Paradise monastery – Shangri-La

At the beginning of the 20th century the imagination of readers was captured by the mysterious country Shangri-La – the world of harmony and perfection mislaid far in mountains where all human dreams become a reality. Forgotten utopia. Almost in all legends of the heavenly spots which are cut off from a civilization they settle down in the valleys covered with violent vegetation which hid behind the impassable mountains shrouded in a fog haze. Therefore it is unsurprising, as Hilton was placed by Shangri-La in the Far East where there are a lot of high mountains and fertile green valleys which took cover between them. When the English writer James Hilton thought up the name Shangri-La for the unknown country where action of its adventure novel “The Lost Horizon” is developed, he did not even suspect that he presented to the native language the new word which will quickly become current as a synonym of a fine utopia. The novel published in 1933 so captured imagination of people that they believed in reality of Shangri-La and its utopian society. The small country where two crashed pilots got in the novel, was located in the region of Tibet, inaccessible for researchers. There on top of the high mountain there was a lamaistsky monastery where 50 Buddhist monks (lamas) spending time in search of knowledge and occupations by art lived. Was at the head of them Supreme a lama which opened a secret of longevity and was able to predict future. It agrees to one of its prophecies, in the future its country should undergo a lot of things including attacks of barbarians. Being guided by the principle of moderation in everything, lamas operated a community from 1000 locals in which peace and harmony reigned. They lived in the fertile valley stretched mountains at the bottom. Here on rather small ground, about 20 km in length and 5 km width, were grown up the most various cultures, and the gold-bearing vein lying right there in the valley gave means for acquisition of any goods which could not be made in Shangri-La. However none of strangers were allowed to enter the happy valley, and for transactions locals met dealers in the established places beyond its limits. The idea of Shangri-La is not new at all – in many east cultures there were legends of a forgotten earthly paradise. Still the earth Chiang Shambhala who was considered as a source of ancient wisdom is mentioned in the early Buddhist writing. Once the belief in such real embodiment of ideals of virtue was widespread very widely – in China there was a legend about the valley hidden in the depth of Kunlunsky mountains where live in perfect harmony immortal, and Indians looked for to the North from the Himalayas monastery of “perfect people” under Kalap’s name. In Russia, especially among Old Believers, the legend about Belovodye enjoyed wide popularity. Was considered that to reach this country where far from the world there lived Saint righteous persons, it was possible, following on the way of retreat of Tatars to Mongolia. In Tibetan and in the Mongolian legends there are also mentions of an earthly paradise. If the country Shangri-La was not the myth, but reality, then Tibet would be one of the most probable places for it. His spiritual and secular governor – Dalai Lama – lives in the monastery fortress in Lhasa (since 1904 declared by “the closed city” for Europeans). It is known that inaccessible attracts and excites imagination therefore it is no wonder that Lhasa where only the few Europeans happened to visit, began to be perceived in the West as a wonderland over time, Besides Buddhist monks and mystics in consciousness of Europeans were traditionally allocated with supernatural forces. Was considered, for example, that followers of the doctrine “lunggon” can overcome force of terrestrial gravitation and, having reduced a body weight, to move in space with a surprising speed. According to the English traveler Alexandra David-Neil, at the beginning of the century who lived in Tibet 14 years she saw a lama which moved with an improbable speed, but at the same time did not even run: “It seemed, it just rose over the earth, moving big jumps, jumping aside from the earth as a ball”. When the Englishwoman tried to stop the monk and to find out a miracle solution, the local satellite kept her from a precipitate step, having explained that sudden interruption of meditation almost for certain will kill a lama. Similar supervision can be found also at the Russian traveler and the artist Nikolay Roerich who many times was in Tibet and described what was seen in the book under the name “Shambhala” published in 1930. For certain David-Neil when wrote the novel “The Lost Horizon” used Hilton this work, and also records, and Shangri-La became its synonym of Shambhala. In the novel of the English writer Edward Bulver-Litton “The future race” (1871) is also described the world located in the depth of the earth inhabited by the highest race вриля. The idea of the dominating race allocated with mystic forces and supernatural opportunities was attractive both for occultists, and for the nazis, in the lowest purposes who directed to look for secret monastery. But they were not fated to reach it, and Shangri-La and remains dream of a kingdom of blissful rest where all human desires are granted.

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