Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Mongolia | Dornogov Aimag | Danzan Ravjaa's Caves

About 700 yards (that’s 640 meters to you decimal-heads) from the entrance to Shambhala are the caves of Danzan Ravjaa. According to tradition there were 108 caves in the side of the cliffs here. That of course is a symbolic number. How ever many caves there were in Danzan Ravjaa’s day only three remain today. According to Baatar, the monk who showed us the caves, Danzan Ravjaa was aware that the basaltic rocks which make up the cliffs were at the bottom of the huge sea which once covered much of what is now the Gobi Desert. Danzan Ravjaa believed that the spiritual energies focused here were a result of this, according to the monk.

Many occultists, including World-Class Traveler, Adventuress, and Theosophist Madame Helena Blavatsky, believed that Shambhala was located on an island in the middle of the sea which covered the Gobi Desert.
Madame Blavatsky
From Blavasky’s magnum opus The Secret Doctrine:
The last survivors of the fair child of the White Island (the primitive Svetadwipa) had perished ages before. Their (Lemuria's) elect, had taken shelter on the sacred Island (now the "fabled" Shamballah, in the Gobi Desert), while some of their accursed races, separating from the main stock, now lived in the jungles and underground ("cave-men"), when the golden yellow race (the Fourth) became in its turn "black with sin." From pole to pole the Earth had changed her face for the third time, and was no longer inhabited by the Sons of Sveta-dwipa, the blessed, and Adbhitanya, east and west, the first, the one and the pure, had become corrupted. . .
Got that? In any case, it should be noted that the traditional Tibetan concept of Shambhala, as described the Kalachakra Tantra and other works, is quite different from the Occult-Theosophist version.

Ovoo on the top of the cliffs above the caves
Newly restored terrace by the main cave overlooking the desert
The main cave with Danzan Ravjaa’s meditation platform to the right
Monk Baatar in front of the main cave
Two caves overlooking a ravine near the main cave. On the right is the Library Cave where Danzan Ravjaa reportedly kept a collection of books. This cave is well-known for always being cool even in the middle of the hottest summer days while being relatively warm in the depths of winter. To the left is the Meal Cave. According to legend when Danzan Ravjaa meditated in this cave he would have his daily meal placed on the stone platform just in front of the cave. Every day after he finished his food he would turn the bowl upside and grate off some of its edge on the stones of the platform. Thus each day the bowl became smaller and smaller and as a result each day he ate less and less. By the end of fifty days the bowl would be completely worn away and he would continue the rest of the meditation with a total fast.
Statue of Danzan Ravjaa now in the Library Cave
Driver Uuganbayar, Baatar, and Germanic studies scholar Mönkhnyagt at the caves.
View of the desert from of the top of cliffs above the caves. This area was once at the bottom of the Tethys Sea.