(Ueberreuter Verlag – Vienna – 2002 )
The Nazi "myth makers" were especially fascinated by the Far East. It was there - more so than in the cultural roots of Europe - that they hoped to find the foundations of a "political theology", which the gigantic regime which was the Third Reich could use as its metaphysical basis. In the philosophies, mythologies, visions and dogmas as well as in the religious practices and texts of the spiritual traditionsAsia had to offer they found the models for glorifying war, for the deification of the "Führer" and the white race. They discovered the spiritual remnants of a long-lost indo-Aryan and anti-Semitic primeval religion which they now wanted to reconstruct in the sign of the swastika. Fascinating portraits of the "Fathers of the Nazi Church".
Recent years have seen a marked rise in public interest in National Socialism, with fresh research carried out and new interpretations arrived at. Hitler’s private life and his relations with women continue to occupy the media. Noteworthy too is the growing attention being given to interpretations of Nazism as a “political religion” and a “cult movement”. It is less widely known, however, that the content and structure and foundation of a “Nazi Religion” were often discussed within the SS in general and it’s Ahnenerbe [Forefathers Heritage Society] in particular. The SS, headed by Heinrich Himmler, considered itself to be the “advance guard of German research into religion. All the leading figures in this “religion smithy” based their work on the assumption that a racially pure Aryan faith had existed in prehistoric times and should therefore be rediscovered and resurrected.
After sifting through archival material, secondary literature and Nazi documents the authors have been able to demonstrate that this restoration of an Aryan religion drew on ideas, philosophies, mythologies, visions, dogmas and sacred practices pertaining to traditional Oriental belief systems. A coterie of fascist cultural scholars sprang up asserting that Buddhism, the Vedas, the Puranas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, yoga and even Tantrism were intellectual remnants of a vanished, global, indo-Aryan, anti-Semitic religion. There were also borrowings from Tibetan culture and especially from Japanese Zen and Samurai traditions. The archaic cultural legacy of a despotic and warlike Orient provided Nazi ideologues with their theories for:
the apotheosis of the ‘Führer’
a social caste system based on race
the enshrinement of war and warriors
mastery over ones feelings
the manipulation of consciousness
the political exploitation of symbols and rituals
the significance of archaic sacrificial rites
The book has two sections. The first focuses on religious and political activity within the SS-Ahnenerbe. The aspects of Eastern religions that were influencing Nazi thought were discussed and debated from an esoteric as well as an academic stance since Heinrich Himmler, the Society’s leader, encouraged both approaches to the subject. The authors were surprised to uncover here discussions on:
Bhagavad Gita warrior mysticism
Hitler as sacred ruler of the world (Chakravartin)
Truly astonishing is the extent to which Himmler’s world view ‘think tank’ applied itself so assiduously and comprehensively and with such foresight to the subject. This section of the book also studies the Nazi-Tibet-Connection.
The second section sets out the fateful legacy left by the SS-Ahnenerbe and offers an insight into post-war religious neo-Fascism. We are confronted here with an occult subculture wielding substantial power, a school of thought in which myths, religious paradigms, dogmas, conspiracy theories, esoteric doctrines, superstition, visions, illusions and the stuff of fables and science fiction all merged so seamlessly with Nazi ideologies and Nazi history that they could no longer be distinguished one from the other. The Indo-Tibetan element, however, is sufficiently prominent to justify talk of “Indian teachings with National Socialist content”. Hitler appears here as an avatar, the incarnation of the Indian god Krishna, the Bodhisattva, the Chakravartin (sacred ruler of the world). The second section also considers the interest shown by fascists in the Tibetan Kalachakra Tantra ritual.
of theories featured in the book?
“Hitler, Buddha, Krishna” sets out the biographies and ideas of important Nazi ideologists, highlighting the Asian and in particular the Buddhist influence on their thought and vision. Pre-1945 personalities covered are:
Heinrich Himmler, SS Reich Commander, architect of mass murder and admirer of Asian philosophy. A quotation from Himmler: “I marvel at the wisdom of the founders of Indian religions.” Himmler was a follower of the Buddhist doctrine of Karma and incarnation.
Walther Wüst, SS colonel, curator of SS-Ahnenerbe, vice chancellor of MunichUniversity, Orientalist. Wüst has to be viewed as the driving force behind the SS-Ahnenerbe’s endeavours to forge a religion. He operated on the assumption that the Nazi religion under construction should be rooted in the Vedic and Buddhist writings of India.
Founder of the “German Faith Movement” and later SS captain Jakob Wilhelm Hauer. Scholar of Indian culture and Sanskrit expert, he drew on Bhagavad Gita and Buddhist texts in an attempt to elaborate the typology of an invincible war machine.
SS brigadier Karl Maria Wiligut (“Himmler’s Rasputin”), occultist in the SS-Ahnenerbe. He claimed to be in spiritual contact with Tibetan Lamaist monasteries.
SS Tibetan researchers Ernst Schäfer and Bruno Beger saw Lamaism as a treasury in which the core Aryan knowledge was stored. The book also looks at the relationship of Sven Hedin to the Nazi regime and Hitler.
Japan expert, geopolitician and Deutsche Akademie President Karl Haushofer. He emphasised the appropriateness of Shinto state fascism as a model for National Socialism.
The German teachers of Zen Buddhism, Eugen Herrigel and Karlfried Dürckheim, propounded a link between National Socialism and Zen philosophy.
The fascist philosopher Julius Evola, whose ideas were much more influential on the SS than first thought and whose traditionalist system of theories is based largely on Buddhist and Tantric doctrines.
The SS mystic Otto Rahn and the neo-Buddhist circles he frequented in France. Their influence led Rahn to claim that the “Grail of the Cathars” was a “symbol of the soul adopted [!] straight from Buddhism”.
The French specialist on the Orient, Jean Marquès-Rivière, head of the French secret police (S.S.S.) and SS collaborator. One of the leading western scholars on Tibetan Kalachakra Tantra.
The first part of the book also deals with the anti-Buddhist movement in the Third Reich. The chapter entitled “Collaborators, condoners or victims?” considers the role of Buddhists in the Nazi period.
The protagonists of religious neo-Nazism
are studied too, with particular attention
being paid to the effect on their thinking
of Indo-Tibetan ideas and philosophy.
“Hitler’s High Priestess”, Savitri Devi. Was instrumental in the consecration of Hitler after the war and the establishment of National Socialism as a quasi Indian sect.
The inventors of the “Nazi mysteries”, French occultists Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwels, and the Englishman Trevor Ravenscroft. All three authors saw National Socialism inextricably linked to the Indo-Tibetan Shambhala myth.
The “Black Sun” ideologues, Viennese authors Wilhelm Landig and Rudolf J. Mund, and Jan van Helsing. These writers work from the premise that Tibetan / Mongolian Lamaism and the esoteric teachings of National Socialism both have their source in Atlantis.
Miguel Serrano, Chilean diplomat and founder of “esoteric Hitlerism”. Serrano is an expert in Tantric doctrines. The cornerstones of his system of racist theories are Indo-Tibetan in origin.
“Hitler, Buddha, Krishna”?
Even before the outbreak of war attempts were made by a number of the above-mentioned Nazi ideologues to identify Hitler as the latest link in an Indo-Aryan chain of divine kings and philosophers. Indian religion founders such as the “Buddha” and Indian hero divinities like “Krishna” were proclaimed pioneers and heralds of the dictator. This apotheosis reached its climax in the work of the Chilean diplomat Miguel Serrano, who revered Hitler as the 10th avatar of the god Krishna/Vishnu. For Serrano the German dictator is immortal and will reappear as “avenger” to bestow global supremacy on the Aryan race in an apocalyptic war to end all wars.
look for in India,
and what did they find?
In their eyes the classical culture of India was a reserve in which knowledge of an Aryan stem civilisation was supposed to have survived.
Indian writings furnished them with the religious bases for a cruel warrior religion and an inhuman ethic for the conduct of war.
They saw the Indian caste system as providing a social orientation model that fitted their racialist ideology.
They linked the Indian idea of the “global ruler” to their own “Führer principle” and applied it to Hitler.
From the Tantric systems of India and Tibet they developed their own fascist sexual theory.
particular interest in the Bhagavad Gita?
Heinrich Himmler is said to have always carried a copy of the Bhagavad Gita on his person. He compared Hitler with the god Krishna who features in the poetical work.
The Bhagavad Gita was read like a catechism for the SS. Consequently many of the above-mentioned Nazi ideologues referred continually to this Indian war manual.
The Bhagavad Gita’s philosophy is used by rightwing extremists after the war to legitimise Auschwitz.
particular interest in Buddhism?
In their eyes Buddha was an “Aryan” and Buddhism an “Aryan doctrine”.
They emphasised the warlike and virile elements of Buddhism.
Nazi ideologues hold Buddhism to be a doctrine pertaining solely to power.
Buddhist meditation and yoga techniques are recommended for the spiritual discipline of the “warrior”.
look for in Tibet
and what did they find?
The Nazi ideologues were convinced that remnants of an original Aryan race had survived in Tibet. They organised an expedition to locate these vestiges.
They believed the ancient Aryan knowledge to be preserved in Lamaist texts and in Tibetan monasteries. It was intended that SS-Ahnenerbe Tibetologists decipher this knowledge using translation and text analysis.
The Tibet researchers of the SS were in thrall to the magic, occult nature of the Lamaist culture. The occultist within the Ahnenerbe even believed themselves to be in spiritual contact with Tibetan lamas.
The two leaders of the SS Tibet expedition, Ernst Schäfer and Bruno Beger, were both especially drawn to the morbid, warlike elements of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Himalayas were a key objective for Nazi mountaineers.
look for in Japan
and what did they find?
Japanese Samurai war philosophy (Bushido) fascinated the SS. Himmler wrote the foreword for a brochure on Samurais, 52,000 copies of which were distributed throughout the SS.
A variety of themes connected to the Samurai tradition were discussed within the SS.
German Japanologists and Japanese scholars of German culture made “theological” comparisons between the National Socialist “Führer principle” and the Shinto belief of “imperial divinity”.
The German protagonists of Zen Buddhism, Eugen Herrigel and Karlfried Dürckheim, tried to bind together Zen philosophy and National Socialism.
have to do with National Socialism?
SS-Ahnenerbe researchers were especially interested in the Kalachakra Tantra.
The Shambala vision recorded in the Kalachakra Tantra has become a central pillar in the mythology of religious neo-Nazism.
Many of the themes raised in the Kalachakra Tantra (a cyclical view of the world, global domination, the use of super weapons, magic and ritual in sexual practices etc) are key themes in religious fascism.
The Kalachakra Tantra challenges the monotheistic religions, all three of which are Semitic in origin. For this reason it was harnessed by extreme rightwing, anti-Semitic circles for their racist propaganda.
Contact between the XIVth Dalai Lama, as the supreme Kalachakra master, and representatives of religious fanaticism and former SS men.
National Socialism as “political religion”
The attempt to consecrate the “Führer”, the “race” and the “war”
The creation of a National Socialist “divine warrior” and the mythologizing of the SS
The sacrifices represented by the Second World War and Auschwitz as foundation stones for a Nazi religion
The phantasm of religious neo-Fascism
A comparison of Asian religions with the Nazi world view
Religious neo-Nazism, as an extension and development of the Indo-Aryan religious construct forged by the SS-Ahnenerbe, is spreading to other countries at an alarming rate.
The “importing” of Eastern religion systems is increasing rapidly without prior investigation being carried out into their inhuman content, atavistic practices, political power aspirations and warlike history.
Religious fundamentalism and fascist totalitarianism have many things in common and tend to join forces. Acutely topical concepts such as “divine warrior”, “theocracy” and “war of religions” are also present in the neo-Nazi model. The sources of inspiration for these concepts stem less from the “Semitic” religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) than from Asian faiths.
Anyone who has even a peripheral interest in the “Hitler issue” and the history of the “Third Reich” is presented here with a new interpretation of National Socialism based on material hitherto overlooked or otherwise ignored.
Furthermore, the book targets all those readers who feel in any way connected to the issues of religion, conflict between cultures, fundamentalism, religious terror, “divine warriors” and Eastern spirituality (Lamaism, Buddhism, Tantrism, Zen etc), cultural philosophy, politics, psychology, esoterics, ideological criticism and cultural studies in general.