Central Asian traditions say the same of the Bamian [Bamiyan] 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...?
Bamian is a small, miserable, half-ruined town in Central Asia, half-way between [the modern Afghan capital of] Kabul and Balkh, at the foot of Kobhibaba, a huge mountain of the Paropamisian (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 Gholgola ["screams"], ruined and destroyed to the last stone by Genghis Khan in the XIIIth Century.
Shahr-e-Gholghola (“City of Screams”) is a fortified urban site dating from late Sassanian (6th c. AD) through to the Ghorid period (12th-13th CC.). The citadel on this hill site was the heart of the Islamic city of Bamyan following the decline of Buddhism here from the 8th century AD (jalalagood.com).
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 [monastic dwellings].
Such viharas are to be met with in profusion, to this day, in the rock-cut temples of India and the valleys of Jalalabad. It is at the entrance of some of these that five enormous statues, of what is regarded as [the] Buddha, have been discovered or rather rediscovered in our century, as the famous Chinese traveler, Hsuan-tsang, speaks of, and saw them, when he visited Bamian in the VIIth 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 travelers who have examined them and taken their measurements.
Thus, the largest is 173 feet high, or 70 feet higher than the "Statue of Liberty." The famous Colossus of Rhodes [see video below] 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 "Statue of Liberty").
The first and second have, in common with Bartholdi's Statue [of Liberty], an entrance at the foot, leading by a winding staircase cut in the rock up into the heads of the statues.
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 that the general appearance of the figure, the lines of the head, the drapery, and especially the large hanging ears, point out undeniably that [the] Buddha was meant to be represented.
But the above proves nothing. Notwithstanding the fact that most of the now existing figures of [the] 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 Buddhist monks who turned the grottoes of the Miaotse [an antediluvian race of giants in Chinese legend] into viharas and [meditation] cells, came into Central Asia about or in the 1st Century of the Christian era.
Therefore Hsuan-tsang, 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 modeled 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? Once more tradition, corroborated by written records, answers the query and explains the mystery. The Buddhist arhats [enlightened individuals] and ascetics [monastics] 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, modeled new statues made to represent [the Buddha, also known as the] Tathagata.
The interior walls of the niches are covered to this day with bright paintings of human figures, and the sacred image of [the] 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 monastic-ascetics, as are 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 [second root-race]; 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. More
- *Reprinted from Madame Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine in Sunrise Magazine (June/July 2001; copyright © 2001 Theosophical University Press, theosophy-nw.org) as received by her purportedly through psychic revelations.
- Read the original source material: The Secret Doctrine
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