Young Nicholas and Helen Roerich (circa 1900)
Nicholas Roerich Museum
Dedicated to Woman's Unity of Roerich Museum
In Russian: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=ru_c&key=768
The Mother of the World. How much of that which is tremendously stirring and moving is blended in this sacred image of all ages and all peoples.
In cosmic waves this great conception moves toward the consciousness of man. In the spiral of accretion it appears sometimes as though receding, yet it is not a regression, it is only a phase of movement, inaccessible to our vision.
Teachings speak of the epoch of the Mother of the World which has now begun. The Mother of the World, Near-to-all-hearts, Revered-by-all-minds, again takes Her place at the great helm. And he, who understands this Visage of Evolution, shall be happy and protected.
In an impressive and stirring way Christianity has consecrated the following legend to the Mother of God:
The Apostle Peter, sacristan of Paradise, was disturbed. And he said to the Lord God: “All day long I watch the gates of Paradise; I do not let anyone in, yet in the morning there are newcomers in Paradise.”
And the Lord said: “Let us make the rounds at night, Peter.”
So they went in the night and they saw the Holy Virgin lowering along the wall Her snow-white scarf, up which souls were climbing.
Peter took this to heart and wanted to interfere, but the Lord whispered: “Sh ... let be…”
The Orient has consecrated the following hymn to the Mother of the World.
“Above Them is She Who veiled Her Face, She Who wove the Web of the far-off Worlds, She the Envoy of the Unutterable, the Ruler of the Intangible, the Bestower of the Unrepeatable.
“By Thy Command is the Ocean silenced and the Whirlwinds trace the Invisible Signs.
“And She Who Veiled Her Face shall stand Alone in Vigil, amid the Splendor of Her Signs.
“And none shall mount the Summit. None shall witness the Effulgence of the Dodecahedron, the Sign of Her Power.”
The cult of the Mother of the World has been discovered in the ancient city of Kish, and the oldest literature of China has greeted the Mother of the World in inspired hymns. She is the Quick-to-Aid, She-of-the-Hundred-Hands and Of-the-Thousand Eyes, She Who protects by Her Veil all those who come for help. She, the Mother of the World, whether in the image of Kwan-Yin or in the bright colored mantle of the Madonna.
The marvelous Russian artist Maria Germanova, the Russian Duse, sent me last summer the following stirring and appealing letter which I am citing as a remarkable monument of the fiery heart of a woman.
This letter was the more appealing to the aspirations of our hearts, since the thought of a Woman’s Unity had crystallized itself with Mme. Roerich and myself into the forms of new organizations which, in the broadest measure, could summon the world to new constructions. In March, 1930, Mme. Roerich wrote to America of the need to organize a Woman’s Unity. And long before, the idea was formulated for the Altai Sisters—Sisters of the Golden Mountain. Frequently I hailed the women’s organizations. I also had written of the Great Mother of the World and the mysterious veil of Woman, and in this article, I asked, “Why, since antiquity, has the wreath been the true adornment of the woman’s brow? The wreath—that crown of achievement!” … Hence, in the name of this crown of Achievement, the letter of Mme. Germanova responded so greatly to our previous decisions. I quote it:
“We lift our hearts to the Mountains…
“There is an old proverb: ‘When the children are small, they are a burden for a Mother’s knees; When they grow up, for her heart.’ And, verily, children grow up, they outgrow us, they fly away from the nest; there is no more need to bathe, feed, clothe them; yet a Mother’s heart is just as full of cares, worries and prayers for her beloved ones.
“A Mother’s heart, a woman’s heart, is a great treasure. It kindles us, it lights up the family. Who taught you to pray? Who will understand and forgive? The Mother. The Woman. Who will inspire to a great task?—The Beloved one, The Friend—The Woman.
“Oftener and oftener, firmer and firmer, it is now being realized that the Era of the Woman has come, and many glowing lamps of the women’s hearts are kindled in solitude, in secrecy, and often in the bondage of darkness; but they are kindled by one fire—Love, by the beauty of Motherhood, of Womanhood.
“If only we could unite in the time of this Fire, if only we could know that we are not alone!—how lightly and joyously the flame of our hearts would rise.
“We, the Women, old, young, mothers, wives, friends, the happy and the lonely ones, if we were to gird ourselves by the might of Love, what a divine power would be erected, what resplendent harmony would take up arms against darkness and evil, to help all humanity, which at present is in unprecedented danger.
“We shall save the earth. We shall transform life. In the Unity of our hearts we do not have to gather in clubs and societies; read reports, give lectures; and abandon for these our dear ones and our homes. No. Verily in the Home we shall carry our Light.
“How much we can do! We shall cast ugliness, vulgarity, out of our everyday life, and we shall invite Beauty to come as a Guest into our homes.
“We shall sweep away the dust and the spider-webs, not only from the corners of our houses, but also from our relationships, words, thoughts—in order that our spirits may breathe easily; we shall think not only of the meal but also that there should be no poison for the spirit. Let us cast out the poison of quarrels, gossip, slander, and give the honored place at our table to the laughter of joy.
“When departing on a journey, or to work, let us not only take care of trunks and expenses, but also send forth pure, benevolent thoughts and prayers.
“Yes, one cannot enumerate at one time all the possibilities of achievement which as a Promised Land lie before the Woman.
“We shall lay down our souls for our beloved ones.
“Jeanne d’Arc saved her country.
“We, if united, shall save the earth. There is no resurrection without a Golgotha, and so this call has a reason, because it comes out of the pain of one tortured woman’s heart, the heart of Madame Helena Roerich, who is in a foreign, far-off country, to which she came so self-sacrificingly to bring her service to Enlightenment. She is ill, alone, longing for her dear ones; separated from her husband and friends, who, because of inexplicable, unjust, incomprehensible reasons, are unable to secure visas and the possibility of consoling, calming, healing this sacred pain and sorrow of a Mother. Let us rise to the defense of this suffering heart. Let it be our oriflamme. It is purged by the fire of eternal suffering, and shall be as a Beacon Star which will lead us to Victory.”
* * *
The letter was partly addressed to Helena Ivanovna Roerich who has written and spoken so glowingly of the Mother of the World. I am citing her inspiring reply:
“Dear Maria Nikolaevna (Germanova)
“I have received your inspiring letter and rejoice in spirit. Verily, the idea of creating an unity of the women of the world is at present more than timely.
“During the hard days of cosmic cataclysms of human disunion and disintegration, of the forgetfulness of all of the highest principles of existence which give true life and lead to the evolution of the world, a voice must rise which calls to the resurrection of the spirit and to the carrying of the fire of achievement into all actions of life. And of course, this voice should be the voice of Woman, who has drunk the chalice of suffering and humiliation and has become forged in the highest patience.
“Let Woman, Mother of the World, say, ‘Let There Be Light.’
“Then what will this light be, and in what will the fiery achievement consist? In the lifting of the banner of Spirit upon which will be inscribed ‘Life, Knowledge and Beauty.’
“Yes, only the heart of the Woman, the Mother, can gather under this banner the children of the whole world without difference of sex, race, nationality and religion.
“Woman, Mother and Wife, witness of the development of man’s genius, can appreciate all the great significance of the culture of thought and knowledge.
“Woman, the inspirer of beauty, knows all the power, all the synthetic might of Beauty.
“And so at once let us assume the carrying of the Great Banner of the New Era—the Era of the Mother of the World. Let every woman expand the boundaries of her own hearth so as to encompass the hearths of the entire world. These multiple fires will strengthen and embellish her hearth.
“Let us remember that each limitation leads to destruction and each expansion gives constructive energy. Therefore with all forces let us strive toward the expansion of our consciousness and the refinement of our thoughts and feelings so that through this fire we will be enabled to kindle our hearth.
“Put into the foundation of this Woman’s unity the striving towards the true knowledge which does not know human demarcations. ‘But how can one reach the true knowledge?’ you will be asked.
“Answer that this knowledge lies in your spirit, in your heart—be able to awaken it.
“Striving toward beauty will be as the key to knowledge. This knowledge lies in each striving towards the General Good. This knowledge is scattered in all great teachings which have been given to the world. This knowledge is poured out in manifestations of the Cosmos, in each phenomenon, and only people who have lost the gift of observing Cosmic manifestations have lost the key to many of the mysteries of existence which could give them the understanding of the causes of all calamities which take place at present.
“Therefore, gathering women-warriors of Spirit, direct them toward the carrying of this knowledge.
“Humanity should realize the great Cosmic law, the law of Majesty, the law of greatness and equilibrium—of two as the basis of existence. All principles deprived of these two beginnings, call forth a lack of balance and destruction. But let the woman who has realized this law, and who is striving toward the equilibrium of the Beginnings, preserve all beauty of the Woman’s Image, let her not lose the tenderness of the heart, the finesse of feeling, the sacrifice and courage of patience.
“You, my Dear, who have accepted with a sensitive heart the Teaching of the Lord, can become the calling and the leading one, kindling the souls of those who are ready, with the fiery Word of the Greatest Heart. Be able to give to each woman according to her consciousness and broaden the consciousness by light, careful touches without impeding the natural and individual growth of each one. Let each one develop herself in the direction closer to her, and bring out what is possible according to the level of her consciousness. Beauty is contained in manifoldness. Give all to one general foundation—the foundation of striving toward the General Good. Because the broadest cooperation is inscribed upon the Banner of the Lord. His Cupola contains all and everything! Let us manifest the broadest tolerance.
“Sisters of the Golden Mountain, before us is a difficult and wonderful time. I send you the Call of the Heart. Be armed with the fire of striving, patience and courage, through all obstacles carrying the Banner of the Mother of the World—the Banner of Self-Sacrifice and Beauty—so that in the hour of victory, you may erect it upon the Peaks of the World.
“My dear, I feel your heart, I feel our future united work, and I send you strength and joy of spirit for the creation of the great Unity. The Lord of the Heart is with us.
“In spirit and heart with you,
* * *
In great joy I answered Germanova with the following words:
“Dear Maria Nikolaevna:
“Verily I rejoiced at your note about the foundation of the Woman’s Unity of Roerich Museum. This thought is truly ever dear to me; and the dedication of your thought to Madame Roerich deeply touched me.
“Who, if not woman, must now rise and unite in the name of Culture and the Beautiful? Because it was precisely a Woman who was destined to be first to proclaim the Resurrection.
“To enumerate all that was accomplished and inspired by woman would mean to describe the history of the world. If we speak about the bringing of the Beautiful into the whole fullness of life; if we know that the predestined evolution rests upon the cornerstones of Beauty and Knowledge; then who shall be the most faithful ally and transmitter of these foundations into the depth of human consciousness?
“A beautiful legend speaks about the coming Era of the Mother of the World. Under manifold garments human wisdom molds the very same image of Beauty, Self-sacrifice and Patience. And again must the woman ascend a new mountain, telling her dear ones about the eternal paths.
“ ‘Sisters of the Golden Mountain’ will speak in the West. ‘Sisters of Altai’ will speak in Asia. Mothers, sisters, beloved ones—all this is impressed above tongues and earthly boundaries. once more in this unity will be shown to us the one meaning of Beauty, the one achievement, the one all-binding and strength-giving Benevolence.
“Better than others, the woman knows the element of fire, that element with which is bound the nearest future. From ancient times, the woman was called to the most sacred tests. And so now she is called to the most broad knowledge, because with her heart she will understand how variedly and cautiously one should kindle the fires of understanding and response.
“Reaching the extreme line of disunion and demarcation, humanity again thinks about collecting and constructing. The paths of destruction already reach the abyss. The way of Evil already seems to show boundaries. And to measure the boundary of Evil against the boundlessness of good can only be achieved by comparing the relative limitedness of Evil with the infinity of Good. When all attempts of Evil have already been distorted in the horror of their impotence, then still boundless and unlimited will be the Legion of the Warriors of Light.
“Verily, it is not only the gatherings of women, regretting something or condemning something, which have already become conventional; but the union of women in the valiant, living exchange of all creative possibilities of unity, calling for the realization of the Good through united work, that will give the desired results.
“There have already been many different unions and societies; and yet we feel clearly that the unity of women which will weave the sparkling threads from the hearth through all Hierarchies into the Infinite, is especially needed now.
“Life itself, in all its complexity, imperatively calls for builders. In the various comers of the earth women are dreaming: ‘Great countries are beyond the seas.’ It is just this image of the woman, striving toward the distant shore in the realization of the predestined treasures of the Spirit that I felt in this picture; and as the apotheosis of this spiritual striving, in the painting: ‘She Who Leads,’ I wished to give the resplendent striving of the woman who leads the seeker of achievements to the glorious peaks.
“And the first distinction of this unity of women from any other unions, should be that its participants will come together with the purpose of bringing each one within her own boundaries, within her own knowledge and possibilities. This chalice of the soul-offering will illumine the gathering and transform the hard everyday life into the festival of labor and attainments.
“It is a joy for me to feel that women are striving toward these great strongholds of Spirit. And to strive in the right direction means already to approach Victory.
“And therefore, I wish you, Sisters of Altai, Sisters of the Golden Mountain, to conquer all fiery obstacles, to reject all fear and doubts—and unwaveringly, untiringly, heroically, patiently, to build the resplendent Zvenigorod erecting the Indestructible Kremlin of Beauty. And the sighing shall become the inspiration of Benevolence and in the Victory of the Spirit shall shine daring and exultation and Beauty.
“In spirit with you,
Thus, the Woman’s Unity has already been formed, erected not through business calculations, but because of fervent, heart-felt yearning—because of the impulse of the heart which gives life to things on earth and above it.
Presidents of the Branches of this Society have already been selected both in North and South America, as well as in Europe, and the new creative seeds again shall sprout on the Field of the Great Achievement.
How good it is that beauty and knowledge blend so indissolubly with the highest and greatest ideals and gain more strength on the steps leading to the great transfiguration of life.
Now is a hard time.
No one should think that we have enough schools. No one should be satisfied with the fact that something has already been done. Creative work is insufficiently appreciated. only to a small degree is it understood that ideas are not made with money. The world is living through a materialistic crisis of tremendous significance. Everybody feels that it is impossible to remedy currency by currency. Of course it is necessary to counteract it with other values. The treasure of the spirit, of the mind, of the conception of creative work and of illumination will be the only adequate panacea at the collapse of the superficial, mechanical civilization. The conventionality of uncognized life can be transformed only by that bright, affirming conception which is expressed in the word culture.
Action cannot be deferred.
Remember women, remember mothers, wives and sisters, remember that you are united by the beauty of spirit. Beyond the confines of everyday life a great feast is awaiting you. In the night the preparations have already begun; the lamps are being lit which are to illumine the Great Ascent of the Mother of the World. A marvelous spiritualization by Her resplendent Veil.
Women, it is you who are to weave and unfurl the banner of peace. You shall stand guard over the amelioration of life, you shall light at every hearth a beautiful fire, creative and inspiring. You shall tell your children the first word about beauty. You shall teach them the blessed Hierarchy of knowledge. You shall explain to the little ones the creative power of Thought. You can preserve them from disintegration and at the very beginning of their lives inculcate in them the meaning of heroism and self-sacrifice. You shall be the first to speak to the children of the advantages of spiritual values. You shall say the sacred word Culture.
A great and beautiful work is entrusted to you, Women. Greetings to you!
The Roerichs works publication
on the GHA website "Peace from Harmony":
Helena Roerich. Woman: Mother and Savior of the World
Nicholas Roerich. To Womanhood
Nicholas Roerich about harmony and children:
GHA Project: “New Women” by Helena Roerich name: