The spelling of Shambhala/Shamballa in the early theosophical writings

por Luis A. Hernández R. el 2 de enero de 2007

Nicholas Roerich. Banners of the Coming One

Banners of the Coming One. 1926

Tempera on canvas. 72 x 100.5 cm.

Nizhnii Novgorod State Art Museum, Russia

Знамёна грядущего

Dear Luis,

Thank you for finding this reference to Shambullah in The Mahatma Letters. It is, of course, possible that Shamballa represents the original Senzar spelling. Without original manuscripts we cannot know. An example of why I question this is found in the following paragraph of The Mahatma Letters, where the word Kiu-ti is written. This word we do know, rgyud sde, and we know that it was spelled Kiu-ti or Kiu-te by Horace della Penna, from whom it was copied in Theosophical writings. It seems that whatever spelling existed at the time was used by Blavatsky and her Teachers. Spellings were not standardized at that time, even by Sanskrit scholars. This occurred later.

Best wishes,

David Reigle

on 2/1/07 7:07 PM, Luis Alejandro Hernandez Rios wrote:
Dear David,

[…] my own research about “Shamballa” […] found this:

ML 23B (Oct. 1882)
– Shambullah/Shamballah wrotten by KH

SD vol. II (1888)
– Shamballah (p. 319) quoted from the Commentary
– Shambalah (p. 400) quoted from one of the Commentaries

SD vol. III (1897)
– Shamballa (p. 346) wrotten as Sambhala in CW, vol. XIV, p. 354
– Shamballa (p. 385) wrotten as S´ambhala in CW, vol. XIV, p. 399
– Shamballa (p. 427) added in brackets to a quote from Edkins (p. 158).
– Shamballah (p. 348) quoted altered from Wilson (Shamballah is in fact Sambhala)
– Sambhala (p. 421) quoted from Schlagintweit
– Shambhalla (p. 431) wrotten as S´ambhala in CW, vol. XIV, p. 451

My conclusions are:

– The first ocurrence of “Shamballa” take place in ML 23B, where KH wrote “Shambullah/Shamballah” (Oct. 1882).
– In SD v.II we can find Shamballah/Shambalah quoted from the Commentaries (The same Old Commentary from where AAB/DK quoted widely?) (1888).
– In SD v. III, A Besant replaces Sambhala/S´ambhala from the originals (CW XIV) with Shamballa[h] (the Schlagintweit’s quote is the only exception).
– In 1899 A Besant wrote Shambhala as Shamballa in “Avataras” (following the old spelling from ML & SD).
– Since that date CWL, AAB, etc. use the same spelling.
– N. Roerich used the traditional sanskrit spelling Shambhala learned by Lama Dorzhiev.
– In AAB’s book we chan find a numerology study of “Shamballa”, not Shambhala/ S´ambhala or any other variant.
– The only times when Shambhala is spelled Shamballa are the times when a Mahatma (KH in the ML or DK in the AAB papers) used the word or when is quoted from a Senzar source (the Commentaries).

The open question that you answer (until now) as “No” is: Perhaps Shamballa is the Senzar spelling of Shambhala. But may be is only a fonetic “old-fashion” Mahatmic way to spell it.