Friday, November 7, 2014

Antonio Andrade and the Jesuit Search for Shambala (1626 AD)


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"The stories of the search for Shambhala began in the mid 1500s at the court of the Indian Mogul Emperor Akbar the Great in Delhi. At his court, Akbar encouraged art and architecture, literature and promoted religious debate across many religions. He gathered not only Hindus and others from his own empire but Christian monks and pilgrims from the west to participate in these discussions.....This priest's successor, Antonio Andrade, being much younger set out on an expedition to locate this place. He found a wealthy kingdom but no Christians. In 1626 Andrade published 'Discovery of Tibet'. It is this work which likely inspired 'Lost Horizon' the 1933 novel by James Hilton.......A visiting Jesuit priest wrote a compilation of the various stories he heard at Akbar's court and organized them into an essay along with a map."

"Antonio Andrade and his successors, were among the first Westerners to cross the Himalayas to explore Tibet. Michael Wood followed Andrade’s extraordinary journey in the PBS series “In Search of Myths and Legends.” In Tibet: The Jesuit Century (Hargrove), the late Philip Caraman, S.J., described the Society’s several attempts in the 17th and 18th centuries to establish a mission in Tibet. Most remarkable was Ippolito Desideri, the last of the Jesuit explorer-missionaries to establish himself there. He settled into a Buddhist monastery, learned Tibetan and studied the sacred Buddhist texts. When Capuchin friars arrived to demand he turn over the mission to them, he was carrying on what today we would call interreligious dialogue with his hosts."....THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REVIEW ....April 2, 2012 Drew Christiansen

"Father António de Andrade (1580 – March 19, 1634) was a Jesuit priest and explorer from Portugal. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1596. From 1600 until his death in 1634 he was engaged in missionary activity in India. Andrade was the first known European to have crossed the Himalayas and reached Tibet, establishing the first Catholic mission on Tibetan soil.....He was one of the Jesuits attached to the court of the Mughal emperor Jahangir, and was head of the Jesuit mission in Agra. In 1624 he left Agra, headed to Delhi where he and the Jesuit brother Manuel Marques joined a group of Hindu pilgrims bound for the temple of Badrinath located in the Northern part of the present-day Indian state of Uttarakhand. Overcoming incredible hardships in the journey, they crossed the Mana pass (5608 meters) to Tibet, the first Europeans known to have done so.....

"The tale of a lost kingdom in the region of the Tibetan mountains first came to Western attention nearly four centuries ago. And like many a tale of hidden treasure, it starts with a mysterious map - this one lost, then rediscovered a hundred years ago in Calcutta. It was part of a remarkable manuscript that contained the autobiography of a 16th-century Western missionary at the court of the Moghul emperor Akbar....One visiting Jesuit priest summarised the strange stories he heard at the court of Akbar in an essay, and sketched an accompanying map. On his map the area of Tibet is depicted as a great white blank, except for one place, labelled 'Manasarovar lacus' (Lake Manasarovar),....Andrade set out from Akbar's court, armed with the map, and at first followed yogis and wandering pilgrims on the road across the mountains. The terrain soon became hostile, but Andrade did eventually find an impressive and wealthy kingdom - although no Christians lived there - and his account of his adventurous journey was rediscovered in Calcutta in the 19th century. It was republished in 1926 under the title Discovery of Tibet, and Hilton's Lost Horizon obviously owes much to this work.".....Shangri-La by Michael Wood

"Map by Fr. Anthony Monserrate, said to be the first Jesuit geographer in India. When the team left Goa for the Mughal mission, he was asked to keep a diary of all events, which he did faithfully, adding greatly to its value by his geographical and astronomical observations. On his journey from Surat to Fatehpur Sikri in 1580, he mad a survey and took observations for latitude. When Akbar marched to Kabul in 1581 against his half-brother Mirza Muhammed Hakim, he took Fr. Monserrate along for continuing the tuition of his second son Murad. Akbar encouraged Fr. Monserrate to take observations en route. He, however, showed no interest in the date collected by Fr. Monserrate who kept it with himself even when he returned to Goa. Later in 1804, Francis Wilford of Bengal Engineers made use of Fr. Monserrate’s manuscripts to prepare a valuable map of the countries west of Delhi.".....Jesuits at the Mughal court by Fr. John Felix Raj. S.J.

"Another Jesuit, Ippolito Desideri (1684-1733), followed Andrade’s steps almost a century later, and proceeded to re- establish the mission in Tibet, this time at Lhasa, in March 1716........."Ippolito Desideri (21 December 1684 – 14 April 1733) was an Italian Jesuit missionary in Tibet and the first European to have successfully studied and understood Tibetan language and culture..... According to Desideri, they were well received by the king of Ladakh and his court, and he wished to remain there to found a mission, but he was forced to obey his Superior, Freyre, who insisted that they travel to Central Tibet and Lhasa......They thus undertook a perilous seven months winter journey across the Tibetan plateau and finally arrived in Lhasa on 18 March 1716.....He was the only European missionary in Tibet, at that time."

Desideri, Ippolito. 2010. Mission to Tibet: The Extraordinary Eighteenth-Century Account

Wessels, C. (1924). Early Jesuit travellers in Central Asia 1603-1721.

"Christianity was supposedly first introduced to Tibet by a Franciscan monk, Odoric of Pordenone, who thus should have been the first Westerner to penetrate Lhasa, in 1327, where he set up a mission. In his writings, he compared Tibetan and Christian religions, arguing that they shared a head figure, monasteries, and chanting celibate monks.......At the beginning of the 17th century, two Portuguese Jesuit fathers, Antonio de Andrade and Manuel Marques, went from Agra (India) in 1624 on a reconnaissance trip to Tibet. They believed that there existed forgotten Christian communities in the Himalayan region. "Four months from their departure from Agra they crossed the Himalayan crest and entered Tibet, the first Europeans to do so if one does not accept Odoric's claim three centuries earlier... The King and Queen of Guge, in whose domain along the Upper Sutlej River they found themselves, were particularly cordial and welcomed them to the capital, Tsaparang." ......American encounters with Tibetan material Victoria Jonathan

The story begins with a mysterious map - this one lost, then rediscovered a hundred years ago in Calcutta. It was part of a remarkable manuscript that contained the autobiography of a 16th-century Western missionary at the court of the Moghul emperor Akbar the Great.

Click on the map to enlarge

"Zhang Zhung consisted "of three different regions: sGob-ba, the outer; Phug-pa, the inner; and Bar-ba, the middle. The outer is what we might call Western Tibet, from Gilgit in the west to Dangs-ra khyung-rdzong in the east, next to lake gNam-mtsho, and from Khotan in the north to Chu-mig brgyad-cu rtsa-gnyis in the south. The inner region is said to be sTag-gzig (Tazig) [often identified with Bactria]"

Jesuit missionaries never succeeded in converting Tibetans to Christianity.

The Dalai Lama assumed power in Tibet only after the secular government of the dynastic families was overthrown in 1642, and so became both secular and spiritual ruler.

In Search of Myths & Heroes: Exploring Four Epic Legends of the Michael Wood

"Since the seventeenth century, Jesuit fathers had travelled throughout Asia not only as missionaries but also to look for remains of ancient Christianity; they were especially inspired by the legend of the lost Christian kingdom of Prester John somewhere in Central Asia. One place that was particular interest to them was the tenth-century kingdom of Guge at Tsaparang in western Tibet (now in the Ngri prefecture of Tibet). Father Perrault is obviously modelled on one of these Jesuit fathers, notably Antonio de Andrade (who although could not find any Christian community in Tsaparang, himself founded a small Christian church there in 1625)."......James Hilton and Shangri-La by Rasoul Sorkhabi....The Himalayan Journal.....Vol.64......2008

"Tsaparang was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Guge in the Garuda Valley, through which the upper Sutlej River flows, in Ngari Prefecture (Western Tibet) near the border of Ladakh....and not far west of Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. Nearby is the Bon monastery of Gurugem......Tsaparang is a huge fortress perched on a pyramid-shaped rock rising about 500 to 600 feet (152 to 183 m) at the end of a long narrow spur. It contains numerous tunnels and caves that have been carved out of the rock.....TV Presenter and historian Michael Wood, in the "Shangri-La" episode of the BBC TV/PBS documentary series In Search of Myths and Heroes, suggested that Tsaparang was the historical origin of the legend of Shangri-La, and that its two great temples were once home to the kings of Guge in modern Tibet."


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….November 2014


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