By Paul G. Hackett
In 1937, Theos Casimir Bernard (1908–1947), the self-proclaimed "White Lama," grew to become the 3rd American in background to arrive Lhasa, the capital urban of Tibet. in the course of his remain, he gathered the biggest selection of Tibetan texts, paintings, and artifacts within the Western hemisphere at the moment. He additionally documented, in either nonetheless images and 16mm movie, the age-old civilization of Tibet at the eve of its destruction by means of chinese language Communists.
Based on hundreds of thousands of fundamental assets and infrequent archival fabrics, Theos Bernard, the White Lama recounts the true tale in the back of the purported adventures of this iconic determine and his function within the development of America's spiritual counterculture. Over the process his short lifestyles, Bernard met, linked, and corresponded with the main social, political, and cultural leaders of his day, from the Regent and excessive politicians of Tibet to saints, students, and diplomats of British India, from Charles Lindbergh and Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Gandhi and Nehru. even though hailed as a super pioneer by means of the media, Bernard additionally had his flaws. He used to be an entrepreneur propelled via grandiose schemes, a good-looking guy who shamelessly used his appears to be like to dance from wealthy spouse to wealthy spouse in help of his actions, and a grasp manipulator who concocted his personal interpretation of jap knowledge to fit his ends. Bernard had a vibrant destiny ahead of him, yet disappeared in India throughout the communal violence of the 1947 Partition, by no means to be visible again.
Through diaries, interviews, and formerly unstudied records, Paul G. Hackett stocks Bernard's compelling lifestyles tale, with his efforts to evoke America's non secular counterculture to the unfolding occasions in India, the Himalayas, and Tibet. Hackett concludes with a close geographical and cultural hint of Bernard's Indian and Tibetan trips, which shed infrequent mild at the explorer's mysterious disappearance.
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Sharing a cup of tea later within the day, Harry and Theos referred to his journey and shared the names of contacts alongside the direction. 15 nervous to hook up with encumbered l. a., Theos and Glen known as once again on his place of dwelling whereas Viola recuperated within the inn. even though weighted down los angeles had nonetheless now not lower back, one in every of his sons, Willie,16 met them and agreed—pending his father’s permission—to take all 3 of them to fulfill Alexandra David-Neel’s instructor, Lama Yongden, the following day. With time on their palms, Theos, Glen, and Viola prepared for doubly-manned rickshaws to barter the now muddy roads of Darjeeling looking for S. ok. Jinorasa. Descending from the most bazaar and passing Bhutia Basti, they arrived at Jinorasa’s YMBA (Young Men’s Buddhist organization) institution past due within the afternoon, the place they discovered Jinorasa together with his brother, Gyaltsen Kazi, and a tender Tibetan lama named Gedun Chöpel. Over tea, Theos confirmed the boys “a yantra”—the Tibetan “Wheel of Life”—that he had bought prior that day. Jinorasa and Gedun Chöpel proceeded to give an explanation for the importance of the several symbols and normal format of the chart, from hope and hatred rooted in lack of knowledge to a number of the geographical regions of life and the elemental idea of established origination. the following morning all 3 of them, observed by means of Willie weighted down l. a., traveled to Ghoom Monastery at the outskirts of Darjeeling. After traveling the temple and taking a few images, Theos mentioned the potential for prolonged examine should still he go back to Darjeeling. Cautioning him concerning the realities that that will entail, the clergymen prompt Theos to attempt to touch one other American who have been doing a similar factor and had even reached Gyantse on one stopover at: a Yale alumnus named Henry wood worker, who stayed on the Mount Everest inn each year. 17 Heading again as much as the Darjeeling markets, Theos and Viola did a few final minute shopping18 earlier than packing and returning to Siliguri by means of vehicle later that afternoon to trap the in a single day educate to Calcutta. even supposing she had deliberate to spend just a day and a part there, upon their arrival Viola came upon that her sickness had advanced into full-blown pneumonia, and so, sensing the hold up, Glen started making different plans for himself and Theos, together with introducing him to his outdated instructor, Sukumar Chatterji, then dwelling in Calcutta. Theos and Glen spent the subsequent 3 days assembly off and P re t e n s e an d P re t ex t : St u die s in I ndia ninety four C5744. indb ninety four 12/20/11 9:22 AM on with Chatterji, who even performed a few infrequent recordings of Tibetan tune and chants being pressed at the outskirts of Calcutta by means of the Gramophone checklist plant in Dum Dum. made up our minds to get a suite of the files for himself, Theos made the adventure around the urban through trolley and rickshaw, which frustratingly took over 4 hours, purely to find that the documents couldn't be had prompt and must been dropped at his resort. 19 Viola was once having her personal issues that day to boot, having long gone to the publish workplace to ship their movie photos to be constructed.