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International Academic Seminar “Helena Roerich. Facets of creativity” in the International Roerich Memorial Trust


On May 1, in continuation of the Russian-Indian Spring Roerich Festival of Culture, the International Roerich Memorial Trust held an academic seminar “Helena Roerich. Facets of Creativity” dedicated to the 140th Birth Anniversary of Helena Roerich. For the seminar, there was a hall prepared in the premises of Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children of the Cultural-Educational Center of IRMT.

The welcome address of the Russian and Indian curators of the IRMT to the participants and guests of the seminar, among whom there were representatives of Russia, India, France and Ukraine, was followed by the speech of Anatoly Lebedenko – candidate of Pedagogical and Philosophical Sciences, Deputy Head of the Unified Scientific Center for Problems of Cosmic Mentality of the International Center of the Roerichs, Moscow.

In his lecture “Magnets of the Future in Helena Roerich's Philosophy” A. Lebedenko noted that the Living Ethics – a philosophical system recorded by Helena Roerich under the direct supervision of Mahatmas, Sages of the East, became the essence of life, activity and creativity of the Roerich family. The purpose of Living Ethics is to equip a person’s consciousness with the magnetic force of foreseen future possibilities and abilities. By awareness of its future, indicated by its Creators, humanity accelerates the process of evolution. Asserting the future with thoughts, feelings and deeds, we are making it closer, transforming into the present.

Humanity has the prototype of the Higher World on the Earth. Its representatives – Krishna, Buddha, Christ, Maitreya – are the prototypes of the man of Future image. Ashrams are the images of future social constructions. And two beginnings are set as a foundation of the construction: Beauty and striving to the chosen Ideal. Beauty will be the form of expressing Life. Science will open the gates to the world of invisible processes for physical eye and establish harmonic connection of two worlds – dense and supermundane. Scientists in collaboration with the Hierarchy of Light and under Her Guide will solve the problems of the arrangement of the planet and extraterrestrial worlds. The cooperation of nations will turn into a fraternal family of all the peoples of the earth. The peoples will go on in their development under the Banner of Peace and Culture, in consonance with the Demands of the Cosmos.

The report “The preliminary introduction to the Agni Yoga” was made to the audience by Tsering Dorje – buddhologist, author of scientific works on Buddhism, linguistics, History and Culture of Himachal Pradesh (Kullu-Lahul, India). He noted that Helena Roerich’s life was the life and experience of Ani Yoga person. Agni is a fire, that gives life to the entire planet. Above all the element of fire in man is manifested through the heart. When we speak about the heart, we speak about the Fiery World. People consider that life is short and pay attention to insignificant points, losing the most important thing: it is necessary to clean heart and mind, learn how to use properly the power of fire. Through fire, light, we can open our heart and feel ourselves in unity with the whole world. This path leads to spiritual growth and to the Fiery World.

The paper “She Who Inspires… talk on Living Ethics” was presented by Harsh Lumba – artist, senior researcher at the Ministry of Culture of India (Delhi, India). “The term Agni Yoga means “Mergence with Divine Fire” or “Path to Mergence with Divine Fire”, noted speaker. The Roerichs introduced this term. The teaching was given to the Roerich family and their associates by Master Morya, the Guru of Roerich family. Agni Yoga is a path of practice in daily life. It is the yoga of fiery energy, of consciousness, of responsible, directed thought. It teaches that the evolution of the planetary consciousness is a pressing necessity and that, through individual striving, it is an attainable aspiration for humanity. According to Helena Roerich, Agni Yoga is the synthesis of all yogas. In all the ancient Hindu scriptures, the approaching Fiery Age was predicted. Agni the Sanskrit word for –Fire, which to a varying degree is at the heart of all the yogas, will extremely sate the atmosphere of our planet, and all the branches of Yoga will be merged into a fiery synthesis. <…> The most significant features of Agni Yoga are cosmism and universalism. They are expressed in the interpretation of any phenomena of human existence from the point of view of their cosmic significance and interrelation with the being of the Universe.”

Emphasizing that Helena Roerich always played inspiring role in Nicholas Roerich creative work, Harsh Lumba presented to the audience several paintings by the artist, such as Geser-Khan, Buddha-the Winner, Star of the Mother of the World, Chintamani. “Both Nicholas and Helena Roerich spent much of their life seeking hidden treasures within the landscapes of the earth and within their own being. The paintings the Roerichs left us are the maps to these sacred places and are there for us to use when we look for our own spiritual pathway. They also left us the teachings of Agni Yoga, a Living Ethics that is a practical guide to developing awareness of the fiery energy of our hearts and the heart of the universe, through consciously directed thought in our daily lives.”

About “The artistic work of Helena Roerich” told the audience Olga Slepova – Head of the Roerich organization in the Penza Region, poet (Zarechny, Russia). The funds of the ICR (Moscow) obtains unique pencil drawings made by Helena Roerich in the 1920s and 30s (the exhibition of reproductions of drawings opened the day before in the building of the Urusvati Institute). These drawings are unusual. Helena Roerich perceived images that were in the space of otherness, and sketched them, capturing on paper portraits of people, historical persons, devotees, saints. It can be assumed that the description of the vision from Helena Roerich diary notes refers to the image of Arhat: “...there was a thin male head with eyes closed... and as if carved out of ivory; a type of sophisticated handsome Chinese.” Akbar, Sri Shankaracharya, Allal Ming, Nil Stolbensky, Archangel Michael... Drawings created by Helena Roerich, as Olga Slepova noted, demonstrate her artistic talent and conscious contact with the worlds of higher states of matter.

In her report “The bibliographic review of the works of Helena Roerich” made by Marina Galkina – applicant of the Department of Cultural Studies of the Crimean Federal University named after V.I. Vernadsky, Librarian in 1472 N.I. Pirogov Naval Clinical Hospital (Sevastopol, Russia), outlined the main features of the lifetime publications of the works of Helena Roerich. Thus, a number of her works were published under pseudonyms: The Bowl of the East (under the name of Iskander Khanum); The Foundations of Buddhism (Natalia Rokotova); Cryptograms of the East (Jeanneta Saint-Hilaire); The Banner of St. Sergius of Radonezh (N. Yarovskaya); a number of articles, letters and notes under the name of T.P. Sundri. All the works of Helena Roerich, including the above, as well as the two-volume work of her letters and the translation of the Secret Doctrine by E. Blavatsky, were prepared for publication as instructed by the Teacher. And, finally, such a fundamental work as the books of the Living Ethics – the philosophical system created by H. Roerich in Russian in collaboration with the Teachers of the East – began to be published throughout the world in different languages without attribution. This fact can only indicate that the authors of the Living Ethics followed the Eastern tradition in the transfer of knowledge to earthly humanity.

Since 1990, the works of Helena Roerich have been published and republished in Russia at the International Centre of the Roerichs. During thirty years, the ICR prepared and published the Complete Collection of H. Roerich's letters in 9 volumes, the books of the Living Ethics, At the Threshold of the New World and many others. Ph.D., professor from Nagpur Pramila Sharma noted: “From the works of Helena Roerich one can understand how spiritually close she was to the high spiritual sources of the East...”

“The culture and traditions of India are considered as old and great all over the world where people used to worship various female goddesses, female saints and poets,” told Gautam Kashyap, Director of the Drona Archery School (Zamania, UP, India), in the beginning of his speech. “But due to social and moral degradation and superstitions, women in India were suffering. Illiteracy, lack of proper education, responsible for household works, rape, sexual harassment etc. Women were forced to believe that they born as women because it is a bad karma of past life. The emergence of Helena Roerich on this earth and her visit to India, her research and noble works towards humanity gave courage and inspired many men and women of the world and proved that born as a woman is not a curse but this is a matter of pride and woman is the symbol of life, peace, beauty and creation.”

The Living Ethics doctrine, which is the main result of the works of H. Roerich, – the speaker noted, – shows the significance and evolutionary nature of the Banner of Peace – the Banner of Culture, which is intended to unite humanity and save the planet from catastrophes and cataclysms. This idea became fundamental in the formation of the Roerich Pact, in the promotion of which H. Roerich took the most active part. Thus, during the Manchurian expedition of N. Roerich (1934–1935), she supported all business correspondence with international cultural and educational organizations and coordinated their activities. In India, this outstanding idea of the protection of cultural property was supported by many great Indian scholars and figures, among them J. Boss, S. Radhakrishnan, Ch.V. Raman, R. Tagore and others. Many national organizations and almost all media outlets have expressed their commitment to the Pact. In 1947, India raised the Banner of Peace, and it will always flourish, said Gautam Kashyap, and this will be promoted by citizens of India, friends from Russia, our International Roerich Memorial Trust in Naggar.

The speech of Vasily Tkachev (Moscow) was devoted to the scientific activity of Helena Roerich. The speaker noted that she assigned a special role to the science of the future. She wrote: “ is taking such giant steps forward that the next stage will soon be realized, namely the stage of cooperation with the Cosmos, and then the cosmic consciousness will cease to frighten even the most ignorant, and will become a common phenomenon, and no person who has realized his place in Space will not be able to remain in his birdhouse. Then the spiritual unification will come.”

Helena Roerich was the founding president of the Urusvati Institute. She inspired many studies conducted by the Institute. She can be called a pioneer and researcher of new high States of matter and cosmic rays. In its cosmological records, works on the study of human properties and its connections with Space, in reflections on the Sun, visible and invisible planets and comets, on a qualitatively new approach to the study of the atom, on the currents of space, on psychic energy, on The cosmic Magnet, on many new, as yet unknown Sciences, in the plans and achievements of the Institute “Urusvati” was laid a program of scientific research for the future era.

Anshul Kumar, an employee of the IRMT, a music teacher at the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children, made the report “Through Art you have Light.” This is the motto of the Academy of Arts for Children in the estate of the Roerich family. H. Roerich always attached the greatest importance to art in all its manifestations, since art is a spiritual principle, awakening striving for beauty, for the Highest Great educational value of art. It expands the mind and clears the mind, raises the level of taste and develops the imagination. Art awakens the fire of creativity in young souls, fosters in them refinement, nobility, dignity. In the Academy of Arts of the IRMT, children study music and painting, learn to sing and dance. Teachers get pupils acquainted with the traditions of Indian culture, introduce them to the culture of Russia and other countries. Classes at the Academy help to raise the younger generation in respect for the creative genius of man, for the great traditions, which we must protect and develop in every way.

The report “Music in the life and work of Helena Roerich” was made by Tamara Merges, coordinator of the festival “Russia-India: From Heart to Heart” (Moscow). She noted that already in his youth Helena Roerich musical talent was revealed. The atmosphere of music that surrounded her in the family, visiting concerts, learning the art of playing the piano brought not only love for music, but also those special qualities of the spirit that became leading in her later life. Music accompanied the Roerich family everywhere. Even during the Central Asian expedition, on the halts in the short hours of rest, they started a gramophone and listened to records. Every evening music was played in the Roerichs' house in Kullu. Noting the importance of conscious perception of art and music, in particular Helena Roerich wrote: “You, my friends, who have touched art and creativity, know how to use art as condensation of your forces, for sound and color, thought and rhythm of forms are the basis the universe and our existence.” From earthly music Helena Roerich directed us to comprehend the music of heaven, to the discovery of the horizons of Infinity.

The beautiful music of Sergey Rakhmaninov was the harmonious conclusion of a scientific and practical seminar dedicated to the multifaceted creativity of Helena Roerich.

It should be noted that academic seminars in the IRMT have become regular in recent years. Holding such international meetings of scientists and researchers in the Roerichs Trust step by step brings closer the time for the revival of the Urusvati Himalayan Research Institute and its full-scale activities. “The station should develop into the city of Knowledge”, as Helena Roerich dreamed of.

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