“Nicholas Roerich, also known as Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh (October 9, 1874 — December 13, 1947) is generally known for his paintings (of which there are around 7,000) but he was also a philosopher, archaeologist, educationalist, writer and cultural leader.
He was involved in the building of the first Buddhist Temple in Russia in St Petersburg. He had also studied far eastern wisdom (primarily through the teachings of Swami Vivekananda) and the ancient wisdom teachings through the Theosophical teachings brought to the world primarily through his Russian neighbor Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.
In fact, Roerich, alongside his wife Helena Roerich, was the first person to translate Blavatsky’s THE SECRET DOCTRINE into Russian. This is a major work said to be guided by certain Masters of the White Lodge or otherwise known as the Trans-Himalayan occult brotherhood.
The Theosophical Society is nonsectarian, nonpolitical and nondogmatic. Its three declared objects are:
To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour. To encourage the comparative study of religion, philosophy and science. To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in humanity. For more on the Theosophical Society visit their site by clicking HERE
Roerich’s spiritual philosophy was pan-human. There is a series of paintings which Roerich painted in 1924 titled Banners of the East. These depict several sages, saints and adepts of various spiritual traditions around the world – however, not as other-worldly soul beyond the grasp of mere humans but rather involved in earthly activities and mostly derived from stories or accounts of certain episodes in their spiritual lives. Roerich painted several Series including: Maitreya, Sancta, His Country, Sikkim and Ocean to name some of these.
Regarding Banners of the East, in the Buddhist tradition it is stated that the next Buddha, or world teacher, will be the Buddha Maitreya. Roerich studied the various legends concerning Maitreya, including the links with Shambhala, and during his two far-eastern expeditions, spoke with various lamas and others about these legends and the period of time that they then lived in, which was believed to be on the verge of a New Epoch, under the dispensation of the Lord Maitreya.
Certain writers state that Rigden Djapo (the Ruler of Shambhala) is another name for the Lord Maitreya. There is a sequence of Rulers of Shambhala each one leading for a cyclic period of time and Roerich’s research informed him that Rigden Djapo is the name for the current ruler. It must also be understood that the Lord Maitreya will not come in physical form but, rather will appear within the spiritual heart of those dedicated to the New Epoch, and Roerich associated this New Epoch with, amongst other things, the spiritual energy of Unity, Harmony and Beauty.
Extra-terrestrial life is also embraced within his spiritual vision. Roerich and those with him saw a UFO (although this term hadn’t been invented then) during his expedition in the East during the 1930s, which is chronicled in his book Altai Himalaya. Roerich’s art falls broadly into three main categories: firstly, his Stone Age period, secondly, his Theatre period (he was the inspiration for Stravinsky’s infamous Rite of Spring), and thirdly, what is termed his Himalayan period.”
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