our, modern age, particularly in the 1920s and the 1930s, a group of people (spiritualadventurers, revolutionaries, and nationalists) wanted to use Shambhala and related prophecies of the Tibetan-Mongol world (Oirot, Amursana, and Geser) to promote their spiritual andgeopolitical schemes. The greater part of the book is focused on the Bolshevik attempt to use Mongol-Tibetan prophecies in their “liberation theology” to railroad Communism into Inner Asia. It exploresclandestine activities of the Bolsheviks from the Mongol-Tibetan Section of the CommunistInternational who took over Mongolia and then, dressed as lama pilgrims, tried to set Tibetablaze. The reader will enter a bizarre geopolitical contest over indigenous prophecies betweenthe Bolsheviks and their powerful opponents: Ja-Lama, an “avenging lama” fond of spilling bloodduring his tantra rituals, and renegade Baltic baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, who wanted to plug into Tibetan Buddhist legends in order to revive monarchies both in the east and in the west. We also meet Buryat monk Agvan Dorzhiev, a former tutor for the 13th Dalai Lama and a one-time Bolshevik fellow-traveler, who wanted to bring all Tibetan Buddhist people of Inner Asiainto a huge theocracy, and his fellow countryman, Elbek-Dorji Rinchino, the first Red dictator of Mongolia, who nourished a utopian dream of building up a socialist republic that would uniteTibetan Buddhist nationalities from Siberia to Tibet. Another prominent character profiled in
is Nicholas Roerich, the Russian painter and occultist, who toyed with the same idea of merging Tibetan Buddhism with Communism.Driven by his otherworldly Master, he posed as a reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and flirted withthe Bolsheviks in an attempt to unleash the Shambhala war in Tibet. The ultimate goal was to bring about the Sacred Union of the East – a Tibetan Buddhist theocracy that would spirituallyregenerate humankind. The book also draws attention to Roerich’s friend and another interestingcharacter - Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Vice-President Henry Wallace, who similarly tappedinto Buddhist wisdom in the hope to engineer a better world. Last but not least, we meet such characters as Gleb Bokii, the secret police commissar and thechief Bolshevik cryptographer, who, along with his friend writer Alexander Barchenko, tried touse the Shambhala prophecy and Kalachakra techniques to conjure the ideal Communist human being. Despite their differences, all these seekers were driven by the same totalitarian temptation – aquest for power and ultimate solutions. They were sincerely convinced that they would be able to build a paradise on the earth – an orderly human commonwealth devoid of any spiritual and socialcontradictions. It was only natural that almost all of these “enlightened masters” ended their livestragically. Essentially,
is a sad story about political power and spirituality – astory that is set in the turbulent environment the past 20th century, which one historian once calledthe age of extremes.
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