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


Lakshmi, the Victorious

To the east of the mountain Zent-Lhamo, in a resplendent garden, lives the Blessed Lakshmi, Goddess of Happiness. By unending toil she beautifies her seven veils of peace. This is known to all men. All men pay reverence to the Goddess Lakshmi!

But all fear her sister, Siva Tandava. She, the Goddess of Destruction, is full of malice, terrible and destructive.

From behind the mountains came Siva Tandava herself. The terrible one went straight toward the dwelling of Lakshmi. Cautiously the terrible goddess approached the palace of Light and lowering her voice, called out to Lakshmi.

Lakshmi laid aside her precious veils and came forth to meet her. And behind her walked her maidens, full-breasted and round of hip.

Lakshmi, walking, disclosed her body. Large were her eyes, her hair was dark. Her armlets were golden. Her many necklaces were of pearls. The nails of Lakshmi were of the color of amber. Over her breasts and shoulders, and on her abdomen and down to her feet were poured unguents of special sacred herbs. Lakshmi and her maidens are as sparklingly pure as the images of the Temple of Mathura after the storm.

But all righteousness became stricken at sight of the dreaded Siva Tandava, so terrifying was she even in her apparent humility. From out her canine jaw were thrust threatening fangs. So red was her body and so shamelessly hirsute, that it was indecent to look upon. Even the armlets of blood-red rubies could not beautify Siva Tandava. One might even imagine her a man.

The Terrible one spoke:

‘‘Hail to you, Lakshmi, righteous one, my near one! Much happiness and welfare hast thou created. Even too zealously didst thou perform thy work. Thou adorn-est temples with gold. Thou enrichest the earth with gardens. Thou Protectress of Beauty!

“Thou hast created the rich and the generous. Thou hast created the poor, unreceiving yet rejoicing. Thou hast ordained peaceful trade. Thou hast planted among men all ties called benevolent. Thou hast conceived of joyous frail distinctions for man. Thou hast filled the hearts of people with the joyous realization of their superiority and pride. Thou art generous!

“Thy maidens are tender and caressing. Thy youths are strong and aspiring. Joyously, people create according to their own likeness. People forget about change and destruction. Hail to Thee!

“Calmly you observe the human procession. And there is little left for Thee to do! I worry over thee, my near one! Without labor, without worries, thy body will become heavy. And the precious pearls will fade upon it. Thy face shall shine and thy lovely eyes shall become bovine.

“Then will the people forget to bring pleasant offerings for Thee. They will bring sacred flowers no longer. And you will no longer find any excellent workers for Thyself. All the sacred designs will become entangled. People cannot remain inactive. Here I am, full worrisome about thee, Lakshmi, my near one!

“During long nights I have conceived a labor for Thee. We are akin to each other. Do not pay attention to the exterior. Hard is it for me to await the lengthy destruction of time. Let us unite and let us annihilate all human structures. Let us demolish all human joys. Let us eject all the foundations accumulated by men. Do not be so assured that people follow Thee. People dimly perceive the boundaries.

“Tear down Thy seven veils of peace. And then I shall rejoice and at once accomplish my tasks, so that you may be aflame with zeal and creation. And again you shall shed benevolent tears over men and again you may weave still more ornamental veils for Thyself. You shall create still richer ornaments. You, the inexhaustible Giver! Again people will search for Thee.

In humiliation once more they will accept with gratitude Thy gifts. Thou shalt conceive for men so many small new conditions and petty inventions that even the most foolish will think himself clever and important. I do not fear the human curse and already perceive the joyous tears offered to Thee by men!

“Ponder deeply, Lakshmi, my near one! My thoughts are useful to Thee and to me, Thy sister, they are full of joy.”

A cunning power has Siva Tandava. Only think! She recalled the past wars and human miseries. Only think! Again she wished to evoke upon earth the destruction through evil. Only think! What evil notions re-awoke in this malicious brain.

But not one word did Lakshmi say in response. Silently, only by a gesture, she rejected the evil project of Siva Tandava.

Then once again the evil Goddess, ready with threats and grinding her fangs, and forgetful of all her previous benevolent approaches began:

“Foolish Lakshmi! You surround yourself with these peaceful female embroiderers. They cherish the small walls of their miserable homes. Bent over their earthly designs they forget to look at the stars. They forget the threatening conjunction of stars. People cannot grasp that which comes in peace. They revere the thunder and lightning.

“Thy old altars are covered with fetid grease. Thy beauty cannot dwell in the dust of old houses. The best designs are destroyed by time and the best pattern is covered with mold. Follow me! I will show Thee such chorus of conceit that Thy wisdom shall be confounded!”

Such fearful things did Siva Tandava utter. And earthquakes pierced the earth with their convulsions. And islands sank into the oceans. And new mountains rose. But Lakshmi rejected all the offers of Siva Tandava.

The Blessed Goddess answered: “To give you alone joy, and to cause men sorrow, I shall not tear my veils. With a delicate web shall I extol mankind. I shall gather from among all noble hearts, excellent workers. I shall embroider new signs on my veils! The most beautiful, the most precious, the most powerful. And in these signs, in the images of the noblest beasts and birds, in the outlines of flaming flowers and healing herbs, I shall send to the hearts of people my most benevolent invocations. I will evoke from the abyss the greatest creative fire. And with a rampart of flame will I safeguard the luminous strivings of the Spirit.”

Thus ordained Lakshmi.

Out from the resplendent Garden in defeat walked Siva Tandava. Rejoice, people!

Now shall Siva Tandava, in violent wrath await the long destruction of time. With incalculable ire, at times she crushes the earth and then hordes of people perish. But Lakshmi, ever in time, casts her blessed veils. And over the ashes of those who have perished, again men will gather.

They will meet in solemn procession.

The righteous Lakshmi adorns her veils with the new sacred signs. And from out the space she kindles a new Fire.

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: