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


The Veils of Death

Friendly Tibetans advise you to be cautious of food in strange houses. Sometimes, in token of special reverence, food is sent to your home. You must take the greatest care. In fact at all times in these lands it is best to be careful with food, because outside of poison deliberately sent, you might easily receive spoilt food. The dried meat is often not fresh. The corn and barley may be mixed with small stones and all kinds of dirt. The bread may not be properly baked. Some of the Chinese canned foods may be spoilt, either because of the long journey or because of poor packing. Naturally it is understood that the same dish is used for every possible and every unexpected purpose. Ignorance and cleanliness are not good companions.

I remember that several officials did not take one particle of food throughout an entire official dinner and visit. They gave poor health as a reason. Perhaps they desired to prolong their lives, or. perhaps they recalled various precedents—and even their own practises. I also remember how when certain honorary offerings were brought to us in the form of various dishes, even the simplest asked dubiously: “Are you going to eat it?”

But all this physical poison is perhaps nothing in comparison with “spiritual” poisoning. Every one has heard of the effects of hypnotic influence. It is impossible to control the acts of an evil will-power; all kinds of “sun-niums” are based on this power of incantation. The ancient tales of the “terraphim” are corroborated even in modern times, and the “murderous” eye is given credence in stories of revenge and curse.

This “psychic” murder and injury is far more ancient and more widely distributed than actual poisoning itself. For instance, I remember one conversation to which I was a witness, when one person thus tried to convince his fellow-conversationalist: “Why don’t you use a hypnotist in your scheme? Imagine what possibilities you could have to smooth and direct everything!”

The other one replied, “If I invite a hypnotist, he will hypnotize me, first of all. And then I will not do what I wish but what he wishes himself.”

How many unconscious hypnotists are at work over all the earth sending their thoughts out along the streams of space!

History has also known many self-hypnotized crowds working enthusiastically for some true movement for the common good. But there have also been many more occasions when a self-hypnotized mob worked unconsciously for destruction. Only a real unfoldment of the Spirit can guarantee that the psychic force will be directed toward a high constructive purpose.

In the Westerner whose eyes more often glide over the surface in haste and rush, the fixation of the eye does not attain tremendous intensity. But when you examine the glances of people in various countries of Asia you notice quite a different force in the effect of this look. ... It is not the result of conscious study but is rather a racial characteristic. As one physician said to me, “It seems that the crystal of the eye of an Easterner is placed somewhat differently than ours.” Incidentally one may notice that an Easterner, after long lapses of time, will recall your face much more quickly than do many people in the West. I recall how, after many years, quite simple people in the East recognized and placed us at once, although our meeting took place under completely unrelated circumstances. When, added to this natural ability, you add special training and special refining of the inner human forces, one may realize with what a powerful apparatus one has to deal.

Some time ago, I spoke of the story about the Tashi Lama during his visit to India. He was asked whether he possessed any “supernatural” powers, but he only smiled and was silent. In a few moments, however, to the utter atonishment of every one present, he completely disappeared. But at that moment, a new guest entered and saw a strange sight—the Tashi Lama was sitting on the very place where he had been, but every one was rushing about in commotion searching for him! Almost identical incidents are told about many high lamas and Hindu Yogi. And in the extension of this power of suggestion, we approach the example of the charming of animals and one recalls the greatest evidences of suggestion in the stories of the murderous eye, which could smite even tigers.

In widely scattered stories of sorcery on the Malabar coast, one may hear of the invoking of disease and even of death upon enemies. Even more often than disease, are depression and the lowering of the psychic energy, the results of the invocation on a weak will power. One involuntarily recalls the desert saying: “If your companion is cross-eyed you should also squint.”

This folk-saying expresses the belief about the need of using caution with one’s fellow traveler.

Of course after the natural fund of psychic energy became exhausted and to a certain extent lost, there appeared that ally of evil minds, poison. Side by side with stories of recent fatal effects of suggestions, one may hear some convincing story of how one person was poisoned by fast poison, another by a slow poison. At the same time, as one descends the slopes of the Himalayas, he is astonished by the great amount of curative herbs and fruits. When one sees how nature itself offers of its best for healing and for humanity’s happiness, all these tales of poison and murder seem but a gloomy specter in the dark passages of ruins. And one feels that the psychic energy prophesied in ancient wisdom will once again be directed toward life and not death.

We are told about the new era of the fire of space which is approaching. What new constructions will it bring into our reality? The might of fire may destroy certain rocks and islands, truly, but what a benevolent force will be attracted by this purifying element!

Within our own recollection, the flames of pyres consumed unhappy widows. On the walls of China we read inscriptions that “on this site it is forbidden to drown girls.” Out of these facts of the quite recent past and even of the present, one may draw a most depressing picture. But in recollecting the worst, we often erect the strongest walls dividing the undesirable past and the blessed future. One knows how enemies, in their exaggeration, carry matters to absurdity. He, who knows the characteristics of his enemies, has never poisoned them, because life itself— like the blessed plants on the Himalayan slopes—has brought forth the healing fruit and herbs and called humanity to enlightened study and incessant research.

And we shall not fear to call by their proper terms acts of the greatest frailty. This is not a pitiless condemnation; it is an act impelled by cosmic justice. Each frailty, when recognized, is already ripe for improvement. The dark melts away into darkness, but each shaft of light is already a ray of resurrection.


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: