Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

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1998 – International Public and Scientific Conference
”Art as a Method of Cognition” (October 9–11)

International public and scientific conference “Art as a Method of Cognition”

The International public and scientific conference “Art as a Method of Cognition” was held in Moscow from October 9 to 11.

The conference organizer was the International Center of the Roerichs supported by the Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Center of the Embassy of India in Moscow, the International League for Protection of Culture, the All-Russian Society for Protection of Monuments of History and Culture, the Russian Academy of Arts, the Cosmonautics Federation of Russia, the Master-Bank.

More than 250 representatives of many regions of Russia, CIS countries, Germany, India, Italy, the USA, Switzerland, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Estonia took part in the conference work.

Exhibition “Unearthly Worlds of Earthly Painters” was held in the framework of the conference.

Extracts from reports


L. Shaposhnikova
the N. Roerich Museum General Director,
the ICR First Vice-President
(Moscow)

The Thorny Path of Beauty

<…> The spectrum of understanding and perception of Beauty in our solid world is huge and endless. Each individual has his own world of Beauty (if he does, of course). Beauty, in its true understanding, is subtle and high-vibration energetics, and is not only a most important factor in the evolution of mankind, but also embodies creative power in cosmos as such. <…> Beauty, containing harmony of energetics, turns chaos into Cosmos at all levels, from worlds of different states of matter to the spirit of man, which it endows with an ability to create the most important thing in his life – culture, existence of which without Beauty is impossible. <…>

Invisible worlds penetrate our solid space and constitute a single energetic whole together with the latter. Interaction of the solid world with worlds of other states of matter constitutes the contents of energetic and informational exchange which is under way in Cosmos. No phenomenon of our life can be correctly considered without taking into account this interaction, no arrangement of our Being can exist to the full extent without our realization of Other Being.

“The highest soars of spiritual creation, outstanding philosopher N. Berdiayev wrote, have been related to recognition of another world existence, irrespective of the form of that recognition. Living on this side only makes life dull. Being enclosed in the immanent circle of this world is fixation of terminality, closing the infinity. But the human spirit’s creative act is striving for the infinity, to the transcendent which has to be paradoxically recognized immanent”. <…>

True art is always evolutionary. Its generic relationship with the Higher and the Invisible determines its ahead-of-time character. That is why Spiritual Revolutions start with a new world perception first of all in art, with a new understanding of the phenomenon of Beauty. The Spiritual revolution of the XX century in Russia is a bright example of this.

“Through the Art comes Light”, the Living Ethics says. Outstanding thinkers and creators understood it very well.

“In art, our internal essence sends its answer to the highest who manifests himself before us in the world of unlimited beauty, above the colorless world of facts”, Rabindranat Tagore wrote.

“Art is imitation of the great: the earth imitates the heaven in it”, A. Blok noted.

“The one who does not possess ability to feel Beauty and greatness of Art cannot be truly religious”, Vivekananda stated.

Through the true art living by the laws of Beauty, energetics of Higher worlds pours in the process of energy exchange into the solid forms of the earthly worlds. <…>

An artist should not portray another world as similar to ours. He shows through our solid world the invisible that in a piece of true art seems to shine through our solid matter, lighting it from inside with mysterious, elusive light of other being. A true artist gives a chance to see or to feel such light – light of mystery and spirit creation – in produced by him solid images.

This shine cannot be sensed or measured using an earthly measure, for its dimension is different. It is this shine that renders to earthly artistic forms that illusory-gentle charm, that raising our admiration singularity and that magnetic attractiveness which are characteristic of pieces of true art. <…>

Energetics of great pieces of art contributes to the earthly mankind’s ascent, same as Teachings, philosophic systems, and activities of great Spirits. Those pieces, whether it be paintings, poems, musical compositions, creations of great writers or sculptors – they are all as if showing to the striving ones that path along which they go to the Heights, to other reality. This is the essence of that “effectuality of artistic work” about which Vyatcheslav Ivanov writes, and which, through it own involution, opens to others gates to evolution, making its cosmic sacrifice for the sake of the earthly humanity. <…>

Only sacrificial art carries in itself that higher reality, energetics of which is necessary for the solid world evolution. This higher reality shows itself with special intensity in icon painting, especially in early Russian icons. Icons created in active interaction with the Higher as if play the role of an intermediary between our world and this Higher. <…>

Despite all difficulties through which Russia is passing, the Spiritual Revolution is still spreading its wings. Its priceless treasures and accumulations come back to life again. They enter our life with intransient Beauty of art, imperishability of human thought, heritages of our great compatriots – carriers of evolutionary behests which were ahead of their time. And new Beauty, the sprouts of which were harshly trampled, starts to let us know of itself. It appears on canvases of artists whom we now call cosmists. Other worlds’ colors glow on them. This is the beauty that is coming to the earth from other being, leaving aside symbols, carrying to us shapes and colors of other dimensions. They are coming through the internal world of gifted creators, so that here, on the earth, they could assert the beauty of the artist’s spirit direct interaction with other worlds. The earthly Beauty dimension is changing. Its energetics is changing. Canvases of true artists emanate at us a spiritual ray of the forth dimension – the psychic energy. <…>


N. Tiutiuguina
Critic of Art, Senior Researcher of the
M. Nesterov Arts Museum
(Ufa)

N. Roerich’s Himalayan Studies

<…> Probably, Himalayan studies are one of the most vivid examples of the artist’s constant stay before the Higher, before other being. He painted a few hundreds of them, and none of them resembles another. This moment of afflation with the Higher, with some spiritual energy, when a visible form starts appearing from its concealed reservoir, a form which is still far from classical completion, but is already recognizable, which at that has not lost contact with its spiritual source and so is showing itself first of all in the rhythm and color, a form penetrated with music and movement; this creative act of space, this state between two worlds can only be conveyed in an instant capture, namely in a study, if it comes to life under the hand of a great artist. <…>

The artist’s studies, for the first time in the world art, create the image of Himalayas as one of the most beautiful places on earth, where each moment gives birth to a new combination of color and line, and besides, it is one of the most unusual places on our planet housing multiple enigmas, a place where the cosmic space merges with the earthly one in a single, powerful flow of sounds. <…>


А. Bandura
Candidate of Art Criticism
(Moscow)

Structure of Subtle Worlds in the Music and Philosophic Cosmogony of A. Scriabin

Creative way of greatest composer-mystic of the new history A. Scriabin was an example of an audacious, but extraordinarily systematic research of “concealed spaces” of spiritual and physical reality. The author of the “Poem of Fire” repeated many times: “You cannot imagine to what extent creation in art is the way of revelation. This is as real a way as any “raja yoga” and other types of yoga – only it is even straighter and quicker… The more creative powers the man has, the closer he is to initiation… I have learnt almost all from my creative work. This is my revelation, and I know that it is as divine as any other”. <...>


Y. Rangs
Candidate of Art Criticism, Professor
(Moscow)

Music as Expression of the Higher Essence of Being: Artistic Perception of Music and the Science of It.

It is known that social, or rather aesthetic and artistic functions of music are quite diverse. This is beauty and enjoying beauty, this is expression of high morality; entertainment, treatment, activation or alleviation of tension, artistic education (especially for children); music gives us information for cognition of reality, and many other things. But its highest function is the ability to direct man to the Divine source, to high spirituality.

Of all this diversity of manifestations of music, we are interested in its spiritual contents, and attempts of their comprehension not only in theory of music, but in artistic practice as well. <…>

What we call high art is actually a very thin (but extraordinarily powerful in terms of its effect) layer which fills the minds and souls of a comparatively small number of people. Saying that, we thus unwillingly acknowledge that almost all music (about 99 percent) is spiritless. In accordance with this statement, most composers and performers are automatically transferred by us to the category of people with a very low artistic taste; in addition, doing so we recognize that most listeners either do not know anything of masterpieces, or believe that there is nothing interesting about these masterpieces for them. This is a sad picture, and it is not created by the God, but by people themselves. <…>

For a musician and for a true fan of music, turning to highly spiritual music is the way to the Temple of spirituality. But the way to the Temple is not easy. Same as saying a prayer does not necessarily result in execution of what is asked for, listening to church music does not yet guarantee automatic spiritualization of the personality (I refer here to the “Collection of Instructions of Holy Fathers and Its (the prayer) Experienced Doers” in the book “Intellectual Doing: About Jesus’ Prayer”). One needs a special attitude for perception of spirituality. <...>


А. Stetsenko
(Moscow)

Knowledge is Art

<…> Each piece of art is to a certain extent a screen showing images of other worlds captured by the mind of man-creator. But since man is the lord of his own microcosm, the law of correspondence starts working here: the like attracts the like. S. Rakkhmaninov used to say in this connection that a music listener must be adequately prepared. In other words: the mind of man sees and hears only what it wants and is able to see and to hear. <…>

Long before our time of troubles, the best creators of art performed greatest work in the energetic field of art – creation and accumulation of the Culture of Spirit. Higher Worlds’ Invisible Powers have carefully replenished the spiritual treasury of our culture, knowing how much we shall need it for our spirit renaissance.

It is enough to remember Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, the Roerichs, Rakhmaniniv and Scriabin, and many, many others. Co-creators of Light, some to a greater, some to a less extent, they were united with one call – for creation of Beauty. But those having vision did not see, and those having ears did not hear. Same as they did not see and did not hear before the following pieces of high art: the ancient Vedas, Buddha’s Teaching, the Beauty of Plato’s Thought, Behests of Christ, and many other creations of Great Teachers. <…>

We know from the Living Ethics Teaching that one of the main tasks of evolution is transformation of man himself, of his inner world. And a greatest role in this belongs to art. Only in the energetic field of Beauty, man can get that knowledge, the power of which will allow him to escape from the closed circle of routine and strive for the Light of reality.


V. Frolov
Doctor of Philosophy, Professor
(Korolev)

Comprehension of Beauty as the Way of Man’s Cognition of the Beauty of Subtle Worlds

<…> And in the Living Ethics, which is quintessence of all spiritual knowledge of mankind, the problem of interaction of man with the Higher, with the Hierarchy of Light Powers of Cosmos, is the central. This Teaching reveals its various facets. One of them is substantiation of the objective necessity for comprehension by man of the beauty of the earthly world and subtle worlds. All problems of man and mankind as a whole are due to forgetfulness of the beauty of being or weakened attention for it. In the beauty of nature, beauty of human thoughts and feelings, beauty of pieces of art, fiery energy is condensed, which is so needed by man for his spiritual improvement. Accumulation by man of this energy strengthens his links with the Subtle Worlds, opens before him possibilities for cognizing the beauty of those worlds, and at the same time provides an inexhaustible source of fiery energy. So, his energetic relationship with Subtle Worlds through comprehension of the beauty of being can save both the man himself and the whole earthly world. <…>


Т. Grigorieva
Doctor of Philosophy
(Moscow )

Beauty of Non-Being in the Japanese Art

<…> For the Japanese, Beauty is initial: Beauty is Truth, and Truth is Beauty. A master does not create Beauty – it already exists, he sees it in the most ordinary things, because the most ordinary things have their soul-kokoro, and this soul can resonate with the soul of a poet. Poet Fudzivara Teika used to say that even the ugly becomes beautiful on a tangka. When something becomes the subject of poetry, it is transformed by the spirit of Beauty. It is people that can think that something is beautiful, and something is ugly; for the god of Beauty everything is beautiful. All that has been manifested has been manifested not by chance, manifested from a mysteriously beautiful world, one must just be able to see discreet beauty as well. We can disregard the beauty of some little cowslip, step on it accidentally, kill the soul of the flower. The Japanese have learned for many centuries to notice the beauty of unnoticeable, to venerate an unexpanded bud, to sense its concealed life. <…>

The one who has survived revelation looks at the world differently, everything becomes close to him, he can see things as they are, in their primeval essence. And this is the final goal of art: to enter a state of compassion, participation, to clean the mind from the husk, so that it could see the world and every little piece of it as such, in its uniqueness, non-eventuality. And a sense of unity of all comes: each thing, each person is unique, and so is one single whole, collegial with everything. Something single what has achieved completeness becomes a single whole with all entities, for, achieving completeness, perfection, it acquires freedom. And without freedom, nothing can realize itself. <...>


N. Shevchenko
Senior Researcher of the Les Kurbas State Center
for Theatre Researches
(Kiev)

Spiritual Reality and Theatrical Illusion.
Tradition and the Notion of New Mysteriality in Theatre Art

The type of secular art that we know as theatre: the stage box – repertory – applause is actually only a small visible part of a multi-tiered pyramid, the internal mystical space of which is concealed from the eyes of incidental audience. <…>

To speak of theatre as a method of cognition of other being is extremely interesting and difficult, due to the fact that theatre is multi-dimensional, its roots going into mysterial action, that it comes into contact with an unspoken mystery, with secret experience of knowledge through action.

Between ancient mysteries of initiation of man to higher knowledge about links with the Infinity and the modern theatre, on the first sight, there is an unsurmountable gap: for many thousands of years, the human consciousness plunged into the labyrinths of phenomenal world, in which man identified himself with multiple mirages and forgot the ways of reality revelation. And theatre was becoming that place of performance which seemingly did not help any more to get rid of illusions, for theatre in many ways created them itself. <...>