Astral Travel of a Tibetan Lama

"Tidings of the Eagle"by Nicholas Roerich


“At the time when Abbé Huc was living in Paris, after his return from Thibet, he related, among other unpublished wonders, to a Mr Arsenieff, a Russian gentleman, the following curious fact that he had witnessed during his long sojourn at the lamasery of Kounboum. One day while conversing with one of the lamas, the latter suddenly stopped speaking, and assumed the attentive attitude of one who is listening to a message being delivered to him, although he (Huc) heard never a word. “Then, I must go”; suddenly broke forth the lama, as if in response to the message.

“Go where?” inquired the astonished “lama of Jehovah” (Huc). “And with whom are you talking?”

“To the lamasery of * * *,” was the quiet answer. “The Shaberon wants me; it was he who summoned me.”

“Now this lamasery was many days’ journey from that of Kounboum, in which the conversation was taking place. But what seemed to astonish Huc the most was, that, instead of setting off on his journey, the lama simply walked to a sort of cupola-room on the roof of the house in which they lived, and another lama, after exchanging a few words, followed them to the terrace by means of the ladder, and passing between them, locked and barred his companion in. Then turning to Huc after a few seconds of meditation, he smiled and informed the guest that “he had gone.”

“But how could he? Why you have locked him in, and the room has no issue?” insisted the missionary.

“And what good would a door be to him?” answered the custodian. “It is he himself who went away; his body is not needed, and so he left it in my charge.”

“Notwithstanding the wonders which Huc had witnessed during his perilous journey, his opinion was that both of the lamas had mystified him. But three days later, not having seen his habitual friend and entertainer, he inquired after him, and was informed that he would be back in the evening. At sunset, and just as the “other lamas” were preparing to retire, Huc heard his absent friend’s voice calling as if from the clouds, to his companion to open the door for him. Looking upward, he perceived the “traveller’s” outline behind the lattice of the room where he had been locked in. When he descended he went straight to the Grand Lama of Kounboum, and delivered to him certain messages and “orders,” from the place which he “pretended” he had just left. Huc could get no more information from him as to his aerial voyage. But he always thought, he said, that this “farce” had something to do with the immediate and extraordinary preparations for the polite expulsion of both the missionaries, himself and Father Gabet, to Chogor-tan, a place belonging to the Kounboum. The suspicion of the daring missionary may have been correct, in view of his impudent inquisitiveness and indiscretion.

“If the Abbé had been versed in Eastern philosophy, he would have found no great difficulty in comprehending both the flight of the lama’s astral body to the distant lamasery while his physical frame remained behind, or the carrying on of a conversation with the Shaberon that was inaudible to himself.” (Vol. 2, p. 604-605)

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