1999 – International Public and Scientific Conference
”Jubilee Roerich Readings” (October 9–10)
The conference was organized by the International Center of the Roerichs supported by the International League for Protection of Culture, the Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Center of the Embassy of India in Moscow, the Russian Federation of Cosmonautics, the Russian Academy of Arts, the All-Russian Society for Protection of Monuments of History and Culture, the Master-Bank.
More than 300 representatives of many regions of Russia, CIS countries, and Great Britain, Germany, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Israel, India, Italy, Canada, the USA, Estonia participated in the conference.
The traditional October conference of the International Center of the Roerichs in the last year of the already passed into history XX century was held under the sign of four jubilees: Nicholas Roerich’s 125th anniversary, Helena Roerich’s 120th anniversary, Svetoslav Roerich’s 95th anniversary, and the ICR 10th anniversary.
The central event of the Jubilee Roerich Readings of 1999 was opening of Helena and Nicholas Roerichs Memorial installed at the entrance to the N. Roerich Museum.
The conference solemn opening was marked by presentation to the N. Roerich Center-Museum of precious gifts prepared for this memorable event by various organizations and persons. Those include 160 archive documents of the Institute of Himalayan Studies “Urusvati” delivered by the RF Foreign Ministry archive, the certificate of assignment of the Roerich name to minor planet 4426, the Banner of Peace and the book “Community” which have been in Cosmos, on the orbital station of “Mir”.
The ceremony of awarding jubilee medals “Nicholas Roperich”, “Helena Roerich”, and “Svetoslav Roerich” took place in the framework of the Jubilee Roerich Readings. More than 10 organizations and about 200 people – outstanding scientists, state and public figures, Roerich movement veterans, cosmonauts, journalists, painters, architects, restorers, etc., were awarded these medals established for active work for preservation and popularization of the Roerichs’ heritage, and for contribution into creation and development of the N. Roerich Center-Museum.
Extracts from reports
the N. Roerich Museum General Director,
the ICR First Vice-President, RANS Academician
Helena Roerich’s Heroic Creation
<...> Work on the Living Ethics demanded from Helena Roerich a lot of strain and efforts. The ICR Archive keeps her notebooks. Looking at them, we can see how great and hard her work was. Messages from far away came not only in words, but often in mental images. She drew them, and put down the words. It was necessary to put all of this together, to systematize, and deliver to the reader a consistent text dedicated to extremely complicated subjects of Cosmic evolution: the Higher Worlds, the Fiery World, the Hierarchy of Cosmos, interaction of energetic systems of the Universe, energetic and informational exchange, the role of human spirit energetics in this exchange, Great Laws of Cosmos, and many other things. Helena Roerich wrote down, and Nicholas Roerich captured all this on his wonderful canvases. They worked together, like a priest and an artists worked in ancient times, like a saint and an icon painter worked in antiquity. One saw, the other captured, or, according to outstanding Russian philosopher Pavel Florensky, one saw the other world and was its direct witness, and the other was the witness’s witness, or, if it can be put this way, wrote down the saint’s evidence on icon boards, coloring them with glaring tints. <…>
On the planet of Earth in the XX century, on the threshold of its new evolutionary turn, evolutionary action started, scientifically described and comprehended for the first time in the history of mankind.
The action was conducted by Cosmic Hierarchs, those subjects of evolution which could affect it and could direct it in the framework of Great Cosmic Laws. They stood on different steps of Cosmic evolution and their proximity to the Earth was different. But there, underneath, on that Earth, having made her Great Sacrifice, she was staying, Russian woman Helena Roerich, wife of her husband and mother of two children, on whom Cosmic evolution of the planet of Earth now depended. But only the closest people knew about it at that time. And not many of them understood that with the beginning of her torturous experiment, the dawn of the New World flamed up above the planet. <…>
Her unique notes about “cosmic construction” which she called “Fiery Experience” refer to 1924, when the Roerichs lived in Darjeeling and were going to set off for the Central Asian Expedition. This link in space and in time, which formed between the Cosmic experiment itself and the planned expedition, another time confirms the considerable evolutionary charge of the latter, the mystery of which has not been completely revealed until now. We only know that the tasks of such a personality as Helena Roerich, with her New, Fiery energetics, following the expedition itinerary, rendered to this energetics qualities of a magnet. In fact, on the Central Asian Expedition route, so called laying of magnets took place. Of those magnets which in due time will form energetic fields of future cultural Centers of the forthcoming New World and New species of mankind. Helena Roerich’s heroic creative work formed the necessary conditions for the earthly humanity future movement up the stairs of evolutionary ascent. Getting directly to the evolutionary creation, the Teacher explained to Helena Roerich this creation essence and warned her of those difficulties that she would have to face in her way. <...>
The more time passes and the deeper we penetrate into the essence of Helena Roerich’s heroic creation, the clearer is and will be revealed the great meaning of what she and those who were by her side did. The heritage which they have left to us is inexhaustible. Having affected in time our epoch only to a small extent, it is directed with its scientific and artistic discoveries to that New World, for which heroic creation connecting worlds of different states of matter will be not an exclusion, but a rule. This is for what great Russian woman, mother of her sons and wife of her husband Helena Roerich suffered and worked hard.
Candidate of Art Criticism
Cosmos of Leonardo da Vinci and Nicholas Roerich
<...> All the latest years bring something new both of Leonardo and Roerich, in a new way lighting various aspects of their creative heritage. Today, we discover the cosmic character of their art. Persuasiveness of discovery of Roerich’s art cosmic character was due to the fact that it was made not on Earth, but in Cosmos. This confession as if on its own came out of the first cosmonaut Y. Gagarin who, talking about his impressions from cosmos, without thinking, aptly and precisely compared them to N. Roerich’s paintings: “…Indescribable color scale. Unusual like on Roerich’s paintings”. And as to the unearthly mountains on Leonardo’s paintings, they must have come to him from distant worlds and must reflect landscapes of unknown to us star formations. <…>
So, we can state that Leonardo was the first to introduce the category of Infinity into the art of painting. Later it found bright reflection in Roerich’s creative work and aesthetic views. This is a vivid synthetic notion which it is hard to express in words. Infinity housed the fiery light of the Universe, the Holy Spirit, the cosmic magnet, the Absolute. This is the impulse of any development, this the grain of creation, this is beauty. For Leonardo, this is higher light which shines not only with external radiance, but is also spiritualized with the presence of divine love and feat of self-sacrifice. On Leonardo’s canvases, the Infinity manifests itself through the sense of presence of something great and inexplicably mysterious, ideally-divine, what carries away and directs the spirit. <...>
Doctor of Psychology, Academician of the Russian Academy of Education
The Living Ethics – Basis for Humane Pedagogy
<...> And again, proceeding from the Living Ethics, I see the following sources of pedagogy. First of all, wisdom is the primary source for pedagogic thinking, pedagogic mentality. This is general human wisdom, religious wisdom, wisdom of highest thinkers, wisdom of the Living Ethics itself. And if a teacher accumulates this wisdom, his practice becomes beautiful, delicate, kind, sensitive, creative, even without the so called pedagogic science… But, of course, someone can read all the books, starting from Plato and Confucius to Komensky and Sukhomlinsky, and, though they contain a lot of kindness, will not be able to understand anything, for he has an embittered heart. <…>
And in this connection, I want to show you a book which has been published quite recently. This is “The Living Ethics” in our Anthology of Humane Pedagogy. Of course, there is nothing that can surprise you, for books about the Living Ethics are now released quite often. I can only say one thing: firstly, it contains a brilliant, amazingly subtle preface by Ludmila Shaposhnikova, and secondly, there is the Ministry of Education resolution sent to all organizations – higher educational institutions, schools, educational departments, which says that the “Anthology of Humane Pedagogy” – all its volumes, including “The Living Ethics”, is recommended as a study book for students of pedagogic universities and schools. And thus, this book, or rather the Living Ethics Teaching, becomes the student’s official property. That is why I am now proud of this edition and want to congratulate you on its publication.
Candidate of Philosophy
“Heart at Finger-Tips”
Reflections of N. Roerich’s Painting Method
<…> Taken together, Nicholas Roerich’s Himalayan Studies leave an unforgettable feeling. Not dumpy shelves, not rocky plateaus, on which a mountaineer’s boot steps, no. Mountains on Roerich’s studies are woven from some special substance – vibrating, luciferous, iridescent, inexplicably changeable, rhythmically organized in many various ways. Like waves of music of spheres, stopped above and before a heavy, drawing downwards blackness of the foreground, they are looking at us. <...>
Of course, the richness of the Himalayan Studies painting can be easily explained by the spiritual emanations of the artist’s genius, pouring out on the canvas surface in a free flow. But to implement the invisible spiritual rhythms in a visible painting image, precise calculation, high professionalism was needed: the choice of brush, priming, laws of color and shade relationship, and many other things that make basis of painting for an artist knowing his business, for an Agni Yogi professing: “Don’t go away from life, lead yourselves along the upper way”. Colorist by the God’s grace, Roerich did everything so that he could maximally precisely convey that Ocean of Light at the bottom of which the mankind lives without suspecting anything, and which he saw and experienced. <…>
Being a special Meta-Painting, the Himalayan Studies demand a special culture of perception. In the framework of that creative method by which they are created and which in all Teachings’ texts is determined as Middle, Golden Way, the onlooker is to go through many trials. It can be specified – “trials by Culture”. Melting the world of earthly forms to the primary matter element, bringing an object substance into a fluid, liquid state, high psychization of carton – all these extremely tensed states of the artist’s creative work really take the spectator beyond the framework of customary dual relations into the space of relations of a new type, unfamiliar by everyday life, into the space of relationship “man – the Universe”, into the space of the Infinity. <…>
Candidate of Geography
N. Roerich’s Manchurian Expedition
<...> The expedition performed enormous scientific research work. The expedition members studied more that three hundred varieties of plants suitable for fighting with erosion of soil. About 2000 parcels with seeds were sent to the USA. Herbarium collections and studies of ancient manuscript materials performed during the expedition and in the course of the “Urusvati” Institute further work lay the basis for important summaries on the Tibetan Plateau flora and Tibetan medicinal plants. The expedition discovered several species of new plants, in particular, a new variety of wheatgrass was found in the Inner Mongolia steppes which was called Agropirum Mongolicum.
At the same time, it was the last Expedition of the great Russian philosopher and painter. So, among its results, we can mention the series of N. Roerich’s paintings about Mongolia and philosophic essays which were included in the book “Sacred Watch”, and afterwards, in the first volume of “Diary Pages”. <…>
Obviously, N. Roerich’s Manchurian expedition significance will be only realized to the full by future generations. The evolutionary role of the Central Asian Expedition– creation of a qualitatively new energetic space in the expanses of Asia – is to a certain extent characteristic of the Manchurian-Mongolian itinerary of 1934–1935 as well.
But this Expedition has its own specific feature – N. Roerich thought of a future florescence of deserts on the territory of Manchuria and Mongolia, and a Bridge of cultures was created. In Central Asia, he reflected on the common roots of cultures of Europe and Asia, and considered the past from the point of view of the future. And during the Manchurian-Mongolian expedition, his reflections were turned to modernity as well. The great philosopher’s thought healed the plagues of the present, linked the great past to a great future, the East to the West. In the space of Mongolia, N. Roerich’s thought laid magnets for great unification of mankind.