education, edited by O. Gilbert Brown, Kandace G. Hinton, Mary F. Howard-Hamilton

Besides Blavatsky's Theosophy, another powerful out-of-Asia source for the Roeriches was the Siberian autonomist movement. For some reason, all existing writings about the Roeriches somehow downplay this movement's influence on their geopolitical ideas. Autonomists were a small but outspoken group of Russian writers, artists, and scholars in Siberia, headed by the folklore scholar Grigorii Potanin (1835-1920), who worked to boost the status of their area within the Russian Empire. These men and women of arts and letters were convinced that their vast northern Asian homeland was a colony of European Russia. To them, Siberia was destined for a better role than to serve simply as a dump for common criminals and political prisoners and as the source of raw materials. At one point, when they became too vocal in demanding autonomy for Siberia, the Russian tsar condemned Potanin and several of his friends to exile in the European part of Russia. The emperor surely did not want to give these cultural rebels such a treat as an exile to Siberia.

Of special interest to the autonomists were the indigenous cultures of Siberia and Inner Asia. Potanin and his comrades were on a mission to use archaeological, folkloric, and ethnographic materials to show that Siberia, with its ancient Asiatic legacy, was a land steeped in rich culture more ancient than that of European Russia. The Russians in Siberia were not counted. As Europeans and newcomers to the area, they did not have ancient roots. What counted were lore, legends, and the ethnography of the indigenous folk of the Altai, Tuva, Buryat, and Mongolia. Like any cultural separatists living on the periphery, autonomists argued that their land was better and more ancient than other places: "The older the better" is the mantra of all nationalists and separatists who try to empower themselves. Talking and writing about the creative role of Inner Asian nomads were an important part of the autonomists' agenda. As if anticipating present-day politically correct historians, Potanin and his friends worked hard remaking the Mongols from ruthless barbarians and conquerors into noble cultural heroes and civilization carriers. At one point, Potanin went as far as arguing that Bible stories and Anglo-Saxon lore originated from Mongol and Siberian legends carried to the West and conflated with Middle Eastern and European oral culture.

Nicholas Roerich equally liked to indulge in such talk about nomads as cultural heroes. Moreover, for him, the Inner Asian nomads were potential foot soldiers in the coming Shambhala kingdom. Not spoiled by Western civilization, they would become the spearheads of the world's liberation. Potanin's books about Turkic and Mongol legends became must-reads in the curriculum of Roerich's arts and humanities Master School in New York. The painter especially liked how Potanin worked with facts, finding links other writers somehow did not see. For example, if the Hebrew name Solomon sounded similar to Solmon, a character from the old epic tales of the Mongol and Altaian people, Potanin quickly concluded that Hebrew mythology had been affected by Asian nomads.

Although Roerich read Potanin's works and from them picked up many Asia-centric ideas, the only autonomist he had a chance to interact closely with was George Grebenstchikoff, whom he met while visiting Paris. This fellow emigre and struggling writer from southern Siberia was one of Potanin's close followers. Grebenstchikoff bragged about traces of Mongol blood in his veins and struck a chord with Roerich by expounding on the special historical role of his "ancestors" in world civilization. Roerich was drawn to Grebenstchikoff's stories about the traditions and mysteries of Siberia and Inner Asia. His stories about the landscapes and legends of the Altai sounded especially fascinating, and Roerich began to dream about this picturesque mountain country at the intersection of Siberia, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan as the center of his future spiritual kingdom. He and Helena contemplated erecting Zvenigorod (the city of bells), the capital of their future Pan -Asian state, in the Altai. The Siberian writer turned out to be so useful to the Great Plan that Nicholas concluded, "Grebenstchikoff knows everything." [18]

Special efforts were made to bring Grebenstchikoff from Paris to New York to keep him around as an expert on the area. The writer, who lived a miserable life in France, was more than happy to join the Roeriches' inner circle. Roerich gave him money (that came from Horch), helped him to settle in America, and endowed him with a new esoteric name: Tarukhan (from Tarlyk-khan, supposedly a Mongolian great grandfather of Grebenstchikoff). Helena and Nicholas made sure that Grebenstchikoff felt comfortable and secure in his new home. Once Helena instructed one of her sons, "Be close to Tarukhan. It is not only our request, it is also Mahatma Morya's order. Help our American friends understand the complexity and power of his character and the beauty of his visions. He is absolutely necessary for our project. I want them to trust him more. They will not be able to accomplish anything without him!"19 In exchange, the writer eagerly fed the geopolitical fantasies of the painter and his wife with his ethnographic tales.

The painter spent many hours with Tarukhan, inquiring about landscape, particular sites, and prophecies of the Altai. Grebenstchikoff's stories about the mysterious Belovodie (White Waters Land) layered well on what the painter read about Shambhala. Belovodie was a prophecy shared by Altai Russian Orthodox schismatics who envisioned a utopian land of plenty where they could worship freely without being harassed by the tsarist government. The painter was equally captivated by Grebenstchikoff's talks about the Oirot prophecy that sprang up at the turn of the 1900s among indigenous nomads of the Altai; the legendary chief Oirot was a personification of the glorious seventeenth-century nomadic confederation of Oirot tribes and their prince Amursana. Local nomads expected this legendary character to resurrect and save them from the Russian advance into their land and culture. For Roerich, both Belovodie and Oirot were local versions of the Shambhala prophecy. In hindsight, Roerich turned out to be more useful to Tarukhan than vice versa. After 1929, Grebenstchikoff gradually and politely disentangled himself from the adventurous couple and their dangerous projects and eventually built up a successful career in the United States as a writer and college professor.

Not a small influence in stirring the Roeriches' geopolitical dreams was the book Beasts, Men and Gods (1922) by Ferdinand Ossendowski, a former Russian-Polish reporter in St. Petersburg exiled by the tsar to Siberia in 1905 for his revolutionary activities. There he became a professor of chemistry at Tomsk Polytechnic College and later secretary of finance for the White government of Siberia and a leader of the White resistance against the Bolsheviks. Ossendowski's action-packed book, which reads as half adventure story and half esoteric thriller, is a hair-raising account of his escape from the Bolsheviks southward through Tuva and Mongolia after the White cause collapsed in Siberia in 1921. En route, the professor got stuck with the bloody sadist Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, who, as we have seen, dreamed, like Roerich, about building a grand pan-Asian empire.

In breathtaking style, Ossendowski described his actual life-and-death adventures as well as local landscapes, cultures, and prophecies of Asian nomads. A central theme is how the Bloody Baron hijacked Mongol prophecies. Roerich, who read and reread the book, certainly noted how quickly Ungern, an ordinary cavalry officer with average intelligence, by chance happened to liberate the Mongols from the Chinese and was elevated by the nomads to semi-divine status. The painter might have assumed that if such a mediocre and mean individual was able to stir indigenous prophecies and to entrench himself in the Tibetan Buddhist world, it surely would be easier for a person of a higher intellectual caliber like himself, who knew more about cultures of the area and, unlike the crazy baron, had a noble agenda, to do the same. The Roeriches took very seriously what they read in Ossendowski's book. Unlike bashers of Beasts, Men and Gods who unwarrantably accused Ossendowski of making up all his stories (critics could not forgive him for weaving into his text Alexandre d'Alveydre's myth of subterranean Agartha), the Roeriches knew exactly what Ossendowski was talking about. After all, the couple had their own personal source to check the facts in Ossendowski's book: Nicholas's brother Vladimir was the White officer in charge of the supply train in the Bloody Baron's army. After Ungern's demise, Vladimir escaped from the Reds, made his way to China, and settled in Harbin. [20]

Obstacles, Magic Stone, and Reincarnation as the Dalai Lama

Early in 1923, armed with ideas of spiritual advancement, brotherhood, and collectivism, the Roeriches concluded the time was right for them to go and build their new-age kingdom of peace, love, beauty, and spirituality in the heart of Asia. Their teacher Morya instructed them along the same lines: "It is time for the fairy tale to become real." [21] Yet, George, who had purposely been sent to Paris to be trained in Tibetan and Hindu studies, nearly ruined the Great Plan with his reckless behavior. At the end of 1922, when Master Morya kept sending his messages preparing the family for the Asian venture, George suddenly announced that he was going to get married. Away from the watchful eyes of Nicholas and Helena, George had fallen in love with a fellow Russian emigre, a beautiful and highly intelligent brunette named Marcel Mantsiarli, a Theosophist and follower of Jiddu Krishnamurti.

George was excited and wrote to his parents that his beloved was not only a beautiful girl but also a mystically inclined and sensitive person, and, "most importantly, she is devoted to our cause." [22] Helena and Nicholas were infuriated. A marriage on the eve of such a grand enterprise? This was a disaster! Helena was so mad that she immediately showered George with letters denigrating Marcel: the girl was five years older than George and simply wanted to trap her innocent boy. Even Master Morya interfered, giving Helena an alarming warning: "The reputation of the son that 1 need so much is being shattered." For George, the uncompromising position of his parents became a real drama. Marcel's mother, who specially came to New York to fix the problem, could not convince Helena to change her mind. The son desperately pleaded, "I beg you, 1 ask you, do not break my happiness." [23] Despite all of his pleas, nothing was able to melt the hearts of the messengers of the Great White Brotherhood. The spiritual crusaders who were about to bring enlightenment to Asia and then to all of humankind could not afford to have such a trivial thing as love meddle with their Great Plan. Eventually, George's parents took him away from Paris on a trip across Europe. Under their pressure and brainwashing, George broke up with the girl-a choice he regretted for the rest of his life.

Ironically, as soon as they settled "George's problem" another potential Shambhala warrior fell into precisely the same trap. Colonel Nikolai Kordashevsky, an eccentric Lithuanian aristocrat of Polish descent from Lithuania whom the Roeriches had similarly groomed as part of their future Asian venture, suddenly fell in love as well. Surely the devil's forces were at work here, putting obstacles before the forces of light. Kordashevsky, a former White officer who had fought the Reds in Siberia, was a die-hard romantic and spiritual seeker. He loved monarchy and, like Baron Ungern, toyed for a while after the collapse of the Whites with the idea of moving to Tibet to serve the last true monarch-the Dalai Lama. But he changed his mind and returned to Europe. After a brief and disappointing experience with the celebrity occult teacher Gurdjieff, who exhausted the officer-aristocrat with his rigorous physical training, Kordashevsky wandered around Europe seeking new spiritual experiences. While in Paris in 1923, he stumbled upon Nicholas Roerich, who mesmerized him with his Asian plans. Soon, Kordashevsky was introduced into the painter's inner circle by receiving a ring and the esoteric name Chakhembula.

Bored to death on his Lithuanian estate, the colonel craved action and was ready to depart for Tibet right away. Helena and Nicholas had to restrain him. Waiting for orders from his new guru in New York, Kordashevsky was killing time by reading Theosophical books and Nordic legends and composing a novel about Joan of Arc when he suddenly fell in love with a local high-school teacher, a soul mate fascinated with the mysteries of ancient Egypt. This development presented a new challenge for the Roeriches, and it took another batch of letters to convince the romantic colonel to drop the girl. How could Kordashevsky afford such childish nonsense, Nicholas Roerich chastised him, when soon he was to saddle a horse, draw his sword, and ride into the heart of Asia? Kordashevsky followed the advice of his guru and forced himself to drop the girl.

Although the Roeriches were contemplating building an Inner Asian theocracy based on reformed Tibetan Buddhism and Agni Yoga, they had not settled on an exact itinerary of their activities. A tentative plan was to enter the area as an embassy of Western Buddhists, then somehow to contact the Panchen Lama and bring him to Tibet. After that they hoped to play by circumstances, going farther northward to Mongolia and Russia, stirring up en route Shambhala and other local prophecies. To finalize their plans, the family decided to make a reconnaissance trip to Sikkim, a small Indian principality in northern India conveniently located on the southern border of Tibet.

The Roeriches did not simply buy tickets and casually depart to India. Since theirs was a historical mission sponsored by the otherworldly forces of the Great White Brotherhood, they needed an occult blessing, at least in the eyes of their friends and associates. On the way to Sikkim, the couple stopped in Paris to secure identification documents. The Roeriches still held Russian passports issued before the Bolshevik revolution, and they did not want to draw too much attention to themselves in India by using passports of a nonexistent state. France aided the White Russian emigres, providing them with necessary papers.

The occult blessing arrived, as Nicholas and Helena explained to their adepts, on the morning of October 6, 1923, when someone knocked on the door of their room at Lord Byron Hotel. George Roerich opened the door. The visitor introduced himself as a clerk from the Paris Bankers Trust, handed him a mysterious package, and immediately departed. When Helena, George, and Nicholas opened the package, they found a small box inside decorated with silhouettes of a man, woman, kingfisher, and four gothic letters engraved "M" on the edges. However, the real surprise was inside the box -- a black shiny aerolite. The next day telegrams flew to all associates of the Roeriches in various countries: 10 and behold, the Great White Brotherhood had entrusted the Roeriches with the sacred Chintamani stone. This magic jewel, which possessed incredible power, was to be carried on their Asian expedition and delivered to the Shambhala kingdom.

In Tibetan Buddhist tradition the Chintamani stone is known as a wish-granting gem. Ferocious deities, protectors of the Tibetan Buddhist faith, were frequently portrayed on sacred scrolls holding this stone. On these scrolls the Chintamani is depicted as either an ordinary jewel or a stone engulfed in flames-this theological link to the Roeriches' Agni Yoga might have been why they were attracted to this sacred item. The Roeriches described the Chintamani as a powerful occult weapon that would help their Asian mission. Now they could act not only as prophets who could fulfill wishes by using the wish-granting gem, but also as protectors of the Buddhist faith: "The stone draws people like a magnet. Entire nations can rise up if one lifts the stone. An enemy can be destroyed if you say his name three times looking at the stone. Only people who are pure in their spirit and thought can look at it." [24] It is highly probable that George Roerich, a professional student of Tibetan Buddhism who was shrewd in intricacies of this tradition, fed the Chintamani legend to his parents, who layered on it their own personal mythology and then manufactured the entire story about the mysterious gift.

The couple's fantasy moved further. The Roeriches wrote to their friends that the Chintamani was not only about Asian tradition: the magic gem was also known to the ancient Druids and to European Meistersingers as Lapis exilis. The stone delivered to the Roeriches was wrapped in a piece of old fabric; on it was an image of the sun with mysterious Latin letters inside the sun circle: I.H.S., which might be rendered as In hoc signo [vinces] (by this sign [you will win]). The same Latin abbreviation was inscribed on the banner of Constantine the Great, the famous Roman emperor who first legalized Christianity. Weaving Buddhist and European mythology together, the Roeriches said that the Chintamani magically disappeared and then reappeared at crucial historical moments to be handed to the righteous ones who would guide humankind to a better future. Of course, the righteous ones were the painter and his wife.

Armed with the power of the sacred stone, George, Helena, and Nicholas, the three Shambhala warriors, reached Bombay on December 2, 1923. By railroad, the family quickly traveled to northern India, where they stopped in the town of Darjeeling (a corrupted version of dorje lingam [hard penis]), [25] the capital of Sikkim. Here, in the town famous for the tea that grows in the area, the Roeriches established their temporary base. For their residency they picked not just any house, but a small summer cottage called the Palace of Dalai, on the southern slopes of the Himalayas; the place was once used by the thirteenth Dalai Lama when he had to flee from the Chinese in 1910. The painter and his wife feasted their eyes on the picturesque site surrounded by mighty cedar trees. From their windows they could enjoy a divine view of the Himalayan ridges and valleys. [26] Somewhere north of these mountain ranges lay mysterious Shambhala and its prophecies, waiting to be stirred and awakened.

Figure 7.2. Nicholas Roerich with visiting Buddhist monks, who recognized him as a reincarnation of the fifth Dalai Lama, Darjeeling, India, 1924. Standing, right to left: George Roerich, Lama Lobzang Mingyur Dorje, Nicholas Roerich, Helena Roerich.

The reconnaissance trip to Darjeeling turned out to be very stimulating. Nicholas spent his time not only painting awesome Himalayan landscapes and contemplating the coming Shambhala war, but also rubbing shoulders with visiting Tibetan Buddhist monks. A group of them from the Moru monastery visited the painter in April 1924; stunningly, they recognized him as the reincarnation of the great fifth Dalai Lama by the moles on his right cheek, which formed the shape of Ursa Major, thereby confirming what Master Morya had already revealed to the couple. But Nicholas had not simply sat waiting to be discovered as the reincarnation. Rather he had actively worked for this by donning lama vestments when entertaining his native and nonnative visitors. By all his demeanor and talk, Roerich emanated high dignity and spiritual wisdom. The strategy worked.

Figure 7.3. Nicholas Roerich, wearing his Dalai Lama robe.

Yet, not everything was going well for him. British intelligence noted the strange Russian and put him under close watch. The painter sensed this attention and diplomatically never bragged about that miraculous recognition or his historical mission in Asia. Instead, he let other people do the talking. It was here in the "hard" tea town of Darjeeling that Roerich first heard about the Panchen Lama's flight from Tibet-news that prompted the painter to speed up his Great Plan. The escape of the spiritual leader of Tibet was a sure occult sign that the Shambhala war was coming. The prophecy was hot, and he needed to move quickly to unleash its energy in order to bring about the new age.
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Re: Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the H

Postby admin » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:32 pm

Part 1 of 2

Eight: Shambhala Warrior in a Western Body: Nicholas Roerich's Asian Ventures

Every century the Arhats make an effort to enlighten the world. But until now, not one of these efforts has been successful. Failure has followed failure. It is said that until the day when a lama will be born in a Western body and appear as a spiritual conqueror for the destruction of the century-old ignorance, until then there will be little success in dissolving the snares of the West.

-- Nicholas Roerich, Altai-Himalaya

In the spring of 1924, the Reds, previously viewed as nothing more than the servants of Satan, suddenly turned into allies. Nicholas and Helena Roerich realized that the success of their plan to build their Sacred Union of the East needed backing by one of the great powers in the area. Red Russia was their choice: what if they linked their project to the Bolsheviks' attempts to stir national liberation in the East? Besides, Nicholas did not like the British anyway because they had been trying to disrupt his attempts to enter Tibet. Their teacher Morya blessed this political turnaround: "Now business needs to be done with the Bolsheviks." [1]

Soon, the master unveiled the following political itinerary for the couple: "A trip to Moscow, where the one who will come' from the East will be received with honors, From there, he will travel to Mongolia. In the middle of 1926, you can be in Mongolia in the center of the Orient, since, from now on, this country is the center:' After receiving these revelations, Helena noted in her diary, "Now everything has changed. Lenin is with us." [2]

Inspired by this new turn of events, Nicholas Roerich did not stay in India for long. Leaving his wife in Darjeeling, he and George rushed to Europe, where they showed up at the gates of the Soviet embassy in Berlin and were welcomed by Nikolai Krestinsky, Bolshevik ambassador to Germany. Roerich began by explaining that he was planning an expedition to Inner Asia to paint local landscapes and do some archaeological digs. Since the envisioned route would go through southern Siberia and Mongolia, the painter needed Soviet diplomatic and logistic backup. In exchange, Roerich volunteered to promote the Bolshevik cause and to gather intelligence information on British activities in the area. Like his idealistic comrades, Krestinsky lived in expectation of the world Communist revolution-the Marxist second coming. Well aware of this revolutionary prophecy, Roerich readily massaged the diplomat's Bolshevik ego. In Tibet and in the caves of the Himalayas, the painter confided, hundreds of thousands of Hindu mahatmas and Buddhist lamas looked with hope to Red Russia. All these people, Roerich continued, circulated militant prophecies and preached the triumph of communism, for it matched the ancient teachings of Buddha, who had advocated equality and communal living. These Oriental folk hated the British and were eager to join the Bolshevik cause.

Roerich also played on the Bolsheviks' anti-England paranoia, exaggerating British activities in Tibet: "The occupation of Tibet by the English continues uninterrupted. English troops infiltrate the area by small groups, using all kinds of excuses." [3] In reality, there was no English occupation of Tibet or of any other area north of the Himalayas. In fact, the thirteenth Dalai Lama skillfully played one great power off another and did not allow anyone to make inroads into his theocracy. The cost-saving British never actually planned to take over the Forbidden Kingdom, even during their 1904 invasion of Tibet. Their goal was to open up the country for trade and keep it as a territorial cushion between India and Russia/China.

Haunted by the specter of the British threat and lacking reliable information about Inner Asia, Bolshevik diplomats were susceptible to Roerich's bluff. In fact, before the painter visited the Soviet embassy in Berlin, Georgy Chicherin, Bolshevik Commissar for Foreign Affairs, was already convinced that Tibet was almost a colony of England. Satisfied with the talk, Krestinsky promised to support Roerich and immediately sent a report to Chicherin, knowing that his Anglophobe boss would be pleased. Before the two parted, they agreed that Roerich would send intelligence briefs and sign them using the alias Ak-Dorje, which means "White Hard Arrow" or "White Hard Lightning" in Tibetan. Chicherin became excited and wrote back to Berlin, stressing that through Roerich Red Russia could get a foothold in Tibet: "Dear comrade, please do not lose from sight that half-Buddhist and half-Communist you wrote me about earlier. So far we have not had such a good bridge to these important centers. Under no circumstances should we lose such an opportunity. How we are going to use this opportunity, however, will require very serious consideration and preparation." [4]

In October 1924, the painter and his son stunned their American associates by suddenly resurfacing in New York and announcing that from then on the Bolsheviks should be treated as comrades. Roerich also revealed he was planning to take a land concession in the Altai in southern Siberia, officially for mining and agricultural purposes, but actually he planned to set up the capital of his Sacred Union of the East in this area. Krestinsky was not Roerich's only Bolshevik contact. On the way to New York, he had stopped in Paris where he met Leonid Krasin, a Bolshevik ambassador to France, and discussed with him the Altaian concession. Back in the United States, the painter got in touch with Dr. Dmitri Borodin, a plant physiologist and rather shady character whom the painter and his friends nicknamed Uncle Boris. After the Bolshevik revolution, Borodin moved to the United States, where he represented the Soviet Commissariat for Agriculture. A few years later he became an immigrant, working first as a zoology instructor at Columbia University and then as a researcher in a biology laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. A well-rounded but very unscrupulous individual, Borodin served as Roerich's Bolshevik liaison, helping the painter stay in touch with Soviet diplomats in Montreal, Paris, Berlin, and Moscow. Uncle Boris not only assisted Roerich in securing the concession in Altai; he also became involved in his Great Plan.

It appears that through Borodin, Roerich tried to probe how the Bolsheviks would react to his scheme to blend Tibetan Buddhism with Communism and to the whole idea of the Sacred Union of the East. An entry from the diary of Roerich's secretary on December 7, 1924, is very revealing:

Borodin told N. K. [Roerich) that now the most important thing for them is the unification of Asia. As for the business [the concession] they have been recently discussing, it is a secondary matter. N. K. asks him if he is aware that the unification of Asia can be accomplished through religion. Borodin responded that he knows. Does he realize that this unification can be accomplished by using the name of Buddha? Borodin agreed. Will those in Paris [Soviet diplomats) agree with this? Borodin responded that they are not stupid and understand everything. So both men came to a complete agreement, which made this day very important. [5]

Why did Borodin, a plant physiologist, suddenly become so concerned about this geopolitical scheme? It is highly likely that he worked either for Comintern or for OGPU, or for both, as Comintern was rapidly turning into an informal arm of OGPu. As a representative of the Soviet Commissariat for Agriculture, an ideal cover for any spy, Borodin traveled widely throughout the United States and Canada. Through him, Roerich's name might have showed up on Com intern and OGPU radars. It is little wonder that during Roerich's 1926 visit to Moscow OGPU was most supportive of the painter's Tibetan expedition. The Roeriches did not care who Uncle Boris was and what he actually did for a living. The most important thing was that Borodin was useful for the Great Plan. In one of her letters, Helena instructed her son Svetoslav: "Be nice and decent in front of Uncle Boris. It is important to make a good impression on him. Do not forget that all rich people like to spy on their associates, and our Uncle especially excels in this:'6 The Bolsheviks' interest in the Roeriches' venture could have been twofold. First, the painter was useful as a source of information on Tibet and surrounding areas. Second, his Shambhala scheme contained a promising opportunity. If successful, it could give Red Russia a chance to navigate political developments in the Forbidden Kingdom according to the Mongolian scenario. Although Chicherin cautioned against reckless behavior in Asia that could provoke England to seize Tibet, by supporting Roerich's expedition, the chief Soviet diplomat and his more adventurous associates from Comintern and OGPU had nothing to lose. The Roeriches' party was going to travel as a scientific expedition under the American flag and the Buddhist sacred banner (tanka), a handy, cheap, and safe option for the Bolsheviks to penetrate the area without exposing themselves.

After all, with a total lack of the industrial working class (which Bolsheviks considered the chief mover and shaker of the Marxist prophecy) in Tibetan Buddhist areas, anything and anybody that could wake up Asian masses for revolution sounded attractive, whether this be lamas' anti-foreign sentiments or prophecies like Shambhala. In any case, for the Bolsheviks the Roeriches' Sacred Union of the East was a political gift, which, if they played their cards right, could draw Tibet closer to Red Russia. If the Roeriches got involved in an international scandal or any other trouble, they could be safely cast aside as an American expedition.

In the early 1920s, still dizzy from their success in Mongolia, the Bolsheviks were ready to roll on to Tibet and farther southward to India, but they were not yet fully aware that Tibet was not Mongolia. The Forbidden Kingdom was not occupied by a foreign power that gave Red Russia an excuse to go there and milk national liberation sentiments. Rumors about the British threat to Tibet that the Bolsheviks lived by turned out to be false. Unlike his Mongolian neighbors, the Dalai Lama had no intention of appealing to Red Russia for help, preferring to play off one great power against another and keeping all of them at bay. Precisely because of this smart strategy, Tibet managed to survive as an independent nation from 1912 to 1951, before it was overrun by Communist China.

Gradually the Bolsheviks began to realize that it would be hard to sway the Forbidden Kingdom to Red Russia's side. Under these circumstances, the Roeriches' plan to bring the Panchen Lama back to Tibet and to stir the Shambhala war might have looked appealing to the them. In any case, Red Russia wanted to see the Panchen Lama back in Tibet and away from Mongolia. The man was hanging around with two hundred armed nomads along the southern border of Red Mongolia, performing collective Kalachakra initiations for local Mongols and inducting them into the ranks of Shambhala warriors. It was hard to predict what would come out of that.

The Bolsheviks became worried when the Mongols began looking at the Panchen Lama as their new shepherd after they lost Bogdo-gegen in 1924; the reincarnated head of the Mongol Buddhists died from old age and numerous ailments, and the Bolsheviks forbade searching for his new reincarnation. At any time, even against his will, the Panchen Lama could become a dangerous spiritual weapon in the hands of anti- Bolshevik forces; this became especially true in the second half of the 1920s after Red Mongols began cracking down on religion. Though the abbot of the Tashilumpho monastery was not a die-hard anti-Communist, he did allow himself anti-Bolshevik statements, rebuking the Reds for harassing top lamas. At the same time, always cautious, the abbot refused to join or even support any active resistance to the Bolsheviks. In fact, the Soviet secret police never considered him an enemy, believing there was a good chance to draw the spiritual leader of Tibet to Moscow's side at least as a temporary ally. [7] But still the Bolsheviks were wary of his presence among the Mongols and felt they could sleep better with the Panchen Lama back in Tibet.

No doubt Roerich treated his Bolshevik contacts in the same pragmatic manner as useful and disposable allies. Although, like many contemporary intellectuals, Roerich was captivated by then-popular ideas of collectivism and social evolution and had a strong leader-redeemer complex, it is highly unlikely that he was totally in love with Soviet Communism. The flirt with the Bolsheviks appeared to be a smokescreen to accomplish his occult goals of building his own totalitarian theocracy. After all, from his otherworldly abode, Master Morya, Helena and Nicholas's alter ego, explicitly encouraged a healthy opportunistic approach to the Bolsheviks: "One can grow wonderful nuts by putting one's own seed into an alien shell," and, "Talk about Lenin and Marx without mentioning drawbacks of Marx. I guarantee your success, but you have to be patient. [8] The Roeriches rendered these commands of the master into instructions for their associates: "Talking about legends and prophecies, one needs to draw more attention to practical life, stressing how good life will be in the New Country under cooperatives. We need to point out that Buddha built communist commonwealth, and Christ propagated communist order. Moreover, it will be useful if we recognize that Lenin is the most important Communist. [9]

To Inner Asia with a Detour to Moscow

Roerich was so impatient to embark on his Sacred Union of the East project that he could not even wait for his Soviet visa. In the summer of 1925, the painter was already back in Darjeeling, ready to make a leap into the heart of Asia. Master Morya was equally excited, hurrying the Roeriches to move and shake the whole area:

The teacher believes the invasion of Tibet is useful. The flow of events will affect religion, and you will succeed by responding to religious complaints. Therefore, do not waste your time; note all signs related to religious feelings. Each sign is valuable. Find out to what extent monks are now discontent. Learn how many people do not accept the new order [a reference to army and police reforms in Tibet assisted by the English]. Alien uniform disgraces holy places. A strike will thunder over the desert. Udraia [George Roerich] should think about wearing a lama robe. Only the robe will defeat the uniform. The new times require a new shell. A correct route will lead to a bloodless victory. It is not our plan to shoot from cannons. One good sure shot at Buddha might make up for an entire battle. Behold, the sons of Israel will come back to those who wait for M [Maitreya] and turn the holy dream into a reality.

The otherworldly teacher encouraged the Roeriches to stir Tibetan monks against the power of the Dalai Lama: "Mold is growing in Lhasa, and an old lama who is sitting by an altar is thinking about galloping to the north. [10]

After travelling by automobile and rail from Darjeeling to Srinigar in Kashmir, the Roeriches' expedition set out in August 1925. It looked more like a religious procession than a scientific-archaeological enterprise. Passing through Ladakh and then into western China, the party engaged local people in talks about Shambhala and Maitreya, dropping here and there hints about the coming Armageddon followed by a new age. The Buddhist robes that Nicholas and George donned from time to time enhanced the importance of the mission in the eyes of locals. The elder Roerich presented himself as a sage named Ak-Dorje-the same name he used in his reports to Soviet diplomats in Berlin. Helena became the messenger of the goddess White Tara, and George was acting as the Mongolian prince Narukhan.

Ak-Dorje distributed dozens of flyers written in Tibetan to the lamas they met en route. Some of these texts included only the phrase "Maitreya is coming," while others contained a more elaborate text:

Thus the prophecies of ancestors and the wise ones come true. Behold what is predestined when in the fifth year [1925] the messengers of northern Shambhala warriors appear. Meet them and accept the new glory of Tibet and Mongolia. I will give Thee my sign of lightning. May all remember: where one receives Tara's blessing, there will be the ray of Maitreya, where one hears the name of Ak-Dorje, there will be a wheel of justice, and where the name of Narukhan appears, there will be the sword of Buddha. Shambhala will show the galloping horse and give arrows to all loyal sons of Buddhism. Behold and wait. [11]

A batch of these flyers was sent to the Tashilumpho monastery to be distributed among the Panchen Lama's followers. The purpose of all this showmanship was obvious: the painter and his wife wanted to arouse rumors among the indigenous folk about their party being messengers of the great northern Shambhala and the coming age of Maitreya. In other words, the Roeriches were spreading propaganda in an attempt to stir a religious war in Inner Asia. And sure enough, word began to spread about a strange and mighty prophet.

In April 1925, the expedition reached the capital of Sinkiang: Urumchi. Here Roerich met and befriended Alexander Bystrov, the local Soviet consul general. The painter immediately confided to him that he had ambitious plans to merge Buddhism and Communism. Roerich also informed Bystrov that from China he would be going straight to Moscow to meet Stalin and Chicherin and hand them two important messages on behalf of thousands of Hindus and Buddhists. On the evening of April 16, 1926, after meeting Nicholas and Helena, the consul wrote in his journal:

Today Roerich along with his wife and son visited me and mentioned many interesting details of their journeys. They say they study Buddhism and are in touch with mahatmas, from whom they often receive guidelines about their future plans. By the way, they stated they are carrying letters from these mahatmas to Comrades Chicherin and Stalin. They say the goal of these mahatmas is the unification of Buddhism and Communism and the creation of the Great Eastern Union of Republics. The Roeriches told me that Tibetans and Hindu Buddhists share a popular prophecy that their liberation from foreign yoke will come from Russia, from the Reds (Red Northern Shambhala). The Roeriches carry to Moscow several of these prophecies. According to the Roeriches, their trips to India, Tibet, and Western China are the fulfillment of an assignment given by the mahatmas, who supposedly also instructed them to go to the USSR and then to Mongolia, where they should get in touch with Panchen Lama (Dalai Lama's assistant responsible for spiritual life who escaped from Tibet to China) and bring him to Mongolia. From Mongolia the Roeriches plan to organize a spiritual march to Tibet to free it from the English yoke. [12]

With the assistance of Bystrov and the OGPU secret police agents, the Roerich expedition safely crossed the Soviet-Chinese border, bypassing customs. In the Siberian town of Omsk the party was placed on a train. The painter wrote in his diary: "A train arrives at midnight. An OGPU agent passes by and with his eyes lets me know that everything is in order. We are passing under the Sign of the Rose [in other words, secretly]." [13] On June 10, 1926, the Roeriches were in Moscow, where they met Chicherin, Meer Trilisser, head of the foreign espionage branch of the OGPU secret police, and several other Soviet dignitaries. The most promising meeting was the reception at OGPU. Sina Fosdick, Roerich's secretary who prepared this event, was happy to record in her diary: "The most memorable meeting was in GPU, where the names of Maitreya and Shambhala were pronounced and where we came with the name of the Master. The offers of cooperation were met with enthusiasm. Several times we met with those who have all power. [14]

The adventurous couple also presented their Moscow hosts "mahatmas' messages" calling for advancement of Communism into Asia and beyond. Manufactured by Helena and Nicholas and translated into Tibetan by George to make them look authentic, then "translated" into Russian for the Bolshevik leaders, these letters were infested with sugarcoated flattery: "In the Himalayas we know about your deeds. You demolished churches that became dens of lies and superstition. You destroyed mercantilism that became the conduit of prejudices. You eliminated the outdated prison of education and marriage based on hypocrisy. You squashed the spiders of enrichment and closed the doors of night brothels. You relieved the earth from the traitors and moneymakers. You recognized that religion is the teaching about the matter. You recognized the ephemeral nature of private property and saw the evolution toward the future world commune." [15]

Without beating around the bush, Roerich laid out for the Bolshevik leaders his program to secure the alliance between Communism and Tibetan Buddhism:  

1. Buddha's teaching is revolutionary.

2. Maitreya represents the symbol of Communism.

3. The millions of Buddhists of Asia can be drawn into the movement to support the idea of the commune.

4. The basic law of Gautama Buddha easily penetrates the minds of the masses.

5. Europe will be shattered by the alliance between Buddhism and Communism.

6. The Mongols, Tibetans, and Kalmyk now expect the fulfillment of Maitreya prophecies, and they are ready to apply them to the current evolution.

7. The escape of the Panchen Lama from Tibet provides an incredible opportunity to stage a revolt in the East.

8. Buddhism explains the reason for the negation of God.

9. The Soviet government needs to act quickly, taking into consideration cultural conditions and prophecies of Asia. [16]

Posing as a representative of Hindu and Tibetan masses, the painter painted with wide strokes on a vast Asian geopolitical canvas: "If the Soviet Union recognizes Buddhism as part of the Communist teaching, our communities will furnish active assistance, and hundreds of millions of Buddhists scattered over the world will provide necessary and unexpected power. We need to adopt measures to introduce Communism as the step in the coming evolution." [17] The Roeriches nourished hopes that the Bolsheviks would embrace this scheme and attach to their expedition a Red cavalry unit that would accompany them on the second leg of their journey through Inner Asia.

Although they swallowed some of the Roeriches' bluff, Chicherin and other Bolshevik leaders were not so naive as to immerse themselves totally in such a reckless plan. Chicherin and Trilisser made it clear that direct involvement of Red Russia in their Tibetan venture was out of the question. Besides, the Bolsheviks had mixed feelings about the painter himself. They certainly enjoyed his praises of Communism as well as his utterances about the evils of private property and the joys of communal living. However, as atheists and materialists, they were not thrilled about Roerich's talk of Buddhism, Theosophy, and spirituality. It was little wonder that Trilisser, while supporting the Roeriches' expedition, flatly refused to give them permission to print in the Soviet Union their books about the foundations of Buddhism and Agni Yoga. To the chief of the Bolshevik foreign espionage network, this stuff was pure idealistic propaganda.

Despite the ideological differences, Chicherin and OGPU gave Nicholas the green light and also promised logistic and diplomatic support. Trilisser instructed one of OGPU's colorful characters, Jacob Bliumkin, to provide assistance of all kinds to Roerich's party. This young operative, who came from the Jewish quarters of Odessa in southern Russia, joined OGPU at the tender age of seventeen, right after the revolution. His favorite pastime was dining, wining, and bragging among Moscow's bohemian poets and writers. Occasionally, this revolutionary romantic and "man of theater" (as one of his sweethearts called him) liked to toy with verses himself. By the early 1920s, Bliumkin was already a seasoned terrorist, provocateur, hit man, and master of disguise. He even managed to leave a visible trace in modern European history by murdering in 1918 a German ambassador to Russia in hopes of provoking a new round of war between Russia and Germany. Relating this episode to his friends, this revolutionary adventurer always stressed how he confidently pulled out his Colt revolver, like characters from his favorite silent movies. At the same time, he usually omitted how, while escaping from the embassy, he received a bullet in his buttocks. [18]

In 1926, Bliumkin was conveniently assigned to Mongolia as the chief advisor to the sister secret-police structure and arrived in the country of nomads simultaneously with the Roeriches. It is also highly probable that Trilisser or Bliumkin verbally gave the painter assignments. Dr. Konstantin Riabinin, a participant of the second expedition, later remembered, "Since the time we left Urga [capital of Mongolia] and all the time en route, I was under the impression that Moscow had entrusted the professor [Roerich] with an important assignment related to Tibet." [19]

Back to Asia: Altai to Mongolia

On July 22, 1926, Roerich and his party were on their way back to southern Siberia. There, from the Altai, they planned to launch the second leg of their Asian venture. In the middle of August, the expedition crossed the borders of the Oirot Autonomous Region, an autonomy set up for the local Turkic-speaking nomads (half Buddhists and half shamanists) by the Bolsheviks to foster the nationalistic feelings of local nomads. This was the Mountain Altai, the homeland of the Oirot prophecy that the painter viewed as a local version of Shambhala.

Roerich was especially thrilled to learn that in this area, on the fringes of the Mongol- Tibetan world, many nomads were shedding shamanism and switching to Buddhism. He believed this shift confirmed his spiritual forecast regarding Inner Asia: people were phasing out dark rituals and moving toward the ancient teachings of Buddha. Of course, he too would ride this movement. As earlier in Darjeeling, Roerich could not resist the temptation to step into the local prophecy. He started toying with the idea of impersonating Oirot, the legendary redeemer of the Altai nomads. He listed the places he had visited during the first leg of his Asian journey as if they were sites visited by Oirot and then hinted that local nomads already knew that "the Blessed Oirot is already traveling throughout the world, announcing the great Advent." Another hint was even more explicit: "About the good Oirot all know. Also they know the favorite Altaian name-Nikolai." [20] Blindly loyal to her guru, Roerich's secretary, Fosdick, immediately caught the mood of the teacher when they entered the Altai and suddenly began referring to Roerich as Gegen (a reincarnated one). [21]

As the reincarnate Oirot, Roerich would proceed through the Altai, then enter Mongolia from the north (from northern Shambhala!), and, accompanied by the host of legends, triumphantly continue his route southward to Tibet. The "Blessed One" was convinced that all pieces of his occult puzzle were placed incredibly well. What he did not see behind the Oirot prophecy, taking it as a local version of the Shambhala legend, was naked Altai nationalism wrapped in spiritual garb. Singing hymns to Oirot and Burkhan (the face of Buddha), who commanded Oirot, nomads of the Altai craved unity and sovereignty. Since they shared a similar culture and fate, the Altaians tried to empower themselves by dropping clan-based shamanism with its impromptu rituals and rallying around the Oirot prophecy familiar to all of them, then layering traits of Buddhism on top of this. In other words, it was an unconscious effort of these people to help bond themselves into an Oirot or White Altai nation, as they sang in their hymns.

Unlike Roerich, the Bolsheviks knew better. They understood that the Oirot people were restless, awaiting the legendary redeemer who would shield them from Russian advances into their land and culture. The Bolshevik answer to this explosive spiritual brew was simple and clever. The Communist Revolution, they explained to the nomads, was a fulfillment of the prophecy, and Lenin was the reincarnation of Oirot. To sugarcoat this message, autonomy was offered to the people of Oirot with their own indigenous Oirot Bolshevik leaders at the top. Many frustrated nomads, who at first did not trust the Bolsheviks and were about to leave the Altai for Mongolia and China, swallowed this bait and stayed home. By the end of the 1920s, the explosive prophecy would gradually subside.

As Roerich proceeded, a few months later the same blinders prevented him from detecting pure nationalism behind the Shambhala prophecy, which the Red Mongols milked during their fight against the Chinese. Still worse, not only did Roerich not understand the demonic power of nationalism over people, but also, as a true citizen of the world, he refused to acknowledge it, thinking only in terms of global humanity. Quoting the song of northern Red Shambhala composed by Mongol revolutionary soldiers in 1921, but dropping the first lines that mentioned a mortal fight against Chinese infidels, Roerich retained only its "spiritual" verses: "We march to the holy war of Shambhala. Let us be reborn in the sacred land." [22]

At the end of August 1926, the party safely crossed the Mongolian border. Again, on orders from the Bolshevik secret police, their baggage safely bypassed customs. In Mongolia, an unpleasant surprise awaited the painter and his wife. They had to wait for seven more months for permission from Chinese and Tibetan authorities to enter their countries. Yet, as always, the couple did not lose their spirits and did not waste time. While Roerich worked on his paintings, his wife was able to publish a small book on the basics of Buddhism, one of the texts Trilisser would not allow them to print in Red Russia.

There is also circumstantial evidence that while in Mongolia Roerich did get in touch with the Panchen Lama. With the help of his Bolshevik benefactors, he might have made a quick automobile trip to Beijing to meet the runaway Tibetan abbot, who resided in the Chinese capital at that time. A Soviet diplomat named Boris Pankratov remembered meeting the painter in Beijing in the spring of 1927: "Roerich nourished a hope to enter Tibet as the twenty-fifth king of Shambhala, of whom people would say that he came from the north and brought salvation to the whole world and became king of the world. For this purpose, the painter was dressed in a ceremonial lama priest robe." [23] Since Roerich was prone to all kinds of adventurous tricks, one cannot totally exclude the possibility of a secret visit to the Chinese capital and talks with the Panchen Lama. Still, whether Roerich met him or not, the cautious abbot never became involved in the painter's scheme.

While in Mongolia, the Roeriches were in close contact with Bliumkin, their guardian angel from OGPU, and with Leo Berlin, another secret police officer working in Mongolia under the cover of the Soviet Commissariat for Foreign Affairs. [24] Roerich's son George, who spoke Tibetan fluently, helped Bliumkin close an arms deal with a representative of the Dalai Lama. Moreover, the two spies helped the Shambhala warriors with logistics and supervised the departure of the "artistic and archaeological expedition" from Urga. [25]
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Re: Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the H

Postby admin » Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:58 pm

Part 2 of 2

The Tibetan Venture: High Hopes and Grand Failure

When all permissions were finally secured, the party departed on April 13, 1927. The Soviet embassy provided automobiles, which allowed the Roeriches to quickly reach the southernmost border of Mongolia. There they switched to camels and entered western China, an area populated by warlike tribes, infested with bandits, and contested by several Chinese warlords. Moscow OGPU sent a radiogram to a warlord friendly to the Bolsheviks, asking him "to provide all possible help to Roerich's expedition." [26] The party again took the form of a spiritual march. In addition to the Stars and Stripes, the expedition proceeded under the Maitreya banner, a sacred tanka attached to a flagpole. Anticipating the grand historical mission that awaited them, Roerich wrote, "With this holy banner, we can reach the most beautiful lands and we can awaken ancient cultures for new achievements and for new splendors." [27]

The expedition was not just a family business anymore. A few more people had joined the couple and their son George: Dr. Riabinin, an enthusiast of Tibetan medicine the Roeriches knew from their prerevolutionary days in St. Petersburg; a young Theosophist from Siberia named Pavel Portniagin; and the lama Danzan Malonov from Agvan Dorzhiev's Buddhist Kalachakra temple in Leningrad. Malonov was a seasoned "Red pilgrim" who, two years earlier, had participated in the Bolshevik Lhasa venture headed by Sergei Borisov. Malonov was most likely attached to the party by OGPU or Chicherin to perform special tasks. Two more members, aristocrat-romantic Colonel Nikolai Kordashevsky and Alexander Golubin, a merchant who worked for an English trade company, joined the party in Chinese territory. As former White officers who fought against the Reds in Siberia, the two had not wanted to risk their lives entering Red Mongolia. The expedition also included twenty Buryat and Mongol armed guards.

Figure 8.1. Nicholas Roerich holding tanka depicting Maitreya. Vrga, Mongolia, March or April, 1927.

Figure 8.2. Onward to Lhasa under the Stars and Stripes and the sacred Maitreya banner: the Roerich camp at Sharagol Valley, Inner Mongolia, December 1927- January 1928.

On the way, Nicholas Roerich watched for signs of the Shambhala prophecy, noting various anomalous phenomena and observing the behavior of the nomads. In the evenings, he conducted instructive spiritual talks, enlightening his comrades about the coming evolution of humankind, the advent of a spiritually superior sixth race, the world commune, cooperative labor, the evils of private property, Maitreya, Shambhala, and the sacred Great White Brotherhood. In the meantime, in her tent Helena engaged in dialogues with their otherworldly teacher, Master Morya. Occasionally, to boost the spirit of the Shambhala warriors, Roerich turned on an American gramophone, and over the mountains flew the tunes of "Forging of the Sword," "Call of the Valkyrie," and "Roar of Fafner" by Richard Wagner, the painter's favorite composer. Wagner's pieces resounded high in the mountains, "radiating heroic realism." [28]

Figure 8.3. Nicholas Roerich with his Shambhala seekers on the eve of their departure to Tibet. Left to right: Konstantin Riabinin, George Roerich, Nicholas Roerich, Pavel Portniagin, Sina Lichtmann-Fosdick, Maurice Lichtmann. Urga, Mongolia, March or April, 1927.

As before, special efforts were made to promote rumors among local nomads about the party as messengers of Shambhala and the new age of Maitreya. The painter constantly reminded his travel companions to remember that now they were all walking heroes: "All our steps are destined to become legends, which people will compose about our journey. And who knows, they might be great legends. On the threshold of the coming of the sixth race, all events are destined to become special." [29] Morya was pleased with how the legend making was developing and encouraged his earthly students: "The legend is growing. You need to proceed to Tibet without hurry, sending around rumors about your Buddhist embassy. The appearance of the embassy under the banner of Buddha is something that has never been seen before in the history of humankind. In the name of Maitreya Commune, you need to topple false teachings .... Each evening talk about Shambhala! Shambhala prepares the coming of Maitreya .... Plan your movement to make sure that each phrase you utter turns into a legend. Remember, you already stand above regular human beings." [30]

Figure 8.4. A last photo in the company of Red Mongol troops before the Roerich expedition moved southward across the Mongolian border. Konstantin Riabinin is in white hat; on his right is George Roerich; Sina Lichtmann-Fosdick, second from left, has a holstered gun on her belt. Altan-usu, Gobi Desert, May 1927.

Part of this legend making was the erection of a Buddhist stupa (suburgan) in the Sharagol valley in Inner Mongolia. Into the foundation of the structure devoted to Maitreya the Roeriches placed a specially minted order of All-Conquering Buddha, the text containing the Shambhala prophecy, in Tibetan, a silver ring with the word Maitreya, and a blue silk scarf (a traditional goodwill gift in Tibetan Buddhism). Local Mongol chiefs accompanied by crowds of nomads flocked to the Roeriches' camp to take part in a consecration ceremony officiated by a local Gegen (reincarnated one). That same evening, from the other world, Master Morya expressed his approval: "The erection of the suburgan affirms the legend, and therefore it is useful. The Teacher is happy with this." [31]

Overcoming various natural obstacles and brandishing their rifles to scare away bandits they met en route, the travelers proceeded through western China, then crossed the most dangerous leg of the journey -- the vast salt desert of Tsaidam -- and finally, in October, reached the Tibetan border in the Nagchu area. Here the Shambhala warriors had to face a formidable problem, which eventually ruined their hopes to conquer Lhasa. Despite an official permission to enter the Forbidden Kingdom issued by a Tibetan envoy in Mongolia, the party was detained by armed border guards. The Roeriches could not figure out what was going on. Although not formally arrested, they were blocked and not allowed to proceed further. Playing by the script he had prepared in advance, Nicholas explained to the local governor that they were emissaries of Western Buddhists on a mission to bring Western and Eastern believers under the benevolent wing of His Holiness. Yet all was in vain. Roerich's high talk and all his inquiries were brushed aside with the advice to stay and wait for Lhasa's instructions.

Little did the travelers know that the formidable wall on their way to Tibet was erected not only by the Lhasa officials but also by Lt. Colonel Bailey, the English spy stationed in Sikkim entrusted with monitoring all Bolshevik activities in Inner Asia. In 1925 he had figured out the Borisov "Buddhist pilgrims" mission sent to Lhasa by Com intern, OGPU, and the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs. Then, in 1927, through his Kalmyk and Buryat agents, Bailey had exposed another Moscow mission to Tibet, the one headed by Arashi Chapchaev, which had departed from Urga just before Roerich launched his own expedition.

To the seasoned English shadow warrior, Roerich, whom Bailey already knew from the painter's stay in Sikkim, was no different from such disguised Bolsheviks as Borisov and Chapchaev. And, besides, like his Red predecessors, Roerich was coming from the same place, Red Mongolia. In Bailey's eyes, Roerich's Buddhist trappings-vestments, sacred scrolls, and his Shambhala and Maitreya talk-were simply part of a devious and more sophisticated Bolshevik conspiracy to dislodge Britain from Asia. For his part, the Dalai Lama, who had just gotten rid of the phony Mongol pilgrim Chapchaev, again had to deal with another intruder of the same caliber. The Lhasa ruler definitely did not want such a headache. The English spymaster recommended that Tibetan authorities immediately block the movement of the «American" expedition, and Lhasa followed this advice. Although Bailey was not totally wrong about Roerich's mission, at that point he did not yet realize that the painter was playing his own game. All in all, it did not matter. The lieutenant colonel would have hardly changed his plans had he found out Roerich was not actually a Bolshevik.

After halting the Roeriches at Nagchu, the Tibetans did not know what to do with them. To allow these suspicious folk to proceed farther was dangerous. Yet forcing them back to Mongolia in the middle of winter would surely have killed all members of the expedition. The Dalai Lama certainly did not want to place this sin on his shoulders. While Lhasa was mulling over what to do, the party of Shambhala warriors was literally marooned for five months in freezing weather and thin air on a high-altitude plateau. At one point, George Roerich blacked out, narrowly surviving a heart attack, which did take the life of one of them: Lama Malonov, the alleged secret police informer. On November 8, 1927, Portniagin wrote in his diary: "Temperature is minus 27 Celsius. This morning the doctor said, 'From the viewpoint of medical science and physiology, our situation is catastrophic, and we all shall die. Only a miracle can save US."' [32]

Besides suffering from cold and oxygen deficiency in the high altitude, the travelers were forbidden to purchase food from the locals. Yet Nicholas and Helena never lost their spirit. Obstacles only empowered them, and the painter cheered up his comrades: "Occult work must be done in fresh air and in the cold." [33] While Helena continued to conjure Master Morya in her tent, Nicholas inspired the party with stories about the beauties of the Shambhala kingdom they would eventually reach. For his companions, shivering from piercing winter winds, he drew pictures of a beautiful mountain valley blossoming with subtropical vegetation. It would be as magnificent as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, he told them.

On February 17, 1928, after prolonged deliberations, Lhasa officials finally worked out a solution. The Roeriches would proceed quickly through Tibet, bypassing the capital, and going straight to Sikkim to Bailey's home. Let the English spy deal with them.

When they finally arrived in Sikkim in mid-May, Lt. Colonel Bailey welcomed the exhausted travelers into his residence, acting as if nothing had happened. He even hosted them for a while, offering hot baths and good foods. It took the experienced operative only a brief chat with the painter to figure out that Roerich was not a Bolshevik but simply a dangerous eccentric.  [34] Yet, as a professional spy, he had no remorse about what he had done to Roerich and his companions. Better to be on the safe side.

Figure 8.5. In "friendly" hands: English spy Lt. Colonel F. M. Bailey, Political Officer in Sikkim, hosts his unsuspecting opponent Nicholas Roerich. Left to right, sitting: Mrs. F. M. Bailey, Nicholas Roerich, Helena Roerich; standing: Nikolai Kordashevsky, George Roerich, Konstantin Riabinin, name not recorded, F. M. Bailey. Bailey residence, Gangtok, Sikkim, May 24-25, 1928.

After parting with the hospitable Bailey, the Roerich party was nearing the end of its journey. The long Asian odyssey, which cost $97,000 and took the Roeriches all over Eurasia, was finally over. The Shambhala war the painter wanted to unleash in Inner Asia had fallen through miserably. So had his plan to bring all Tibetan Buddhists into the Sacred Union of the East. But the couple did not want to simply say good-bye to their comrades and go their separate ways. The grand magic drama that had started with the miraculous manifestation of the Chintamani stone required at least a magic ending. And the Roeriches provided it. The painter suddenly announced to his friends that he, along with Helena and George, would leave the rest in order to proceed straight to the forbidden Shambhala kingdom: the Great White Brotherhood was calling them. Exclaiming "It is nice to believe in the fairy tale of life;' the Roeriches parted with their comrades. [35] Dr. Riabinin sadly watched how the three riders galloped away and soon blended in with the horizon, lowering the curtain of mystery behind them: "We Europeans who accompanied Nicholas and Helena must say good-bye to them, for we are not supposed to know their future path. Will the messenger of Shambhala accompany them?" [36]

Botanical Expedition with an Occult Spin, 1935

The major result of the Roeriches' mission to Inner Asia was their complete disillusionment with official Tibetan Buddhism. The painter and his wife became equally frustrated about the Bolsheviks, who did not wholeheartedly support their Great Plan, so they decided to delete the Reds from their lives as well. Their otherworldly teacher shared these frustrations, and in his usual cryptic manner stated that in the future city of knowledge there would be nothing red, not even red flowers. Only blue, white, and violet would remain. Trying to close this page of his life, the painter had all mention of the Bolsheviks, including his Moscow visit, purged from further editions of his books.

Figure 8.6. Nicholas Roerich's Master Building, intended to become a spiritual beacon for humankind. It featured brickwork that gradually shifted from dark to light as the building rose.

The failures they experienced only hardened the couple's determination not to give up on their dream: "Blessed obstacles, through you we grow." [37] By that time, the Roeriches were so firmly entangled in their visionary world controlled by Master Morya that there was simply no way back. Roerich's books, and especially Helena's spiritual diaries, clearly showed that the two spiritual seekers were not opportunistic actors. The couple came to truly believe in their own theater of magic, becoming totally convinced they had been chosen by hidden masters of the Great White Brotherhood to speed up human spiritual evolution. The symbol of this grand mission became a skyscraper that Louis Horch, the Roerich's major donor, built in 1929 to accommodate spiritual and artistic projects of the painter. Located at 310 Riverside Drive in Manhattan, this twenty-four-story Master Building (a reference to Master Morya) was to become a cultural and intellectual beacon for humankind.

What the Shambhala warriors needed now was a new sponsor to back up their Great Plan. The United States became their natural choice, and the ocean of flattery that the Roeriches earlier showered on the Bolsheviks was now redirected toward America and particular politicians: President Herbert Hoover, the influential Republican senator from Idaho William Borah, and later President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In the pages of Nicholas Roerich's books published after 1929, Mongol and Kalmyk nomads share legends about the "generous Giant;' the "one who feeds people"-references to Hoover's American Relief Association, which fought famine in Soviet Russia in 1921-22. The most ridiculous statement was a flattering remark addressed to Borah: "A letter from him is considered a good passport everywhere. Sometimes in Mongolia, or in the Altai, or in Chinese Turkestan you can hear a strange pronunciation of his name: 'Boria is a powerful man.'" "This is so precious to hear," added Roerich without a hint of irony: the sweeter the talk the better. [38]

The biggest coup was making friends with Henry Wallace, a rising politician from Iowa, the Secretary of Agriculture and later Vice President in the FDR administration. Wallace came to the political spotlight during the Great Depression, when millions of unemployed workers, bankrupt farmers, and the majority of intellectuals came to the firm conclusion that the days of capitalism were over and that the future belonged, if not to communism, then definitely to a greater welfare state that would take care of people and tame unruly profiteers. Like many on the FDR team, the Iowa politician became disgusted with the free market going wild. Yet unlike his comrades, Wallace looked beyond social and economic change, contemplating a spiritual transformation of the human being. A deeply religious man, he attributed many social evils to the materialism of Western civilization. Thus he joined the growing tribe of Caucasian people who searched for redemption in Native American, Oriental, and Western esoteric traditions. This quest drew him to Indian shamans and Theosophy and led him to explore the influence of stars on Iowa cereal crops. In the early 1930s, Wallace was still looking for his spiritual niche. The plant physiologist Borodin, who had taken Roerich's project of the Sacred Union of the East so close to his heart, helped the seeker find the "correct" path. Sharing with Wallace a common interest in drought-resistant plants, Uncle Boris had courted the future Secretary of Agriculture since the end of the 1920s. Hearing of Wallace's spiritual side, Borodin revealed that in New York City there lived a man who would be able to quench his spiritual thirst. Thus, Wallace was drawn into Roerich's circle.

The painter immediately saw that the highly positioned seeker could be very useful for his Great Plan and began to gently cultivate this valuable contact. Massaging Wallace's ego, Roerich prophesized that he was destined to become the next president. Soon Wallace was admitted into the inner circle, receiving a ring and the esoteric name Galahad -- a reference to the legend that Galahad, along with Parsifal, took the Holy Grail to the Orient. Fascinated with Roerich's prophecies and stories about travels to Buddhist areas, Wallace withdrew from the mainstream Theosophical Society and took up the Roeriches' cause. When Wallace became Secretary of Agriculture, the couple was eventually able to reach out to FDR, who already knew about the painter and his Master Building through his mother, Sara, a woman with esoteric leanings.

Soon Helena Roerich corresponded directly with the president, sending FDR her "fiery messages" peppered with advice about domestic and international politics. [39] In February 1935, she finally felt comfortable enough to reveal to the chief executive the details of the Great Plan, hinting that the United States might help this noble project: "Thus, the time for reconstruction in the East has come, and let us have friends of the Orient in America. The Union of Asian peoples is envisioned. The unification of the tribes and nationalities will proceed gradually. They will have their own federation. Mongolia, China, and the Kalmyk will counterbalance Japan. Mr. President, in this project of unification we need your good will." [40]

Meanwhile, rubbing shoulders with Wallace, Roerich suddenly saw an opportunity to use this friendship for his occult geopolitics. In the wake of the horrible drought that hit the Central Plains, the Department of Agriculture started looking for drought-resistant grasses and cereals, sending out its people to various parts of the globe, including Central and Inner Asia. When Roerich found out about it, he was quick to offer himself as an expert on Asian plant life. According to the painter's occult calendar, it was a good time for him to step out of the shadows and attempt to launch again the Sacred Union of the East: on December 17, 1933, the thirteenth Dalai Lama died. This "happy news;' surmised the painter, would surely trigger a chain of events. To his circle of the elect he announced, "Now we have reached the future!" [41]

By the end of December Wallace was already in Roosevelt's office, trying to sell his boss on the idea of an Asian botanical expedition that would include Roerich and his son George. The president, who would soon take a personal interest in Roerich's cause, liked the project and gave his go-ahead. At the same time, the Secretary of Agriculture indirectly tried to prepare FDR for something bigger than simply a botanical venture, vaguely hinting that the political situation in Asia was always quite intriguing because of various ancient prophecies and legends. At the last moment, Wallace's worried subordinates convinced their boss to attach two actual plant scientists to the expedition. The Roeriches did not like this idea at all and immediately dissociated themselves from the agriculturalists by traveling separately.

Instead of going to Tibet and western China, the areas that earlier were so dear to his heart, the painter now rushed to northeastern China: Manchuria and Inner Mongolia. Why such a sudden change of itinerary? At first glance this choice did not make much sense, but if we look closely at the geopolitical situation in northeastern China at that time, all pieces of the puzzle fall in place.

The death of the Dalai Lama was surely an important occult sign. Yet there was no popular turmoil and discontent in Tibet at that time. At the same time, Manchuria, Chinese (Inner) Mongolia, and Red Mongolia were all on fire. In 1931, Japan, a rising imperialist giant, suddenly invaded China and occupied the northeastern part (Manchuria). From there, Japan now threatened the Soviet Far East, Mongolia, and central China, reviving in the Mongols' hearts hopes of liberation from the Chinese settlers and indigenous Bolsheviks who now crusaded against Tibetan Buddhism. In an apparent gesture of goodwill, Japan stimulated these hopes by setting up for the Mongols an autonomous region within Manchuria called Hsingan. Meanwhile, in 1929, the Soviets and their indigenous fellow travelers stopped courting lamas in Mongolia and unleashed merciless attacks against these former allies. Many monasteries were shut down, their properties confiscated, and lamas along with the rest of the nomads forced onto collective farms. A spontaneous rebellion of common Mongol shepherds and lamas against this assault began in 1931 simultaneously with Japan's invasion of Manchuria. Red Russia faced a real risk of losing Mongolia to Japan, and the Far East quickly became one of Stalin's major security concerns.

As they always did in times of great troubles, the Mongols tried to empower themselves with familiar prophecies. Rebellious lamas looked at the advancing Japanese army as legions of the legendary Shambhala king finally coming to deliver them from misery. [42] The venerated Panchen Lama added his voice to these sentiments: "The happiness will come from the East. Japanese and Mongols are people of the same kin, and Mongols should worship the Japanese emperor. One needs to struggle against the Red menace." Samdin, a Mongol Comintern spy who was hanging around the runaway Tibetan abbot, alerted his Moscow bosses that it was the first time Panchen brought up the Japanese in his talks, which was dangerous. Soon word spread all over Red Mongolia that the Panchen Lama himself would come and lead the Mongols in a war against the Red infidels. Although he did not provide any practical help to the rebels, his spiritual presence was powerful enough to arouse concerns. The Panchen Lama was traveling back and forth along the southern border of Mongolia, initiating nomads into the ranks of Shambhala warriors. The same Comintern agent worriedly reported, "The Panchen Lama spreads around holy prophecies, which speak of the holy yellow war of Shambhala." [43] The talk about the Shambhala holy war disturbed not only the Bolsheviks, but also Chinese settlers who had seized nomads' lands in Inner Mongolia and now had to face their wrath.

This was the explosive situation that Roerich craved to step into, and word about the coming Shambhala war in and around Mongolia was welcome news for him. Again it was time to set in motion the Great Plan: "Imagine, suddenly an invincible Mongolian army shows up and begins to win and to act-amazing!" [44] If successful in Manchuria and Red Mongolia, the painter could easily make an alliance with Japan and, drawing the Panchen Lama to his side, advance northward to Siberia and then southwest to Tibet. While dreaming about riding the Mongol revolts against the Bolsheviks and the Chinese, Roerich also planned to tap into the manpower of thousands of White Russian emigres who resided in eastern China by offering as a spiritual role model St. Sergius of Radonezh, a medieval Russian Christian saint and patron of the military. The irony of the situation was that this saint had spiritually mobilized the Russian princes against the Mongol yoke. But the painter never mentioned this uncomfortable fact.

Figure 8.7. Nicholas Roerich's image of himself as St. Sergius the Builder in charge of a mighty army and under protection of the all-seeing eye of Master Morya.

As usual, Roerich imagined himself as the head of the whole movement. On one of his canvases, he portrayed himself as St. Sergius surrounded by an army of warriors with spears ready for an attack. The painting also shows the face of Jesus Christ at the feet of the saint and the familiar all-seeing eye of the Great Architect of the Universe, an image borrowed from Freemasonry. Moreover, in conversations with his American associates Roerich began to talk openly about himself as leader of the future Asiatic theocracy. If other painters, musicians, and humanities professors could be politicians and even heads of states, the painter remarked, he could be top. [45]

Helena fed these ambitions by constantly saying that it was a time of the assertive politician, pointing out that all over Asia, Europe, and even in the United States people were opting for strong-willed leaders. Observing the megalomaniacal dreams of his friend, George Grebenstchikoff, Roerich's expert on Siberia, now cautiously stepped aside, refusing to back up a new geopolitical venture. In fact, the writer could not resist making fun of the painter in his poem about the false tsar Dmitri, a seventeenth-century pretender who, backed up by a Polish king, tried to claim the Russian throne. Roerich was so angry that he excluded Grebenstchikoff from his inner circle.

As during his journey to Tibet, troubles pursued the Shambhala warrior from the very beginning. In August 1934, on their way to Manchuria, the painter and his son stopped in Japan. There, without any official credentials, the painter began to act as a high American dignitary, meeting the Japanese secretary of war and praising him for the job the Japanese occupation army was doing in China. Three years earlier, the United States had condemned Japan for invading China, and Roerich's behavior now looked very embarrassing. Roerich, who did not like that the United States favored China over Japan, viewed the Land of the Rising Sun as a positive force because it backed up the Mongols.

As soon as the botanical expedition stepped on Chinese soil, George Roerich got in touch with a representative of the Panchen Lama. But, surrounded by a tight ring of intelligence agents from various countries, the spiritual leader of Tibet exercised extra caution and again refused to get involved in any grand scheme or conspiracy. Accompanied by several armed guards recruited from the ranks of Russian emigres, the Roeriches then made a blitz visit to Manchurian Mongols right on the border with Red Mongolia, mingling with local princes and lamas. From Manchuria, Roerich and his son drove to Inner Mongolia, where they met Teh Wang, leader of the Mongol national liberation movement against the Chinese, promising him American support-another reckless step that further raised the eyebrows of U.S. diplomats in China and Japan.

En route, George kept a detailed diary, which seems more of a military journal than travel notes. He carefully scanned the topography of places they visited, measured hills and distances between various sites and towns, noted major intersections, and provided detailed information about the Japanese military transportation system, the movement of Japanese troops, and the plan of Teh Wang's headquarters. In short, this was a blueprint for developing future defensive and offensive plans. [46]

Figure 8.8. Nicholas and George Roerich during their "botanical expedition" to China with an occult spin. Manchuria-Inner Mongolia, 1934-35.

Simultaneously, at a monastery press in Inner Mongolia, Roerich had his brief biography printed in Mongolian to be distributed among local lamas. Again, as during his abortive Tibetan venture, the goal was to build up his image as the divine messenger of a new era with links to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. This silly text filled with praises for the painter was written in 1926 by Tseveen Jamtsarano, a former cultural leader of Red Mongolia who befriended the Roeriches during their long stay in Urga in 1926. Jamtsarano, a Bolshevik fellow traveler, who, like Roerich, toyed with the idea of marrying Buddhism and Communism, endorsed the painter as a new Asian messiah: "Spreading all over the world, the name of the great Teacher Roerich, became the greatest in all countries. In future, if trouble happens somewhere, he will teach us and light our path." [47]

Besides this spiritual propaganda, the Roeriches explored Buddhist manuscripts in the monasteries they visited and collected samples of herbs used in Tibetan medicine. With such an intensive geopolitical, cultural, and medicinal agenda, there was hardly any time left for drought-resistant plants. During the sixteen months of their expedition, the Roeriches were able to produce specimens of only twenty plants, whereas the two botanists sent by the Department of Agriculture brought home more than two thousand plant samples, including 726 soil-conserving grasses. [48]  
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Re: Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the H

Postby admin » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:04 pm

Epilogue: The End of Red Shambhala

Red tide: a brownish-red discoloration of marine waters that is lethal to fish.

-- Random House Dictionary of English Language

Roerich's careless steps and his megalomaniacal taste for adventure again backfired. First of all, he was noticed by the Japanese intelligence service and put on their close-watch list. Spies from the Land of the Rising Sun tried to figure out whom the painter worked for. Was he an American or Russian agent? In fact, the Japanese had been monitoring him on and off since the mid-1920s, reading his correspondence to his brother Vladimir, who had settled in Harbin in eastern China after escaping from the Bolsheviks.

Despite Nicholas Roerich's warm gestures to Tokyo supporting Mongol independence, the Japanese did not trust the painter. They became alarmed when, during his side trip to Harbin, a city that accommodated thousands of White Russian refugees, Roerich suddenly began acting as the future leader of the entire Russian emigre community. The Japanese were especially mad at the painter for speaking harshly against Konstantin Rodzaevsky, head of the Harbin-based Russian Fascist Party, whom Japanese intelligence was grooming as the chief of all Whites.

Thinking the Americans had purposely planted Roerich to disrupt this plan, Japanese intelligence unleashed a smear campaign in the press against the painter. The intercepted letters that Nicholas wrote to Vladimir in 1926 on the eve of his Tibetan expedition were excavated from the intelligence archives and made public. [1] Although in a heavily distorted form, parts of his Great Plan were now exposed. The press wrote that Roerich was a Mason, which was not true, and a messenger of the mysterious Great White Brotherhood that sought to establish a great Siberian state -- which did contain elements of truth. Several newspapers drew attention to his brief romance with the Bolsheviks, wondering if it was still going on. Meanwhile, the American press raised hell, speculating about some hidden U.S. governmental agenda linked to the Roerich Manchurian expedition. So again the painter was caught in the crossfire of diplomatic, spy, and media games.

Still worse, the State Department informed his patron Wallace that the Soviets had sent a confidential protest to the American government, complaining that the dangerous emigre Roerich was wandering along the borders of Red Mongolia. The Bolsheviks were worried that "the armed party is now making their way toward the Soviet Union ostensibly as a scientific expedition but actually to rally former White elements and discontented Mongols." [2] To the last moment, Wallace backed up Roerich and dismissed all insinuations against his "botanist." Only when he realized that the painter had become a diplomatic embarrassment for the government and that his own career was now on the line did the Secretary of Agriculture call off the expedition, cut funding, and terminate all contact with his former guru. Eventually, along with Louis Horch, another sponsor who dropped Roerich, Wallace turned against the painter, initiating a tax-evasion lawsuit against him and seizing all his properties in the United States. FDR felt embarrassed about the whole situation and personally interfered, promising Horch and Wallace to call the judge who handled the case in order to guarantee the "correct" verdict. And sure enough, Roerich, who trusted Horch to do his finances, was indicted. Betrayed and humiliated by his esoteric partners Logvan and Galahad, Roerich never came back to the United States, wisely choosing to settle in India.

Manchurian Candidate: The Conclusion of Roerich's Odyssey

What went unnoticed at the time was that in January 1933 in Leningrad, right on the eve of the Manchurian expedition, Boris Roerich, another brother of the painter who remained in Red Russia, was suddenly released by OGPU for good behavior before his sentence expired; in May 1931, the Bolshevik secret police had set up and then arrested Boris for attempting to smuggle his own antique items to the West. Yet, there is an interesting detail here. Boris's three-year sentence seems more a house arrest. An architect by profession, he was confined to work at the secret technical bureau, designing the Big House, which headquartered the Leningrad branch of the secret police and Stalin's summer cottage! Here Nicholas Roerich's brother worked under Nikolai Lansere, the Soviet architectural star who received a similar sentence. [3]

Figure E.1. Left to right: Konstantin Riabinin, Boris Roerich, Sina Lichtmann- Fosdick, Nicholas Roerich. Urga, Mongolia, April 1927.

From Boris's recently declassified secret police file it is clear OGPU was using him as a tool in some sophisticated game that most certainly involved Nicholas Roerich. As early as February 1929, the secret police searched Boris's apartment, trying to find materials that might implicate him in espionage. Two months later he was recruited by OGPU and began working as its secret informer. Then two years later OGPU suddenly framed and arrested him for smuggling, sentencing him to three years in a concentration camp. Yet, hardly had two months passed before this draconian sentence was miraculously waived and replaced by benevolent confinement in the golden cage of the secret technical bureau. [4]

But this strange story does not end here. From 1936 to 1937, now in Moscow and again with Lansere, Boris Roerich worked on the monumental project of the All Union Institute of Experimental Medicine (VIEM), the notorious "new age" Stalinist research center described in chapter 4. What followed was even more stunning. From 1937 to 1939, during the period of the Great Terror when hundreds of thousands of Soviet intellectuals, including Lansere, and numerous Bolshevik bureaucrats were either shot or locked in concentration camps for a good deal less than being relatives of "enemies of the people." Boris continued his career as if nothing was happening and even improved his material conditions by moving to an elite neighborhood in Moscow, where he quietly died a natural death in 1945. [5] It is notable that during the same time when the architect lived safely in Moscow, Dr. Konstantin Riabinin, who never fought or spoke against the Bolshevik regime, was rearrested and placed in a concentration camp for fifteen more years simply for his association with the "English spy" Nicholas Roerich during the Tibetan expedition!

The facts of Boris Roerich's biography look shocking. Even without having such a "dangerous" brother, Boris, simply as a former White officer who fought against the Bolsheviks during the Civil War, was a prime candidate if not for execution then at least for a twenty-five-year sentence in a concentration camp. Still, by some providential force, the Bolsheviks' vengeance never reached him. How to explain this miracle? What was the magic shield that protected Boris Roerich? The most obvious answer is that this magic guardian was his adventurous brother. Remembering that the use of relatives to guarantee the cooperation of victims and the loyalty of OGPU agents was standard practice for Stalin's secret police, all pieces of the puzzle fall in place.

It is quite possible that Boris was a bargaining chip in some devious and sophisticated spy game that involved Nicholas Roerich. I will not repeat here the far-fetched argument made by Moscow writer Oleg Shishkin that after 1919 or 1920 the painter was always a paid Bolshevik spy and that his Master School in New York City was a cover for a Soviet spy ring. [6] There is simply no credible evidence to support such a case. At the same time, one cannot totally exclude the possibility that at some point Roerich was simply blackmailed by the Soviet secret police and forced to perform occasional clandestine assignments, especially during his Manchurian venture. These assignments might not have necessarily contradicted his Great Plan. They could include monitoring Japanese military activities near Red Mongolia's border, the location of their troops and military hardware, the status of Manchuria as a puppet state, and the general geopolitical situation in the area, a major concern for the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Bolshevik intelligence threw a tremendous amount of resources and manpower into the Far East, recruiting hundreds of unemployed White emigres to spy on the Japanese. Besides, putting on a leash as a possible agent of influence the prominent Russian emigre who worked to unite White Russians and Mongols in a sacred crusade against Communism was not a bad idea. Viewed from this angle, the protest quietly delivered by the Soviets to the United States in 1935 regarding Roerich's "armed and dangerous party" might have simply been a good smokescreen to smooth the mission of the reluctant agent.

As long as Boris remained in the hands of the Soviet secret police, the painter's cooperation could be safely solicited anytime. There were signs that after their failed Tibetan venture Nicholas and Helena Roerich wanted to drop the Bolsheviks and find another sponsor. The couple probably thought their involvement of Moscow in their 1920s' geopolitical scheme was a one-time thing. If they thought so, they made a fatal mistake. If Nicholas Roerich wanted to drop the Bolsheviks, most likely they did not want to drop him. At the least, we know that Boris Roerich, who in 1922 was ready to leave Russia to join his brother in New York, never got his chance.

After his second attempt to launch the Sacred Union of the East from Manchuria failed and after the Master Building was seized by Horch, Nicholas and Helena, along with their two sons, settled in northern India in the picturesque Kulu Valley. Right next door, beyond the Himalayan ranges, loomed the Tibet these "Shambhala warriors" failed to conquer. Immersing himself in painting local landscapes and entertaining occasional visitors, Roerich finally had to lay to rest his grand dreams of becoming the spiritual redeemer for humankind. Here in Kulu, the painter peacefully died in 1947 from prostate cancer. His wife followed him eight years later.

Yet before he died, during the Second World War when Russia was attacked by Nazi Germany, Roerich suddenly again became openly pro- Soviet and patriotic. Moreover, after the war ended, he approached the Soviet government, asking permission to return to Russia. Did the old man expect some special treatment from Stalin for occasional services he might have provided to the Bolshevik regime? Or was he simply an old, naive idealist nostalgic for his motherland? Who knows? Fortunately for him, Red Russia refused to issue such permission. Roerich, who did not know anything about real life in the Bolshevik utopia, was certainly unaware how lucky he was. What could await him in Stalinist Russia in case he returned? The atmosphere of total suspicion, suffocating propaganda, and possibly a prison sentence.

In 1957, after the death of Stalin, George Roerich, a linguist and Tibetan scholar who was always part of his parents' Great Plan, followed his father's footsteps; he asked for and did receive permission to immigrate to the Soviet Union. The Soviets not only let him in but also awarded him a prestigious job as a senior research fellow at the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies. Three years later he died from natural causes. The younger son, Svetoslav, an architect, lived a long life and died in 1993 at his estate in Bangalore, India. None of them left any offspring. It surely looked as if some divine punishment was inflicted on the Roerich clan for their attempts to meddle with human evolution and to elevate themselves above God.

Shambhala the Sinister: The Fall of Gleb Bokii and His Red Merlin

In 1925, when their Shambhala expedition to Inner Asia fell through, the cryptographer Gleb Bokii and Alexander Barchenko began looking for traces of the mysterious kingdom within the Soviet Union. Using Special Section money, Barchenko traveled all over the country, contacting esoteric and occult groups and gathering prophetic lore. By the turn of the 1930s, it was getting harder to do such things. The dictatorship Stalin had been patiently building since the 1920s had matured, turning into a full-fledged totalitarian state. The dictator, rapidly being turned into a Red messiah to be worshipped and obeyed, was ready to phase out all his old comrades, the early Bolsheviks who, like Bokii, sometimes questioned things and for whom Stalin was not an authority.

Bokii's Special Section was gradually stripped of its functions, which were delegated to other departments of the secret police. Moreover, research into occult and paranormal phenomena and into engineering better human beings was now shifted to VIEM. By 1934, Bokii's section was relegated to its original tasks, ciphering and deciphering, and it even lost its name. It was no longer Special, but simply Section Nine. Although Bokii now occupied the prestigious rank of Commissar of State Security, the secret police equivalent of an army marshal, he did not have as much power as earlier. It was just a matter of time before the chief cryptographer would find himself on Stalin's hit list. By 1934, when all dissenting voices were silenced, it became dangerous to talk about things that did not fit politically correct and officially sanctioned lines. All occult and esoteric societies had already been wiped out, and their members were laboring in concentration camps. The general atmosphere in Red Russia forced people to become mute and invisible. Now Bokii had to think twice when meeting his friends and acquaintances, and especially before indulging in talks about the mysterious, occult, and paranormal. Such behavior could be easily interpreted as subversive. So the cryptographer caved in and began to avoid Barchenko.

Oblivious to what was going on around him, Barchenko, the aspiring Red Merlin, did not want to give up. He was still compulsively obsessed with his dream to enlighten the Bolshevik elite about Shambhala and Kalachakra and to teach them how to model and predict the future. In early 1936, he tried to press his OGPU patron to put him in touch with Viacheslav Molotov and Kliment Voroshilov, Stalin's two closest advisors. But Bokii wisely ignored this request. Barchenko then turned to Little Karl, Feodor Karlovich Leismaier-Schwarz, one of the former secret police officers who had introduced him to Bokii in the first place. Probably driven by the same desire to partake of the great cause, Leismaier-Schwarz, now working as a photojournalist in Leningrad, foolishly agreed to Barchenko's request. Both naively believed that Leismaier-Schwarz's brief stint as a secret police officer during the first days of the revolution would open doors to the corridors of power. Although Little Karl was not able to reach any Bolshevik dignitaries, he was able to hand the synopsis of Barchenko's ancient science to Voroshilov's secretary.

Barchenko waited for a year and, having received no answer, made a more dangerous move. He decided to go straight to Stalin to enlighten him about Shambhala and Kalachakra. Turning again to Little Karl, he gave him a hazardous assignment -- to get into the Kremlin and prepare a personal meeting between Barchenko and the Red dictator! A few months later, when interrogated by Stalin's agents, Leismaier-Schwarz remembered, "Barchenko complained to me that it was very hard to penetrate party and state leadership. He was frustrated with Bokii, who was not active enough to fulfill Barchenko's guidelines and who could not set up a meeting with Stalin. So I volunteered to fulfill this task. Barchenko accepted my offer and said, 'Try to meet Stalin personally."' [7] This time, not only did Little Karl fail to reach Stalin, but he also attracted the attention of the secret police.

It is hard to explain what drove Barchenko and Leismaier-Schwarz to such reckless behavior. In 1937, when people all over Russia, especially in capital cities, lay low, paralyzed by fear of the Great Terror, and when everybody carefully tried to exercise self-censorship, Barchenko still boldly dreamed about upgrading Communism through the wisdom of Shambhala and Kalachakra. He might simply have become a prisoner of his grand delusion to the point of obsession and conveyed this virus to the spineless Leismaier-Schwarz. Another possible explanation is that, after losing Bokii, who generously funded his esoteric trips, he felt the need to latch on again to a powerful sponsor (the higher the better) to continue his quest. In all fairness, the advent of the totalitarian state would have sooner or later consumed Bokii, Barchenko, Leismaier-Schwarz, and the like anyway. They simply stood out too much with their suspicious esoteric agenda. Still, by his careless behavior Barchenko sped up the process. In the atmosphere of total suspicion and mistrust that reigned in 1930s' Russia, his paranoid zeal to reach out to the Bolshevik elite backfired.

The final judgment came on May 16, 1937. On that day, the "Bloody Dwarf" Nikolai Ezhov, the new secret police chief appointed by Stalin to purge old members of the Bolshevik Party, summoned Bokii to his office. The cryptographer was always surprised why his former wife, Sofia, and her husband, Moskvin, welcomed this five-foot-tall, not-very-educated, mediocre underclass fellow to their apartment. What did they find in this petty bureaucrat with the watery eyes of a sadist? Maybe it was his agreeable nature and good voice: the dwarf excelled in singing ballads. Moskvin had stupidly promoted him as a secretary of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party, where Stalin noticed the obedient workaholic clerk and took him under his wing.

When Ezhov demanded that Bokii turn over all compromising files Bokii had kept since the 1920s on top Bolshevik bosses, adding that this was Comrade Stalin's order, the cryptographer could not restrain himself: "Who cares about your Stalin. It was Lenin who put me into my position." [8] By saying this, Bokii signed his own death warrant. For the next two days the cryptographer was interrogated by one of his colleagues, Commissar of State Security Lev Belsky, [9] assisted by a semiliterate senior lieutenant from Kazakhstan, Ali Kutebarov, a product of the Bolshevik affirmative-action program.

Bokii was originally accused of espionage for England and of being a member of a secret Freemason society that tried to predict the future-a reference to the long-defunct esoteric commune United Labor Brotherhood (ULB) created by Barchenko. The cryptographer did not hide his doubts and frustrations about the revolution, and he also described how his interest in esoteric ism drove him to Barchenko's ancient science and the Shambhala quest. Trying to save his life, Bokii revealed the names of friends and acquaintances who took part in their esoteric talks and classes. A few days later, all of these people were rounded up and arrested. Based on their stories, Belsky eventually made up a case about a subversive religious and political Freemason order called Shambhala-Dunkhor with branches all over the world, including Red Russia. According to his scenario, this sinister secret society was used by England to penetrate the minds of top Bolshevik leaders and control them. It was obvious that the compulsive grand dreams nourished by Barchenko now boomeranged. In the hands of this Stalin henchman, Shambhala, the resplendent and peaceful Tibetan Buddhist paradise, was turned into its opposite -- a sinister destructive force that threatened Red Russia.

The transcript of Bokii's interrogation, which was heavily edited by Belsky, reveals the process of the invention of the counterrevolutionary Shambhala-Dunkhor society:

Belsky: Give me detailed testimony about the spy activities of Barchenko.

Bokii: The spy activities of Barchenko were mainly focused on building up a network of espionage. The work proceeded in two directions. First, it was the organization of a spy network on the periphery. Second, it was a penetration into the party and governmental circles. The latter was done to take over the minds of leadership and, following the example of Masonic organizations in capitalist countries like, for example, in France, guide their activities in a needed direction. For the work on the periphery, Barchenko used various religious and mystical sects of Eastern origin. For this purpose, he made frequent trips to different areas of the Soviet Union, establishing connections with local sects and meeting their foreign emissaries. To penetrate the Soviet ruling circles, Barchenko tried to make some of them interested in his scientific research, its significance for the country's defense, and so forth. Getting somebody interested in this scientific side, he gradually disclosed his teaching about Shambhala. Then, wrapping his victims in the web of mysticism, he used them for espionage purposes. That is how he brainwashed me and penetrated OGPU. [10]

Belsky's imagination notwithstanding, in the 1930s Shambhala indeed became somewhat of a threat to Soviet leadership. Lamas who revolted in Mongolia against Communism linked this legend to the Japanese army that advanced into Manchuria, viewing it as the army of Shambhala. Besides, in Stalin's Siberian backyard Buryat clergy, furious about the forced Soviet collectivization and assault on their faith, began to send around chain letters with the same prophecy about the coming Shambhala war against Red enemies of the Buddhist faith. As early as 1929, right at the beginning of the Stalin "revolution," Agvan Dorzhiev and his lama friends, before erecting a new Kalachakra prayer site in the Trans-Baikal area, placed in its foundation nine hundred thousand steel needles, symbolizing the iron warriors of the future Shambhala king. In 1937-38, when the last Buddhist monasteries were shut down in Siberia, Soviet media began to link the Shambhala prophecy to fascism and Japanese militarism.

Figure E.2. Lev Belsky, the Bolshevik secret police investigator, who in 1937 manufactured the case about a sinister anti-Soviet worldwide clandestine organization named Shambhala-Dunkhor.

Although Belsky pressed Bokii hard to provide specifics of his spy activities, he was not able to dig anything up except for Bokii's mysticism and his membership in the long-defunct ULB. Moreover, even the edited transcript of the interrogation shows that, while playing to Belsky's script, Bokii nevertheless tried to water down the accusations of espionage in order to break the whole case. Moreover, at one point he flatly rejected all espionage accusations:

Belsky: Why did you seek contacts with counterrevolutionaries and spies?

Bokii: I never sought any special contacts with spy elements. I sought contacts with the abovementioned sects and cults because I was lured by Barchenko's mystical teaching. I do admit that I placed mastering the mysteries of this teaching above the interests of the Communist Party and the state. In my eyes, the high task of mastering the scientific-mystical mysteries of Shambhala justified the deviation from the Marxist-Leninist teaching about classes and class warfare. However, I did not specially plan to do any harm to the party or the Soviet power, and not a single member of our order was known as a spy or a person who had links to spies ....

Belsky: What spy activities did you conduct personally, and what particular spy assignments did you receive from Barchenko?

Bokii: I never received direct espionage assignments from Barchenko. By being immersed in Barchenko's mysticism, I simply neglected interests of the state and covered his activities by the name of the Special Section, which assisted him to conduct spy work.

Belsky: The investigator does not trust you. Trying to shift the investigation away from your spy activities, you want to move it in the other direction. I suggest that you sincerely confess your spy work. ...

Bokii: I cannot add anything to what I have already told you. [11]

To make the cryptographer look creepier, the stories about Bokii's naturist commune and group sex were added, along with the collection of mummified penises found in his apartment. So the cryptographer looked like a perfect degenerate and a pervert through and through. Still, all this did not make a spy case convincing enough to please Stalin. It seems that at this point the crude Kutebarov entered the game. During a second interrogation in August 1937 (one wonders what happened to Bokii during the previous three months), the cryptographer suddenly confessed that, on top of other evil things, the Shambhala- Dunkhor order planned to blow up the Kremlin and assassinate the Red dictator at his retreat on the Black Sea.

A second interrogation usually took place when a victim did not cooperate. The arsenal of tools of persuasion varied. They included beatings, squeezing of genitals, breaking ribs, burning with cigarettes, and urinating on detainees. Yet the most effective and "cleanest" method was the practice of using victims' relatives as hostages. One of Bokii's daughters suffered from asthma and could have been a good bargaining chip for his interrogators. [12] Whatever methods they used, Belsky and Kutebarov cracked the cryptographer along with other members of the Shambhala-Dunkhor "ring." It is essential to note that Bokii was disposed of not because he was involved in mysticism and the esoteric Shambhala quest that did not fit Marxism, but because he belonged to the old revolutionaries who never viewed Stalin as the Red messiah. With or without Shambhala, merely by belonging to the old Marxists, Bokii was doomed to be exterminated, as were thousands of his colleagues. On November 15, 1937, after a closed trial, which was conducted by three secret police officers and took only fifteen minutes, Bokii was condemned to death, executed, and cremated on the same day. [13]

All the other people who had unfortunately associated themselves with Bokii and Barchenko were also executed in 1937, including Kondiain, Leismaier-Schwarz, Moskvin, and others. Bokii's former wife, Sofia Doller, was also zealously interrogated and after a "sincere" confession was promptly shot. Yet she was not included in the ranks of the Shambhala-Dunkhor culprits. Ezhov ordered that she be made part of a separate but no less exotic case. Belsky and Kutebarov assigned her and the doctor of Tibetan medicine Nikolai Badmaev to the role of Japanese spies. According to the secret police script, the Japan ordered Doller and Badmaev, her and Moskvin's close friend, to dispose of Ezhov by using exotic herbal poisons delivered from Tibet. [14]

Two years later Stalin ordered the execution of the executioners themselves. "Bloody Dwarf" Ezhov, who, to stretch his muscles, once in a while liked to descend to a secret police cellar to perform an execution, now himself was shot by his colleagues in the same cellar after listening to false accusations of terrorism, spying, and homosexuality. A year later, Belsky and Kutebarov followed their boss.

The last one of these Shambhala seekers to be shot was Barchenko, chief of the "spy ring," who fought for his life to the very end. The failed Red Merlin eagerly cooperated with the investigation and played to the changing scenarios of his investigators, implicating himself and others in all kinds of crimes and adding more details from his life as early as 1917. Already condemned to death, he still struggled to extend his days, resorting to familiar "scientific" tools. On December 24, 1937, he wrote directly to Ezhov. In this last pathetic appeal he masochistically pleaded, "I was informed that my case has been completed. I fully disarmed myself with no loophole for retreat and revealed to the investigation all details, events, and names from my past. I clearly understand that I am responsible for what I did and do not ask you to soften my fate. Yet, let me draw your attention to the fact that I discovered a physical phenomenon unknown to modern science." The rest of his long letter was designed to awe the chief of Stalin's secret police with another miraculous scientific story. Now it was a legend about the secret of energy regulation used by bacteria -- a discovery that promised to arm Red Russia with an "extraordinary powerful weapon" to fight epidemic diseases and protect the country from bacteriological attacks. [15] The message was obvious: please, save me, I still can be useful.

Yet nothing helped, and on April 25, 1938, with a bullet in the back of his head, the Red Merlin followed his brethren from the Shambhala-Dunkhor order. Who was Barchenko? A sincere, naive spiritual seeker who became the prisoner of his compulsive dream or a talented scientist, as his Russian biographer Alexandre Andreyev hinted. [16] Probably the former. A dropout medical student and an occult-fiction writer, he never had a systematic knowledge of biology, physics, or other sciences. Contrary to his claims, neither was he an expert on Tibetan Buddhism. Even in the field of esotericism, Barchenko unfortunately did not create anything new, simply adjusting Alexandre d'Alveydre's "subterranean blues" to the Communist utopia. What he definitely excelled in was trumpeting his ancient science, a smorgasbord of Kalachakra, d'Alveydre's Agartha, and Eliphas Levi's books. Clearly a charismatic spiritual adventurer, Barchenko convinced himself and several dozen people around him that he knew how to Scientifically engineer a society free of social ills, and in this capacity he kept offering himself to the Bolshevik elite.

Red Pilgrims to Ashes: Shumatsky, Borisov, and Others

No less tragic was the fate of those romantic Bolsheviks who in the 1920s rushed into Mongolia, western China, and farther to Tibet to build the Red Shambhala paradise by stirring indigenous prophecies and instigating lamas to revolution. By 1930, after nationalist movements in China, India, and other Eastern countries failed to mutate into a Communist revolution, the Bolsheviks realized that the project of world Communism was going no farther than Mongolia. Soviet fortunes were at low ebb, and Stalin ordered all outreach ventures to be halted, concentrating on his domestic agenda. [17] It was clear that Communism could not win over nationalism, which showed no indication of exhausting itself as the Bolsheviks expected. In a decisive move, the dictator cracked down on the Communist indigenous elites that had expanded their influence in the 1920s. He also slowed down affirmative-action programs for indigenous ethnic groups and stopped flirting with religions. The brief romance with Tibetan Buddhism was over.

Red Russia was quickly turning into an isolated Communist fortress, shutting down contacts with the outside world. Comintern, an organization specially created to sponsor worldwide revolution, became an unnecessary appendix. Crippled by arrests of its agents, it was eventually shut down. Commissar for Foreign Affairs Georgy Chicherin, a Russian noble turned Bolshevik diplomat, was quickly losing his power. At first, he retreated to Germany to relax from the suffocating police-state environment Stalin was creating. Then, not wishing to betray the cause, Chicherin returned and quietly retired in 1929, then conveniently died in 1936 on the eve of Stalin's Great Terror, which mowed down all of Chicherin's team.

Sergei Borisov was one of the first to go down. This Oirot Bolshevik, who helped to foment revolution in Mongolia and then as a "lama" led an expedition to Tibet, made a good career in the foreign affairs commissariat, serving as deputy chair of the Eastern Department. On September 10, 1937, Borisov was tried and shot along with hundreds of other early Bolsheviks working in the Soviet Foreign Service. Elbek- Dorji Rinchino, the Buryat intellectual and first Red dictator of Mongolia who dreamed about the vast pan-Mongol Communist empire, was executed a year later. At least, unlike Borisov, who was simply shot for no reason as a Japanese spy, Rinchino was disposed of with a good official excuse as an unreformed proponent of pan-Mongolism. Agvan Dorzhiev, another player in the great Bolshevik game in Inner Asia, ended his Shambhala quest in a secret police prison morgue. By the 1930s, futile compromises with the Bolshevik regime morally broke down this former Dalai Lama ambassador to Russia. In 1937, with the advent of Stalin's Great Terror, secret police shut down his Kalachakra temple in Leningrad as a "counterrevolutionary cell," and Dorzhiev decided to return to his home in Siberia, hoping to spend his last years in peace and prayer. Yet once there the feeble eighty-four-year-old Buryat lama was immediately arrested as a Japanese spy. The Shambhala seeker did not even live to see his execution, dying from a heart attack after his first and only interrogation.

Boris Shumatsky, the polyglot Bolshevik organizer equally at home with his Yiddish-speaking kin, Russian workers, and Buryat or Mongol nomads, followed his former comrades-in-arms. This revolutionary who wanted to bring Communism to all of northern Eurasia constantly clashed with Stalin when trying to secure more self-government for indigenous people in Siberia. As early as the 1920s, Shumatsky was already out of favor with the budding dictator, who did not like this assertive Jew from Siberia. After a brief stint as president of the university that trained Comintern agents, Shumatsky was made the chief Bolshevik censor supervising the emerging Soviet cinema. In 1938, he was sentenced to execution for the crime that perfectly fit his latest position: Shumatsky found out he was planning to assassinate Comrade Stalin during a movie screening for the dictator.

Of all the Bolsheviks and their fellow travelers who conjured Red Shambhala in Inner Asia, the most prominent one to survive Stalin's slaughterhouse was the chubby Mongolian Choibalsan, former member of Com intern's Mongol-Tibetan Department. In 1937, this short and shy former junior lama was elevated by Stalin to the position of Mongolia's dictator. His predecessor had lost his life for wondering aloud how it was possible to eliminate one hundred thousand lamas -- a goal the Russian dictator set for his Mongol comrades. Choibalsan, who preferred listening and doing to asking questions, took this assignment seriously. He cracked down on his former brothers, wiping out those who resisted and sending those who were mute and submissive into his army to serve as soldiers or to concentration camps to perform hard labor. By 1940, the Mongol Buddhist clergy was decimated. [18] When rounded up to be sent to Siberian camps, many lamas could not comprehend the magnitude of the whole event, believing they were being shipped to northern Shambhala, the cherished land of spiritual bliss. Thus came true the dream of the lama bandit Ja-Lama, who in his small totalitarian paradise in the Gobi Desert dreamed about making "lazy" lamas perform productive labor.

In the summer of 2009, I was returning to the United States from Moscow, where I had completed gathering archival material for this book. Having a ten-hour wait before my flight, I decided to go to downtown Moscow to find sites linked to major characters in this book. The place where in the 1920s Bokii and Barchenko conjured their Shambhala project was not difficult to find. The four-floor structure at 21 Kuznetsky Bridge then belonged to the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs. The two upper floors, which to Chicherin's chagrin accommodated Bokii's Special Section, are now apartments. In an adjacent building around the corner on Lubyanka Square, Chicherin, Shumatsky, and Borisov worked out their Mongol and Tibetan schemes.

I came to enjoy my small tour of Red Shambhala sites, and upon landing in New York I decided to continue it. Now my destination was 310 Riverside Drive, Nicholas Roerich's skyscraper. The Master Building is still there, solid and sound. In fact, now it is a historic landmark. Somewhere down below in the foundation is a treasure chest containing Tibetan coins and a letter with the prophecy of a new golden age. A young, intelligent-looking fellow wearing earphones came out of the building. He explained that the building was now completely occupied by apartments and that he had heard some weird Russian painter once owned the skyscraper. He looked surprised (if he actually understood what I was talking about) when I said that the weird painter designed this magnificent tower-like structure to become the Master Building, beacon of knowledge and highest spirituality for all humankind.

I was about to add a couple of words about Roerich and his wife, but the man was already walking away. I smiled to myself: Busy people, both in Moscow and New York, are deeply immersed in their twenty-first- century hectic lifestyles. Why should they care about forgotten ideological alchemists who tried to engineer noble human beings and build a perfect society in which all problems would be solved once and for all -- a quest that took them, along with millions of their contemporaries, on a path of self-destruction?
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Re: Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the H

Postby admin » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:08 pm



RASPH: Rossiiskii Arkhiv sotsial'no-politicheskoii istorii, [Russian Archive of Social and Political History], Moscow


1. Emanuel Sarkisyanz, Russland and der Messianismus des Orients-Sendungsbewusstsein und politischer Chiliasmus des Ostens [Russia and Oriental Messianism: Sense of Mission and Political Chiliasm in the East] (Tubingen: J. C. P. Mohr, 1955); Emanuel Sarkisyantz, "Communism and Lamaist Utopianism in Central Asia, " Review of Politics 20, no. 4 (1958): 623-33.

2. "Shambhala, " in The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, ed. John Bowker (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 885.

3. Chogyam Trungpa, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior (Boulder, CO: Shambhala, 1984).

4. An example of this type of criticism is Donald S. Lopez, Prisoners of Shangri- La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998). In contrast, two recent books have provided an unbiased account of the cultural history of Buddhism in the West: Lawrence Sutin, All is Change: The Two-Thousand-Year Journey of Buddhism to the West (New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2006); Jeffery Paine, Re-enchantment: Tibetan Buddhism Comes to the West (New York: W. W. Norton, 2004).

5. See, for example, Christopher Hale, Himmler's Crusade: The Nazi Expedition to Find the Origins of the Aryan Race (New York: Wiley, 2003).

6. Gary Lachman, Politics and the Occult: The Left, the Right, and the Radically Unseen (Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 2008), xv.

7. Helena Roerich (E. 1. Rerikh), Vysokii put' [High Path]' vol. 1 (1920-1928), vol. 2 (1929-1944), (Moscow: Sfera, 2006). These two volumes present extensive excerpts from her journals, now scanned and posted at http:// The other valuable sources on the activities of the Roeriches, particularly on their Inner Asian expedition, are the Tibetan journals of their travel companions Dr. Konstantin Riabinin, Pavel Portniagin, and Colonel Nikolai Kordashevsky. These journals have all been published and now are available on the Web at php.

8. Alexandre Andreyev, Vremya Shambaly: okkultizm, nauka i politika v Sovetskoi Rossii [Time of Shambhala: Occultism, Science, and Politics in Soviet Russia] (St. Petersburg: Neva, 2004); Alexandre Andreyev, Soviet Russia and Tibet: The Debacle of Secret Diplomacy, 1918-19305 (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2003).

9. Vladimir Rosov, Nikolai Rerikh vestnik Zvenigoroda [Nicholas Roerich: Messenger of Zvenigorod], vol. 1 (Velikii plan) (St. Petersburg: Aleteiia, 2002); vol. 2 (Novaia strana) (Moscow: Ariavarta-Press, 2004).

10. Oleg Shishkin, Bitva za Gimalaii: NKVD, magiia i shpionazh [Fight for the Himalayas: NKVD, Magic, and Espionage] (Moscow: Olma-Press, 1999), 316-75.

11. John McCannon, "Searching for Shambhala: The Mystical Art and Epic Journeys of Nikolai Roerich, " Russian Life 44, no. 1 (2001): 48-56, and "By the Shores of White Waters: The Altai and Its Place in the Spiritual Geopolitics of Nicholas Roerich, " Sibirica: Journal of Siberian Studies 2, no. 3 (2002): 166-89; Markus Osterrieder, "From Synarchy to Shambhala: The Role of Political Occultism and Social Messianism in the Activities of Nicholas Roerich, " (accessed Feb. 5, 2010). About the occult side of Roerich's activities, see Richard Spence, "Red Star Over Shambhala: Soviet, British and American Intelligence & the Search for Lost Civilization in Central Asia, " New Dawn Magazine July-August (2008), Red_Star_Over_Shambhala.html (accessed Nov. 1, 2009).

12. Sarkisyanz, Russland and der Messianismus des Orients; Terry Martin, The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001).

Chapter One

1. John R. Newman, "A Brief History of the Kalachakra, " in The Wheel of Time: The Kalachakra in Context, ed. Beth Simon (Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 1991), 54-58.

2. Edwin Bernbaum, The Way to Shambhala: A Search for the Mystical Kingdom Beyond the Himalayas (Los Angeles: Tarcher, 1980), 25.

3. Sergei Tokarev, History of Religion (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1989), 314.

4. "Predskazanie sviashchennosluzhitelia Lobsan Palden Yeshe, " [Lobsan Palden Yeshe Prophecy] in Baron Ungern v dokumentakh i materialakh [Baron Ungern: Documents and Materials], ed. S. L. Kuzmin, (Moscow: KMK, 2004), 1:150-51.

5. Victor Trimondi and Victoria Trimondi, The Shadow of the Dalai Lama: Sexuality, Magic and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism, part 1 (2003), http:// (accessed Dee. 6, 2009).

6. Johan Elverskog, Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania University Press, 2010): 96-98; Alexander Berzin, "Holy Wars in Buddhism and Islam: The Myth of Shambhala, " http://www.berzinarchives. com (accessed Dee. 5, 2009); Trimondi, Shadow of the Dalai Lama.

7. Helmut Hoffman, The Religions of Tibet (London: Allen and Unwin, 1996), 125-26; Roger Jackson, "Kalachakra in Context, " in Wheel of Time, 33.

8. Newman, "Brief History of the Kalachakra, " 85. The Tajiks are Turkic-speaking seminomadic people in Central Asia who embraced Islam in the early Middle Ages.

9. Ibid., 78-80.

10. Berzin, "Holy Wars in Buddhism and Islam."

11. See Lokesh Chandra, ed., The Collected Works of Bu-ston (New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture, 1965).

12. Bernbaum, Way to Shambhala, 123-24.

13. Trimondi and Trimondi, "Kalachakra: The Public and the Secret Initiations, " chap. 6 in Shadow of the Dalai Lama, part 1.

14. Edward A. Arnold, ed., As Long As Space Endures: Essays on the Kalacakra Tantra in Honor of H. H. the Dalai Lama (Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 2009), 58, 83, 98.

15. David Snellgrove, Indo-Tibetan Buddhism (Boston: Shambhala, 1987), 1:125-26.

16. Trimondi and Trimondi, "The Law of Inversion, " chap. 4 in Shadow of the Dalai Lama, part 1.

17. Robert Beer, The Handbook of Tibetan Buddhist Symbols (Boston: Shambhala, 2003).

18. The Kalachakra deity is the personification of Kalachakra tantra.

19. For a detailed description of protective gods in Tibetan Buddhism, see Alice Getty, The Gods of Northern Buddhism (Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1974), 142-64.

20. Emil Schlagintweit, Buddhism in Tibet (1863; reprint, New York: Augustus M. Kelly, 1969), 112-13.

21. Romio Shrestha and Ian A. Baker, Celestial Gallery (New York: Fall River Press, 2009), 16.

22. Rene de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Oracles and Demons of Tibet: The Cult and Iconography of the Tibetan Protective Deities (Graz, Austria: Akademische Druck-u. Verlagsanstalt, 1975), 343.

23. Walther Heissig, A Lost Civilization: The Mongols Rediscovered, trans. from German D. J. S. Thomson (New York: Basic Books, 1966), 86.

Chapter Two

1. A bodhisattva is one who has attained perfection and is ready to become Buddha but instead chooses to stay in this world to help other humans.

2. Albert Griinwedel, ed. and trans., Der Weg nach Sambhala [The Way to Shambhala] (Munich: G. Franz in Komm, 1915).

3. Owen Lattimore, Nationalism and Revolution in Mongolia (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1955), 51.

4. Gavin Hambly, "Lamaist Civilization in Tibet and Mongolia." in Central Asia, ed. Gavin Hambly (New York: Delacorte Press, 1969), 258.

5. M. Hue, Travels to Tartary, Thibet, and China during the Years 1844-1846 (London: National Illustrated Library, 1854), 2:158.

6. Rebecca Empson, introduction to Time, Causality and Prophecy in the Mongolian Cultural Region: Visions of Future, ed. Rebecca Empson (Kent, UK: Global Oriental, 2006), 2, 5, 8.

7. Hue, Travels to Tartary, 158-59.

8. Bernbaum, Way to Shambhala, 81 (see chap. 1, n. 2).

9. Besides Gautama and Maitreya, other chief Buddhas are Dipankara, the Buddha of Fixed Light; Kasyapa, the Keeper of Light; Mania, the Buddha of Medicine; and Amitabha, the Buddha of Infinite Light.

10. Alice Sarkozi, Political Prophecies in Mongolia in the 17-20th Centuries (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1992), 130-31.

11. Lattimore, Nationalism and Revolution in Mongolia, 57.

12. Ferdinand Ossendowski, Beasts, Men and Gods (New York: Dutton, 1922), 113-21.

13. Andrei Znamenski, "Power of Myth: Popular Nationalism and Nationality- Building in Mountain Altai, 1904-1922, " Acta Slavica Iaponica 22 (2005): 45 ( ... /znamenski. pdf).

14. The conflict between the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama as well as the story of Panchen's escape from Tibet is detailed in Melvyn Goldstein, A History of Modern Tibet, 1913-1951 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), 110-20.

15. la-Lama at first modestly declared himself the grandson of Amursana. Then, after his popularity increased, he announced that he was in fact the reincarnation of the legendary prince. For a biography of la-Lama in English, see Don Croner, False Lama: The Life and Death of Dambijantsan (2009), (accessed Aug. 31, 2009). For the most complete account of his life story, consult Golova Dzha-Lamy [Ja-Lama's Head] (Ulan-Ude and St. Petersburg: Ecoart, 1993) by Inessa Lomakina, a Russian writer and historian of Mongolia.

16. Boris Vladimirtsov, Raboty po istorii i etnografii mongol'skikh narodov [History and Ethnography of the Mongol People] (Moscow: iz-vo vostochnoi literatury, 2002), 276.

17. Ossendowski, Beasts, Men and Gods, 119.

18. The German photographer Hermann Consten, who happened to spy for the Russians in and around Kobdo, left a vivid description of the event in Weidepliitze der Mongolen [Mongol Pastures] (Berlin: Dietrich Reimer, 1920), 2:214-17.

19. Inessa Lomakina, Groznie makhakaly Vostoka [Avenging Mahakalas of the East] (Moscow: Eksmo-Iauza, 2004), 127, 130.

Chapter Three

1. The Soviet secret police went through numerous name changes. Originally, it carried the long name Extraordinary Commission for Combating Sabotage and Counterrevolution, which was immediately abbreviated as Cheka. In the 1920s, it was known at first as GPU (State Political Administration) and then as OGPU (Ob'edinnnoe politicheskoe upravlenie, United State Political Administration). For the sake of clarity, I use OGPU.

2. By 1917, Russian Marxists who wanted to bring Communism to Russia were split into two groups, Mensheviks (people of minority) and Bolsheviks (people of majority). The Mensheviks, moderate socialists, relied more on parliamentary democratic methods. Lenin and his militant Bolshevik comrades, on the contrary, considered such democratic practices as parliaments and elections a bourgeois fraud and worked to bring about a Communist revolution in Russia and beyond.

3. "Iz protokola doprosa G. 1. Bokia, May 17, 1937" [Minutes of Interrogation of G. 1. Bokii, May 17, 1937]' in Andreyev, Vremya Shambaly, 210 (see preface, n. 8).

4. Martin McCauley, The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union (Harlow, UK: Pearson, 2008), 54; Jorg Baberowski, Der Rote Terror: die Geschichte des Stalinismus [Red Terror: History of Stalinism] (Munich: Deutsche Verlags- Anstalt, 2003), 28-29.

5. Donald Rayfield, Stalin and His Hangmen: The Tyrant and Those Who Killed for Him (New York: Random House, 2005), 67.

6. Igor Minutko, Iskushenie uchitelia [Master's Temptation] (Moscow: AST Press, 2005), 109-12.

7. Andreyev, Vremya Shambaly, 76 (see preface, n. 8).

8. "Protokol doprosa A. V. Barchenko, sledovatel' Ali Kutebarov" [Minutes of Interrogation of A. V. Barchenko, Interrogator Ali Kutebarov], in Oleg Shishkin, Bitva za Gimalaii, 353 (see preface, n. 10).

9. Alexandre Saint-Yves d'Alveydre, "Missia Indii v Evrope" [Mission of India in Europe], in Mezhdu Shambaloi i Agarthoi: orakuly velikoi tainy [Between Shambhala and Agartha: Oracles of Great Mystery], ed. Alexandre Andreyev and Oleg Shish kin (Moscow: Eksmo-Iauza, 2005), 59-60.

10. Adolph Erman, Travels in Siberia (London: Longman, 1848), 2:38.

11. Eduard Kudriavtsev, "Novoe ob okkultiste strany Sovetov." [New Materials about a Soviet Occultist] Neva 12 (2006): 280-81.

12. "Protokol doprosa A. V. Barchenko." 354.

13. Ibid., 370-71.

14. Anna Viroubova, Memories of the Russian Court (New York: Macmillan, 1923), 358.

15. Vladimir Bekhterev, Collective Reflexology (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2001).

16. Mikhail Agursky, "An Occult Source of Socialist Realism: Gorky and Theories of Thought Transference." in The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, ed. Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997), 258-59, 263.

17. Current science explains the origin of arctic hysteria by a vitamin D deficiency in the bodies of native northerners, who are exposed to lengthy dark winter months; exposure to sunshine, on the contrary, stores vitamin D in human bodies.

18. Andreyev, Vremya Shambaly, 93-94 (see preface, n. 8).

19. Ibid., 111.

20. "Protokol doprosa A. V. Barchenko, " 364-65.

21. Turar Ryskulov to Dmitrii Manuil'sky and Grigory Voitinsky, November 1927, RASPH, f. 495, op. 154, d. 24, p. 14.

22. Andreyev, Vremya Shambaly, 155 (see preface, n. 8).

23. Alexander Barchenko to Gombojab Tsibikov, May 24, 1927, in Shishkin, Bitva za Gimalaii, 323-24 (see preface, n. 10).

24. Ibid., 319.

25. Ibid., 337, 347.

26. Felix Dzerzhinsky (1877-1926) was a close comrade of Lenin, the creator and first head of the Bolshevik secret police, who simultaneously supervised the development of the Soviet economy.

27. Shishkin, Bitva za Gimalaii, 127-29 (see preface, n. 10).

Chapter Four

1. Tatiana Alekseeva and N. Matveev, Dovereno zashchishchat revoliutsiiu [Entrusted to Defend Revolution] (Moscow: Poiitizdat, 1987), 17.

2. Ibid., 59.

3. Tatiana Grekova, Tibetskii lekar' kremLevskikh vozhdei [Tibetan Healer of Kremlin Chiefs] (St. Petersburg and Moscow: Neva and Olma-Press, 2002), 188.

4. Georges Agabekov, OGPU: The Russian Secret Terror (New York: Brentano's, 1931), 264.

5. Christopher Andrew and Vasilii Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB (New York: Basic Books, 1999), 26; I. S. Rat'kovskii, Krasnii terror i deiatel'nost' VChK v 1918 g. [Red Terror and Cheka Activities in 1918] (St. Petersburg: iz-vo St. Petersburgskogo universiteta, 2006), 185.

6. Particularly, Bokii suggested that a concentration camp be set up for class enemies on the Solovki islands in the northernmost part of Russia. It is symbolic that the steamboat that sailed between these islands and the mainland carried his name. It is also notable that the camp was established on premises confiscated from a Russian Orthodox monastery. In a switch to the secular religion of Communism, Christian icons on the monastery walls were replaced with portraits of Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky, and quotes from the Bible with slogans of the Communist Party. Letters from Russian Prisons, ed. Alexander Berkman (Westport, CT: Hyperion, 1977), 189.

7. Baberowski, Der Rote Terror, 38 (see chapter 3, n. 4).

8. McCauley, Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union, 56 (see chap. 3, n. 4).

9. "Iz protokola doprosa G. I. Bokia, May 17-18, 1937." in Andreyev, Vremya Shambaly, 209 (see preface, n. 8).

10. Ibid., 210.

11. Fyodor Chaliapin, Maska i dusha [Mask and Soul] (Paris: Sovremennyie zapiski, 1932), 281-82.

12. Bokii and his first wife, Sofia Doller, formally divorced in 1920. Doller, of mixed French-Russian Jewish origin, married Ivan Moskvin, a close college friend of Bokii. Moskvin similarly belonged to the elite of the Bolshevik Party. The former spouses maintained warm relations, and Bokii frequented Moskvin's apartment, where the chief cryptographer, Barchenko, and their friends conducted much of their esoteric talks about paranormal phenomena, Shambhala, and Tibetan medicine. The writer Lev Razgon, Bokii's son-in-law, who lived in this apartment for a few years, remembered constantly bumping into "doctors" who strove to locate "a certain something." such as finding a key to overcoming all illnesses and old age (Lev Razgon, True Stories, trans!. John Crowfoot [Ann Arbor: Ardis, 1997], 44).

13. Ibid., 51.

14. Ibid., 281.

15. Andrew and Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield, 53. Bokii's section not only developed codes, intercepted radio signals, and listened to phone conversations of foreign ambassadors and the Bolshevik elite, but also forged ID documents and monitored how well various Soviet departments handled classified materials inside and outside the country.

16. David Kahn, The Codebreakers: The Story of Secret Writing (New York: Scribner, 1996), 642.

17. Grigory Bessedovsky, Revelations of a Soviet Diplomat (1931, reprint Westport, CT: Hyperion Press, 1977), 196. Bokii went very far in trying to keep his experts content and happy. In 1921, to Chicherin's chagrin, the chief cryptographer received special permission to procure regularly gourmet and delicatessen foods for his unit, as well as cognacs and wines from European countries, using hard currency and diplomatic channels of the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs. "Protokol zasedaniia prezidiuma VChK, July 8, 1921, " in Arkhiv VChK: sbornik dokumentov [Archives of Cheka: Documents], ed. V. Vinogradov, A. Litvin, and V. Khristoforov (Moscow: Kuchkovo pole, 2007), 458. It is notable that the Special Section was showered with these outlandish perks amid the horrific mass famine that took the lives of more than a million Russians.

18. Grekova, Tibetskii lekar' kremlevskikh vozhdei, 188-89.

19. Shishkin, Bitva za Gimalaii, 133-34 (see preface, n. 10); Razgon, True Stories, 51.

20. Berkman, Letters from Russian Prisons, 192, 208, 210; Ann Applebaum, Gulag: A History (New York: Anchor, 2004), 38.

21. "Iz protokola doprosa G. I. Bokia, May 17-18, 1937, " in Andreyev, Vremya Shambaly, 210 (see preface, n. 8).

22. Shishkin, Bitva za Gimalaii, 130 (see preface, n. 10).

23. Razgon, who was personally familiar with several officials who initiated this project, writes: "In an extraordinary short period of time an enormous institute with a vast staff and unheard-of privileges came into being" (Razgon, True Stories, 45).

24. "Protokol doprosa A. V. Barchenko, " 365-67 (see chap. 3, n. 8).

25. Kahn, The Codebreakers, 640.

26. "Iz protokola doprosa G. I. Bokia, May 17-18, 1937, " in Andreyev, Vremya Shambaly, 212 (see preface, n. 8).

27. Ibid., 210-11.

28. Svetlana Epifanova, "Maloizvestnie istochniki Mastera i Margarity, " [Little- Known Sources of Master and Margarita] art2076.htm (accessed April 14, 2010); A. G. Tepliakov, Mashina terrora: OGPU-NKVD v Sibiri, 1929-1941 [Machine of Terror: OGPU-NKVD in Siberia, 1929-1941] (Moscow: Novyi Khronograf, 2008), 555-56.

29. Grekova, Tibetskii lekar' kremlevskikh vozhdei, 224.

30. Igor Simbirtsev, VChK v Leninskoi Rossii, 1917-1923 [Cheka in Lenin's Russia, 1917-1923] (Moscow: Tsentrpoligraf, 2008), 337.

31. Agabekov, OGPU, 256.

32. Andreyev, Vremya Shambaly, 151-52 (see preface, n. 8).

33. Alexander Barchenko to Gombojab Tsibikov, May 24, 1927, and "Protokol doprosa A. V. Barchenko" (see chap. 3, n. 8).

34. Joseph Schneersohn, The Heroic Struggle: The Arrest and Liberation of Rabbi Yosef Y Schneersohn of Lubavitch in Soviet Russia (Brooklyn, NY: Kehot, 1999), 135-36.

35. Ibid., 279.

36. Evgenii Moroz, "Kommunizm i evreiskaia magi a; epizod istorii dvadtsatykh godov" [Communism and Jewish Magic: An Episode from the 1920s], Neva 6 (2005).

37. "Protokol doprosa A. V. Barchenko, " in Shishkin, Bitva za Gimalaii, 375 (see preface, n. 10).

Chapter Five

1. Ossendowski, Beasts, Men and Gods, 92 (see chap. 2, n. 12).

2. About Communism as a surrogate secular religion, see David G. Rowley, Millenarian Bolshevism, 1900 to 1920 (New York: Garland, 1987), and Igal Halfin, From Darkness to Light: Class, Consciousness, and Salvation in Revolutionary Russia (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000).

3. Anthony Wallace, "Revitalization Movements, " American Anthropologist 58, no. 2 (1956): 277.

4. Helene Carrere d'Encausse, L 'Empire d'Eurasie: Une histoire de I'Empire russe de 1552 a nos jours [Eurasian Empire: History of the Russian Empire from 1552 to the Present] (Paris: Fayard, 2005), 259.

5. Baberowski, Der Rote Terror, 28, 64-66 (see chapter 3, n. 4).

6. "The Baku Congress of the Peoples of the East, " in Soviet Russia and the East, 1920-1927: A Documentary Survey, ed. Xenia Joukoff Eudin and Robert C. North (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1957), 165-72.

7. Sarkisyanz, Russland and der Messianismus des Orients, 630 (see preface, n. 1).

8. John Snelling, Buddhism in Russia: The Story of Agvan Dorzhiev, Lhasa's Emissary to the Tzar (Shaftesbury, UK: Element, 1993), 198-99.

9. Karl Ernest Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac, Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game and the Race for Empire in Central Asia (New York: Basic Books, 2006), 272.

10. Hambo Agvan Dorzhiev, "Ustav 0 vnutrennei zhizni monashestvuiushikh v buddiiskikh hidanah Sibiri [1923]" [Life Guidelines for Monks in Siberian Buddhist Monasteries], RASPH, f. 89, op. 4, d. 162, pp. 33-36.

11. Hambo Agvan Dorzhiev, "V narodnii komissariat inostrannikh del RSFSR" [To the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs], May 6, 1923, in Ibid., p. 5.

12. Note the words of Khoren Petrosian, deputy chief of the Eastern Division of OGPD. In 1928, when the split of Buddhists into progressives and conservatives was complete, he stressed in a classified memorandum, "We need to continue working to further deepen the schism among conservative monks into smaller groups, thereby killing at birth all their attempts to make an organized stand" (Khoren Petrosian, "O buddiiskikh raionakh [On Buddhist Areas] [1928], " RASPH, f. 89, op. 4, d. 162, p. 68).

13. P. M. Nikiforov, "Dnevnikovie zapisi P. M. Nikiforova o rabote v Mongolii v kachestve polnomochnogo predstavitelia SSSR, July 1925-Seoptember 1927" [P.M. Nikiforov's Journal about His Work as a USSR Ambassador in Mongolia], RASPH, f. 144, op. I, d. 7, p. 46 back.

14. Bina Roy Burman, Religion and Politics in Tibet (New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1979), 41; Michael Jerryson, Mongolian Buddhism: The Rise and Fall of the Sangha (Bangkok: Silkworm Books, 2007), 58, 63.

15. S. M. Murgaev, "Uchastie kalmykov v Bol'shevistskom eksporte revolutsii v stranakh Dal'nego Vostoka (1920)" [Kalmyk Participation in the Export of the Bolshevik Revolution in the Far East], Novyi istoricheskii sbornik [New Historical Symposium] 1 (2006), shtml (accessed April 9, 2010).

16. Both Tuva and the Altai, the southernmost areas of Siberia located on the border with Mongolia, were populated by Turkic-speaking nomads (Buddhists and shamanists) closely related by language and culture.

17. Petrosian, "O buddiiskikh raionakh [1928], supplement 'Panmongolizm;" p.72.

18. Elbek-Dorji Rinchino, "Doklad E-D. Rinchino na zasedanii TsK MNRP June 25, 1925" [E-D. Rinchino's Report at a Meeting of the MNRP Central Committee], in Elbek-Dorji Rinchino 0 Mongolii, [Elbek-Dorji Rinchino on Mongolia], ed. B. V. Bazarov, B. D. Tsibikov, and S. B. Ochirov (Ulan Ude: institute mongolovedenuia, buddologii i tibetologii, 1998), 104.

19. R. N. Carew Hunt, A Guide to Communist Jargon (New York: Macmillan, 1957), 94.

20. Terry Martin, The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001), 5.

21. Gerard M. Friters, Outer Mongolia and Its International Position (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1949), 130-31.

22. Vladimir Pozner, Bloody Baron: The Story oj Ungern-Sternberg (New York: Random House, 1938); Leonid Yuzefovich, Samoderzhets pustiny: Jenomenon sud'by barona R. F Ungern-Shternberga [Master of Desert: The Phenomenon of Baron R. F. Ungern-Sternberg] (Moscow: Ellis-lak, 1993); Boris Sokolov, Baron Ungern: chernii vsadnik [Baron Ungern: Black Horseman] (Moscow: AST-Press, 2006); Evgenii Belov, Baron Ungern Jon Shternberg: biografiiaa, ideologiia, voennye pokhody, 1920-1921 [Baron Ungern von Sternberg: Biography, Ideology, Military Campaigns, 1920-1921] (Moscow: Agraf, 2003); James Palmer, The Bloody White Baron: The Extraordinary Story oj the Russian Nobleman Who Became the Last Khan of Mongolia (New York, Basic Books, 2008). Will Sunderland, a historian from the University of Cincinnati, is currently working on a book that promises to become the first comprehensive biography of the Mad Baron.

23. Belov, Baron Ungern Jon Shternberg, 96.

24. In the 1920s, Toin Lama, a Mongol nationalist leader who fought against Chinese advances in southern (Inner) Mongolia, expressed well this widespread anti-Chinese hatred: "The past has taught us that only by the rattle of arms and savagery can we prevent the plough man from violating the freedom of the steppe and the trader from contaminating our manners" (Henning Haslund-Christensen, Men and Gods in Mongolia [Zayagan] [New York: Dutton, 1935], 249).

25. "Predskazanie sviashchennosluzhitelia Lubsan Baldan Eshe" [Prophecy of Lobsang Yeshe], in Baron Ungern v dokumentakh i materialakh [Baron Ungem: Documents and Materials], vol. 1, ed. S. L. Kuzmin, (Moscow: KMK, 2004), 150-51.

26. Belov, Baron Ungern Jon Shternberg, 120.

27. Sokolov, Baron Ungern, 284.

28. See the texts of these letters in Kuzmin, Baron Ungern, vol. 1: 126-35, 161-69.

29. Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, "Pis'mo glavnokomanduiushchego barona Ungerna, June 1921" [Letter of the Supreme Commander Baron Ungern], RASPH, f., 495, op. 152, d. 15, p. 53.

30. "Prikaz R. F. Ungerna No. 15 o nastuplenii na Sibir, " in Kuzmin, Baron Ungern, vol. 1, 171. One of the people who composed this embarrassing text was Ossendowski. The amazed Shumatsky, who interrogated Ungern, asked if he was sure that it was the professor, known for his liberal and socialist leanings. Ungern answered, "I ordered him and he wrote it." It appears that Ossendowski was so terrified of the mad baron that he tried to render the baron's philosophy as best he could.

31. Boris Shumatsky, "Opros nachal'nika aziatskoi konnoi divizii generala Ungerna, 29 August 1921" [Interrogation of General Ungern, Head of Asian Cavalry Division], RASPH, f. 495, op. 154, d. 97, p. 46.

Chapter Six

1. No title [record of the minutes of the meeting of the Mongol-Tibetan Section, October 29, 1920], RASPH, f. 495, op. 152, d. 6, p. 13.

2. "Printsipy deiatel'nosti Mongolo- tibetskogo otdela sektsii vostochnikh narodov" [Guidelines for the Mongol-Tibetan Section of the Eastern Secretariat], RASPH, f. 495, op. 152, d. 6, pp. 25-26; "Instruktsia sotrudniku Mongolotibetskago otdela sektsii vostochnikh narodov" [Instruction for the Agents of the Mongol-Tibetan Section of the Eastern Secretariat], Ibid., pp. 33-33 back.

3. "Protokoly organizatsionnogo zasedania kollegii Mongolo-tibetskogo otdela sektsii vostochnikh narodov Sibburo [Minutes of an Organizational Meeting of the Mongol-Tibetan Section's Collegium of Eastern Department of the Siberian Bureau], August 20, 1920, " RASPH, f. 495, op. 154, d. 7, p. 10; "Prikaz No. 3 upolnomochennogo III Kommunisticheskogo internatsionala na Dal'nem Yostoke [Order No. 3 Issued by a Representative of the Communist International in the Far East], February 18, 1921, " RASPH, f. 495, op. 154, d. 93.

4. "Y Montibotdel sekvostnara [To Mongol-Tibetan Section of the Eastern Secretariat], November 29, 1920, " RASPH, f. 495, op. 152, d. 6, p. 18-18 back; "Nedelia ukrepleniia armii [A Weekly Campaign to Strengthen the Army], Kiahkta, June 3, 1920, " RASPH, f. 495, op. 152, d. 2, p. 2.

5. Bumochir Dulam and Oyuntungalaq Ayushiin, "Transmission and Source of Prophecy in Contemporary Mongolia, " Mongolian History (May 2007), 105/transmission-and-source-of- prophecy-in.html (accessed November 1, 2009).

6. Along with chunks of silver, Mexican dollars were the only valid currency in Inner Asia and China at that time.

7. "Obiasnitel'naia zapisaka k valiutnoi smete sektsii vostochnikh narodov na 1921." [Explanatory Note Regarding the Eastern Secretariat's Currency Budget] RASPH, f. 495, op. 154, d. 111, pp. 5-6.

8. "Torzhestvnnoe vstuplenie narrev. pravitel'stva v Urgu [Solemn Entrance of the People's Revolutionary Government into Urga], July 9, 1921." RASPH, f. 495, op. 152, d. 15, pp. 6-6 back.

9. Lomakina, Groznie makhakaly Vostoka, 363 (see chapter 2, n. 19).

10. Emanuel Sarkisyantz, "Communism and Lamaist Utopian ism in Central Asia." Review of Politics 20, no. 4 (1958): 630.

11. Rebecca Empson, "The Repetition of Mongolian Prophetic Time." in Empson, Time, Causality, and Prophecy, 191-92 (see chapter 2, n.6).

12. Diluv Khutagt, Memoirs and Autobiography of a Mongol Buddhist: Reincarnation in Religion and Revolution (Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 1982), 167.

13. No title [guidelines for the Mongol-Tibetan Section], RASPH, f. 495, op. 152, d. 6, p. 30.

14. Khutagt, Memoirs and Autobiography, 122.

15. Boris Shumatsky to Mikhail Kobetskii, April 23, 1921, RASPH, f. 495, op. 154, d. 105, p. 33; Shumatsky to Kobetskii, May 20, 1921, Ibid., p. 39 back.

16. Lomakina, Groznie makhakaly Vostoka, 263 (see chapter 2, n. 19).

17. Elbek-Dorji Rinchino, "E-D. Rinchino 0 kharakteristike lichnostei nekotorikh deiatelei partii i pravitel'stva" [E-D. Rinchino about Several Personalities in Party and Government], in Bazarov, Tsibikov, and Ochirov, Elbek-Dorji Rinchino o Mongolii, 148 (see chapter 5, n.18); Caroline Humphrey, "Prophecy and Sequential Orders in Mongolian Political History." in Empson, Time, Causality and Prophecy, 85-86, 92, 96-97 (see chapter 2, n.6).

18. Larry Moses, The Political Role of Mongol Buddhism (Bloomington: Indiana University, 1977), 180-81.

19. Nikiforov, "Dnevnikovie zapisi P. M. Nikiforova." entry for August 13, 1925 (see chapter 5, n. 13).

20. "Sektsiia vostochnikh narodov Sibburo [Department of Eastern Peoples of the Siberian Bureau], RASPH, f. 495, op. 152, d. 6, p. 11; no title [guidelines for the Mongol- Tibetan Section], RASPH, f. 495, op. 152, d. 6, p. 30.

21. Boris Shumatsky to Georgy Chicherin, S. I. Dukhovskii, and Meer Trilisser, July 1921, RASPH, f. 495, op. 154, d. 105, p. 40.

22. Boris Shumatsky to Georgy Chicherin, August 29, 1921, RASPH, f. 495, op. 154, d. 97, p. 43.

23. Agvan Dorzhiev, Predanie 0 krugosvetnom puteshestvii, iii, Povestvovanie 0 zhizni Agvana Dorzhieva [A Tale about a Round-the- World Journey, or a Life Story of Agvan Dorzhiev] (Ulan Ude: Buryatskoe kniznoe izdatel'stvo, 1994), 11.

24. Andreyev, Vremya Shambaly, 276 (see preface, n. 8).

25. Burman, Religion and Politics in Tibet, 62-63 (see chapter 5, n.14).

26. Batorskii [Sergei Borisov], "Sovremennii Tibet" [Modern Tibet], RASPH, f. 532, op. 4, d. 343, pp. 47, 59-60.

27. For more about Bailey, see Peter Hopkirk, Setting the East Ablaze: Lenin's Dream of an Empire in Asia (New York: Kodansha, 1995), 7-94.

28. Petrosian, "O buddiiskikh raionakh [1928]." 59 (see chapter 5, n. 12).

29. Andreyev, Soviet Russia and Tibet, 259 (see preface, n. 8).

30. C. R. Bawden, Modern History of Mongolia (New York: Preager, 1968), 262-63.

31. Andreyev, Soviet Russia and Tibet, 278 (see preface, n. 8).

32. Khutagt, Memoirs and Autobiography, 132.

33. Andreyev, Soviet Russia and Tibet, 281 (see preface, n. 8).

Chapter Seven

1. Sarkozi, Political Prophecies in Mongolia, 66 (see chap. 2, n. 10).

2. Robert C. Williams, Russian Art and American Money, 1900-1940 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980), 116.

3. Alexandre Andreyev, Gimalaiskoe bratstvo: teosofskii mif i ego tvortsy [Himalayan Brotherhood: Theosophical Myth and People Who Created It] (St. Petersburg: iz-vo St. Petersburgskogo universiteta, 2008), 146.

4. Zinaida Fosdick, Moi uchitelia: vstrechi s Rerikhami (po stranitsam dnevnika, 1922-1934) [My Teachers: Meetings with the Roeriches (Pages from the 1922-1934 Journal)] (Moscow: Sfera, 1998), 114, 188, 320-21; Andreyev, Gimalaiskoe bratstvo, 395-96.

5. Fosdick, Moi uchitelia, 87.

6. Andreyev, Gimalaiskoe bratstvo, 138.

7. Fosdick, Moi uchitelia, 117, 119, 122, 123.

8. Helena Roerich (Rerikh), Pis'ma [Letters], vol. 1 (1919-1933) (Moscow: MTR, 1999), 20.

9. Rosov, Nikolai Rerikh vestnik Zvenigoroda, vol. 1: 71 (see preface, n. 9).

10. Nicholas Roerich, Shambhala (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1930), 11.

11. Nicholas Roerich became Fuiama; Helena, Urusvati; George and Svetoslav Roerich, Udraia and Liumou; Morris Lichtmann, Avirakh; Sina Lichtmann, Radna; her sister Esther Lichtmann, Oiana; Louis Horch, Logvan; his wife Netty, Poruma; George Grebenstchikoff, Turukhan; and Frances Grant, Modra. All these names were derived from legendary and mythological Hindu and Buddhist characters. Henry Wallace, who jOined the group in 1933 and became a trusted friend, was the only one in this group without a Hindu-Buddhist name; the politician was named Galahad after the seeker of the legendary Holy Grail.

12. Fosdick, Moi uchitelia, 105.

13. Nicholas Roerich, Altai-Himalaya: A Travel Diary (London: Jarrolds, 1929), 15.

14. Nicholas Roerich, Shambhala, 47, 5, 61.

15. Nikolai Kordashevsky (Dekroa), Tibetskie stranstviia polkovnika Kordashevskogo [Tibetan Wanderings of Colonel Kordashevsky] (St. Petersburg: Dmitrii Bulanin, 1999), 80.

16. Helena Roerich, Vysokii put', vol. 1: 45, 51, 65 (see preface, n. 7).

17. Ibid., 85-86, 95, 124, 154.

18. Fosdick, Moi uchitelia, 202.

19. Helena Roerich, Pis'ma, 38.

20. Roerich's friend the White emigre writer General Peter Krasnov might be another possible source of the Great Plan. In his novel Beyond Thistle (1922), he wrote that Russia's revival would come from Tibet.

21. Helena Roerich, Vysokii put', 154.

22. Andreyev, Gimalaiskoe bratstvo, 241.

23. M. Dubaev, Kharbinskaia taina Rerikha [Roerich's Harbin Mystery] (Moscow: Sfera, 2001), 211.

24. Fosdick, Moi uchitelia, 197.

25. Depending on context, the Tibetan word dorje could mean "hard, " "arrow, " or "lightning."

26. Nicholas Roerich, Altai-Himalaya, 14.

Chapter Eight

1. Fosdick, Moi uchitelia, 206 (see chap. 7, n. 4).

2. Helena Roerich, Tetrad' [Notebook], entries for May 22, 1924 and May 29, 1924, (accessed April 10, 2010).

3. Andreyev, Gimalaiskoe bratstvo, 283 (see chap. 7, n. 3).

4. Ibid., 286.

5. Fosdick, Moi uchitelia, 242 (see chap. 7, n. 4).

6. Helena Roerich, "Pis'ma Eleny Roerich k sinu Svetoslavu [Helena Roerich's Letter to Her Son Svetoslav]." Vestnik Ariavarty [Messenger of Aryavarta] 1 (2001): 48.

7. Petrosian, "O buddiiskikh raionakh, " p. 62 (see chap. 5, n. 12).

8. Helena Roerich, Vysokii put', vol. 1: 479, 511 (see preface, n. 7).

9. Fosdick, Moi uchitelia, 206 (see chap. 7, n. 4).

10. Helena Roerich, Vysokii put', vol. 1, 289, 322 (see preface, n. 7).

11. Rosov, Nikolai Rerikh vestnik Zvenigoroda, vol. 1: 135 (see preface, n. 9).

12. Viktor Brachev, Okkultisty sovetskoi epokhi [Occultists of the Soviet Age] (Moscow: Bystrov, 2007), 234-35.

13. Nicholas Roerich, Altai-Gimalai (Moscow: Sfera, 1999), 656. In the 1929 English edition, this episode with the OGPU agent was deleted (Roerich, Altai-Himalaya, 333 [see chap. 7, n. 13]).

14. Fosdick, Moi uchitelia, 265 (see chap. 7, n. 4).

15. Rosov, Nikolai Rerikh vestnik Zvenigoroda, vol. 1: 180 (see preface, n. 9).

16. This program was spelled out to Helena by Master Morya on March 18, 1926, during one of their spiritual talks (Helena Roerich, Vysokii put', vol. 1: 462 [see preface, n. 7]).

17. Ibid., 465.

18. For more about the life of this daredevil, see Aleksei Velidov, Pokhozhdeniia terrorista: odisseia Iakova Bliumkina [Adventures of a Terrorist: Jacob Bliumkin's Odyssey] (Moscow: Sovremennik, 1998).

19. "Pokazania doktora K. N. Riabinina [Testimony of Dr. K. N. Riabinin], July 23-24, 1930, " Ariavarta 1 (1997): 174.

20. Nicholas Roerich, Shambhala (see chap. 7, n. 10), 45; Altai-Himalaya, 336 (see chap. 7, n. 13).

21. Fosdick, Moi uchitelia, 262 (see chap. 7, n. 4).

22. Nicholas Roerich, Altai Himalaya, 353 (see chap. 7, n. 13).

23. Yu. L. Krol, "Boris Ivanovich Pankratov, " Strany i narody Vostoka [Countries and Peoples of the East] 26 (1989): 90.

24. In 1929 Berlin was appointed the official controller of Boris Roerich (one of Nicholas's brothers), who remained in Red Russia and was blackmailed by the Bolshevik secret police into becoming a secret informant.

25. Fosdick, Moi uchitelia, 275-276 (see chap. 7, n. 4); Vladimir Rosov, "Arkhitekhtor B. K. Rerikh: Rassekrechennoe arkhivnoe delo N. 2538 [Architectural Designer B. K. Roerich: Declassified File No. 2538], " Vestnik Ariavarty [Messenger of Aryavarta] 10 (2008): 46. Moscow investigative reporter Oleg Shishkin came up with an unlikely argument that, dressed as a lama, Bliumkin actually joined the Roerichs and accompanied them to Tibet (Oleg Shishkin, Bitva za Gimalaii, 128-29 [see preface, n. 10]. There was no way for Bliumkin, an urbanite Jew from Odessa, to pose as a lama and be unnoticed. Even the indigenous Bolshevik "lama pilgrims" with Asiatic facial features, like Sergei Borisov (Oirot) and Arashi Chapchaev (Kalmyk), sent by the Soviets to Lhasa did not make it undetected. The Tibetans and Lt. Colonel Bailey quickly cracked the identity of all these "pilgrims." So, as attractive as it may sound, the story of Bliumkin posing as a lama should be put to rest.

26. The radiogram was intercepted by local White emigres (Andreyev, Gimalaiskoe bratstvo, 330 (see chap. 7, n. 3).

27. Nicholas Roerich, Shambhala, 295 (see chap. 7, n. 10).

28. Nicholas Roerich, Altai-Himalaya, 107 (see chap. 7, n. 13).

29. Kordashevsky, Tibetskie stranstviia, 90 (see chap. 7, n. 15).

30. Helena Roerich, Vysokii put', vol. 1: 512, 513, 519 (see preface, n. 7).

31. Ibid., 528.

32. Pavel Portniagin, "Sovremennyi Tibet: missia Nikolaia Rerikha [Modern Tibet: Nicholas Roerich's Mission], " Ariavarta 2 (1998): 53, http://ay-forum. net/1/Ariavarta_2/2_11.pdf (accessed April 10, 2010).

33. Kordashevsky, Tibetskie stranstviia, 282 (see chap. 7, n. 15).

34. Meyer and Brysac, Tournament of Shadows, 472 (see chap. 5, n. 9).

35. Kordashevsky, Tibetskie stranstviia, 301 (see chap. 7, n. 15).

36. Konstantin Riabinin, Razvenchannyi Tibet [Tibet Debunked] (Samara: Agni, 1996), 672. The couple severed ties with their former travel companions, whom they no longer found useful. The fate of Dr. Riabinin was tragic. Caught into the sophisticated blackmail game the Bolshevik secret police played with Nicholas Roerich and his brother Boris, he was arrested twice and pressured by Stalin's secret police to admit their Tibetan party was a spy ring headed by the "English agent" Nicholas Roerich. Despite various physical and mental tortures, the doctor demonstrated incredible courage, refusing to slander his former friend. Riabinin miraculously survived nineteen years of Stalin's concentration camps and was released in 1949. Before his death in 1953, he worked as a pediatric physician. The young Theosophist Portniagin settled at Harbin in China, graduated from a Catholic college, and became a Catholic missionary. After World War II, he was also arrested by the Soviet secret police and was confined from 1948 to 1956 in a concentration camp for "anti-Soviet activities." After his release, Portniagin settled in Samarkand, Soviet Central Asia, where he worked as an English translator. He died in 1977. Like Portniagin, Colonel Kordashevsky found his spiritual niche, turning to Christianity and becoming a Catholic monk. He died an impoverished man in Jerusalem in 1948; his novel about Joan of Arc remained unfinished.

37. Nicholas Roerich, Altai-Himalaya, 29 (see chap. 7, n. 13).

38. Nicholas Roerich, Shambhala, 164 (see chap. 7, n. 10).

39. For more on the Roeriches' contacts with Wallace and FDR, see Meyer and Brysac, Tournament of Shadows, 474-91 (see chap. 5, n. 9); Williams, Russian Art and American Money, 136-43 (see chap. 7, n. 2); John C. Culver and John Hyde, American Dreamer: The Life and Times of Henry A. Wallace (New York: Norton, 2000), 130-46.

40. Helena Roerich, Pis'ma [Letters], vol. 3 (Moscow; MTR, 2001), 351 (my reverse translation of text that was translated from English into Russian).

41. Fosdick, Moi uchitelia, 609 (see chap. 7, n. 4).

42. C. R. Bowden, Modern History of Mongolia (New York: Praeger, 1968), 205.

43. Samdin, "O Banchen-lame [On Panchen Lama, 1934]" RASPH, f. 532, op. 4, d. 335, p. 102-102 back.

44. Fosdick, Moi uchitelia, 659 (see chap. 7, n. 4).

45. Ibid., 623.

46. Rosov, Nikolai Rerikh vestnik Zvenigoroda, vol. 2: 79-80 (see preface, n.9).

47. Rosov, Nikolai Rerikh vestnik Zvenigoroda, vol. 1: 59-61 (see preface, n.9).

48. Culver and Hyde, American Dreamer, 143.


1. Dubaev, Kharbinskaia taina Rerikha, 230-31 (see chap. 7, n. 23); Rosov, Nikolai Rerikh vestnik Zvenigoroda, vol. 2: 169 (see preface, n. 9).

2. Meyer and Brysac, Tournament of Shadows, 488 (see chap. 5, n. 9).

3. Rosov, "Arkhitekhtor B. K. Rerikh, " 43 (see chap. 8, n. 25).

4. Ibid., 46.

5. Andrei Yudin, Tainy Bol'shogo doma [Secrets of the Big House] (Moscow: Astrel, 2007), 15.

6. Shishkin, Bitva za Gimalaii, 27-40, 51-63, 72-75, 105-125 (see preface, n. 10).

7. Andreyev, Vremya Shambaly, 176 (see preface, n. 8).

8. Oleg Shishkin, "Nachalo okkultnogo i paranormalnogo proekta OGPU [The Beginning of the OGPU Occult and Paranormal Project]" (2006), http:// (accessed April 29, 2010).

9. His real name was Abraham Levin (1889-1941). Before joining the Cheka/ OGPU in 1918, he was an activist in the Jewish Socialist Bund Union.

10. "Iz protokola doprosa G.!. Bokia, " in Andreyev, Vremya Shambaly, 218 (see preface, n. 8).

11. Ibid., 216-17, 219-20.

12. The girl did not survive anyway. As a relative of an "enemy of the people, " she was shipped to a concentration camp and perished on the way.

13. Razgon, True Stories, 282 (see chap. 4, n. 12).

14. Grekova, Tibetskii lekar' kremlevskikh vozhdei (see chap. 4, n. 3).

15. Shishkin, "Nachalo okkultnogo."

16. Andreyev, Vremya Shambhaly, 182-83 (see preface, n. 8).

17. Hopkirk, Setting the East Ablaze, 207 (see chap. 6, n. 27).

18. Sergei Roshchin, Politieheskaia istoriia Mongolii [Political History of Mongolia] (1921-1940) (Moscow: Institut vostokovedeniia, 1999), 292.
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Re: Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the H

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Illustration Credits

Figures 1.1: Burnette D. Conlan, Roerich (Riga: Roerich Museum, 1939): 158; figures 1.2, 1.3, 2.1: Albert Griinwedel, Mythologie des Buddhismus in Tibet und der Mongolei (Leipzig: EA. Brockhaus, 1900): 54, 173, 69; figures 2.2, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8: Hermann Consten, Weiderpltze der Mongolen im Reiche der Chalcha (Berlin: Dietrich Reimer, 1920), vol. 2, plate 9, plate 49, plate 54, vol. 1, plate 47; figure 2.3: David MacDonald, "Where a Lama Leads the Way." Asia Magazine 19, no. 2 (1929):101; figure 2.4: photo by J. Erickson and M. Pode, Asia Magazine 30, no. 9 (1930): 649; figure 2.5: Sven Hedin, "Living God and King-Priest of Tibet." Asia Magazine 25, no. 4 (1925); figure 3.1: © Oleg Shishkin, Viktor Brachev; figure 4.1: © Kuchkovo pole; figure 4.2: photo by the author; figure 4.3: courtesy David King Collection, London; figure 4.4: Galina 01and N. N. Lansere, N. N. Lansere (Leningrad: Stroiizdat, 1986); figure 5.1: © Ch. Moenhbayar, moenhbayar.; figure 5.2: © Alexandre Andreyev; figure 5.3: Boris Volkov, ''A Motor Deal with the Living God in Urga." Asia Magazine 31, no. 4 (1931): 238; figure 5.4: Ferdinand Ossendowski, "With Baron Ungern in Urga." Asia Magazine 22, no. 8 (1922): 616; figure 5.5: Boris Volkov, ''A Descendent of Genghis Khan." Asia Magazine 31, no. 11 (1931): 702; figure 5.6: Boris Volkov, " A Motor Deal with the Living God in Urga." Asia Magazine 31, no. 4 (1931): 233; figure 6.1: courtesy Russian Archive of Social and Political History, Moscow; figure 6.2: Ernestine Evans, "Looking East from Moscow." Asia Magazine 22, no. 12 (1922): 973; figure 6.3: William Henry Chamberlin, "The Soviet Shadow in the East." Asia Magazine 26, no. 3 (1926): 238; figure 6.4: © Deutsch-Mongolische Gesellschaft; figure 6.5: Owen Lattimore, "Ordeal by Snow." Asia Magazine 19, no. 1 (1929): 41; figures 7.1 through 8.6, 8.8, and E.I: courtesy of Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York City; Figure 8.7: Burnette D. Conlan, Roerich (Riga: Roerich Museum, 1939): 47; figure E.2: © Leonid Naumov.
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Re: Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the H

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Bold type indicates illustrations and maps

Abbe Hue, 23-24
Afghanistan, 5-6, 94
Agartha, 48-53, 91, 97
Age of Disputes (Kaliyuga), 3-4
Age of Perfection (Kritayuga), 7
Agni Yoga (Fire Yoga), 158-59, 162,
166, 174, 176, 192
Agranov, Jacob, 66
Ak-Dorje, 183, 188
Ak-Jang, 30
Alexander III, 108-9
All-Conquering Buddha, 200
all-seeing eye, 211, 212
All Union Institute of Experimental
Medicine (VI EM), 83-84, 84, 220,
Amursana prophecy and, 27-30
folk lore of, 169-71
political status of, 19, 21-22, 33, 194
Roerich and, 183, 193-95
Altai-Himalaya (Roerich), 180
American Relief Association, 206
Amitabha Buddha, 20-21
Has Bator as, 139-41
Ja-Lama as, 35-41, 139
prophecy, 27-31, 107
Amur-Sanan, Anton, 112-13
anarchy, 50-51
ancient science, 50, 54, 66, 81-88, 97
Andreyev, Alexandre, 231
Anokhin, Andrei, 29
anti-Semitism, 122
Anuchin, Vasilii, 33
Armageddon, 103, 113, 165, 188
art of Roerich, 157-58
Asia, xxiv, 105-9
Asian Cavalary Division, 119, 119-20
automatic writing, 163
Avalokitesvara, 21

Badmaev, Nikolai, 80, 230
Bailey, Frederick, 147-48, 201-3, 203
bandits, 101-2
Barchenko, Alexander
Agartha and, 50-53
Bokii and, 43-45, 82-88, 96-97, 99
commune of, 60-61
expedition of, 58-59, 65, 91-96
experiments of, 49-50
final years of, 44, 224-25, 230-32
life of, xxi
as Red Merlin, 83, 91
Special Section and, 97-98
war and, 53-54
writings of, 49
Beasts, Men and Gods (Ossendowski),
30, 171-72
Bekhterev, Vladimir, 57-58
Belash, S. S., 47
Belovodie (White Water), 97, 171
Belsky, Lev, 226-30, 228
Berlin, Leo, 195
Black Mahakala (deity), 13, 13
Blavatsky, Helena, 2-3, 52-53, 159,
16l, 167-68
Bliumkin, Jacob, 192, 195
blood offerings, 16
Bodo, 133, 135
Bogdo-gegen, 121
as Buddhist leader, 21, 120
death of, 35, 186
Ja-Lama and, 39-41
as political leader, 32, l38
prophecy by, 27
reincarnation of, 150
Ungern and, 120, 122
Bokii, Boris, 69-70
Bokii, Gleb
as agent of Red Terror, 56, 72-77
Barchenko and, 43-45, 66, 82-88,
96-97, 99
as cryptographer, 75-77, 76
dacha commune of, 88-90, 229
interrogation of, 225-30
Iife of, xxi, 43-45, 69-71
Special Section and, 77-80, 83, 223
Bolshevik revolution, 44-45, 53-54, 57
Asia and, 105-9
Mongolia and, 127-29
Roerich and, 181-87
Tibetan Buddhism and, 109-14
Tibet and, l42-45
Borah, William, 206
Borisov, Sergei
Dalai Lama and, 147-49
expedition of, 95, 128-29, 142-43,
life and death of, xxiii, 128, 232-33
Mongolian army and, 135-36
Mongol- Tibetan Section and,
130-31, 139
Borisov, Stephan, 129
Borodin, Dmitri, 183-84, 207
British Empire, 19, 113, 144, 156,
Bukharin, Nikolai, 115
Burkhan, 29, 194
Burnham, Daniel, 154
Burtman, Naum, 128-29
Buryat, 111-12, 112, 136, 140, 169
Buryat-Mongol Autonomous Soviet
Republic, 117
Bystrov, Alexander, 189-90

Celestial Gallery, 16
Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic movement,
Chaliapin, Fyodor, 75
Chapchaev, Arashi, 112-13, 149-53,
Chet Chelpan, 29-30
Chicherin, Georgy
Barchenko expedition and, 47,
on Borisov's lama expedition, 146
last years of, 232
Marxism as prophecy and, 102-5
"Mongol Embassy" expedition and,
143, 149
Mongolian delegates and, 133, 134
Roerich and, 185, 190-92
on Special Section, 79-80
Tibet and, 142-43, 146, 182-83
China, xxiv, l56
Chinese Empire, 19, 31-34
Chintamani stone, 175-76, 204
Choibalsan, 131, 133, 135, 137-38, 234
Chud, 97
Chugul Sorokova, 29
ciphers, 71
classless society, 64
class warfare
in Mongolia, 111-12
in Tibet, 146
collectivism, 167
colonization, 22
Comintern (Communist International)
Eastern Division of, 106
Eastern Secretariat and, 127
end of, 232
four sections of, 129-30
Mongol soldiers and, 135-36
Mongol- Tibetan Section of, 128
purpose of, 104
Roerich and, 184
Tibet and, 142-43
Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, 78,
79, 92-93, 131, 195, 234
Committee for the Study of Mental
Suggestion, 57
of Barchenko, 60-61
of Bokii, 88-90, 229
merged with Buddhism, 189,
nationalism and, 232
as secular prophecy, 102-5
Communist International. See Comintern
Communist University of the Toilers of
the East (KUTV), 146
concentration camps, 73, 81
Constantine the Great, 176
Crane, Charles R., 164
cryptography, 71, 75, 79

Dalai Lama, 20
Dalai Lama, Fifth
Roerich as, 167, 177-78, 178
Dalai Lama, Thirteenth, 31
Bogdo-gegen death and, 150-51
Borisovand, 147-49
death of, 208-9
diplomacy of, 144, 152-53
Dorzhiev and, 108
military concerns of, 145
modernization and, 33-34, 145-46
"Mongol Embassy" and, 149-53
Panchen Lama and, 30-31, 155-56
political skills of, 182
Red Russia and, 143, 185
Roerich and, 166
weapons for, 195
d'Alveydre, Alexandre Saint- Yves,
48-54, 91
Dambi-Dzhamtsyn. See Ja-Lama
Danzan, 133, 135
Darjeeling, 176-77, 177
David-Neel, Alexandra, 107-8
deities in Tibetan Buddhism, 12-16
Dhammapada (Gautama Buddha), xxvi
dharmapalas (deities), 13-16
Dimanshtein, Semen, 87
Doctor Chernii (Barchenko), 49
DoHer, Sofia, 87, 230
Dorzhiev, Agvan
as double agent, 151-52
life and death of, xxiii, 233
Shambhala war and, 227
temple of, 61-62, 160, 196, 233
as Tibetan ambassador, 108-10,
Drepung monastery, 147
drumming, 96-97
Dunkhor, 63
Dzerzhinsky, Felix, 65-66, 82, 83

East, 105-9, 168
Eastern Secretariat (Siberia), 106, 127,
Eastern Section, 131
elites and elitism
indigenous, 117
in monasteries, 110
privileges of Bolshevik, 76-77
energy centers, 9-10
Erman, Adolph, 52
Bailey and, 147-48
Barchenko and, 226-29
Boris Roerich and, 221
Borodin and, 184
Japanese, 217
evolution, spiritual, 2-3, 168
of Barchenko, 47, 58-59, 65, 91-96
of Borisov, 146-49, 201
botanical, 207-14
of Chapchaev, 112-13, 149-53, 201
of Khomutnikov, 145
"Mongol Embassy, " 149-53
of Roerich to Altai and Mongolia,
of Roerich to Moscow, 187-93
of Roerich to Tibet, 196-204, 219
Ezhov, Nikolai, 225, 230-31

Filimonov, 136-37
folk lore, 109, 168-69
Freemasons, 48, 212, 217, 226-27

Ganden monastery, 147
Gapon, Phillip, 133
Gautama Buddha, xxvi, 9, 20, 27
Gegen (reincarnated one), 193, 200
Genghis Khan, 16, 25, 107
Geser Khan (deity), 25, 25-27, 108
Glavnauka, 58, 65
god-protectors (deities), 13, 25-27
Goldstein, Moses, 56
Gomojitshin, 151
Gopius, Evgenii, 79
Gorky, Maxim, 57
Grant, Frances, 160, 163, 164
Great Plan, 166, 172-74, 206, 210,
Great Terror, 220, 232
Great White Brotherhood. See also
Roeriches and, 159, 162-63, 165,
167-68, 175
Shambhala as home of, 3, 52-53
Grebenstchikoff, George, 163-64, 164,
170-71, 212
Grinev, I, 47
Gurdjieff, G. 1., 60-61, 162
Gurkin, Grigory, 33
Gutembe, 135
GVO. See State Internal Protection

Handbook of Tibetan Buddhist Symbols,
The, 12
Hard Hero. See Magsarjav, Hatan Bator
Hermetism, 55, 63
Hinduism, S
Horch, Louis, 163, 164, 206, 218, 222
Hsii Shu-cheng (LIttle Hsii), 120
hygiene, 40
hypnotists and hypnotism, 79, 83

illiteracy, 110-11
imperialism, 107, 113, 144
India, 6
industrial working class, 103, 105, 185
initiations, Tibetan Buddhist, 10-11, 35
Inner Mongolia, 22, 213-14
Institute of Brain Studies and Psychic
Activities, 57
Islam, 5-6
Iz mraka (Barchenko), 49

Ja-Lama, xxi, 30, 35-41, 37, 138,
Japan, 156, 209, 212
Jews, 122
Jigme-Dorji Barduev, 150
Journey to the Center of the Earth
(Verne), 51

Kalachakra tantra, 68
Barchenko and, 62-63, 82
Bokii and, 88-90
Ja-Lama and, 39
Panchen Lama and, 35
secret police and, 87-90
Shambhala and, 2, 8-12
Kalachakra temple, 61-62, 160, 196,
Kalapa, 1
Kaliyuga (Age of Disputes), 3-4
Kalmyk, 36, 111-12
Kalon fellowship, 23
Kandinsky, Wassily, 162
Kanegisser, Leonid, 56, 72
kapala (scull cup), 14
Karakorum state, 33
karma mudra, 10-11
Kellogg, Frank, 164-65
Khirva, Khaian, 62, 141
Khomutnikov, Vasili, 144-45
Khut-Humi (Mahatma), 161
Kircher, Athanasius, 61
Klimenkov, N., 89
Kolchak, Alexander, 115
Kondiain, Alexander, 59, 230
Kordashevsky, Nikolai, 173-74, 196,
Kostrikin, Mikhail, 87
Krasin, Leonid, 183
Krestinsky, Nikolai, 181-83
Kritayuga (Age of Perfection), 7
Krivtsov, Alexander, 48-49
Kutebarov, Ali, 229-30

lamas, 21, 111-12
Lansere, Nikolai, 219, 220
Lapis exilis, 176
Latsis, Martin, 74
Leismaier-Schwarz, Feodor, 43, 54, 60,
65-66, 224-25, 230
Lenin, Vladimir, 56, 70-71, 133, 137,
Lesmann, Frida, 56
liberation theology, 109-14
Lichtmann, Maurice, 163, 164, 167,
Lichtmann-Fosdick, Sina, 163, 164,
199, 200, 219
Litvinov, Maxim, 81
Lobsan Palden Yeshe (Third Panchen
Lama), 4-5
Lobzang Gyaltsen, 20

Magsarjav, Hatan Bator (Hard Hero),
Mahakala, 13, 13, 29, 37, 39, 120-22
mahatmas. See Great White Brotherhood
Maitreya Buddha, 18, 26, 27, 34, 165,
Malevich, Kazimir, 162
Malonov, Danzan, 196, 202
Manchu Dynasty, 19, 21-23, 28, 31-34,
Manchuria, 213
mantras, 6, 80
Mantsiarli, Marcel, 173
Marx, Karl, 70, 105
Marxism as prophecy, 102-5
mass hysteria, 57-58
Master Building, 205, 206, 222, 235
Master School of United Arts, 165, 170,
materialism, 76-77
Matstak Bimbaev, 150
mediums, 79, 83
Mendel, Menachem, 98
Mesmacher, Eleanor, 59-60
Military- Revolutionary Committee,
Mironov, Alexander, 87
Mission of India in Europe (d'Alveydre),
mlecca (Moslem) people, 3, 4, 5-7, 19
Ja-Lama and, 40
of Tibet, 33-34, 145-46
monarchies, 119, 122-23
Mongolia. See also Red Mongolia
autonomy in, 129
Bolsheviks and, 117, 127-29
China and, 22, 36, 38, 38-39, 39,
class warfare in, 111-12
map of, xxiv
nomad army in, 135-36
Red Shambhala in, 136-42
religious leaders of, 21, 234
Roerich and, 193-95
Ungern in, 117-25, 118
Mongol People's Revolutionary Party
(MPRP), 135
Mongol-Tibetan Section, 128-31, 136,
139, 142-43
Moru monastery, 177
Morya (Mahatma). See also Great
White Brotherhood
Roeriches and, 161-63, 167, 171,
173, 181, 186-88, 198-200
in St. Sergi us painting, 211
Moskvin, Ivan, 87-88, 90, 230
Moslems, 6
mummies, 90, 229
Munjok-kurel monastery, 40
Mussolini, Benito, 64
Musurgia Universalis (Kircher), 61
Mysterious Island, The (Verne), 51

Naga aven, 62-63
Nanzan, 141
Narukhan, 188
Altai, 194
Bolshevik use of, 115-17, 123
Ja-Lama and, 38-39
local prophecies in, 32, 102
Mongolia and, 38, 130, 135, 194
Ungern and, 123-25
neuroenergy laboratory, 83
Nicholas II, 61-62, 160
autonomy of, 21, 193-94
converting to Buddhism, 193
Mongol army of, 127, 135
plan to unify, 40-41
Shambhala and, 169-72, 196,
198-98, 209-10

OGPU Soviet secret police. See also
Special Section
Barchenko and, 66, 99
Bokii and, 43, 72, 83
Boris Roerich and, 219-22
Ja-Lama and, 141
Roeriches and, 184-85, 190, 192,
Oirot, 28, 193
Oirot Autonomous Region, 113-14, 193
Oirot confederation, 33, 111
Old Believers, 97
Oldenburg, Sergei, 58-59, 65, 83, 108
oracles, 140-41
Ossendowski, Ferdinand, 30, 36, 38,
101-2, 171-72
Otto, Eduard, 48, 54, 60, 65
Ouspensky, Peter, 162, 167

Palden Lhamo (deity), 14, 14-16
pan-Asian, 123, 170. See also Sacred
Union of the East
pan-Buddhism, 113-14
Panchen Lama
Shambhala prophecy and, 21, 23-24
Panchen Lama, First, 20
Panchen Lama, Third, 4-5
Panchen Lama, Ninth
Dalai Lama and, 31, 34-35
flight of, 34, 63, 155-56, 166
Roeriches and, 157, 175, 186, 189,
195, 212-13
Shambhala war and, 209-10
Pankratov, Boris, 195
pan-Mongolism, 113-14, 117, 123, 131,
pan- Turkism, 113
paranormal research, 49, 79
Paris peace conference, 32-33
People's Commissariat for Nationalities
Affairs, 116
Petrosian, Khoren, 114
Portniagin, Pavel, 196, 199, 202
Potanin, Grigorii, 168-70
anti-Chinese, 23-27
Communism as, 102-5, 182
in nomadic culture, 24
Oirot/Amursana, 27-31, 171, 193
of Panchen Lama's return, 155-56
Red Mongols and, 135-38
Red Russian use of, 107-8
Roerich and, 180, 182, 189, 193
Shambhala, 1-3, 100, 165-66
Ungern and, 120-22, 124
Provisional Government, 72

Radek, Karl, 107
Rahman, al-, 6
Razgon, Lev, 78
rebellions, 33, 36, 38-39, 39
Red Baltic sailors, 46-47, 54, 74
Red Merlin. See Barchenko, Alexander
Red Mongolia, 114, 117, 129-42. See
also Mongolia
Red Russia
espionage and, 47, 62, 75
as new Shambhala, 62, 182
Panchen Lama and, 156
Tibetan Buddhism and, 105-17,
Red Shambhala
army of, 136-37
end of, 217-34
song of, 30, 137, 194-95
Red Terror, 45-47, 56, 72-77
red tide, 216
reform, 110, 157, 166
Agni Yoga and, 162
of Amursana, 30, 36
of Bogdo-gegen, 150, 186
of Dalai Lama, 21, 177-78
of Oirot, 194
of Panchen Lama, 20, 23
religion, 103-5, 110
Riabinin, Konstantin, 192-93, 196,
199, 200, 203, 204, 219
Ricks, Alexander, 48, 54, 56, 60, 65
Rigden-jyepo, 163
Rinchino, Elbek-Dorji
life of, xxiii, 32, 233
Red Mongolia and, 106, 130-31,
133, 138-39, 233
Rodzaevsky, Konstantin, 217
Roerich, Boris, 218-22, 219
Roerich, George
Bliumkin and, 195
botanical expedition of, 213
in Darjeeling, 177
expedition to Tibet, 199, 200
life of, xxii, 158, 173-74, 222
Panchen Lama and, 212-13
in Sikkim, 203
Roerich, Helena
on Borodin, 184
in Darjeeling, 176-77, 177
life and death of, xxii, 158-59, 222
Morya and, 161-62, 170-71, 181,
186-87, 190-200
political leaders and, 208, 212
in Sikkim, 203
Roerich, Nicholas. See also Ak-Dorje
art of, 157-58, 160, 211
associates of, 163-64, 173-74
Bolsheviks and, 181-87
botanical expedition of, 207-14, 213
Chicherin and, 95-96
in Darjeeling, 176-77, 177
death of, 222
early life of, xxi-xxii, 157-65
expedition to Altai and Mongolia,
expedition to Moscow, 187-93
expedition to Tibet, 196-204, 198,
199, 203, 219
fake messages of, 189-90
as Fifth Dalai Lama, 167, 177-78, 178
Japan and, 217
Kalachakra temple and
62, 160
Maitreya tanka and, 196, 197, 198
as Oirot, 193-94
plan to ally Communism with Buddhism,
prophecies and, 180, 182, 189, 193
Shambhala and, 160-61, 165-66
in Sikkim, 203
as St. Sergius, 210, 211
U.S. embarrassed by, 218
Roerich, Svetoslav, 158, 164, 222
Roerich, Vladimir, 160, 172, 217
Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, 206, 218
Rosenberg, Alfred, 122
Rosicrucians, 61
Rudra Chakrin (Rigden Djapo), 4, 4-5,
Russia, communist. See Red Russia
Russian Empire, 19, 31-34, 108-9
Russian Fascist Party, 217
Russian Orthodox Christianity, 108

Sacred Union of the East, 157, 166-67,
sacrifice, 136
Saidi-Eddini-Dzhibavi, 96
St. Petersburg
Buddhist temple in, 61-62, 160,
196, 233
St. Sergius of Radonezh, 210, 211
Samdin, 210
samsara, 137
Sarkisyanz, Emanuel, 107
Schneersohn, Joseph, 98-99
ancient, 50, 54, 66, 81-88, 97
Bolshevik, 84-85
Secret Doctrine, The (Blavatsky), 167
secret police. See also OGPU Soviet secret
police; Special Section of OGPU
Bokii interrogation by, 225-31
Mongolian, 62
tsarist, 71
Semenov, Grigory, 32
Sero monastery, 147
sexuality, 9-12, 89-90, 229
Shagdur Landukov, 150
shamans and shamanism, 96-97,
193-94, 207
Shambhala. See also Red Shambhala
Barchenko and, 47-48
Blavatsky and, 52-53
Islam and, 6-7
as Kalachakra teaching, 9
OGPU and, 82
prophecy of, 1-3, 100, 165-66
as spiritual resistance, 3-8
as threat to Soviets, 227
Shambhala-Dunkhor, 226, 228ill
Shambhala Is Coming (Roerich painting),
Shambhala king, 209-10, 227
Shambhala (Roerich), 163
Shambhala war
nature and signs of, 4, 7, 179
political use of, 156
Roerich and, 165, 177-79, 227
Ungern and, 120-21
weapons in, 7-8
Shandarovsky, Peter, 60-61
Shaposhnikova, Helena. See Roerich,
Sharap Tepkin, 144
Shish kin, Oleg, 221
Shumatsky, Boris
as Bolshevik organizer, 106, 106-7,
final years of, 233
life of, xxii, 107
Red Amursana and, 139-40
Tibet expedition of, 143-44
Shungsky, Pavel, 79
autonomy of, 168
Eastern Secretariat in, 106, 127
folklore of, 168-69
Russian settlers in, 22
Tibetan Buddhist groups in, 111-12
Sikkim, 175
silk, 110
Silver Age, 48, 161
skull cups, 14
skull drums, 16
song of Red Shambhala, 30, 137,
Soviet Realism, 57
Special Section
Barchenko and, 43-44, 82, 97-98
decline of, 223
occult and, 87-91
as unit of OGPU, 77-80, 78
Sri Kalacakra, 9
Stalin, Joseph, 74-75, 116-17, 149,
State Internal Protection (GVO), 62,
Stomniakov, Boris, 87
stupa, 200
Suchandra, 9
Sufis, 91, 96
Sukhe-Bator, 131, 132, 133, 135,
of Red Mongol troops, 136
in Tibetan Buddhism, 12
of United Labor Brotherhood, 61
Synarchy, 50, 52, 63

Tagore, Rabindranath, 162
tankas, 137, 185, 196, 197, 198
tantras, 8-9, 39, 63. See also Kalachakra
Taranatha, 21, 42, 121, 126
Tarukhan, 170
Tashilumpho monastery, 20, 34, 35,
147, 188-89
taxation, 147
Teh Wang, 213
Tertium Organum (Ouspensky), 167
Ja-Lama and, 139-41
in Mongolia, 21, 150
Roerich and, 157, 166-68
in Tibet, 20-21
Theosophical Society, 161, 207
Theosophists, 168
Theosophy, 2-3, 48, 52, 159, 161
thighbone trumpets, 16
thought transfer, 49-50, 80, 82-83, 85
bandits in, 101-2
Bolsheviks in, 91-96, 142-54
Chinese incursion on, 22-23
as independent nation, 185
map of, xxiv
religious leaders of, 20-21
Roerich expedition to, 196-204
Tibetan Buddhism
Ak- Jang version of, 30
Bolshevik politics and
congresses of, 110
deities in, 12-16
merged with Communism, 189-92,
missionary work of, 20
Tibetan medicine, 80
Tornovsky, M. G., 123
traditionalism, 52
Trans-Siberian railroad, 22, 119
Trilisser, Meer, 93, 102, 143, 190-92
Trotsky, Leon, 72, 74, 78, 92, 113
Tsarong Shape, 149
Tsepag Dorji, 150
Tseveen Jamtsarano, 214
Tuva, 21, 113-14, 117, 169
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the
Sea (Verne), 51

Ungern-Sternberg, Roman von
defeat of, 136-37
life of, xxii
monarchies and, 122-23
in Mongolia, 117-25, 118
Ossendowski and, 172
Shambhala prophecy and, 100,
120-22, 124
Shumatskyand, 124-25, 133-34
Union for the Liberation of Labor, 70
United Labor Brotherhood (ULB),
60-67, 226-27
United Labor Commonwealth, 60-61
Urga, 120, 122, 136, 138, 142-43
Uritsky, Moses, 56, 72
utopias, 97, 171

Verne, Jules, 51
VIEM. See All Union Institute of Experimental
Vimalaprabha, 9
Vishnu, S
Vladimirov, Konstantin, 43, 47-48,
54-56, 60, 65-66, 91
as graphologist, 79
Vladimirtsov, Boris, 36
Vyrobova, Anna, 55

Wagner, Richard, 198
Wallace, Anthony, 104
Wallace, Henry, 165, 206-7, 218
weapons, 7, 195
Weishaupt, Adam, 126
Western society, 64, 103, 105-6
White Russians, 115
White Tara, 188
World War I, 165

Yagoda, Genrikh, 81, 87, 93

Zinoviev, Grigory, 56, 74, 107
Zvenigorod, 170
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Re: Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the H

Postby admin » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:17 pm

About the Author


Andrei Znamenski, a native of Russia, has studied history and anthropology in both Russia and the United States. Formerly a resident scholar at the Library of Congress and then a visiting professor at Hokkaido University in Japan, he has taught at Alabama State University and the University of Memphis in Tennessee.

Znamenski's major fields of interests include shamanism, the history of Western esotericism, Russian history, world civilizations, and the history of religions as well as well as indigenous religions of Siberia and North America. He has lived and traveled extensively in Alaska, Siberia, and Japan. His field and archival research among Athabaskan Indians in Alaska and native people of the Altai (Southern Siberia) resulted in the books Shamanism and Christianity: Native Responses to Russian Missionaries (1999), Through Orthodox Eyes: Russian Missionary Narratives of Travels to the Dena'ina and Ahtna and Shamanism in Siberia (both in 2003).

Between 2003 and 2004, Znamenski resided in Japan, where along with his Japanese colleague, Professor Koichi Inoue, he worked with itako, blind female healers and mediums from the Amori prefecture. Endeavoring to answer why shamanism has become so popular among Western spiritual seekers, he then edited the three-volume anthology Shamanism: Critical Concepts (2004) and wrote The Beauty of the Primitive: Shamanism and Western Imagination (2007).
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