Philosopher of Real Cosmos


Svyatoslav Roerich
Svyatoslav Roerich


General Director of Nicholas Roerich Museum,

Vice-President of the International Centre of the Roerichs,

Honoured Worker of Arts of the Russian Federation


 Published in newspaper "Kultura", № 49,

December 16-23, 2004

       About midnight our plane prepared to land and shortly Delhi's constellations of lights were floating under us. Then the runway lights became discernible. The plane shuddered and slowed, stopping at the entrance to the terminal. We stood up and made our way to the exit.
       We were a delegation from the International Roerich Centre in Moscow and had been invited to India for the anniversary celebrations -  Svyatoslav Nikolayevich Roerich's centenary, Nikolai Konstantinovich 's 130th jubilee and Yelena Ivanovna's 125th jubilee.
       Activities in the Russian Cultural Centre in Delhi included a permanent exposition devoted to the Roerichs and an exhibition of photographs from the life of Svyatoslav Nikolayevich Roerich brought by us from Moscow.
       In Bangalore, in Svyatoslav Nikolayevich 's estate Tataguni, we viewed a memorial in black and white marble erected in his honour. And in the city, festivities were in full swing and throughout the surrounding countryside everyone was talking about the Roerichs. Also newspapers and books were published, memorial postage stamps issued and souvenirs sold amongst the many tributes to the Roerichs.
       In Kulu, the Himalayan valley where the Roerichs villa is situated colourful events, seminars, theatrical productions and exhibitions took place.  There was also an exhibition of Svyatoslav Nikolayevich Roerich's paintings. A constant stream of people made their way up the Naggar road towards the centre of festivities at the villa.
     Walking into the villa courtyard I could see the extent of the changes. There were now two new buildings beside the villa - one for exhibitions and the other - for seminars and scientific conferences. The building costs funded by the Indian Government and the Himachal Pradesh State Government.  Nothing of all this had been here when I had rarely visited Kulu before - no exhibitions, no new buildings, no crowds, no solemn reverence to the family who lived in the lonely villa on the mountain slope.

The first time I visited Kulu was in 1972  at the invitation of Svyatoslav Nikolaevich Roerich and his spouse Devika  Rani.

In a  mountainous region between the western and eastern spurs of the Himalayas lies Kulu valley cut in two by the swift flowing Beas river.  Himalayan pines and cedars grow densely on the surrounding slopes with rare houses scattered here and there amongst the groves. But now there was nothing here that reminded of the India I knew before.   It seemed to me I was in a different country. I remember dazzling snow tops towering above wooded slopes with here and there splinters of blue sky and below me the ancient settlement of Naggar. Its roofs gray slated, the verandas suspended over narrow meandering side streets.  A dark blue haze drifting through the open doors of smoked old taverns, and the roughly built square tower of the castle.    

And between the castle and the villa stood an ancient temple with three - tiered roof dedicated to the goddess Tripurasundaram.   It was from there I began my study of the Kulu valley guided by Svyatoslav Nikolaevich.  While we walked we talked much.  Sometimes Svyatoslav Nikolaevich invited me to sit with him under a deodar in the courtyard of his villa.

Ju.M.Vorontsov, L.V.Shaposhnikova and India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Ju.M.Vorontsov, L.V.Shaposhnikova
and India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

"Well, and what shall we talk about today?"  he used to say with enigmatic smile.
       These conversations I will remember forever. And as I stood once more in the courtyard of the villa surrounded by the holiday crowds, I realized that those conversations had their mysterious implied meaning and it was only becoming apparent to me with the passage of time.
      He  told me that  Yelena Ivanovna's archives formed the philosophical basis of the Roerich creative heritage. Some days later he took me up the slope behind the villa to see “Urusvati” Institute of Himalayan  Research, which I knew had ceased functioning in the Second World War.  

We were ascending a gentle slope for 500 metres via a footpath winding up and ending on a small level area overgrown with fresh green grass. Here were located two Institute buildings. One of them had a signboard  “Urusvati”.

He told me that the twenty-acre site consisting of slope and a small wood occupied by the Institute, had been allocated for this purpose by his father Nikolai Konstantinovich. And pointing to the two buildings, he explained that in one the Institute's foreign research graduates had lived and worked with the laboratories in the other.
     A little way down the slope a pile of stones could be seen, which had evidently been the foundations to a building - a house where Tibetan Llamas lived while assisting Yury Nikolaevich Roerich in his linguistic researches.
     The sound of our footsteps resounded through the empty buildings as we traversed one room after another until we came to a door with a massive padlock on it.    Its   rusty mechanism would not yield but at last the door opened with a crack and pushing at it we entered a large hall.   Light barely found its way through the tightly closed shutters. When my eyes became used to the twilight I saw heaps of boxes piled one on top of another, all covered with a thick layer of dust. And on the walls there stood glass fronted bookcases.                        

“Our collections!”   Svyatoslav  Nikolaevich announced.

These consisted of materials of great scientific value garnered from the Roerich Central Asian expedition and also from “Urusvati” Institute expeditions and had remained untouched for decades.   Packed away in the boxes and glass cases were a collection of valuable ethnographical and archeological finds, also an ornithological collection numbering about 400 species of rare birds - some of them already extinct. There was  a botanical collection consisting of a complete record of the Kulu valley flora and also a geological one of many rare mineral substances, plus zoological, pharmacological and paleontologist collections.

We went through into the next room. Here the walls were covered with bookshelves containing 4000 volumes. In the same building was discovered a fully equipped biochemistry laboratory. What an age has passed since anyone took a book from the shelf or used the laboratory. Yet the atmosphere was not of desolation and decline. On the contrary it seemed almost as though they had just popped out for a minute for reasons beyond their control.  They had succeeded only in packing up collections and locking the library and laboratory doors.

Jawaharlal Nehru. 1942. Painting by Svyatoslav Roerich

Jawaharlal Nehru. 1942.
Painting by Svyatoslav Roerich

Svyatoslav Nikolaevich sadly bowed his head. “This is all that remains of “Urusvati”. But I don't see why Soviet scientists couldn't work here”. With a smile he remembered: “My father and brother often spoke of this possibility. Why couldn't Soviet and Indian scientists work together?” He looked around him.  “All this could be at their disposal. What Russians began, Russians should continue...”

And the subject of “what Russians started, Russians should continue” kept on being the topic of our daily conversations thereafter.êîíåöôîðìûíà÷àëîôîðìû
      ”You must realize”, Svyatoslav Nikolaevich explained, “the institute is not just any old scientific institution. The very foundations of our science have been laid here. The Institute did not thrive during the War and immediately afterwards and research work and scientific methodology, that have been its basis, was interrupted. Everything that has been achieved is due not to us, the Roerichs, but to our Teacher who created  “The Living Ethics”, and whose plans we implemented. You know, all this had been perfectly conceived and even greater fulfilled. In all these undertakings we participated there was not only the future of the new science but also the future of the evolution of mankind, its transformation and new forms of existence”.

The expressions “new epoch” and “new thinking” were to occur more and more frequently in our conversations. Until some days later Svyatoslav Nikolaevich asked me to convey to the USSR Academy of Sciences his suggestion for a joint project with India, namely that a group of Soviet scientists come to Kulu to work at the Institute of Himalayan researches. After my return to Moscow I presented the paperwork to the relevant authority for approval. But progress was slow. Conditions kept changing and problems proliferated. And Svyatoslav Nikolaevich's plan has still not been realized.
         But in 1997 when I visited Kulu after attending the Roerich Memorial Trust board meeting in Simla, I saw that the building where Institute foreign workers used to live had been redecorated and there was an exhibition of Arts and Craft of the Himalayan peoples.
         Subsequent Roerich anniversary celebrations coincided with redecoration of the second building, and at last it appeared the Institute had definite prospects for the future. And it seemed certain the future would involve both Russian and Indian scientists. And everything that had been accomplished by the Roerichs in India was connected with Russia. The current Roerich anniversary celebrations held this year in India confirmed this. Representatives of the highest government level participated in the celebrations, and, namely, Ministers of the states of Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka, Indian prominent cultural and public figures. At the end of the ICR delegation 's stay in India Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, honoured President of the ICR - Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador Ju. M.Vorontsov and Vice–President, General Director of the International Nicholas Roerich Centre - Museum L.V. Shaposhnikova by an official receiving. Then they attended a reception given by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The common theme running through the statements of both ministers of the states where the Roerichs had lived and worked and also through those of the Prime Minister’s and the Minister’s for Foreign Affairs was the Roerich's creation of a cultural- spiritual bridge between India and Russia which was now proving of great value in offsetting difficult circumstances in present relations between India and Russia.

It was no mere accident that the Roerichs had appeared in India. To go there was their dream and they were not alone in this.
        The magnetism of India has been experienced by many and was probably the star quality of this ancient country and still is. What is the secret of this magnetism? It is first and foremost due to the continuity of cultural tradition as the basis for all life in India. In spite of the eons of time passing over its snowy mountains, sultry plains and scorching deserts, still the main thread of cultural succession was never broken off and it seems this happened not by chance. Many peoples moved over the expanses of India and did not disappear without trace as happened with the ancient Egyptians, the Sumers and many other peoples whose traces have not yet been discovered. These most mysterious and ancient of peoples went on existing in India with their culture and century-old traditions. Culture that has continuously developed has formed the spiritual features of the face of India expressed in unsurpassed masterpieces of art, refined jewels of Indian philosophical concepts and wisdom. Culture and Beauty have created in India over the course of many centuries a dynamic field of powerful and subtle energy forming the basis for India's future development and evolution. Fate and the Gods desire that on this planet there should be at least one country with the ability to express most wonderfully the evolutionary essence of Culture and Beauty. India has been granted this great honour. It is a distinguishing feature of India that its culture is attuned to the worlds of higher dimensions and its receptivity to them is being expressed in philosophical concepts and the ability to apply them wisely. Other countries and peoples benefited from an energy-information dialogue with Indian culture gaining the invaluable treasures of a new and different approach to the quest for human excellence, wise practices to aid spiritual development and finally, a cosmic view on the evolution of Humanity as a result.  The Indian from time immemorial has seemed to mentally plunge themselves into the great spaces of the Universe and gained an understanding thereof such as the rest of us are only just beginning to experience.   Such a process and a feeling of unity with the Cosmos have seemed to transform India into a spiritual magnet or the spiritual heart of the planet.
           Even though India has a strong spiritual culture it is not some kind of idyllic Ashram isolated from the world. On the contrary it is situated at the crossroads of many trade routes and so did not escape frequent invasions, interferences and wars. From time immemorial and even in our time strange tribes and peoples as if drawn by a magnet have been making incursions into India. However none of them including the Moslems of Central Asia became its conquerors in the true sense of the word. That is to say, none of them succeeded in spite of numerous attempts, in absorbing its people. On the contrary, the incoming kept on being assimilated by India as India adopted the best in their cultures casting aside the rest.  The energy field of the intruders' culture seemed much weaker than that of Indian culture.  This fact decided the destiny of peoples coming into contact with India. As no military or administrative ploy used by the would-be conquerors, even intermarriage, had the desired result.  It was the strength of the energy field that decided the end result.  The conquerors were stuck like flies in honey in the energy field of Indian culture and have remained there ever since.

Glacial Mountains. Painting by Svyatoslav Roerich

Glacial Mountains.
Painting by Svyatoslav Roerich

An unbroken chain in the line of cultural succession in India created there the still unique institution of spiritual teachers - Ghuru. Ever since, Teachers have had a beneficial influence on the morals and creative capacities of its people. And the profound respect for a Teacher we observe in India today is both the cause of its high moral standards and elevated consciousness, and the explanation for them.

These features decorating India had attracted highly educated and highly spiritual family of the Roerichs to this country. Among other things Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich was drawn to it by the search of the most ancient common source of Indian and Slavic peoples culture. Many facts were evidence of such a source existing. Not only certain identity of languages and national traditions dating back to the antiquity spoke about this cultural affinity, but also the common in psychology of both peoples suggested serious reflections. Therefore the Roerichs stayed in India for many years and with the help of it they accomplished a lot. In cooperation with great Teachers of India having been at higher stage of evolution the Roerichs created the philosophy of real Cosmos, that of “the Living Ethics Teaching”. It has been the beginning of new cosmic thought developing on our planet. Yelena Ivanovna Roerich – an outstanding philosopher, played here a major part.  Institute of Himalayan Researches, organized by the Roerichs, was one of the first sprouts of new science connected with a new system of knowledge. At the Institute there arose a complex synthetic methodology and there had been applied as one of the major methods the expeditionary one. Outstanding scientists of India and of the world such as A.Einstein, R.Milliken, J.Chandra Bos,  N.I.Vavilov cooperated with the Institute. The Roerichs undertook the largest expedition of the XX century – that of Central – Asian, and before the Second World War developed the Pact for the protection of all cultural treasures. The pact was named after Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich.

Svyatoslav Nikolaevich Roerich participated in all the actions and undertakings of the great family. He was an outstanding artist, philosopher, scientist, engaged in natural sciences, and at that a prominent public man. Two high sources - the family and spiritual culture of India built up his human qualities. The harmonious combination of these two sources created one of the greatest figures of Russia and India.

All creative work of Svyatoslav Nikolaevich Roerich  and other members of this family had been penetrated with ideas of philosophy of real Cosmos. N.K.Roerich called the outlook of this philosophy the energy one.  Energy is the main condition and the main motive power of Cosmic evolution of mankind. All those, the carrier of which is man, his feelings, ideas, spirit, body, traditions, aspirations, perception, and creative activity are energetic by its essence and interacts with general Cosmic energy.

To tell simply that Svyatoslav Nikolaevich was the follower of energy outlook, then to tell little. He was not only the follower, but also the interpreter of this outlook. Being a fundamental philosopher, he managed to comprehend and develop its major principles and ideas in his own way. “Our inherent aspiration to something more perfect, more beautiful”, he spoke about the sources of his inspiration, “is that great internal force which changes us and our life as well. Without this internal flame a person cannot evoke in himself latent energies and ascend higher level of knowledge and experience. This internal aspiration to his culmination arouses certain nerves which are conductors of the latent energy” (S.N. Roerich. “To Strive for the Beautiful”. М., 1993. p. 5). “Internal striving for culmination” being surprisingly exact words gives us an idea of the level of thinking and literary abilities of Svyatoslav Nikolaevich. He was attracted by energy processes, to which he was the closest. The experience in perceiving these processes he saved up in the course of his life. Beauty, its essence, role and energy were sure to take in this experience the first place. “Inexpressible aura of glory, emanated by a great work of art”, he explained,  “to be the emanation of latent vibrations fixed in the structure of the great work of art. Magic of feelings, ideas and strong desires of Great Masters is embodied in a work of art, radiating on a spectator and wakens in us a similar response, besides purely energy and spiritual understanding of what is spoken. We respond on more perfect combinations and name them beautiful. We appreciate more perfect balance and harmony as we respond on natural evolutionary stream causing more perfect forms and combinations of color, sound, word and form. These great works of art are pantries of enormous energies, which can stir up the millions of spectators to greater activity, change them and affect uncountable generations through the message of beauty emanating from them. Such is an unusual power of art, latent force always present and active in a great work of art”. (S.N Roerich. “To Strive for the Beautiful”. М., 1993. p. 6).  In such words Svyatoslav Nikolaevich stated his understanding of beauty in all its energy richness. “Natural evolutionary stream discovering more perfect forms and combinations of color, sound, word and form”, is indeed the Truth formulated by Svyatoslav Nikolaevich to put  Beauty, expressed in genuine art, into energy line of Cosmic evolution, devoting it a major role in this evolution and explaining primordial, quite often unconscious, thirst of  man to Beauty. For Beauty has been that supreme energy, forming  “the natural evolutionary stream”, having been narrated in “the Living Ethics” books. “It is real and obvious to me, that art and beauty possess supernatural forces”, he explains. He uses a word “supernatural” not at all in its ordinary sense, but remembering that energy of high vibrations to be so far inaccessible to a man.

Beauty, with which we get in touch in our gross physical world, can be divided into two groups: Beauty, created by energy of Nature and embodying its spirit and force, and man-made Beauty, being a result of creative work of man himself, also embodying his force or energy of his spirit. Arising at different levels, Beauty, both natural and man-made, has nevertheless much in common for both of them submit to common energy laws, which we name Laws of Cosmos. Being an artist and a thinker Svyatoslav Nikolaevich was attracted, first of all, by the mystery of man-made Beauty. He studies its mechanisms, aspires to determine its latent springs and to reveal its concealed roots. He considered rightly that Beauty couldn’t be created without supreme ideal. The destruction of this ideal, spiritual or aesthetic, results in disfiguring of life, destruction of its evolutionary core. The loss of this supreme aesthetic ideal we note now all over the world, as well as in our country where the destroyed ideal has been changed by false values of western so-called masscult, which mutilates unstable energy of those who anyhow appeared to be subjected to the influence of such “culture”. From this point of view the works of Svyatoslav  Nikolaevich are of imperishable value for us. The Messenger of Beauty and its creator, he incessantly explained its evolutionary significance, insisting, as his father did, on the cogency of this meaning: “Search of the beautiful is hereditary evolutionary force”.

This “hereditary evolutionary force” had sounded in man from the very beginning of his existence and developed in him in the course of millennia of his history. Without this natural force neither culture, nor creative work, nor tie with the Supreme could not be generated. This force itself to be of religious character, as well as the earliest petroglyphs, carved by man on a rock, or his first murals in caves, or figurines of gods, moulded by him of clay. In other words, art having arisen at the dawn of human consciousness as the first star of communication with the other world had already held in itself spiritual - energy force of Beauty search.

From my numerous conversations with Svyatoslav Nikolaevich I understood how thoroughly and seriously he was absorbed with the question what exactly promotes Great Masters appearance in art and what is their real role in evolution. He involved me in reflections about all this, and at times we even argued. But he always turned out to be right. Once during one of my visits to him he handed me a pile of typewritten sheets. It was his lecture on humanism in art in one of Indian universities. And in it I found the fundamental formulation concerning Great Souls and Great Masters. “These searches of superior values recur periodically, and as the culmination has been generally the moment when creative power, dormant so far, opens and Great Souls appear as if drawn by an invisible unknown magnet to create new forms and combinations using all accumulated experience of the past. This revaluation of superior human values has been always one of the powerful incentive for progression” (S.N. Roerich. “To Strive for the Beautiful” М., 1993. p. 7).

“This was the revaluation of superior human values”, that founded the next step of evolutionary scale of cosmic ascent of mankind having been created by Great Souls and Great Masters. This idea of Svyatoslav Nikolaevich revealed the very essence of the creative process with the Great Beings to crown it. Their apparition, or, more likely, the advent, was connected with spiritual work of the whole generations of mankind, which participated in energy - informational exchange with the Supreme.  The Great Master is the manifestation of the Supreme creation on the Earth, in which the worlds of various conditions of matter and its various dimensions participate. Actually it is the process of transfiguration of man itself and his achievement of a higher degree, that of God-Man, the process, the indication on which we find in “the Living Ethics”. In Great Master, in his creative work seem to sound strings of unearthly worlds for no phenomenon on the earth can be perceived or understood without this unearthly music, without its subtle energy to present also in each of us and assemble worlds of our spirit.  The creative work of Great Master arises somewhere on the thinnest verge connecting unearthly worlds with that of ours, the verge which will reflect through light or idea, the Beauty of these worlds in work of art itself.

In archives of the International Centre of the Roerichs, after Svyatoslav Nikolaevich handed down the heritage of his parents to Russia, in one of his letters I found out such words: “Our creative process is the embodiment of our inner world, our spirit sounding. But as it happens to be difficult, at times impossible, to put into words what we feel in our heart of hearts, it is as difficult, or even more difficult to embody it in two dimensions [on a canvas].  Any genuine creative work is inseparably linked with the inner world of an artist and to a certain extent is the yardstick of his true ego. I say “to a certain extent” for different physical restrictions inevitably set their seal”  (Department of Manuscripts of the ICR. File № 10955. Sheet № 86-89).

The experience of Svyatoslav Nikolaevich himself was so rich and various, that, he as nobody else seemed to feel those “physical restrictions” of our gross world to become apparent with special force in creative process. In this very space there arises contradiction to be the essence of an interaction between desirable and real, between dream and its realization. This desirable and dream are born in the unearthly world, but are embodied on the Earth. Therefore creative work in the field of beauty and arts bears us breath and aroma of the other worlds, lighting us up with their energy. And loftier in his aspirations and ideals is Master; more appreciable is the energy of the worlds of other dimensions. Great Master by his work and talent overcomes the contradiction between gross and subtle state of matter and approaches at the most, being in the gross world, to subtle concepts - to those of desirable and dream. He as though overcomes the resistance of gross matter, making breakthrough to unexplored depths of Cosmos, getting in touch with the worlds of higher dimensions and absorbing their energy. This energy was named by Vazari Heavenly Fire. This Heavenly Fire of Beauty and inspiration may possibly draw us to creations of Great Masters, influence us and organize our energy in that solely true direction to correspond the natural stream of evolution itself. Svyatoslav Nikolaevich spoke about that mysterious force, which lies in perfect proportions of genuine art.

“Truth is in Beauty”, “the Living Ethics” tells.  “Cosmos asserts the evolution on this formula. Cosmos directs our world to mastering Beauty” (Infinity, 178). Investigating and comprehending “the sacred empire of Beauty”, as Svyatoslav Nikolaevich called it,  he found in it all the new facets. Being an original philosopher and possessing perfectly an energy outlook of “the Living Ethics”, Svyatoslav Nikolaevich in his writings, statements, in heart-to-heart talks invariably directed our attention to those aspects of energy process of Beautiful we could not perhaps notice. 

Spiritual field of India always attracted great artists and great thinkers. This was Svyatoslav Nikolaevich, that undoubtedly belongs to them. His creative work is inseparably linked with life and culture of this country. On his canvases there blaze colours of India and lives its unforgettable beauty.

It is India that favoured Svyatoslav Nikolaevich with pleasure of meetings and regular contacts with High Beings, to rank much higher above us on the scale of Cosmic evolution. These were Great Souls, or Teachers of the Roerichs, in cooperation with Whom the philosophy of real Cosmos, that of “the Living Ethics” was created. “Thanks to parents”, Svyatoslav Nikolaevich told, “I understood the great values of life and had contacts with Those, who long ago passed by great and regal way of self-release”. Svyatoslav Nikolaevich to his last breath maintained close contact with the Great Teacher. When all members of the Roerichs’ family passed away and he remained alone, this connection lightened much in his difficult life. Telling me about the Teacher (and it happened quite often), about His attributes and distinctive features, about his first meeting with Him, Svyatoslav Nikolaevich observed wonderful care and tactfulness. Sometimes he called Teachers “more perfect people to find them can only those who are ready for this and whom They Themselves want to meet”. When he spoke about Teachers his face became strict, eyes found wonderful depth and his look receded into somewhere in mysterious space. Observing him at such moments, I could not get rid of a kind of inner feeling to meet in his person one of Those Who is named Great Soul and on Whose lot there had fallen hard and lonely life on our planet. Many years after I found in Yelena Ivanovna's letter the confirmation to this feeling of mine. But in his relations with people and, perhaps, with me he never gave me to understand neither by word, nor by hint, that he belongs to the cohort of perfect people. At times he was unpredictable and performed unexpected deeds, the real meaning of those was seized up later. He fully appreciated that ignorant and uncultured people would try to make of the fact of existence of Teachers and their great regal way” a sort of commonplace sensation or means for their own glorifying.

Wise and deep is the idea of Svyatoslav Nikolaevich, expressed in one of our conversations: “One should less teach each other. The main thing is self-perfection. One should begin with self-alteration. It is the basis of all. Then we can help the others. He considered teaching to be a help to a  neighbour but not a means of self-elevation. This idea is full of profound ethical sense. He frequently spoke about the future, considering that all connected with the Roerichs’ ideas work for the benefit of the future. What did he think of the future himself? And how did he advance it? What did he do for it at his last years? I got the answer to these questions in Bangalore where he lived for some decades of his life. In 1992 I visited his workshop in his out-of-town estate where two years before I worked with the Roerichs’ heritage, preparing it for export to Russia.

The workshop looked now as before. Bronze statuettes were on their places; the same tanks and miniatures were hung on the walls. On the floor, leaned against bookshelves and covered with polyethylene wrapping, there stood pictures of Svyatoslav Nikolaevich himself. Many of the paintings were familiar to me by exhibitions, reproductions and due to personal contacts with the author here, in the same workshop. It was beauty created by the great artist. But here, taken out of polyethylene wrapping, there glittered the paintings I did not see before. Glowing colours, strange, earth, and at the same time unearth, forms. The delicate beautiful female face arose from some quaint clouds, a village and at the same time not a village, a river flowing through mountains and illuminating them from within. Even now I am at a loss to give the exact description of what I had seen. But then I understood that on two-dimensional canvas space Svyatoslav Nikolaevich had depicted the subtle world of the fourth dimension, and perhaps, even a higher one. He saw and penetrated into this world by his subtle centres and high energy. Having at his disposal the language of two-dimensional space, he managed with its help to approach to the other world, to open a kind of a window into it and to prove by it boundless opportunities of art. The canvases held unique spiritual experience of the master himself and narrated about reality and availability of the other worlds. The paintings confirmed that man himself is a sort of a bridge between  worlds. “The Living Ethics”, relating about characteristics of the Cosmic evolution of mankind, asserts that rapprochement of the worlds of various dimensions, various states of matter is one of the major tasks of the approaching stage of the evolution. I contemplated the strange and unusual pictures of the great artist, the prophet and the sage, one of those who lightens our way to sparkling tops of the Spirit. Unfortunately, in half a year these pictures had been stolen together with the other family’s valuables by his secretary Mary Punacha. In spite of the fact that we are deprived an opportunity to see them, one can assert that Svyatoslav Nikolaevich fulfilled his mission as an artist, having approached to the Earth, Beauty of the  Subtle World.

After  he remained the sole of the Roerichs, and it lasted for 33 years, a great deal of time,  he considered his duty  to keep  memory of the gone Roerichs. In our talks Svyatoslav Nikolaevich frequently came back to his parents and elder brother. He spoke about the innermost they possessed. All the family was an indivisible spiritual phenomenon extremely seldom met in our everyday life. Being an integral part of this family, he reflected in himself as in a clear mirror each of the others. All the family presented a unique “hologram” which, as well as the real hologram, is impossible to be broken into separate parts. Each part, all the same, will give an integral image. Just as the Roerichs’ family itself: each of them embodied all the four - their tasks, evolutionary mission and creative work. Connected with Nikolai Konstantinovich by close filial ties, Svyatoslav Nikolaevich from time to time made himself as if go aside for a distance from a regal figure of his father to appreciate his greatness which he embodied as a person, an artist, a scientist and a thinker. And this detachment gave rise to the exact and bright words determining the essence of the great person. “Many years will go by”, he wrote,  “before Nikolai Konstantinovich's contribution to the treasury of culture of mankind and his profound foresight to the future will be comprehensively appreciated. His books include the most remarkable ideas and aspirations of peoples of all the countries. But it is a good distance in the future” (S.N. Roerich. To Strive for the Beautiful. М., 1993. P. 17). And there is no exaggeration in this assessment. Really, both Nikolai Konstantinovich, and all the Roerichs’ family worked on the Future, on the future evolution, on the processes, which were just forming in the depths of Cosmos to become apparent on the orbit of the new turn of Cosmic evolution.

Comprehending the universal importance of his father’s creative work Svyatoslav Nikolaevich mentioned as his crucial feature to be his close ties with Russia, his genuine patriotism and imperishable love to his Mother country. He himself did not accept the opinion of a number of Russian artists and the critics, especially widespread in the ‘80-‘90s of the last century, that Nikolai Konstantinovich could be regarded as a Russian artist only until his leaving for India. After that, as they saw it, he was not the Russian artist any more. I remember how in one of my visits to Bangalore Svyatoslav Nikolaevich invited me in his out-of-town estate and showed me wonderful pictures of his father. Many of them I had not known yet. We were sitting in his workshop, and two servants carefully one by one put on an easel the canvases of Nikolai Konstantinovich, painted in India. Hitherto it is difficult to forget the amazing impression these works produced on me by their deep beauty, illuming colours, the music of light each canvas sounded. I say “deep” for it is impossible to pick another word.

“Well, how”? Svyatoslav Nikolaevich asked. And I understood, that he was also, I don’t know for how many times, impressed by the magic influence of these canvases.

“I have no words”,  my answer was.

        “You know, I also had no words every time I saw Nikolai Konstantinovich's new picture. And by the way”, he asked smiling. “Can you define the nationality of a painter not knowing whose brush a picture is?”

The question was so unexpected, that I could not answer it at once. It didn’t come to my mind to search in pictures for any attributes of its author’s nationality. Having seen my embarrassment Svyatoslav Nikolaevich explained: “It is an important question, at least, for me. Is it possible to consider Nikolai Konstantinovich's paintings to be Russian?”

“And what do you think”? I asked.

He looked at me somehow pensively and told: “Surely!”.

“Why”? I asked.

“Let's sit in front of these pictures and we shall answer this question”.

After a while I understood, that there were indeed the pictures of a Russian artist. Adding to the originality of the style and the form, from the pictures, if it is possible to say so, there came some emanation, imperceptible, but quite a real one. There were no words to define this emanation. It was Pushkin that came to the aid. “Here is Russian spirit, Russia is in the air”. When I had cited these words, Svyatoslav Nikolaevich changed somehow and, I would say, lit up.

     “Ah, how wonderfully Pushkin said!”, he exclaimed. “Here is Russian spirit, Russia is in the air“.

Then, some time later, I understood all the seriousness of the question asked by Svyatoslav Nikolaevich. Comprehending the universal importance of his father creative work he regarded as the major feature of it his close ties with Russia, genuine patriotism and imperishable love to his  Mother country. That the Roerichs were Russians was not accident. Russia - India ties rise as fiery lightning over their life. Russia - India ties is not only historical and cultural concept, it is also an energy one, the essence of which opens the evolutionary mystery of such a union. “Russia – India are two magnets, two foundations”, Nikolai Konstantinovich wrote, bearing in mind their role for the future of our planet.

As well as the other Roerichs, Svyatoslav Nikolaevich loved Russia. He was fascinated with its culture and convinced of this country’s high mission. He always believed in its future and felt Russia as his Native land which he left being a twelve-year-old boy. His statements about Russia are deep and exact. I would like to cite some of them.

“I always believed”, he told, “that special, exclusive role is predetermined to Russia. In Russia the East and the West met. And not to mention its sizes, geographical position... All this is extremely important”. (S.N. Roerich. To Strive for the Beautiful. М., 1993. P. 18).

“The great, in essence, cosmic role on the Earth is predetermined to Russia”. (Ibidem).

And still: “Russia is the space of the future” (Ibidem). He regarded Russia as a country of evolutionary energy developed throughout centuries in its vast expanses. Russia was preferred by evolution itself, having been exempted neither from difficulties, nor from obstacles and sufferings, and from no sort of confrontations and conflicts.

Living for many years in India, the Roerichs worked for Russia. It is Russia to whom they bequeathed their creative heritage, which in 1990s was handed down by Svyatoslav Nikolaevich through the International Centre of the Roerichs. It contained paintings of N.K.Roerich and S.N. Roerich, archives, personal library and a number of things and relics, kept for long years in the family. Svyatoslav Nikolaevich himself proposed the idea of creating a Museum named after N.K. Roerich in Moscow. This Museum, according to the grantor’s plan, should have the status of  a public one not to be subordinate to the Ministry of Culture and the State Museum of the Orient. Thus the last of the Roerichs family accomplished the mission of the family connected with Russia. He believed that culture should not be subordinate to the State but it is the state that should assist financially the development of culture in the country. This opinion was shared by Dmitry Sergeevich Likhachev, the patriarch of Russian culture. In the course of time the International Centre of the Roerichs and the International Nicholas Roerich Centre - Museum turned into a popular Cultural Centre. But the State did not render the International Centre of the Roerichs any assistance and all the means, which this organization had at its disposal, were the voluntary donations collected throughout all Russia. Thus, there was strengthened the bridge between Russia and India that the Roerichs started to create in India even in the years of the Second World War. But if India at the highest level realizes the future value of cultural - spiritual connection of two countries, there happened nothing of the kind in new Russia. This situation was evident in the course of anniversary celebrations in honour of Svyatoslav Nikolaevich Roerich centenary. In spite of the fact that in Moscow there was established an organizing committee to celebrate the jubilee presided by the new Minister of Culture Alexander Sergeevich Sokolov  and with his help there was conducted the Grand anniversary sitting of the public in the Kolonny hall of the House of the Unions the unhealthy atmosphere arisen around the name of the Roerichs in general and the International Centre of the Roerichs in particular  took no turn for the better at all. Up to now the illegal governmental decree of 1993, violating S.N.Roerich’s last will, has been kept in force. Up to now 288 paintings of N.K.Roerich and S.N.Roerich, which Svyatoslav Nikolaevich included into his gift certificate, have not been returned by the State Museum of the Orient.  Up to now there is a complaint of the former Minister of Culture M.E.Shvydkoi in the Court. In it he tries to protest the ICR coming into possession with the Roerichs heritage. In the face of all the country the heritage of the senior son, Jury Nikolaevich Roerich, being in hands of the person who has no legal rights to it, is  squandered. There take place TV- programmes and radiobroadcasts with distortions and slanders on the Roerichs. Books where N.K.Roerich has been referrred to as a Soviet spy and a  person who craved for creating a new state in Central Asia are published. None of violations of the late grantor S.N.Roerich’s will has been corrected. The state departments, who use these violations at their own choosing, have been creating around the International Centre of the Roerichs heavy and nervous atmosphere. In contrast to India where accomplishments of our compatriots have been esteemed and respected and their significance in world culture development has been understood, Russia or, to put it more precisely, its state authorities have not understood the greatness of the Roerichs family and its outstanding contribution into cultural - spiritual interaction of India and Russia. Much seemed to be corrected this year when we have celebrated the jubilees of three Roerichs – those of Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich, Yelena Ivanovna Roerich and Svyatoslav Nikolaevich Roerich. But it has not happened so far. But whatever occurred, we should remember, that all the four Roerichs belong to that rare cohort of people whose importance in world culture and in the evolution of mankind increases more and more in the course of time. All of them worked on the Future, and this Future will render to them that high recognition which they have undoubtedly deserved.


The International Centre of the Roerichs


© The International Council of Roerich Organizations. All rights reserved.