2004 – International Scientific and Public Conference
”S. Roerich’s 100th Anniversary” (October 7–10)
From October 7 to 10, 2004, in the N. Roerich Center-Museum in Moscow, International Scientific and Public Conference dedicated to the 100th anniversary of outstanding artist, scientist, and public figure Svetoslav Roerich took place. The conference was also dedicated to Nicholas Roerich’s 130th anniversary, Helena Roerich’s 125th anniversary, and the ICR 15th anniversary.
The conference organizer was the N. Roerich International Center-Museum, supported by the Russian Academy of Arts, the Russian Cultural Foundation, the International Association of World Foundations, the International Humanitarian Foundation “Znaniye” (“Knowledge”), the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, the International League for Protection of Culture, the K. Tsiolkovsky Russian Academy of Cosmonautics, the Russian Academy of Education, the H. Roerich Charity Foundation. More than 400 representatives from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Israel, India, Spain, Italy, the USA, took part in the conference work.
The International Center of the Roerichs published 11 new editions by the conference, including: “Community” (in the Riga and Urga versions); S. Roerich. Letters, v. 1; S. Roerich. Art and Life (in the Russian and English languages); Svetoslav Roerich. Creative Thought (in English); P. Belikov. Svetoslav Roerich. Life and Creative Work; Recollections about S. Roerich; S. Roerich: Bibliography; postcard sets “N. Roerich’s Painting” and “S. Roerich’s Painting”; G. Roerich. History of Middle Asia, v. 1; materials of conference of 2003 “Cosmic World Outlook – New Mentality of the XXI Century” (in three volumes). A jubilee edition of magazine “Kultura i Vremia” (“Culture and Time”) dedicated to S. Roerich was released.
Extracts from reports
the First Vice-President of the International Center of the Roerichs,
the N. Roerich Museum General Director,
RANS and TRAC Academician
Messenger of Beauty
It is known that the Roerichs were a unique family which preserved and transferred to Russia a rich legacy. It is first of all the name of our hero of the day Svetoslav Roerich that is related to this legacy. Svetoslav Roerich and this family other members had a clear-cut philosophic system of views. It was called the Living Ethics and was a philosophy of cosmic reality. And Svetoslav Roerich not only knew well this system, but comprehended it as a mature philosopher. Here is one of his statements: “Our internal striving for something more perfect, more beautiful is that great internal power that changes us and changes our life as well. Without this inner flame, man cannot wake up concealed in him energies and cannot rise to a higher level of knowledge and experience. This internal striving for one’s culmination awakes certain nerves which are conductors of concealed energy”. <…> He was attracted by those energetic processes which were closest to him, the experience of cognition of which he accumulated during his life. Beauty – its essence and its role and its energetics occupied, probably, the most important place in this experience. <…>
Beauty is the highest energetics which forms the natural evolutionary flow.
There are two types of beauty – natural and man-made. It is the problem of the man-made beauty that attracted Svetoslav Roerich his whole life. Man-made beauty cannot be created without a higher ideal. And if there is no such ideal, it results in disfiguration of life, in the ruin of the evolutionary pivot in human being.
We are witnessing now such negative process not only in this country, but in the whole world as well. <…>
Energy of a piece of art is special energy. It is more than anything on Earth related to the energetics of worlds of other dimensions. As if those strange worlds’ strings are sounding in creative work of a Great Master, what both Nicholas Roerich and Svetoslav Roerich are, for no phenomenon on Earth can be cognized or understood without this unearthly music, without its subtle energetics, which is also present in each of us and constitutes the worlds of our spirit. A Great Master’s creative work is conceived somewhere on a thinnest verge connecting other worlds with ours, the verge that will later reflect, by light or thought, the beauty of those worlds in the Master’s creation.
The Roerichs have a symbol – three small circles in a big one, what means the unity of the past, present, and future in a single circle of eternity. This unity finds its reflection in Nicholas Roerich’s pieces. Svetoslav Roerich, relying on this idea, dealt more with the present, and he found a very interesting process in this present, when as if a splash of the past takes place in the present, a splash of the past culture, art, and all types of creative work existing nowadays. Such a splash of the past culture happened during Renaissance, when the antique world as if fertilized with its energetics the culture of the later European Middle Ages, and it acquired a new quality which created a bright epoch penetrated with the art of the highest spirit. We also know of the splash of ancient nomads’ art which we call beast style. Later, this style conquered whole Europe. Archeological findings and monuments of Ancient Egypt brought to our modern life the spirit of distant past which exerted considerable influence on our culture and our mentality. Those splashes which Svetoslav Roerich highly appreciated brought to our art new creative outburst, new inspiration. And this “repeated discovery leads to new achievements, conquests, and, again, to new development”.
Editor in Chief of the ICR Publications Department
Helena Roerich and Christianity
Helena Roerich’s 125th anniversary is marked not only by the fact that now we have an opportunity to freely consider and publish her studies. The new world outlook reflected in her heritage encounters in its way with difficulties, disapproval, and open opposition on the part of old knowledge carriers – orthodox “scientific” philosophers, intolerant religious workers, not very cultured officers, representatives of mass media and the so called “cultural elite”. One of the main trends along which the fierce struggle against the Roerichs and their ideas is conducted is declaration of the Living Ethics a religious teaching and accusation of the Roerichs themselves, and first of all, Helena Roerich, thanks to whom these books were published and who left us a huge epistolary and philosophic heritage, of Satanist views propaganda. The Living Ethics does touch upon issues traditionally referred to the sphere of religion, such as: spiritual improvement of man, his place in the Universe, interaction with Higher worlds, ethics of behavior among his kind, etc., but this does not yet provide grounds for its identification with religion. <…>
Moral and ethical commandments making the basis of all great religions, including Christianity, got not only moral, but scientific substantiation as well in the Living Ethics. And if it glorifies the same eternal values as the Evangel – love, kindness, mercy, compassion, justice, freedom, selfless service, conscious control of one’s life – it does not at all follow from this that it encroaches in some way upon the evangel belief purity and masks itself as a Christian doctrine. Though a pervert mind can invent anything. <…>
Helena Roerich spoke against intolerance, against ignorance, against immorality in any sphere of human life – whether it be politics, religion, science, art, education, or family relations. <…>
For Helena Roerich, Christianity is first of all the Teaching of Christ, and a Christian (no matter to which confession he would belong) is the one who implements this Teaching in life. She never put the equality sign between the church confession of Christ and His Teaching, and put Christ’s life, His words and acts higher than any interpretations.
Helena Roerich considered religious Teachings most important landmarks in the humanity evolutionary development. Priceless spiritual and moral experience and feat of religious teachers, as well as brought by them reformative ideas, changed the mentality of huge human societies. Thus, Christian spiritual values have formed the basis for the whole European history and culture for almost two millenniums.
Any great religion aim is to help the man to comprehend his life as such, to understand in-depth relationships of very different on the face of it phenomena, to determine criteria for correct differentiation of the true from the false, the eternal from transient, the good from the evil. <…>
If we get acquainted with Helena Roerich’s creative work attentively, we shall see that the idea of exclusivity of this or that religion is absolutely alien to her. Speaking the modern language, she held strong positions of religious tolerance, that is respect, acceptance, and correct understanding of the rich versatility of this world cultures. The God is Single, so there can be no separations or divisions. You will find nowhere in the Evangel that Christ would disapprove of people confessing other beliefs. The Truth is Single, and its primary foundations were taught by great nunciates to different peoples in different centuries. <…>
Religious thought does not stay in one place, it must develop in correspondence with the needs of time. Our ideas of the Higher Element must correspond to the accumulated knowledge of the surrounding visible world. In each epoch, in each religion and people, beside Great Teachers, High Spirits appeared after some time, whose task included development and purification of received behests. <…>
It would be wrong to state, proceeding from the fact that the Living Ethics allots to science the leading role at the modern stage of society development, that Helena Roerich considered religious thinking and religious views as a past day in the evolution of mankind. Views full of stereotypes, prejudice, and dogmatic ideas in all spheres of human life are doomed to collapse. And Helena Roerich said not once with irony that superstitions and prejudice in science can be much more dangerous than in religion.
Full Member of the K. Tsiolkovsky Academy of Cosmonautics
Astronomic Aspects in H. Roerich’s “Cosmological Notes”
Helena Roerich’s “Cosmological Notes” were first published in the second edition of her book “On the Threshold of a New World”. Proceeding from modern understanding of the term “cosmology”, one could expect that they are wholly dedicated to astronomy, but this is not right. Judging by epigraphs to this study, it is dedicated to the problem of correlation between the functions of man and functions of Cosmos (the ancient idea of the relationship between micro- and macrocosm). Proceeding from this relationship, “to understand the structure of the World and the Universe”, it is necessary to study the synthetic essence of man. So it is no wonder that the range of problems covered by “Cosmological Notes” is very wide. <..>
One should not be surprised if some theses will seem contradicting modern scientific understandings. The “ Cosmological Notes” provide deepest knowledge of the Cosmos. They mostly go beyond the modern scientific paradigm. Correspondingly, they can be referred to super-scientific knowledge. Before the notes were published, we were acquainted with such sources of super-scientific knowledge as “The Secret Doctrine”, “Mahatmas’ Letters”, etc. We could see ourselves that presented in them scientific theses contradicting the science of that time (the end of the XIX century) were absolutely confirmed in the XX century.
Doctor of Philosophy, Professor,
Head of Foundation “Altai-the 21st Century”
The Palette of Philosophic Ideas in S. Roerich’s Creative Work
Svetoslav Roerich is a unique phenomenon in the world art of the XX century. And the more we move away in time from his life days, the more significant and important all that was done by him looks. Among the artist’s achievements already noted in art criticism researches, first of all, the synthetic character of his creative method should be mentioned. <...>
Everyone who is interested in modern art will hardly deny that the artistic forms eclectics has become a sad sign of our time. Global communication in one second made art of all countries and peoples common property. In this “chaocosmos” of art, depending on the artist’s whim, fanciful forms from the heritage of Aztecs, the art of Netherlands (H. Bosch, P. Breigel), primitives of Africa, etc. can be constructed. Is it art or something like a Rubik’s cube game – this is a question which sounds rhetorically at the background of S. Roerich’s paintings. <...>
The Living Ethics teaching, spiritual direction of his parents, the high level of mastership and internal culture helped S. Roerich to avoid the two dead ends of the XX century art, in which a considerable number of masters got, who could not pass along the “razor edge” delimitating one abyss which could be conditionally called abstraction of form from the other, called abstraction of contents. <…>
Another important aspect that should be mentioned in connection with S. Roerich’s creative work is manifestation of the higher values in art. The problem of values is presently becoming one of the most urgent ones both in philosophy and in art. The justified accusation of the modern art of lack of spirituality is caused, first of all, by forgetfulness, profanation, and at times literally Satanist struggle of some artists with such notions as Beauty, Truth, Kindness, Love. The Russian philosophic and religious and art criticism thought represented by its most talented carriers, such as V. Soloviev, S. Bulgakov, E. Trubetskoy, P. Florensky, strictly adhered to the view of ontological, eternal nature of higher values. And the Roerich family members equally firmly held this position. <…>
S. Roerich’s creative work absolutely corresponds to this understanding of art. The symbolic beauty of the Heavenly World manifests itself on each of his canvases. As an artist-philosopher, he reveals beauty in usual and simple things, and all his pieces are penetrated with images of the Beautiful, in comparison with which the ugliness of many phenomena of today’s world becomes especially obvious. Thus, S. Roerich’s paintings can be considered as a special type of philosophizing with colors on canvas.
the ICR Saint-Petersburg Department Chairman,
Vice-President of the International League for Protection of Culture,
S. Roerich’s Scientific Researches
On the threshold of the XX century, Vevekananda warned that knowledge can liberate and save us only in that case if it is accompanied by virtue. The spiritual synthesis of knowledge and Beauty manifested by the Living Ethics teaching and the Roerich family creative work has opened the gate in the way of cosmic evolution of mankind, and, having added to and having generalized ideas of thinkers-cosmists, has spotlighted the trends for development of new, spiritualized science. At this evolutionary stage, it is transformed science that is to acquire qualitatively new for man possibilities for understanding the lost essences of his existence, and make a break through in cognition of other worlds of infinite Being. <…>
The Roerichs themselves became pioneers of the new, spiritualized science. Establishment by them in India in 1928, after completion of the famous Central Asian expedition, of the Institute of Himalayan Studies “Urisvati” was determined by an urgent call of the future. Helena and Nicholas Roerichs became its Founder-Presidents, and their elder son George Roerich, who had already acquired by that time wide fame of a scientist-Orientalist, became its Director.
The fact that it was the Roerichs’ younger son Svetoslav, who had already shown remarkable talent in painting, that headed the natural scientific researches of the Institute, where well-known scientists and workers of culture of many countries of the world were elected as its the honorary advisers and corresponding members, was also deeply justified. That spiritual synthesis of scientific and artistic abilities which he possessed to a high degree turned out to be a most important factor which allowed him to conduct complex natural scientific researches in “Urusvati”. <…>
One can only imagine what subtle art was required from S. Roerich who had used lessons of Medieval alchemists in so special chemical experiments in America and, in a few years, in Kullu, when studying specific qualities of high mountain plants, where he used experience of Tibetan, Indian, Chinese medicine, and local pharmacopoeia. <…>
Previous dealings with chemistry proved to be useful in the work with medicinal preparations, though, unlike in previous experiments, he more often carried out studies of organic compounds in India. His interest for revelation of energetic qualities of natural medicinal raw materials was increasing. Plants, especially those growing in the pure high mountain conditions of the Himalayas, are natural transformers of energies, and their study allows to reveal processes connecting various planes of matter and energy, and to apply their medicinal properties in medicine, what Chinese, Indian, and Tibetan healers have done from ancient times.
Besides, as all the Roerichs, Svetoslav Roerich tried to enrich the knowledge of Western scientists with thousand year accumulations of the Eastern thought what was vitally important under conditions of threatening the mankind unprecedented in terms of scale trials, including such ones as appearance of new epidemics and spread of mortal diseases. To do so, the Institute workers conducted researches of local pharmacopoeias, collected, studied, and translated ancient texts. <…>
Simultaneously with the study of methods used in chemistry and medicine in the East, Svetoslav Roerich, proceeding from the principle of in-depth internal unity of knowledge, with that characteristic of him quality to find synthesis of vital manifestations, continued to study without prejudice the best achievements of the past in the West, so that, having compared them with the Eastern findings, to apply them in his work. His thought again turned to alchemical and astrological researches. There is no possibility to enumerate here all the details of laborious and useful for the future work that the Roerich’s younger son conducted in “Urusvati”. But it should be reminded that he not only used the knowledge of the European and Asian medicine and pharmacopoeia for his studies, but expanded it, rendering a new, spiritual dimension to his scientific elaborations. This primarily concerns the study of yoga plants possessing special energetic properties, of which traditional science has quite a vague idea, and individual well-informed in that respect lamas and yogi prefer not to disclose secrets collected for thousands of years.
Doctor of Biology, RANS Academician,
Director of the Ecological Center of the S. Vavilov Institute of
History and Technology of the RAS
S. Roerich – Natural Researcher and Cosmist
I see in this titanic activities of Roerich - natural scientist, in his passionate intransient commitment to complex natural science, in his perception and feeling of the cosmic “Integrity of Life”, a deep essential reason, that primary initial reason that to a considerable extent determined the trends of his artistic and scientific search, his philosophic seeking.
<…> the recent S. Roerich’s 100th anniversary has brought to life a wave of creative activity among scientific and artistic public, and the International Center of the Roerichs published a few especially important for future analysis studies, including such as: P. Belikov. Svetoslav Roerich. Life and Creative Work. The author hopes that establishment of the Unified Scientific Center for Problems of Cosmic Mentality together with the International Center of the Roerichs and on its base will attract a big team of highly qualified scientists and specialists to interdisciplinary research of the richest treasury of the Roerich family cultural and scientific heritage. <…>
When you get acquainted with the way S. Roerich organized ecological experiments in Kullu <…> when you attentively read his letters and articles and comprehend his great plans, a feeling of amazement and reverence before the greatness of spirit of this great man, his vision, and tireless selfless labor comes. <…>
Suggested by S. Roerich in the last decade of his life idea of creation on the basis of the Kullu valley of a biospheric station for global natural scientific synthesis, which was expanded by Academician A. Yanshin to a network of biospheric stations in Asia, including also the station in “Urusvati”, has not lost its scientific and practical urgency and is waiting today for its organizational and scientific implementation in life.