Excerpts from the books “Altai – Himalayas”,
“Heart of Asia” and “Himalayas”
with authentic texts about Saint Issus
Roerich, his expedition and finds
Perhaps it would take a long time to search to find a greater variety of talents contained in one person: archaeologist, anthropologist, traveler, hunter, diplomat, mystic, poet, writer and lecturer, painter, theater artist, curator of culture -Nicholas Roerich, the perfect man of the Renaissance …
His life was a search for Truth. Twice this search brought him to Central Asia, during the first expedition (1924-28) he passed through Sikkim, Punjab, Kashmir, Ladak, Karakorum, Khotan, Kashgar, Urumchi, Irtysh, Altai Mountains, Oirot region, Mongolia, Central Gobi, Kansu, Tsaidam, Tibet and secretly visited Moscow 1 .
Born in St. Petersburg, Russia on October 10, 1874, Nicholas Roerich spent most of his youth near Gatchina, twenty-five miles south of the city, on the Izvara family estate. There he developed a passion for hunting and a passion for natural history and archeology. He wrote adventure stories and poems for a magazine for hunters, and at the age of fifteen he illustrated the story of his accidental (and dangerous) meeting with a bear. The artist Mikhail Mikeshin noticed his drawings, approved of his abilities and gave him his first drawing lessons.
Nikolai aspired to a career as an artist, but his father, a renowned lawyer, insisted on studying law. Then he began to study both, entering the Academy of Arts and St. Petersburg University in 1893. In 1898 he was appointed professor at the Imperial Archaeological Institute, and in 1901 he married Elena Ivanovna Shaposhnikova, niece of the famous composer M.P. Mussorgsky and grand-niece of Field Marshal M.I. Kutuzov, a Russian general whose strategy of unlimited retreat helped defeat Napoleon in 1812. The Roerichs had two sons – Yuri, a scientist, and Svyatoslav, an artist.
Elena Ivanovna was an outstanding woman of exceptional erudition, deeply spiritual, with a brilliant intellect, an excellent pianist and a prolific writer in the esoteric tradition of Eastern religion. In addition to the books published by her under her own name, it is known that she wrote under five pseudonyms, two of them: Josephine Saint-Hilaire and Natalia Rokotova 2 . From time to time, unexpectedly, it is possible to detect gleams of her activities. For example, she corresponded with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934, which suggests the importance of its work 3 . But in general, little is known about her, as she deliberately kept in the shadows.
The Roerichs were not only extremely gifted, but also loving and inspired people. “I want to say that no one else constantly emitted such light and involuntary joy as Roerich and Mrs. Roerich,” wrote Georgy Grebenshchikov, writer and friend. “The days of our meetings were days of the highest spiritual uplift both for my wife and for myself ; we were ready to sacrifice anything when one of the Roerichs invited us 4. “
In the early nine hundredths, when the Roerichs traveled a lot across Russia and Europe, Professor Roerich painted pictures, conducted archaeological excavations, studied architecture, lectured and wrote vivid works about painting and archeology. At the invitation of the ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev, he became a member of the famous St. Petersburg society “World of Art” and for some time was its president. In his journal Society “seeks to express the ideal of art for art”, a concept in which “art was seen form of mystical experience, a means by which the eternal beauty can be expressed and passed – almost a new kind of religion” 5 .
In 1906, Roerich was appointed director of the School for the Support of the Fine Arts in Russia. In 1907 he began to apply his talents as a theater and costume designer, and later worked on performances by Diaghilev and Igor Stravinsky’s ballet “The Rite of Spring”. The next year he became a member of the board of the Imperial Architectural Society, and in 1909 he was elected an academician of the Russian Imperial Academy of Arts.
Roerich led a fruitful and eventful life and often found himself at the forefront of important events. At the dawn of the Bolshevik revolution, in March 1917, Maxim Gorky summoned his compatriots, artists, to a meeting in St. Petersburg. They elected a Council for the Arts, which met at the Winter Palace. Roerich was its chairman for two months.
At that time, he became a candidate for the post of Minister of Fine Arts and was invited to serve in the government in this or any other position. Thinking about missing valuable collection of old paintings belonging to Roerich, “American Art Journal” (June 1921) noted that the fate of paintings “is unknown because it has not taken a high position offered him by the Bolsheviks” 6 . Feeling an imminent catastrophe, Nikolai Konstantinovich took his family to Finland, thus ending his career in Mother Russia.
At the invitation of Dr. Robert Horsch, director of the Art Institute of Chicago, Roerich came to the United States in 1920. By that time, he had already painted more than 2,500 paintings, and as an artist he enjoyed international recognition. Nevertheless, he caused a sensation in the world of fine arts.
“Roerich’s paintings are so majestic because of their enormous life-affirming conviction in these turbulent days,” wrote the prominent art critic Olin Downs. “In our modern society, so self-confident and so limited, he gives his fellow artists a prophetic example of the must attain – expressions of Inner Life ” 7 .
Roerich’s works include views of nature, themes inspired by history, architecture, religion, many are written in the style of Old Russian church icon painting, others are mystical, allegorical, epic or sublime, and some, like “The Last Angel”, are prophetic. He was influenced by a great many artists – from A.I. Kuindzhi, his teachers at the Academy of Arts, before Gauguin and Van Gogh – and various painting schools. But his school was his own creation.
However, his style is difficult to describe, because, as the architect Claude Bragdon said about this, he belongs to the chosen brotherhood of artists, which includes da Vinci, Rembrandt, Blake, and in music Beethoven, and his works have “a unique, deep and truly mystical quality , which distinguishes them from the works of their contemporaries, making it impossible to rank them in any well-known category, or ascribe them to any school, since they are similar only to themselves and to each other, as a kind of – standing outside space and time – order dedicated ” 8 .
Roerich was an artist of a stunning style, whose paintings, often animated with joyful colors, have a tangible impact on the viewer. Henry Wallace (Secretary of State for Agriculture 1933-40 gg., Vice-President of the United States, 1941-45.) Said that the paintings of Roerich “inspired him a sense of inner peace” 9 . And some claimed that his art literally transferred them to other areas, or at least opened their vision. “The genius of Roerich’s imagination reaches the limits of clairvoyance,” wrote the great Russian novelist Leonid Andreyev 10 .
In his essay “The Inner Meaning of Roerich’s Art” Ivan Narodny wrote: “At the very moment when I saw the paintings of Nicholas Roerich, exhibited in the galleries of Kingor, in New York, my gaze was fascinated by an unknown wonderful country that made my soul hear the sounds of bells , choirs, organs, orchestras and aeolian harps … Looking at Roerich’s drawings, I was immersed in thoughts, dreams and spiritual tears – emotions that pilgrims experience, kneeling in prayer before miraculous icons ” 11 .
As if supporting the veracity of reports of such lofty visions or exclamations: “Roerich’s painting is not of this world!” – Yuri Gagarin, the first person to be in space (April 12, 1961), while in orbit, wrote in his journal: “The rays shone through the Earth’s atmosphere, the horizon became bright orange, gradually turning into all the colors of the rainbow: from light -blue to dark blue, purple and then black. What an indescribable range of colors! Just like the paintings of the artist Nicholas Roerich ” 12 .
Roerich traveled a lot across America, exhibited his paintings, moved in the best circles of society, lectured at the most privileged girls’ schools and at Marshall Field’s department store, where he taught “spiritual dress” and the harmonization of a person’s aura with his clothes 13 .
He founded in 1921 the Cor Ardens International Society of Artists, * the Institute for United Arts, and in 1922 the Corona Mundi International Arts Center. / ‘”Burning Heart”. Approx. per. “” The crown of the world. Approx. Per /. After creating the project of his first expedition to Asia, he sailed to India in 1923 to prepare for the journey.
The Trustees of the Institute for the United Arts founded the Roerich Museum in New York in 1923. The museum housed a huge number of Roerich’s paintings, and, embodying Roerich’s idea of the unity of art, it quickly became, according to historian Robert Williams, “a truly cultural enterprise that from the late 1920s to the early 1930s subsidized exhibitions, lectures and concerts. prominent artists, musicians and writers ” 14 .
In 1928, Roerich founded the Himalayan Research Institute “Urusvati” * / “Light of the Morning Star”. Approx. lane / in the beautiful Kulu Valley in Nagar in India, which was a center for the study of ethnographic and archaeological materials.
During his life, Roerich created an astonishing number of paintings – about 7,000, wrote more than 1,200 works on all sorts of topics, represented a certain – certain – force thanks to which the Great Seal of the United States appeared on the dollar bill, and was nominated as a candidate for the Nobel Prize peace in 1929 and 1935. for the efforts made to consolidate peace through art and culture and to preserve artistic values during the war.
Back in 1904, Roerich put forward a draft treaty on the preservation of the world cultural heritage, proposed this idea to Tsar Nicholas II in 1914 and wrote a draft treaty in the language of international law in 1929.
The third international conference of Roerich’s Banner of Peace, held in November 1933, marked a turning point in the campaign to ratify the treaty that became widely known as the Roerich Pact. Essentially, the Pact obliged nations to treat museums, universities, cathedrals, and libraries the same way as hospitals. As during the war, hospitals hung out the Red Cross flag, cultural institutions were supposed to hang Roerich’s “Banner of Peace” – three red spheres enclosed in a red circle on the white field.
Efforts to promote the Pact were primarily warmly supported by the Secretary of State for Agriculture Henry Wallace – at the time an admirer and, it is said, a spiritual disciple of Roerich. This conference was a major event for the Washington elite. Senator Robert Wagner attended as honorary chairman, and fourteen US senators, two congressmen, sixteen governors, the head of the United States Military Academy, and several college rectors were honorary members of the convention 15 .
April 15, 1935 Roerich finally saw the Pan-American treaty embodying the Pact signed at the White House of the United States and representatives of twelve Latin American countries 16 .
Biographers wrote a lot about all aspects of Roerich’s life, except one: about the “keystone of the vault” of all his aspirations, about the force that gave direction, unity and meaning to his multifaceted activity – his spiritual life.
Somewhere along its path, the Roerichs acquired a deep understanding of the literature and traditions of esoteric religion, especially esoteric Buddhism. Undoubtedly, Nicholas Roerich’s knowledge of the intimate features of the East, combined with his many-sided experience and great scholarship, explains why almost everywhere during his first trip to Central Asia he was received with honors, why the Chinese admired his scholarship and called him “Initiate” and why in Mongolian The report said that “such great world personalities as Roerich follow the path of Bodhisattvas of the highest order, like perfect lights of our century … Therefore, our country considers the visit of Professor Roerich … a great honor and joy” 17 .
It is not easy to trace the development of Roerich’s spiritual life. The veil of obscurity, according to some of his followers, was the result of the Roerichs’ persistent efforts to preserve the sphere of reverent reverence for the mystery surrounding their personal life and spiritual experience.
One of Roerich’s biographers, Dr. Garabed Pilian, believes that the first impulses of spiritual awakening began in the early childhood of Nicholas with the appearance in his dreams of a figure dressed in white 18 . Some followers of Roerich argue that his teacher of painting Kuindzhi, a man resembling Saint Francis in character, was at one time his guru. Paying tribute Kuindji Roerich recalled: “I was happy to have his first teacher as an exceptional man of outstanding masters, Kuindzhi was not only a wonderful artist, but also a great teacher of life.” 19 .
Some believe that Kuindzhi may have introduced Roerich to esoteric ideas and literature. But what exactly he taught Roerich, besides painting, is shrouded in mystery, and whether he was his guru is a very controversial issue. Nevertheless, in the article ‘Turu-Teacher’, published in Shambhala, Roerich writes that Kuindzhi was “a real guru for his disciples in the highest Hindu concept.” He speaks of Kuindzhi, who possessed “the authority of a Guru,” but asks the question “where does he [Kuindzhi] idea of the true teaching in the purest oriental sense, I do not know” 20 .
Be that as it may, the Roerichs for some time were members of the Theosophical Society, studied its literature (later Helena Roerich translated into Russian the “Secret Doctrine” of H.P. Blavatsky) and in 1919 or 1920, according to reports of some of their followers , established contact with the great Mahatmas of the East Moriya and Kut Humi.
When the Roerichs lived in the United States, a group of adherents familiar with their spiritual activities considered Nicholas Roerich to be their guru. Over the years, the Roerichs wrote a large number of books on a wide variety of spiritual topics. Most of them do not contain any biographical information. Some do not have the author’s signature, while others, at least this concerns Helena Roerich, are written under pseudonyms.
Carried away by their unquenchable love for the East and the numerous secrets that he kept for them, the Roerichs left in 1923 on a heroic journey across Asia that lasted four and a half years. The expedition was attended by Nikolai Konstantinovich, Elena Ivanovna, their son Yuri (scientist) and several more Europeans.
Their son Svyatoslav (artist) and Lama Lobsang Mingyur Dorje, a specialist in Tibetan literature, joined the party at one stage of the journey. They passed through Sikkim, India, Kashmir, Ladakh, Tibet, China, Mongolia and Russia. In short, their route covered Central Asia.
“Of course, my main aspiration as an artist was artistic work.” – wrote Roerich in “The Heart of Asia”, a brief overview from his travel diary. – “It’s hard to imagine when I will be able to embody all the artistic notes and impressions – so generous are these gifts from Asia.
No museum, no book will give the right to depict Asia or any other countries, if you have not seen them with your own eyes, if you have not made at least some memorable notes on the spot. Persuasiveness, this magical quality of creativity, inexplicable in words, is created only by layering true impressions of reality. Mountains everywhere mountains, water everywhere water, sky everywhere sky, and people everywhere people. But nevertheless, if you, sitting in the Alps, depict the Himalayas, something ineffable, convincing will be absent.
In addition to artistic tasks, in our expedition we had in mind to get acquainted with the position of antiquities in Central Asia, observe the current state of religion, customs and mark the traces of the great migration of peoples. ” 21 The expedition fulfilled its tasks in full.
For a long time, the Roerichs had no connection with the West. After a long silence, on May 24, 1928, a telegram reached New York. Her succinct phrases convey the atmosphere of the journey: “The American expedition of Roerich, after many difficulties, reached the Himalayas. This ended the great Central Asian expedition. Many artistic and scientific results. Several series of paintings have already been sent to New York. We hope that the last package from Mongolia has reached intact A lot of observations about Buddhism.
The expedition set off in 1924 from Sikkim, through Punjab, Kashmir, Ladakh, Karakorum, Khotan, Kashgar, Karashar, Urumchi, Irtysh, Altai Mountains, Oirota region, Mongolia, Central Gobi, Kansu, Tsaydom and Tibet.
The peaceful American flag has traveled across Central Asia. Everywhere they were warmly received, except for the authorities of Khotan and Lhasa. Further advancement of the expedition from Khotan was accompanied by the British Consul in Kashgar. On the territory of Tibet, they were attacked by armed robbers. The superiority of our rifles prevented bloodshed. Despite Tibetan passports, the expedition was forcibly stopped by the Tibetan authorities on October 6, two days north of Nagchu. With brutal cruelty, the expedition was held up for five months at 15,000 feet, in summer tents amid the fierce cold of about 40 degrees Celsius.
The expedition was running out of fuel and forage. While staying in Tibet, five people died – Mongols, Buryats and Tibetans, and twelve animals from the caravan also died. By order of the authorities, all letters and telegrams addressed to the government of Lhasa and the British authorities of Calcutta were intercepted. It is forbidden to talk to passing caravans. It is forbidden to buy food from the population. Money and medicine have run out. The presence of three women in the caravan and the medical certificate of heart disease were not taken into account. With great difficulty on March 4, the expedition moved south. All nine Europeans from the expedition are alive. They bravely endured the hardships of an extremely harsh winter. Greetings ” 22 .
During the transition, despite insurmountable obstacles, Roerich painted about 500 paintings. He also kept a travel diary, later published as Altai-Himalayas. It is a tapestry embroidered with a free flight of thoughts of science, archeology and religion, combined with a cursory account of the journey. It is a collection of Roerich’s “musings on horseback and in a tent,” once described as the “Symphony of Asia” 23 . We do not know of the existence of a single work comparable to this. It is all, to every smallest detail, is a monument to the beautiful, as well as breathtaking paintings that penetrate the very soul.
In the course of his observations of religious customs, Roerich collected a great variety of information, both oral and written, not only confirming Notovich’s discoveries, but also adding new texts to those already collected. Happy are the researchers of the forgotten years of Jesus, world religions and mysticism in the art of the twentieth century, for the search for Saint Issa will lead them to the unexplored archives of Nicholas and Helena Roerich and the world of transcendent beauty that beckons spiritual wanderers striving to enter the twenty-first century with inner purity and strength. in order to meet the world of chaos with understanding and tranquility.
“The expedition left New York in May 1923 and arrived in Darjeeling in December of the same year,” wrote Yuri Roerich in his diary “Along the paths of Central Asia.” 24 .
The Roerichs left Darjeeling on March 6, 1925, heading for Srinagar, Kashmir. There they ordered skilled craftsmen to make a huge amount of equipment that could be useful, because “a trip like this, from Kashmir to Chinese Turkestan, along the world’s highest mountain route,” wrote Yuri, “requires extraordinary foresight and accurate calculation.
Winter uniforms for frosty weather on mountain passes and for winter time in Chinese Turkestan were made from Kashmir goat fur and consisted of [jackets], Gilgit boots, fur hats, socks and sleeping bags. We ordered several tents made of waterproof canvas with warm lining. These tents were specially made to withstand the hardships of travel and the storms of the highlands. They had a double canopy. The outer one reached the ground and protected from strong winds. Frame poles were made of thick bamboo with metal fasteners, and the stakes – of galvanized iron, ” 25 .
On April 15, the family approached the Kashmir Hill Station in Gulmarg, where they spent the rest of April, May, June and July. On 8 August they began their journey along the Leh Trade Route with eighty-two ponies in sleds.
“Flies, mosquitoes, fleas, earwigs! All kinds of gifts from Kashmir. Our departure was not without blood.” Nicholas Roerich wrote in the book “Altai-Himalayas.” Seven were injured. I had to keep order with revolvers and Mausers … In Hunde the grooms fed the horses with poisonous grass – the horses began to tremble and lay down. They were nursed all night. My Mastan and Sabza Yuri were especially affected. The drivers made fires around the box with cartridges. A wild cat crawled into the tent under Yuri’s bed . ” 26 .
In the book “The Heart of Asia” he wrote: “The ancient caravan route from Srinagar to Leh is made in seventeen marches, but it is usually suggested to delay for a day or two. Only cases of extreme haste can force to make this path without interruption. Such unforgettable places like Maulbek , Lamayura, Bazgu, Saspul, Spitug, are forced to stop and remember them both from the artistic and from the historical point of view.Maulbek, now decrepit monastery, judging by the ruins, was once a real fortress, bravely entrenched on the top of the cliff. on the road itself, you will be amazed by the ancient gigantic image of Maitreya.You feel that it is not a Tibetan hand, but probably the hand of a Hindu during the heyday of Buddhism …
It was necessary to have both a sense of beauty and courageous dedication in order to strengthen at such heights. In many such waterless dwellings, underground passages to the river were made in the rocks so that a loaded donkey could pass. This tale of underground passages, as we shall see, has laid down many of the best legends. Just like in Sikkim, Ladakh lamas turned out to be friendly, tolerant of other faiths and attentive to travelers, as befits Buddhists …
At Nîmes, a small place about 11,000 feet in front of Lech, we had one phenomenon that we cannot help but dwell on, and it would be highly desirable to hear about analogies. It was a calm, clear day. We stopped in tents. At about ten o’clock in the evening I was already asleep, and E.I. [Roerich] went to her bed and wanted to throw back the woolen blanket. But as soon as she touched it, a large pink-purple flame, the color of intense electricity, flared up, forming a kind of whole bonfire about a foot high. E.I. shouting “fire! fire!” woke me up. Jumping up, I saw the following. The dark silhouette of E.I., and behind her a moving flame that definitely illuminated the tent. E.I. I tried to extinguish this fire with my hands, but it burst out from under my hands with a fire and crumbled to pieces. The effect of the touch was only warmth, but not the slightest burn, not a sound, no smell. The flame gradually diminished and disappeared, leaving no trace on the blanket. We happened to see various electrical phenomena, but I must say that we have never seen such a phenomenon. In Darjeeling, the fireball was two feet from my head. At Gulmarg in Kashmir, during a three-day unceasing thunderstorm with hail into a pigeon’s egg, we observed all kinds of lightning. In the Trans-Himalayas, we have repeatedly experienced various electrical phenomena. I remember how in Chunargen, at an altitude of about 15,000 feet, waking up in a tent at night, I touched the blanket and was struck by a blue light that flashed and seemed to surround my hand. Assuming that this phenomenon could only have happened in contact with the wool of the blanket, I touched my pillow. The effect is the same.
The entire Himalayan region is an exceptional field for scientific research. Nowhere in the world can such diverse conditions be brought together. Highest peaks up to 30,000 feet, lakes 15,000 -16,000 feet; deep valleys with geysers and other hot and cold mineral springs; the most unexpected vegetation – all this serves as a guarantee of new scientific discoveries. If one can scientifically compare the conditions of the Himalayas with the highlands of other parts of the world, then what instructive analogies and antitheses can arise! The Himalayas are a place for a true scientist. When we remembered Professor Millikan’s book “Cosmic Ray”, we thought: if only this remarkable scientist could carry out research at the Himalayan heights. Let these not be dreams, but let these wishes turn into reality in the name of science! “
In just eighteen days the Roerich caravan reached Lech. Yuri wrote: “The expedition was in the capital of Ladakh from August 26 to September 19, 1925, with the exception of a few days spent traveling to the famous Hemis and exploring other attractions in the vicinity of the city. mountains to Chinese Turkestan ” 28 .
The Himis interlude was not pleasant. Professor Roerich was not impressed by the monastery. He did, however, find evidence for the existence of the Issus manuscripts, although he did not indicate whether the texts he later published were rewritten there. The rest of the depressing impression of Himis is described in The Himalayas, a monograph published in 1926 based on excerpts from his diary sent home by mail:
“You must also see the other side of Buddhism – go to Khemi. Approaching, you already feel the atmosphere of gloom and depression. Stupas with some terrible faces – mugs. Dark banners. Black crows. Black dogs gnaw bones. And the gorge is closely closed. Of course, and temples and houses – everything is crowded. And in dark corners objects of service are piled like loot. Lamas are semi-literate. Our guide laughs:
“Khemi is a big name, but a small monastery.” Of course, small, not in size, but in internal content. Here it is – superstition and self-interest! The best thing was that deer came out on the nearby sharp rocks in the morning and stood for a long time, turning their heads towards the sun.
The monastery is old. It was founded by a big lama who left a book about Shambhala, and these manuscripts are hidden under a bushel, maybe they feed the mice.
The first complete denial of the manuscripts about Jesus. Of course, denial comes primarily from missionary circles. Then, little by little, fragmentary fearful information, very difficult to obtain, creeps in. Finally, it turns out that old people in Ladakh have heard and know about the manuscripts.
Documents such as the manuscripts about Christ and the book about Shambhala lie in the darkest place. And the figure of the lama, the compiler of the book about Shambhala, stands like an idol in some kind of fantastic headdress. And how many other relics die in dusty corners. And the tantrik lamas do not care about them. You should have seen the reverse side of Buddhism ” 29 .
“And it is easy to remove the dirt and dust of fanaticism. It is easy to put in order the sonorous murals. It is easy to clean finely made statue. It is easy to return the meaning of monasteries organizations migrant communities, according to the covenant of the great Lev (Singh) Buddha” 30 .
Lech received the Roerichs with great honors. They were invited to stay in a crumbling but magnificent seventeenth-century royal palace that towered over the countryside. “In general, the entire atmosphere of Ladakh remained under an unusually benevolent sign for us.” Roerich recalled. “Leh itself, the residence of the former Ladakh maharaja, now conquered by Kashmir, is a typical Tibetan city with many adobe walls, with temples and rows of suburgan stupas that give the place At the invitation of the Maharaja, we stopped there, occupying the upper floor of this stronghold swaying under the gusts of wind.With us, the door and part of the wall collapsed, but the views from the upper flat roof made us forget about the fragility of the ancient structure. The whole city was spread under the palace, a bazaar filled with noisy caravans, orchards. Outside the city, fields of barley stretched. Garlands of ringing songs ended the day’s work. Ladakh women walked picturesquely in high fur hats with raised ears and a long band on the back, decorated with a lot of turquoise and metal. A yak hide is usually draped over the shoulders, like an ancient Byzantine basket, fastened with a buckle on the right shoulder. The richer wear this basket of colored fabric, even more in this outfit resembling Byzantine icons. We could also find brooches-buckles on the right shoulder in northern and even Scandinavian burials. Ladakh women walked picturesquely in high fur hats with raised ears and a long band on the back, decorated with a lot of turquoise and metal. A yak hide is usually draped over the shoulders, like an ancient Byzantine basket, fastened with a buckle on the right shoulder. The richer wear this basket of colored fabric, even more in this outfit resembling Byzantine icons. We could also find brooches-buckles on the right shoulder in northern and even Scandinavian burials. Ladakh women walked picturesquely in high fur hats with raised ears and a long band on the back, decorated with a lot of turquoise and metal. A yak hide is usually draped over the shoulders, like an ancient Byzantine basket, fastened with a buckle on the right shoulder. The richer wear this basket of colored fabric, even more in this outfit resembling Byzantine icons. We could also find brooches-buckles on the right shoulder in northern and even Scandinavian burials.
Not far from Lech, on a rocky hillock, there are ancient tombs called prehistoric and reminiscent of Druidic antiquities. Also not far off is the camp of the Mongols who tried to conquer Ladakh. In the same valley there are Nestorian crosses, which once again remind us of how widespread Nestorianism * and Manichaeism were throughout Asia 31… Nestorianism: a doctrine put forward in the fifth century by the bishop of Constantinople Nestor, who argued that there were two separate principles – human and divine – in the incarnate Christ, and refuted the orthodox teaching that Christ was a divine person who took on a human form. After the Nestorian views were condemned in 431 by the Council of Ephesus, adherents of his religion founded a center of resistance and a famous theological school in Ephesus.
The school was closed in 489 by imperial decree, and the few remaining Nestorians fled to Persia (Iran). In 637. Subsequently, during the conquest of Persia by the Arabs, the Nestorians were recognized as a religious community and their mentors influenced the formation of Arab culture. Today, most of their members, usually Assyrian Christians, live in Iraq, Syria and Iran.
Manichaeism: A doctrine founded in the third century in Mani Persia (216 – 276). Mani, who declared himself a disciple of Jesus, considered himself the instrument of the promised Comforter and the messenger of the Holy Spirit, the successor of the prophets or messengers of God, chief among whom were Zoroaster, Buddha and Christ. Mani’s followers were vegetarians, believed in soul reincarnation, and performed prayer rites several times a day. Their creed also included frequent fasting, offering, and repentance. Mani’s syncretic movement in ancient times was a competitor to the Christian church, which called his doctrine heresy. Mani was also persecuted by the orthodox Zoroastrians and was put to death by their priests in Persia. Manichaeism spread westward through Egypt, North Africa and the Roman Empire, disappearing in the sixth century after severe persecution.
And amid the abundance and colors of the Asian bazaar, the arrivals and departures of caravans, noisy merchants, among the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayas, the ancient traditions living in the city of Leh, the legends of Issa were resurrected.
“In Leh we again met the legend about the stay of Christ. The Hindu postmaster Lech and some Ladakh Buddhists told us that in Leh there is a pond near the bazaar – and now it exists – near which an old tree grew, under which Christ preached sermons before On the other hand, we heard a legend about how Christ in his youth arrived with a merchant caravan in India and continued to study wisdom in the Himalayas. options, but they argued that during the years of absence from the Christ was in India and Asia. No matter where and how did this legend. Maybe she Nestorian origin. it is valuable to see what it is pronounced with the full goodwill ” 32 .
“Altai-Himalayas” adds to this: “A good and sensitive Indian speaks significantly about the manuscript, about the life of Issa:” Why is Issa always sent during (his) absence from Palestine to Egypt? His younger years, of course, were spent in training. Traces of [Buddhist] teachings of course affected subsequent sermons. What origins do these sermons lead to? What is Egyptian in them? And are traces of Buddhism, India not visible? It is not clear why the passage of Issa by the caravan route to India and to the area now occupied by Tibet is so vehemently denied.
The teachings of India were famous far away; let us recall at least the biography of Apolonius of Tyana and his visits to Indian sages … “
Another narrator reminded us that a plaque was found in Syria with a government edict embossed on it, persecuting Jesus’ companions as enemies of the government. This archaeological find may be of interest to those who deny the historicity of Jesus the Teacher. And how to explain the existence of small icons that were used by the early Christians in the catacombs? And the first catacombs still exist. There are always people who like to contemptuously reject what is difficult for their consciousness; but then knowledge turns into seminarian scholasticism, and backbiting is cultivated as a fine art. In what really feasible way could a modern counterfeit penetrate the consciousness of the entire East? And where is the scholar who can write a long treatise in Pali and Tibetan? We don’t know a single one like that …
Leh is a wonderful place. Here the tradition united the paths of Buddha and Christ. Buddha walked through Leh to the north. Issa talked here with the people on the way from Tibet. Secretly and carefully kept legends. It is difficult to find them, for lamas know how to be silent better than all people. Only by finding a common language – not only physical, but also inner understanding – can one come closer to their meaningful secrets. As I have seen, every educated Gelong (monk) knows a lot. You can’t even guess by the eyes when he agrees with you or laughs inwardly, knowing more than you. How many of these silent people have stories about the passing “scientists” who fell into the most ridiculous situations. And how many mistakes of ignorance have been borne by the printed paper of Europe. The time has come for the enlightenment of Asia ” 33 .
Living in the Ladakh palace, Roerich received inspiration for his fine art. “From this place of Issa’s sermons, from the high terraces, it is necessary to write a series of everything that can be seen from there. There were traces of great communion on the high places cleaned by the winds. Of course, the places have changed: destruction and creation replaced each other. The conquerors created new heaps, but the main silhouette remained The mountain frame, as before, crowns the earth. The same sparkling stars and waves of sand, like a frozen sea. And the deafening wind tearing off the earth … “
Then, unasked, another confirmation of the manuscripts surfaced.
“The old lama king himself came. Despite his poverty, he brought with him up to ten escorts – lamas and relatives. During the conversation, it turned out that the king’s family knew about the manuscript about Issus. They also said that many Muslims would like to take possession of this document. Then they talked about the prophecies associated with Shambala, about the timing, about many things that fill reality with beauty. The king-lama leaves, and the crowd in white caftans bows respectfully before him. Simple and beautiful …
… How wonderful that Yuri knows all the necessary Tibetan dialects! Only without an interpreter will people here talk about serious things. Now we need to take in full knowledge, in a clear, real approach. Curiosity is misplaced. Only persistent curiosity!
September 8th  – letters from America. Many news will not find us. The letters went on for six weeks – they successfully got on the ship.
In the room chosen as a dining room, vases with colorful plants are painted on the walls. In the bedroom, on the walls, are all the symbols of cintamani, the stone of the world’s treasure. And black from time to time carved columns support the darkened ceiling on large Berendey balusters. Low doors on high thresholds. And narrow windows without glass. And the afternoon whirlwind is rather walking along the passages. The floor is covered with Yarkand colored felts. On the lower terrace, the black dog Tumbal and the white Amdong, our new companions, are barking. At night the wind whistles and the old walls sway.
I am writing in the upper room, which has access to all rooftops. Doors with wide carved platbands. Columns with heavy painted capitals. Stitches, steps and a dark ceiling patinated with time. Where have I already seen this chamber? Where have the same variegated colors already played? Of course, in “The Snow Maiden” * – in a Chicago production. / Roerich was the author of sets and costumes for Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden, staged in 1921 at the Chicago Opera /. Mine come in and say: “This is a real Berendey in his own chamber.
“Berendeyevka” ended earlier than thought. Autumn is not waiting. We must pass the Karakorum before the autumn north-east wind. The path to Shayok is good, but longer by a week. In addition, the residents dismantled bridges for fuel, and water for human growth. The way remains through the Cardong and Sasir passes. Many different imperative considerations force us to speed up the travel time. With a large caravan, you become servile …
… Karakorum is the “black throne”. Behind him is China – again the old patrimony of Buddha …
… They are finishing loading the yaks. Let’s go now! The day is brilliant.
September 18th, 1925. ” 34
Suffice it to recall the so-called gospel of the Ebionites, or twelve. Authorities such as Origen, Jerome and Epiphanius speak of the existence of this biography. Irenaeus knows him in the 2nd century. Where is it now? .. It would be better, instead of empty discussions, to kindly think about the facts and thoughts that the legends about Issus, “the best of the sons of men”, convey to us. Rate how close is modern; my consciousness is the essence of these legends and amazed at how widely the whole East knows about them and how persistently they are repeated. “the best of the sons of men.” Rate how close is modern; my consciousness is the essence of these legends and amazed at how widely the whole East knows about them and how persistently they are repeated. “the best of the sons of men.” Rate how close is modern; my consciousness is the essence of these legends and amazed at how widely the whole East knows about them and how persistently they are repeated.
We loaded onto yaks for a long time. Horses, mules, yaks, donkeys, rams, dogs – a whole biblical procession. The caravans are a whole cabinet of the ethnographic museum. We passed the pond where, according to legend, Issa taught for the first time. To the left remained prehistoric graves, behind them – the place of the Buddha, when the ancient founder of the community went north through Khotan. Further – the ruins of buildings and a garden, which tell us so much. Gone are the stone reliefs of Maitreya, on the way admonishing distant travelers with hope for the future. The palace on the rock with the Dukkar temple – the light, many-armed Mother of the World, was left behind. Lech’s last sign was the farewell of the Ladakh women. They went out onto the road with blessed yak milk. They anointed the foreheads of horses and travelers with milk to give them the power of yaks, so necessary on steep climbs and on the slippery edges of glaciers. The women carried out ” 35 .
So Roerich and his family set off on the next stage of their journey – up to Cardong La, in order to pass the world’s highest caravan route. For the next three years they were absorbed into the Heart of Asia.
One farewell legend about Issa overtook them after they crossed the Cardong La on September 23: “The evening ends with an unexpected meeting with a Muslim. Here, on the border of the desert, the conversation is about Mohammed, about the prophet’s home life, about his respect for a woman. The conversation is about movement. Akhmadiyev, about the legends saying that the tomb of Christ is in Srina-gar, and the grave of Mary is in Kashgar. Again about the legends about Issus. Muslims are especially interested in [these legends] …
Young friends, you need to know the conditions of the caravan life in the deserts. Only on these paths will you learn to fight the elements, where every wrong step is already certain death. There you will forget the number of days and hours, there the stars will shine with heavenly runes. The basis of all teachings is fearlessness. Not in sweet and sour summer suburban camps, but in harsh heights, learn quickness of thought and resourcefulness of action. Not only at lectures in a warmly heated auditorium, but at cold glaciers, be aware of the power of the work of matter. And you will understand that each end is only the beginning of something even more significant and beautiful.
Again a piercing whirlwind. The flame darkens. The wings of the tent flutter noisily, they want to fly away ” 36 .