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Beasts, Men and Gods -
an exploration of mystic Mongolia


Ferdinand Ossendowski

Published 1921

Includes Ossendowski biography and period photographs

The Russian, Dr. Ossendowski, was a man of long and diverse experience as a scientist and writer whose training for careful observation helps  put the stamp of accuracy and reliability on his accounts. He is best known for his book, Beast, Men and Gods, a book of mystery and intrigue,
a story of travel through mysterious lands on the cusp of revolutionary change. A must read book, which will make you think and wonder at the power of prophecy.

Characterized as "The Robinson Crusoe of the Twentieth Century," he touched the feature of the narrative which is at once most attractive and most dangerous; for the succession of trying and thrilling experiences recorded seems in places too highly colored to be real or,
sometimes, even possible in this day and generation. I desire, therefore, to assure the reader at the outset that Dr. Ossendowski is a man of long and diverse experience as a scientist and writer with a training for careful observation which should put the stamp of accuracy and reliability on his chronicle. Only the extraordinary events of these extraordinary times could have thrown one with so many talents back into the surroundings of the "Cave Man" and thus given to us this unusual account of personal adventure, of great human mysteries and of the political and religious motives which are energizing the "Heart of Asia."

Questions will be raised when reading Ferdinand Ossendowski's thrilling account in his Men, Beast and Gods of an escape through Central Asia, during which he foils enemies and encounters shamans and Mongolian lamas, whose marvels he describes. The book caused a great sensation, especially the closing chapters, where Ossendowski recounts legends allegedly
entrusted to him concerning the 'King of the World' and his subterranean kingdom Agarttha. The Buddhist notion of Agharta, is a mystical underground world extant since the dawn of prehistory.

According to Buddhist tradition the underground Kingdom of Agharta, is reputed to be a place of great peace and tranquillity whose inhabitants, numbering many millions, have attained a high degree of scientific accomplishment. It is also a world of astonishing beauty, with inner suns, underground lakes, and palaces made from purest crystal. Crops are irrigated by special waters and the powerful rays of the Great Light, reputed to be a secret machine revealed by gods, thousands of years earlier.

Presiding over this subterranean Kingdom, is an all powerful ruler - The King of The World, as his name is translated. It is further claimed his rule and influence stretches to the surface world by means of trusted emissaries who carry out specific tasks and duties. Eight million surface dwellers are said to be directly influenced by this ministry whose purpose is intended to elevate Mankind to a higher state of spiritual awareness!

Ferdinand Ossendowski described a journey to Central Asia where he came to hear what he called the “Mystery of mysteries!” Local people gave accounts of a certain tribe put to flight by Genghis Khan. Somehow they were able to escape massacre by taking refuge in a subterranean kingdom. Ossendowski claims to have been shown the entrance to this world which was through a vast smoking gate beyond which he was forbidden to venture.

In a meeting with the Gelong Lama the author gives the following quote:

“All the people there (Agharta) are protected against Evil and crimes do not exist within its bournes. Science has developed calmly and nothing is threatened with destruction. The subterranean people have reached the highest knowledge. Now it is the largest kingdom, and millions of men with the King of the World as their ruler. He knows all the forces of the world and reads all the souls of humankind and the great book of their destiny. Invisibly he rules eight million men on the surface of the Earth and they will accomplish his every order!”

Ossendowski closes off his book with the prophecy of the King of the World in which in short, it is stated materialism will devastate the earth, terrible battles will engulf the nations of the world, and at the climax of the bloodshed in 2029, the people of Agharta will rise out of their cavern world.


Into the Forests

The Secret of my Fellow Traveler

The Struggle for Life

A Fisherman

A Dangerous Neighbor

A River in Travail

Through Soviet Siberia

Three Days on the Edge of a Precipice

To the Sayans and Safety

The Battle on the Seybi

The Barrier of Red Partisans

In the Country of Eternal Peace

Mysteries, Miracles and a New Fight

The River of the Devil

The March of Ghosts

In Mysterious Tibet

Mysterious Mongolia

The Mysterious Lama Avenger

Wild Chahars

The Demon of Jagisstai

The Nest of Death

Among the Murderers

On a Volcano

A Bloody Chastisement

Harassing Days

The Band of White Hunghutzes

Mystery in a Small Temple

The Breath of Death

On the Road of Great Conquerors


Traveling by "Urga"

An Old Fortune Teller

"Death from the White Man Will Stand Behind You"

The Horror of War!

In the City of Living Gods, of 30,000 Buddhas and 60,000 Monks

A Son of Crusaders and Privateers

The Camp of Martyrs

Before the Face of Buddha

"The Man with a Head Like a Saddle"

In the Blissful Garden of a Thousand Joys

The Dust of Centuries

The Books of Miracles

The Birth of the Living Buddha

A Page in the History of the Present Living Buddha

The Vision of the Living Buddha of May 17, 1921

The Subterranean Kingdom

The King of the World Before the Face of God

Reality Or Religious Fantasy?

The Prophecy of the King of the World in 1890


An extraordinary adventure in extraordinary times...a book not to be missed......a short extract from the text...

"One morning, when I had gone out to see a friend, I suddenly received the news that twenty Red soldiers had surrounded my house  to arrest me and that I must escape. I quickly put on one of my friend's old hunting suits, took some money and hurried away on foot along the back ways of the town till I struck the open road, where I engaged a peasant, who in four hours had driven me twenty miles from the town and set me down in the midst of a deeply forested region. On the way I bought a rifle, three hundred cartridges, an ax, a knife, a sheepskin overcoat, tea, salt, dry bread and a kettle. I penetrated into the heart of the wood to an abandoned
half-burned hut. From this day I became a genuine trapper but I never dreamed that I should follow this role as long as I did.  The next morning I went hunting and had the good fortune to kill two heathcock. I found deer tracks in plenty and felt sure that I should not want for food. However, my sojourn in this place was not for long. Five days later when I returned from hunting
I noticed smoke curling up out of the chimney of my hut. I stealthily crept along closer to the cabin and discovered two saddled horses with soldiers' rifles slung to the saddles. Two disarmed men were not dangerous for me with a weapon, so I quickly rushed across the open and entered the hut. From the bench two soldiers started up in fright. They were Bolsheviki. On their big
Astrakhan caps I made out the red stars of Bolshevism and on their blouses the dirty red bands.

We greeted each other and sat down. The soldiers had already prepared tea and so we drank this ever welcome hot beverage and chatted, suspiciously eyeing one another the while. To disarm this suspicion on their part, I told them that I was a hunter from a distant place and was living there because I found it good country for sables. They announced to me that they were
soldiers of a detachment sent from a town into the woods to pursue all suspicious people.

"Do you understand, 'Comrade,'" said one of them to me, "we are looking for counter-revolutionists to shoot them?"

I knew it without his explanations. All my forces were directed to assuring them by my conduct that I was a simple peasant hunter and that I had nothing in common with the counter-revolutionists. I was thinking also all the time of where I should go after the departure of my unwelcome guests. It grew dark. In the darkness their faces were even less attractive. They took out bottles of vodka and drank and the alcohol began to act very noticeably. They talked loudly and constantly interrupted each other, boasting how many bourgeoisie they had killed in Krasnoyarsk and how many Cossacks they had slid under the ice in the river. Afterwards they began to quarrel but soon they were tired and prepared to sleep. All of a sudden and without any warning the door of the hut swung wide open and the steam of the heated room rolled out in a great cloud, out of which seemed to rise like a genie, as the steam settled, the figure of a tall, gaunt peasant impressively crowned with the high Astrakhan cap and wrapped in the great sheepskin overcoat that added to the massiveness of his figure. He stood with his rifle ready to fire. Under his girdle lay the sharp ax without which the Siberian peasant cannot exist. Eyes, quick and glimmering like those of a wild beast, fixed themselves alternately on each of us. In a moment he took off his cap, made the sign of the cross on his breast and asked of us: "Who is the master here?"

I answered him.

"May I stop the night?"

"Yes," I replied, "places enough for all. Take a cup of tea. It is still hot."

The stranger, running his eyes constantly over all of us and over everything about the room, began to take off his skin coat after putting his rifle in the corner. He was dressed in an old leather blouse with trousers of the same material tucked in high felt boots. His face was quite young, fine and tinged with something akin to mockery. His white, sharp teeth glimmered as his eyes penetrated everything they rested upon. I noticed the locks of grey in his shaggy head. Lines of bitterness circled his mouth. They showed his life had been very stormy and full of danger. He took a seat beside his rifle and laid his ax on the floor below.

"What? Is it your wife?" asked one of the drunken soldiers, pointing to the ax.

The tall peasant looked calmly at him from the quiet eyes under their heavy brows and as calmly answered:

"One meets a different folk these days and with an ax it is much safer."

He began to drink tea very greedily, while his eyes looked at me many times with sharp inquiry in them and ran often round the whole cabin in search of the answer to his doubts. Very slowly and with a guarded drawl he answered all the questions of the soldiers between gulps of the hot tea, then he turned his glass upside down as evidence of having finished, placed on the top of it the small lump of sugar left and remarked to the soldiers:

"I am going out to look after my horse and will unsaddle your horses for you also."

"All right," exclaimed the half-sleeping young soldier, "bring in our rifles as well."

The soldiers were lying on the benches and thus left for us only the floor. The stranger soon came back, brought the rifles and set them in the dark corner. He dropped the saddle pads on the floor, sat down on them and began to take off his boots. The soldiers and my guest soon were snoring but I did not sleep for thinking of what next to do. Finally as dawn was breaking, I dozed off only to awake in the broad daylight and find my stranger gone. I went outside the hut and discovered him saddling a fine bay stallion.

"Are you going away?" I asked.

"Yes, but I want to go together with these —— comrades,'" he whispered, "and afterwards I shall come back."

I did not ask him anything further and told him only that I would wait for him. He took off the bags that had been hanging on his saddle, put them away out of sight in the burned corner of the cabin, looked over the stirrups and bridle and, as he finished saddling, smiled and said:

"I am ready. I'm going to awake my 'comrades.'" Half an hour after the morning drink of tea, my three guests took their leave. I remained out of doors and was engaged in splitting wood for my stove. Suddenly, from a distance, rifle shots rang through the woods, first one, then a second. Afterwards all was still. From the place near the shots a frightened covey of blackcock broke and came over me. At the top of a high pine a jay cried out. I listened for a long time to see if anyone was approaching my hut but everything was still.

On the lower Yenisei it grows dark very early. I built a fire in my stove and began to cook my soup, constantly listening for every noise that came from beyond the cabin walls. Certainly I understood at all times very clearly that death was ever beside me and might claim me by means of either man, beast, cold, accident or disease. I knew that nobody was near me to assist and that all my help was in the hands of God, in the power of my hands and feet, in the accuracy of my aim and in my presence of mind. However, I listened in vain. I did not notice the return of my stranger. Like yesterday he appeared all at once on the threshold. Through the steam I made out his laughing eyes and his fine face. He stepped into the hut and dropped with a good deal of noise three rifles into the corner.

"Two horses, two rifles, two saddles, two boxes of dry bread, half a brick of tea, a small bag of salt, fifty cartridges, two overcoats, two pairs of boots," laughingly he counted out. "In truth today I had a very successful hunt."

In astonishment I looked at him.

"What are you surprised at?" he laughed. "Komu nujny eti tovarischi? Who's got any use for these fellows? Let us have tea and go to sleep. Tomorrow I will guide you to another safer place and then go on."

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