Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

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1992 – public and scientific conference dedicated to G. Roerich’s 90th anniversary (October 15–17)

The first public and scientific conference was held in the State Historical Conservancy Area “The Lenin Hills” and was dedicated to the 90th anniversary of George Roerich, outstanding scientist-orientalist, professor, linguist, doctor of philology of the USSR Academy of Sciences, director of the Institute of Himalayan Studies “Urusvati”, head of the sector of philosophy and religion history of the Oriental Studies Institute under the USSR Academy of Sciences. His scientific papers in the field of Tibetology, Indology, and Mongolian Studies published in various countries and in many languages of the world have long been considered as classics of Orientalistics. However, most of those studies have not yet been published in Russia. The name of G. Roerich is on the honorary member lists of numerous scientific societies of Europe, Asia, and America. Having perfect mastership of more than thirty languages, he possessed versatile knowledge in various fields of history, archeology, literature, ethnography, religion, culturology.

Extracts from reports

L. Shaposhnikova
the N. Roerich Museum General Director

Word about George Roerich

<...> Many who dealt with the studies of the Roerichs did not know much about George Roerich. They wrote and spoke little about him. When George Roerich returned to his Motherland, even this country’s official scientific world attempted to belittle his significance, did not recognize his achievements to the full extent, and tried to keep his name in the shade. Today, we must dot our “i’s”. So, what is George Roerich – a common scientist or a world significance figure? Of course, the latter. He was one of the greatest Orientalists of nowadays, whose name was famous in many countries of the world. A most talented linguist, historian, ethnographer, archeologist, a man of omniscient education, he represented that synthetic trend of Oriental Studies of which Russia could be rightfully proud, but which, very unfortunately, has been lost in this country in the recent decades. George Roerich was an opulently gifted man. He spoke many Oriental and Western languages, knew wonderfully the culture of the East, its religion and philosophy. His personality had undoubtedly planetary scale cultural value. <…>

What he did cannot be overestimated. His great deed is worthy of the Roerich family. It is no one but him that returned to this country its most precious national possession – the Roerichs themselves. Various myths about them have been created for a long time which, unfortunately, determined our ruling circles’ attitude towards the Roerichs.

The work performed by George Roerich for the short period of his stay in this country totally changed the situation and the public opinion in favor of the Roerichs. This unique deed had planetary significance, and in the course of time we shall more and more comprehend the evolutionary essence of what he accomplished. It was on George Roerich’s initiative and with his assistance that the first exhibitions of Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerichs’ paintings were organized. And we saw the magic world of Beauty which made many of us start thinking. George Roerich, with characteristic of him generosity, replenished our galleries, in particular, the Russian Museum and the Novosibirsk Art Gallery with his father’s immortal canvases from his own collection.

It was from George Roerich that surrounding him people learnt about the essence and the main concept of the Living Ethics Teaching, or Agni Yoga. And they learnt about it not from books, but from this concept carrier himself. <…> George Roerich was gradually becoming a unique energetic center which cultural Russia lacked so much in those years. Represented by George Roerich, a real magnet appeared, and its rays lit and energetically initiated the future Roerich movement. <…>

Many things would not have happened without George Roerich. For example, the Central Asian Expedition would not have taken place, and even if it did, it would not have achieved that important result of which we all now know. <…>

For almost 10 years, George Roerich was the Director of the Institute of Himalayan Studies established by the Roerichs in the valley of Kullu in 1928. And the Institute was as unique as its head. George Roerich created a new concept for the activities of this complex scientific institution which combined ancient achievements with contemporary science.

А. Tamazishvili
the Chief Archive Keeper of the Institute of Oriental Studies under the RAS

G. Roerich’s Activities in the RAS Institute of Oriental Studies

<...> Long years of attempts to return to his Motherland made Roerich used to refusals. He could wait without giving up his plans. <…>

It became clear that both Roerich and his studies were highly assessed by his Soviet colleagues. Worker of the Institute of Chinese Studies under the RAS of the USSR K. Cheremissov stated that Roerich’s Tibetan-Russian dictionary, for publication of which the latter did not succeed to raise subscription funds, would probably be the best in its kind. The Leningrad Department of the Oriental Studies Institute spoke expressly in Roerich’s support. Petersburg-Leningrad was a traditional center of the national Tibetology which went through its far from the best years in the 40s - 50s. Chinese Scholar and Tibetologist B. Pankratov made a definite statement: ”Roerich is the best of all European Tibetologists of nowadays. We must use our best efforts to invite him to organize the Tibetan language teaching in the Leningrad State University and for our Tibetology renaissance in general”. This point of view was shared by the Head of the Leningrad Department of the Oriental Studies Institute, Academician I. Orbeli.

Proceeding from these opinions, the Institute of Oriental Studies gave its conclusion that Roerich would be really useful <…>.

In February 1958, the Oriental Studies Institute Department of India and Pakistan filed a petition for conferment to Roerich the scientific degree of a Doctor of Philology without supporting a scientific thesis, on the basis of all published by him studies. <…>

In July 1958, the Department of India and Pakistan raised the question of renewal of publishing a series of scientific studies and sources on Buddhist philosophy and culture – “Buddhic’s Library”, which was highly respected and popular with scientists all over the world.

The work on the series renewal was headed by George Roerich. <…>

George Roerich <…> returned to science the name and studies of repressed and perished Tibetologist A. Vostrikov whose study “Tibetan Historical Literature” edited by Roerich was released in “Buddhic’s Library” series in 1962.

Another trend of his work was participation in preparation of Ceylonese “Encyclopedia of Buddhism”. Roerich was engaged in this work by Ambassador of Ceylon in the USSR Professor Malalasekera, former Dean of the Colombo University Oriental Faculty, who knew him personally.

Roerich’s international authority had also great significance for the Soviet part of the UNESCO project “East-West” providing for a broad program for mutual understanding and mutual enrichment of Western and Eastern cultures. All the Roerich family members seemed to represent live embodiment of those cultures integration. <...>

V. Naidakova
Doctor of Art Criticism

The Roerichs about Kalachakra Teaching

The Kalachakra system is one of the most complicated systems in ancient Teachings of the East. Attitude towards this system on the part of Nicholas and George Roerichs who studied it closely and profoundly provides evidence of common interests and unity of spiritual searches of this remarkable family. <…>

<...> Kalachakra sacred dances and mysteries were in fact a secret ritual of sacrifice to the great Divinity of Time. The ritual represented dynamic meditation, direct relationship with the Cosmos. <...>

Nicholas Roerich gave the following definition to this system: “Kalachakra is high yoga of mastering concealed forces contained in man for integrating this power with cosmic energies”. Great Teaching was delivered gradually, in different wordings, which said that man was not just a man, but a creature endowed with divine possibilities about which he must learn little by little, in the course of his evolutionary development.

<…> today we have the Living Ethics where the curtain rose a little bit above the mystery. <...>