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Bamian Buddha Statues and Theosophy 
[Bamian is also spelt Bamiyan]

A travelogue in the footsteps of Helena Blavatsky. A  Picture Gallery of Occult History illustrated with a series of colour slides of the giant statues taken in 1977 by a student of theosophy in Afghanistan, Bamian Valley. 

Ancient Landmarks commented on and described esoterically by HPB  from the point of view of The Secret Doctrine. 

Part 1 & Supplements

© 2001 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö
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Anybody who has been in Afghanistan and seen this beautiful and wonderful country will never forget the beauty and the mystery surrounding this part of the world were the Initiates of the Fourth Race Atlanteans built the fantastic Bamian statues 200 kilometers northwest of the City of Kabul. The people of Afghanistan are a beautiful and freedom loving mountain people, unfortunately today they live under the influence of ultra political forces.

I personally have been in Kabul in 1977 and from there I made the long journey to the small village of Bamian in the great Bamian Valley. I did that because Helena Blavatsky had mentioned them in the Secret Doctrine and I wanted to see them with my own eyes – and they were really fantastic. The colossal statues are mentioned in the Secret Doctrine on pages 337- 40 of volume II, and they are said to illustrate the Occult History of the decrease in Man's stature as his form consolidated into gross physical matter. These five statues represent this decrease in size of the average human frame beginning over a million years ago. It traces this decrease of Egos of mankind reincarnated into forms from the 1st Race on this ”Globe D” to our present 5th Race.

I would also like to point out that the Bamian caves resemble as to size the Ellora and Ajanta caves in India. Both are said to have been built by the ”builders” or INITIATES,  [see SD II:221, 345 fn]. The Buddhist art style is different and not as well preserved as that of ancient Hindus. 

Another interesting piece of information is to be found in S.D. II 750 where it speaks of the Initiates of the 2nd ”Aryan” subrace traveling through out the world to establish monuments to preserve aspects of the great and immemorial truths. 

Also, in the book ”FROM THE CAVES AND JUNGLES OF HINDUSTAN” by Helena Blavatsky 1883-1886, Blavatskys Collected Writings (TPH)  pp. 609-610, there is to be found some information about Bamian (part of Paropamisos). There it is said that these mountains were inhabited by ”earthly gods” and were called Paranassus by the Brahmanas. Rama and Krishna are mentioned to have lived on the Paranassus. The word Paranassus occurs frequently in both the Ramayana and Mahabharata. There also are hints about a mysterious connection with the holy Mount of Meru. So I feel that there is much to learn from all this and the whole matter is worth to investigating further.

What I discovered about the Bamian statues when I was there, was that there were not five large statues visible or known, but only three. The two largest statues ( 53 & 35 meters high), are the ones most mentioned by travelers and writers on the subject. These were situated in the same rock formation within walking distance of each other. By the largest statue it was even possible to climb right up beside the head, by clambering through a labyrinths of caves, chapels and large halls built on several levels accessible by steps inside the mountain were the statue had been carved out of the living rock and were protected by overhanging niches on the outside.

There was hundreds of caves within the whole area. Up and beside the head (which was at that time already damaged) right on the side walls, one could still see some paintings of gods, Bodhisattvas and Buddhas and even a Greek philosopher or perhaps a king was placed sitting beside these in the lines of Buddhas. The ”thousand Buddhas” sitting in a line is typical for Buddhist paintings, but not with a Greek in toga and with a beard! That must have been some old remains from the Gandhara style (Greek-Buddhistic art from Bactria or Roman-Buddhistic art from Syria) or possibly, a reproduction of Buddhistic Mahayana art. 

The third statue I saw was visible in another valley quite some distance from the two bigger ones. 

I never found the two smaller ones during those days I spent there looking for them in the autumn before the season of deep snows came. 

Peter Bernin, 
7th of July 2001, Malmö, Sweden


Since the time of this writing Afghanistan has become a free country due to American military forces. Plans are being made to rebiuld the Bamian Statues, which were destroyed in March, 2001 by the talibans.

Peter Bernin
17 th of July 2004, Malmö, Sweden


All Pictures Copyright © 2001 



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[The following text is taken from The Secret Doctrine by Helena Blavatsky,  vol II, p.337 - 340]

. The Lemuro-Atlanteans build cities and spread civilization. The incipient stage of anthropomorphism.  Their statues, witnesses to the size of the Lemuro-Atlanteans.

But who cut the Bamian, still more colossal, statues, the tallest and the most gigantic in the whole world, for Bartholdi's ”Statue of Liberty” (now at New York) is a dwarf when compared with the largest of the five images. Burnes, and several learned Jesuits who have visited the place, speak of a mountain ”all honeycombed with gigantic cells, with two immense giants cut in the same rock. They are referred to as the modern Miaotse (vide supra, quotation from Shoo-King) the last surviving witnesses of the Miaotse who had ”troubled the earth”; the Jesuits are right, and the Archaeologists, who see Buddhas in the largest of these statues, are mistaken. For all those numberless gigantic ruins discovered one after the other in our day, all those immense avenues of colossal ruins that cross North America along and beyond the Rocky Mountains, are the work of the Cyclopes, the true and actual Giants of old. ”Masses of enormous human bones” were found ”in America, near Misorte,” a celebrated modern traveller tells us, precisely on the spot which local tradition points out as the landing spot of those giants who overran America when it had hardly arisen from the waters (See ”De La Vega, Vol. ix., ch. ix.).*

[Fotnote]* See also ”Pneumatologie des Esprits Vol. III., p. 55, de Mirville.

Central Asian traditions say the same of the Bamian statues. What are they, and what is the place where they have stood for countless ages, defying the cataclysms around them, and even the hand of man, as in the instance of the hordes of Timoor and the Vandal-warriors of Nadir-Shah? Bamian is a small, miserable, half-ruined town in Central Asia, half-way between Cabul and Balkh, at the foot of Kobhibaba, a huge mountain of the Paropamisian (or Hindu-Kush) chain, some 8,500 feet above the level of the sea. In days of old, Bamian was a portion of the ancient city of Djooljool, ruined and destroyed to the last stone by Tchengis-Khan in the XIII th century. The whole valley is hemmed in by colossal rocks, which are full of partially natural and partially artificial caves and grottoes, once the dwellings of Buddhist monks who had established in them their viharas. Such viharas are to be met with in profusion, to this day, in the rock-cut temples of India and the valleys of Jellalabad. It is at the entrance of some of these that five enormous statues, of what is regarded as Buddha, have been discovered or rather rediscovered in our century, as the famous Chinese traveller, Hiouen-Thsang, speaks of, and saw them, when he visited Bamian in the VII th century.

When it is maintained that no larger statues exist on the whole globe, the fact is easily proven on the evidence of all the travellers who have examined them and taken their measurements. Thus, the largest is 173 feet high, or seventy feet higher than the ”Statue of Liberty” now at New York, as the latter is only 105 feet or 34 metres high. The famous Colossus of Rhodes itself, between whose limbs passed easily the largest vessels of those days, measured only 120 to 130 feet in height. The second statue, cut out in the rock like the first one, is only 120 feet (15 feet taller than the said ”Liberty”).** The third statue is only 60 feet high – the two others still smaller, the last one being only a little larger than the average tall man of our present race. The first and largest of the Colossi represents a man draped in a kind of toga; M. de Nadeylac thinks (See infra) that the general appearance of the figure, the lines of the head, the drapery, and especially the large hanging ears, point out undeniably that Buddha was meant to be represented. But the above proves nothing. Notwithstanding the fact that most of the now existing figures of Buddha, represented in the posture of Samadhi, have large drooping ears, this is a later innovation and an afterthought. The primitive idea was due to esoteric allegory. The unnaturally large ears symbolize the omniscience of wisdom, and were meant as a reminder of the power of Him who knows and hears all, and whose benevolent love and attention for all creatures nothing can escape. ”The merciful Lord, our Master, hears the cry of agony of the smallest of the small, beyond vale and mountain, and hastens to its deliverance”: – says a Stanza. Gautama Buddha was an Aryan Hindu, and an approach to such ears is found only among the Mongolian Burmese and Siamese, who, as in Cochin, distort them artificially. The Buddhist monks, who turned the grottos of the Miaotse into Viharas and cells, came into Central Asia about or in the first century of the Christian era. Therefore Hiouen Thsang, speaking of the colossal statue, says that ”the shining of the gold ornamentation that overlaid the statue” in his day ”dazzled one's eyes,” but of such gilding there remains not a vestige in modern times. The very drapery, in contrast to the figure itself, cut out in the standing rock, is made of plaster and modelled over the stone image. Talbot, who has made the most careful examination, found that this drapery belonged to a far later epoch. The statue itself has therefore to be assigned to a far earlier period than Buddhism. Whom does it represent in such case, it may be asked?

[Fotnote] ** The first and second have, in common with Bartholdi's Statue, an entrance at the foot, leading by a winding staircase cut in the rock up into the heads of the statues. The eminent French archeologist and anthropologist, the Marquis de Nadeylac, justly remarks in his work that there never was in ancient or in modern times a sculptured human figure more colossal than the first of the two.


Once more tradition, corroborated by written records, answers the query, and explains the mystery. The Buddhist Arhats and Ascetics found the five statues, and many more, now crumbled down to dust, and as the three were found by them in colossal niches at the entrance of their future abode, they covered the figures with plaster, and, over the old, modelled new statues made to represent Lord Tathagata. The interior walls of the niches are covered to this day with bright paintings of human figures, and the sacred image of Buddha is repeated in every group. These frescoes and ornaments – which remind one of the Byzantine style of painting – are all due to the piety of the monk-ascetics, like some other minor figures and rock-cut ornamentations. But the five statues belong to the handiwork of the Initiates of the Fourth Race, who sought refuge, after the submersion of their continent, in the fastnesses and on the summits of the Central Asian mountain chains. Moreover, the five statues are an imperishable record of the esoteric teaching about the gradual evolution of the races.

The largest is made to represent the First Race of mankind, its ethereal body being commemorated in hard, everlasting stone, for the instruction of future generations, as its remembrance would otherwise never have survived the Atlantean Deluge. The second – 120 feet high – represents the sweat-born; and the third – measuring 60 feet – immortalizes the race that fell, and thereby inaugurated the first physical race, born of father and mother, the last descendants of which are represented in the Statues found on Easter Isle; but they were only from 20 to 25 feet in stature at the epoch when Lemuria was submerged, after it had been nearly destroyed by volcanic fires. The Fourth Race was still smaller, though gigantic in comparison with our present Fifth Race, and the series culminated finally in the latter. (See the following sub-section on ”Cyclopean Ruins, and Colossal Stones as Witnesses to Giants.”)

These are, then, the ”Giants” of antiquity, the ante- and post-diluvian Gibborim of the Bible. They lived and flourished one million rather than between three and four thousand years ago. The Anakim of Joshua, whose hosts were as ”grasshoppers” in comparison with them, are thus a piece of Israelite fancy, unless indeed the people of Israel claim for Joshua an antiquity and origin in the Eocene, or at any rate in the Miocene age, and change the millenniums of their chronology into millions of years.

In everything that pertains to prehistoric times the reader ought to bear the wise words of Montaigne in his mind. Saith the great French philosopher: –

” . . . It is a sottish presumption to disdaine and condemne that for false, which unto us seemeth to beare no show of likelihood or truth: which is an ordinarie fault in those who persuade themselves to be of more sufficiencie than the vulgar sort.
” . . . But reason hath taught me, that so resolutely to condemne a thing for false and impossible, is to assume unto himself the advantage to have the bounds and limits of God's will, and the power of our common Mother Nature tied to his sleeve, and that there is no greater folly in the world than to reduce them to the measure of our capacitie and bounds of our sufficiencie.
”If we term those things monsters or miracles to which our reason cannot attain, how many doe such daily present themselves unto our sight? Let us consider through what cloudes, and how blinde-folde we are led to the knowledge of most things that passe our hands; verily we shall finde it is rather custome than Science that receiveth, the strangenesse of them from us: and that those things, were they newly presented unto us, wee should doubtless deeme them as much or more unlikely and incredible than any other.” (Essays, chap. xxvi.)

A fair-minded scholar should, before denying the possibility of our history and records, search modern History, as well as the universal traditions scattered throughout ancient and modern literature, for traces left by these marvellous early races. Few among the unbelievers suspect the wealth of corroborative evidence which is found scattered about and buried even in the British Museum alone.


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There is no Religion higher than Truth



Bamiyan Buddhas may be rebuilt
Unesco will convene an international meeting next month to discuss options

By Martin Bailey

LONDON. Unesco is to convene an international meeting in Afghanistan next month to discuss the reconstruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Rebuilding these symbols of the country’s illustrious heritage has already received the support of Afghan minister of information and culture Raheen Makhdoom. The work would take up to four years and cost an estimated $30 to $50 million.

News of official backing for the reconstruction of the 1,700-year-old Buddhas has come from Paul Bucherer-Dietschi, director of the Bibliotheca Afghanica museum-in-exile at Bubendorf, near Basel. He returned a month ago from a five-week Unesco mission to Kabul, where he found universal support for rebuilding the three statues destroyed by the Taliban. “When I talked with people in the bazaars, I pointed out that restoring one statue might cost as much as 30 bridges,” he reported. Afghanis then told him: “The bridges we can rebuild ourselves, and we will anyway. But the Buddhas must also be rebuilt—it’s our heritage.”

Reconstruction at Bamiyan is regarded as “an absolute political priority”. Symbolically, it would be a dramatic rejection of what the Taliban and Al-Qa’eda represented. Economically, it would encourage foreign tourists to return to Bamiyan. “Why else would they make an eight-hour drive on gravel roads from Kabul?” Mr Bucherer admits that the question of whether it is “responsible” to proceed with the reconstruction is a question which needs to be seriously addressed by archaeologists at the Unesco meeting.

Mr Bucherer’s recent visit to Bamiyan has enabled him to give a detailed account of the terrible events of a year ago. “I had hoped that some of the feet of the Buddhas might still survive under rubble, but the destruction was done in a highly professional way,” he reported. Local Taliban had been reluctant to undertake the task, so foreign Al-Qa’eda supporters were brought in from Kabul, along with two Chechen explosives specialists.

On 20 February 2001 they began at the base of the statues, drilling holes up to 1.8 metres-deep with sophisticated machinery. Explosives were placed in the cavities, destroying the feet. Work then continued until 8 March. Mr Bucherer found that the destruction had been extremely thorough: “Absolutely nothing remained of the Buddhas, other than a few boulders from the inner core. I made a long search, and found only one small piece of the outer plaster, the size of my hand.” This he took with him, for chemical and technical analysis. Local people told Mr Bucherer that all the plaster had been removed by six lorries and taken to Pakistan, where it was apparently sold as paperweights.

The most expensive task in the reconstruction will not be the statues, but the adjacent cliff, which was damaged by numerous explosions. It may well require the insertion of steel rods to anchor the walls. Fortunately, highly detailed photogrammetric measurements of the largest 53-metre statue were taken in 1970 by Austrian specialist, Robert Kostka. Other data were gathered by Professor Takayasu Higuchi of Kyoto University in the 1980s. It should therefore be possible to reconstruct the statues so that they would appear virtually indistinguishable from the lost originals.

The remains of the rubble would be quite unsuitable for the reconstruction and various materials have been proposed, ranging from local stone to concrete. One idea is to build horizontal supports every three metres or so, and cover this profile with a lightweight cladding. This would show the shape of the original, without the deception of using solid material. It would also make it possible to build an internal spiral staircase to the top. Another option would be to build the replicas a few hundred metres away, not in the original niches.

Mr Bucherer also visited the remains of the Kabul Museum, which was devastated last year by Taliban militants. “Virtually the entire collection was reduced to a mound of six cubic-metres of debris,” he explained. Curators told Mr Bucherer how every box of artifacts was methodically emptied onto the ground, and objects depicting human or animal forms were then individually and systematically smashed with a hammer. Hardly any of the pieces were bigger than a thumbnail. It took 10 people three weeks to complete the task. Sadly, very little was saved, although occasionally curators were able to move small objects into boxes which had already been combed. This may have saved up to a hundred items.

Mystery still surrounds the Bactrian gold which had been stored in a secure vault within the ministry of finance. The 20,000 gold objects, excavated in 1978, are said to have been sealed in boxes which required seven keys to open. Despite extensive inquiries, Mr Bucherer was unable to discover the fate of the Bactrian treasure. The fact that none of the items discovered in 1978 has come onto the market gives grounds for optimism, although they could have been melted down.



UNSECO opposes Giant Buddha's remaking plans
Saturday November 15, 2003 (1346 PST)


KABUL, November 16 (Online): Scientists in Switzerland say they have created a detailed computer model of the largest of two giant Buddha statues destroyed in central Afghanistan's Bamiyan Valley during the Taliban rule. The model would make it possible to rebuild exact replicas of the statues, a controversial idea that has not yet been decided on by the Afghan government or international donors.

The project by a team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich has been two years in the making.

It required hundreds of thousands of measurements to create a three-dimensional computer image of the largest, 55-meter-high Buddha. The result reflects the condition of the statue before it was dynamited in March 2001 on the orders of Taliban leader Mullah Omar, who considered the Buddhas as idols and an insult to Islam.

A smaller Buddha, which stood a half-kilometer away and was about 38 meters high too, is being mapped with the same technique. Both Buddha statues stood for some 15 centuries in niches carved into a cliff face near the Afghan city of Bamiyan, about 140 kilometers northwest of Kabul.

In an interview with Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Saturday, Swiss scientist Armin Gruen explained that detailed mapping of the statues was possible because of three high-resolution photographs taken in 1970 by an Austrian scientist.

"Those photographs were made by a colleague of mine from Austria at the University of Graz," he said. "He was on a mission at that time in Afghanistan to produce topographical maps. And on his way back to Kabul he took those photographs with a special camera -- we call it a photogrametric camera producing large-format glass plates with high-resolution detail. This makes it much easier to reconstruct the model and also allows us to do it much more precisely."

Gruen says he hopes Kabul approves of the project and that private financing can be secured to build exact replicas of both Buddhas in their original niches. After visiting the Bamiyan Valley in August, Gruen thinks it is not possible to rebuild the Buddhas using the remaining fragments of the originals.

"There is not enough original material left," he said. "You would need large pieces of leftovers. And those are just not here anymore. Most of it is dust or small gravel. And there are only a few very large pieces left. This is just not sufficient to put it together into a complete model."

Gruen recommends instead that replicas be built at the same location as the originals around a core of concrete -- a method experts estimate would cost around $30 million for each statue. Gruen says funds for such a project should be independent of aid for rebuilding Afghanistan's war-shattered infrastructure.

"I personally would use a kernel of concrete and some plaster on the outside, which can be used in order to model the details of the structure," he said. "This is, by the way, basically also the old technology. Originally the Buddhas were carved out of the rock, but only the core shape. And this was covered by mud and straw -- a mixture which allowed people then to model all the fine detail."

The idea of constructing replicas of the Buddhas at their original location is controversial. UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural agency in Paris, rejects the idea as a "profanation."

Muriel de Pierrebourg, a spokeswoman for UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura, says rebuilding the statues in the original niches would be a "double treachery." She says the technique suggested by Gruen has been rejected by the vast majority of specialists. Instead, she says, UNESCO prefers to leave the niches empty as a "memorial to destruction."

UNESCO officials say funds used to rebuild the statues would be better used to develop the Bamiyan Valley as an area of cultural heritage, including a museum. UNESCO declared the area a World Heritage Site earlier this year.

But Gruen believes rebuilding the Buddhas would benefit all of Afghanistan by dramatically boosting tourism:

"The question really is: 'Do you want to help the Afghan people?' And if you want to develop the area -- for instance, touristically and economically -- then it would be appropriate to bring the Buddhas back because, I guess, tourists won't be coming just to look at the empty niche. But they want to have the Buddhas back. They want to see the Buddhas. And this is, of course, a very significant economic factor -- not only for the valley of Bamiyan, but for Afghanistan as a whole."

In any event, Gruen said his team at least plans to build a small-scale version of the largest Buddha:

"We have already made a small model [of the largest Buddha] at a scale of 1 to 200 with a milling machine, and we have donated it to some politicians in Afghanistan. Now, what we are doing is to plan a model at a scale of 1 to 10, which will be donated to the National Museum in Kabul. We are just in the planning phase. I would assume it might take something like three months for the 1 to 10 scale model to be completed."

He says he is confident he can secure the $10,000 needed to build that small-scale model from contributions from individuals and nongovernmental organizations.




link to the The Bamiyan Project


Teosofiska artiklar från gruppen ”Mysteriet Buddha” av Helena Blavatsky:

De Sju Principerna
Mysteriet Buddha
Buddhas ”reinkarnationer”
En opublicerad predikan av Buddha
Lam Rim´s och Dzyan`s Hemliga Böcker

Amita Buddha, Kwan-Shai-Yin och Kwan-Yin – vad ”Dzyans Bok” och Tsong-kha-pa´s lamakloster säger
Tsong-kha-pa. – Lohans i Kina

Ytterligare artiklar som behandlar Tibetansk Buddhism och Esoterism ur den teosofiska litteraturen av Helena Blavatsky:
I Nirvanas flöde – Kwan Yin & Vachishwara
Senzar – prästerskapets språk
HPBs Meditationsdiagram från I”G” Undervisningen
Dzyans Sånger – Kosmisk Evolution
Dzyans Sånger – Människans Skapelse

Vår Stjärna, Stråle, Fader eller Dhyani-Buddha

Tibetansk-kinesisk-indisk Ordbok i Esoterism
Bamian Buddha Statues in Afghanistan  and Theosophy


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