Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

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Since April 28, 2017, the Non-Governmental Museum Named after Nicholas Roerich went defunct with the illegal seizure of its building and territory.

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19.11.2020

Dedicated to the Blessed Memory of Tsering Dorje…

Dedicated to the Blessed Memory of Tsering Dorje…

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Honorable Tsering Dorje passed away… He was an outstanding researcher — Orientalist, Tibet and Buddhist scholar, linguist, good friend of International Roerich Memorial Trust in Naggar and International Centre of the Roerichs in Moscow. He was a man of clear mind and tremendous affectionate heart.

It happened on 13th November, shortly before a bright holiday of Diwali. The sad news was like a thunderbolt from a clear sky. Despite of advanced age — 82 years old — Prof. Tsering Dorje was active, had unquenchable interest of life, he was full of ideas and plans.

Tsering Dorje was born in 1939 in Lahaul. Even as a child he was sent to Tholing, the Tibetan Monastery for studying where he got education in Tibetan literature and linguistic. Coming back to native land he worked as an Assistant in Public Relation office and studied Lahaul dialect of Tibetan language and also culture, history, geology, ethnography, flora and fauna of Tibet and Himalayas. Indian newspapers, rendering homage to this outstanding scholar, mentioned that he knew several languages, walked along the whole Himalayas, got over 200 passes and had wide and deep knowledge about all Himalayan regions — that is why he was called as a walking encyclopedia of Himalayas.

As Tsering Dorje said, in his youth he had a remarkable meeting with George Roerich. George Roerich that time worked together with Mangal Chan, a famous Lahauli artist, linguist, philosopher and poet — an uncle and guru of young Tsering. Mangal Chan helped the Russian scholar in studying Lahaul dialect and his nephew often took part in their common work. Those meetings left the most cheerful and bright memories in the heart of the future professor. They in large part influenced further ways of his investigations, scientific and creative aspirations. The Estate in Naggar where the Roerichs lived and worked for about 20 years took a special place in his heart.

An important event in life of the professor was his meeting with Ludmila Shaposhnikova — the Russian scholar, indologist, writer, researcher of life and art of the Roerichs family. Their first meeting was in 1980 in Bon Monastery near Shimla where they arrived for researching ancient pre Buddhist past of Tibet and Himalayas: Ludmila Shaposhnikova continued the Roerichs’ research work, Tsering Dorje followed his scientific interests focusing on studying pre Buddhist culture of Tibet and Himalayas, including bon religion and ancient language of shang-shung used for the first sacred texts of that religion. The results of the investigations would be expressed in a number of articles by Prof. Dorje in Hindi and also in English and Tibetan.

Ludmila Shaposhnikova told the scholar about the Roerichs, about their life, creative activities, scholarship and philosophic work. In 2002 Tsering Dorje was eager to accept the invitation of Ludmila Shaposhnikova to take part in anniversary conference of the International Centre of the Roerichs in Moscow dedicated to George Roerich. Visiting Nicholas Roerich Public Museum, created and run by Ludmila Shaposhnikova, left a lasting impression on the Indian scholar. He paid attention to some paintings in the exhibition dedicated to Lahaul and recognized a portrait of his own uncle Lama Tondup from Lahaul in the painting of Svetoslav Roerich.

In 2006 Tsering Dorje founded Roerich society in Keylong to promote scientific philosophic ideas of the Roerichs family and to reconstruct the Art Study of Nicholas Roerich in Lahaul destroyed by time and snowfalls. The reconstruction of the memorial house was a true dream of the scholar. Thanks to his unceasing efforts the Government of Himachal Pradesh allocated means for reconstruction work and in 2017 with active support of the Russian Embassy in India, Estonian Roerich society and also Buddhist monasteries of Keylong the Summer Study of Nicholas Roerich was renewed. Its inauguration was on 9th of October, the birthday of the artist. Professor Dorje in his speech, being inspired and happy, said that reconstruction of the Study became a collective contribution in celebrating 70 years’ anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Russia and India.

As mentioned in Indian newspapers Tsering Dorje was also an initiator of Atal Tunnel construction from Kullu Valley to Lahaul and this 9 kilometers tunnel named Atal Rohtang Tunnel was inaugurated very recently, on 3rd of October. The scholar went to Delhi to see Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the former Prime Minister of India with a special idea of creating the tunnel. And on the expiry of 20 years this dream of professor Dorje also has come true — the way from Kullu to Keylong now is shorter for 46 km and people of high-altitude Lahaul who were isolated from the world by dense snow cover during 6 months every year now have got a possibility of all-year interaction with the main land. It is true that for a human heart being in love with people and soaring to Higher World the sky is the limit!

Over many years Tsering Dorje was a friend and part of International Roerich Memorial Trust team in Naggar. He helped attribute Tibetan books and manuscripts, collected by the Roerichs and kept in the IRMT and studied medical collections of the Urusvati Institute. He translated texts on the labels from Tibetan to English. He carefully read notebooks of George Roerich with Epic of King Gesar and proudly said that his fellows from Lahaul helped the Russian scholar in his expeditions and scientific research work. Tsering Dorje was an active participant of all seminars and conferences organized in the IRMT, all celebrations and Russian-Indian festivals.

He planned to publish a book with Nicholas Roerich’s paintings addressed to Lahaul and Kullu and with photos of those places and to talk about research done there by the Roerichs. He prepared materials for an article about George Roerich in Tibetan to help Tibetan lamas know more about the Russian scientist — Tibetan and Buddhist scholar and acknowledge deepness and value of his research. Common plans of the IRMT, the ICR and Prof. Dorje included preparing and organizing a conference dedicated to George Roerich with participation leading Tibetan lamas from Dharamshala.

Tsering Dorje was a friend and associate of HH Dalai Lama XIV. Tibetan and Buddhist scholars from different countries arrived to him in Lahaul and Kullu and the scholar shared his wide knowledge with them and gave the whole possible assistance in their research. He helped students and degree seekers with pleasure and was always ready to talk to researches and admires of the Roerichs art. He was dreaming to “unite the great India and Russia by art and teaching of the Roerichs for the sake of the long term cooperation”. This amazing person gifted his wisdom, heart warmness and light smile to everybody.

We condole with family and friends upon the loss of Prof. Tsering Dorje. His passing is a big loss for each of us. Fond memories will be kept in our hearts. From the bottom of our souls we wish him further path of height and light.



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