Nicholas Roerich Estate Museum in Izvara
Nicholas Roerich
Estate Museum
in Izvara


Treasure of the Snows

Throughout Sikhim again thunder the huge trumpets! For all it is a great, a solemn day. Let us go to the temple to see the Dances on the Great Day of Homage to Kinchenjunga!

From all parts of Sikhim many peoples gather in their strange and varied attire. Here are the Sikhimese, in their short red garments, with their conical, feathered hats; here are the sober Bhutanese, startlingly like the Basques or Hungarians; here stand the red-turbaned people from Kham; you can see the small round caps of the valiant Nepalese Gurkhas; the people of Lhassa, in their Chinese-like long garments; the timid, quiet Lepchas, and many Sharpa people; all types of Hill-men from all parts come to pay homage to the Five Treasures of Kinchenjunga, which points the way to the Sacred City of Shambhala.

Trumpets are roaring. The drums beat. The crowd shouts and whistles. Enters the Protector of Sikhim, in a huge red and gold mask, with a short spear in his hand. Around the fountain, from which the sacred water is drawn each morning, the impressive Protector of Sikhim turns about in a slow benevolent dance, completing his magic circles. Perhaps he is peering into the religious situation of Sikhim. In each monastery in Sikhim, at the same hour, the same sacred dance of the Protector is being performed. Finishing his role, the Protector joins the picturesque file of musicians.

Again sound the trumpets and the roar of the crowd. Then the Protectress emerges from the temple. As a Kali or Dakini, with skulls adorning her head, in dark garment, the deity outlines the same circle; after performing her invocation, she also seats herself beside the Protector.

Again the crowd shouts and cries. One by one the Protectors of the five Treasures of Kinchenjunga emerge. They are ready to fight for the Holy Mountain, because in its caves, all treasures are guarded for centuries. They are ready to guard the religion, which is supported by the hermits, who send their benevolent blessings from mountain depths. Radiant are the streamers on the garments of these Guardians. They glisten as snows glowing in the rays of the sun. They are ready to fight. They are armed with swords and protected with round shields. Begins the Dance of the Warriors—reminiscent of the dances of the Comanchis of Arizona—the swords are brandished in the air; guns are fired. The population of Sikhim may rejoice—beholding how the treasures of Kinchenjunga are guarded! They may be proud—never yet has the rocky summit of this White Mountain been conquered! Only exalted keepers of the Mysteries, high Devas, know the path to its summit. The Guardians finish their dance; they divide into two parties. In slow tread they march, intoning a long song; they boast and bet. Each tells of his prowess: “I can catch fish without nets”—”I can ride over the world without a horse”— “None can resist my sword”—”My shield is strong.” And again follows the short dance of the warriors. They pass into the temple. Both Protectors rise and again, after several encircling dances, enter the low door. The performance is over.

Now is the power of Kinchenjunga disclosed in another way. One sees bows and arrows in the hands of the people. The old joy of Sikhim—the ancient art of archery,— is to be demonstrated. Far off are the targets. But the hill-men still know the noble art and the arrows shall reach the heart of the mark, as they shall reach the hearts of Kinchenjunga’s enemies. The festival is over. The long giant trumpets once again are carried into the temple; drums, gongs, clarinets and cymbals are silent. The doors of the temple are closed. This is not Buddhism; this is an Homage to Kinchenjunga.

And when we see the beautiful snowy peak, we understand the spirit of the festival, because veneration of beauty is the basis of this exalted feeling. The hill-people feel beauty. They feel a sincere pride in possessing these unrepeatable snowy peaks—the world giants, the clouds, the mist of the monsoon. Are these not merely a superb curtain before the great Mystery beyond Kinchenjunga? Many beautiful legends are connected with this mountain.

Beyond Kinchenjunga are old menhirs of the great sun cult. Beyond Kinchenjunga is the birthplace of the sacred Swastika, sign of fire. Now in the day of Agni Yoga, the element of fire is again entering the spirit and all the treasures of earth are revered. For the legends of heroes are dedicated not so much to the plains as to the mountains! All Teachers journeyed to the mountains. The highest knowledge, the most inspired songs, the most superb sounds and colors, are created on the mountains. On the highest mountains there is the Supreme. The highest mountains stand as witnesses of the Great Reality. The spirit of prehistoric man already enjoyed and understood the greatness of the mountains.

Whoever beholds the Himalayas recalls the great meaning of Mount Meru. The Blessed Buddha journeyed to the Himalayas for enlightenment. There, near the legendary sacred Stupa, in the presence of all the gods, the Blessed One received his Illumination. In truth, everything connected with the Himalayas reveals the great symbol of Mount Meru, standing at the center of the world.

The ancient people of wise India discerned in the splendor of the Himalayas the smile of mighty Vishnu, who stands as an heroic, indefatigable warrior, armed with discus, mace, war-trumpet and sword. All ten Avatars of Vishnu were consummated near the Himavat. The most remote and oldest of them is the Avatar Dagon, the man-fish, who saved the forefathers of the earthly race, Manu. As far back as the time of the first cataclysm, the flood, Burma remembers Dagon, and claims that the Dagoba dedicated to him is more than three thousand years old. Then came the Tortoise—the pillar of heaven—which in the depths of the ocean of space, assisted the great upheaval which endowed the earth with the radiant goddess Lakshmi. Then came the ponderous earthly Boar; then the inconquerable Narasimha, the man-lion, who saved Prahlada from the wrath of his sinning father. The fifth Avatar, the dwarf Vamana, triumphed over another king, Bally, who like Prahlada’s father tried to possess the throne of Vishnu. The sixth Avatar, bearing the name of Brahman, is the great warrior of Parasu Rama, said in ancient scriptures to have annihilated the race of Kshatri-yas. The seventh Avatar appeared as Rama, the mighty beneficent king of India, extolled in the Ramayana. The eighth Avatar is Krishna, the sacred shepherd, whose teaching is glorified in the all-embracing Bhagavad Gita. The ninth Avatar, the Blessed Buddha, is the great Avatar predicted by Vishnu, as the triumph of wisdom and the destruction of demons and sinners by their own karma. Vishnu’s tenth Avatar, not yet manifest, is the future Maitreya. A great horseman, saviour of humanity, the Kalki Avatar, shall appear riding upon a white horse; resplendent, with his triumphant sword in hand—he will restore the pure law of righteousness and wise rule on earth.

Museum Address: 188414, Izvara Village, Volosovo District, Leningrad Region, Russia.
Phones: +7-813-73-73-273 (group tours); Phone/Fax +7-813-73-73-298 (general)
Museum Director: Cherkasova Olga Anatolievna E-mail: