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


The Great Mother

By counter-opposing the facts, the exponents of East and West found themselves speaking about identical things: The seeming diversities became only various degrees of human consciousness! These two conversationalists looked at each other with astonishment—where was the East and where the West which one was so accustomed to contrast?

The third silent person present smiled, “And where is the boundary of East and West altogether? And is it not strange that Egypt, Algeria and Tunis, which are south of Europe in the general conception, are really considered as the Orient? And the Balkans and Greece, lying East of them are regarded as West?

I remembered then how walking on the San Francisco shore, with a professor of literature, we asked each other, “Where are we really—in the extreme West or the extreme East?” If China and Japan, in relation to the Near-East, Asia Minor, are considered as the Far-East, then, continuing the same line of argument—would not America, with her Incas, Mayans and Redskins, be considered as the Farthest East? What then can one do with Europe, which would then appear to be surrounded by “Easts” from both sides?

We recalled that during the time of the Russian Revolution, the Finns considered Siberia their own, giving as their reasons the tribal similarities. We recalled that Alaska almost touches Siberia, and the face of the Red Indians, compared with many Mongoloids, appears strikingly like an Asiatic face.

In this way it happened that for a moment all superstition and prejudices were laid aside by all adversaries, the exponent of the East spoke about the “Hundred-armed One” of the Orthodox Church, and the exponent of the West exalted and admired the images of the many-armed all-benevolent Kwan Yin. The exponent of the East spoke with reverence about the gold-embroidered garment of the Italian Madonna and felt the deep penetration of the paintings of Duccio and Fra Angelico, and the lover of the West gave reverence to the symbols of the many-eyed Omniscient Dukhar. They remembered the All-Compassionate. They remembered the multitudinous aspects of the All-Bestowing and All-Merciful. They remembered how correctly the psychology of the people had conceived the iconography of symbols and what an enormous knowledge lay hidden at present under the dead lines. There, where preconceptions disappear and prejudice is forgotten, appears a smile!

And as if freed of a great burden, they spoke of the Mother of the World. With affection they recalled the Italian cardinal, who was in the habit of advising worshipers, “Do not overburden Christ the Saviour with your request, for He is very busy; better address your prayers to the Holy Mother. She will pass your prayers on to whomever is necessary.”

They remembered how a Catholic priest, a Hindu, an Egyptian and a Russian once set out to investigate the origin of the Sign of the Cross and how each searched for a meaning to suit his own purpose but how they all arrived at the same unifying meaning.

They remembered attempts that flashed through literature, intended to identify the words “Christ” and “Krishna,” and again they remembered Iosaph and Buddha. And since at that moment the benevolent hand of the Mother of the World turned away all prejudices, the conversation could run in peaceful tones.

And instead of sharp contradiction, advocates of East and West turned to a creative reconstruction of images.

One of the speakers recalled the story of a pupil of Ramakrishna, who cited the great reverence given to the wife of Ramakrishna, who, according to Hindu custom, was called Mother. Another likened the meaning of the word Mother to the conception of “Materia matrix.”

The images of the Mother of the World, of the Madonna, the Mother Kali, the Benevolent Dukhar, Ishtar, Kwan-Yin, Miriam, the White Tara, Raj-Rajesvari, Niuka—all these great Images, all these Great Self-Sacrificing Entities flowed together in the conversation as a benevolent Unity. And each of these in his own tongue, but comprehensible to all, pronounced that there should be not division but construction. All pronounced that the day of the Mother of the World had come, when Supreme Energies would approach our Earth, but that because of wrath and destruction, these energies, instead of the predestined creation, might result in disastrous catastrophes.

In the smile of Unity all became simple. The aureole of the Madonna, so odious to the prejudiced, became a scientific physical radiation—the aura, long since known to humanity.

The symbols of to-day, so poorly interpreted by rationalists, from being regarded as supernatural, suddenly became accessible to the research worker for investigation. And in this miracle of simplicity and understanding, there became distinct the breath of the evolution of Truth.

One of the speakers said: “Here we now speak of purely physical experiments, but did we not begin with the Mother of the World?”

Then the other took from a drawer of his writing desk a slip of paper and read it: “A Hindu of to-day, graduated from many universities, thus addresses the Great Mother, Raj-Rajesvari Herself:

“If I am right, then Mother, Thou art all— The ring, the way, the dark, the light, the void, And hunger, sorrow, poverty and pain— From dawn to dusk, from night to morn and life and death — if death there be — All things art Thou.

If Thou art they, then hunger, poverty and wealth are only transitory shapes of Thine. I do not suffer nor enjoy For Thou art All, and I am surely Thou. If Thou art He, to mortals manifest, Then pass me through Thy Light to Him—The Truth. The only Truth—to us so dimly known in Thee. Then lash this mortal body as Thou wilt, Or embed in golden comfort rich and soft— I’ll feel it not, for with Thy Light I’ll know For Thou art He and I am Thou— The Truth.”

And the third one added: “At the same time, on the other end of the world, people sing:

“Let us glorify Thee, Mother of Light!”

And the old libraries of China and the ancient central-Asiatic centers guard, since most ancient days, many hymns to the same Mother of the World.

Throughout the entire East and in the entire West there lives the Image of the Mother of the World, and deeply significant salutations are dedicated to this High Entity.

The Great Features of the Face are often covered and under the folds of this veil, glowing with the squares of perfection, may one not see the One Great Unifying Aspect, common to Them All!

Peace be to the World!

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: