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

Shambhala

Joy of Creation


The most striving and vital forces of all nations have gathered in America, contributing to the gigantic growth of this country. By voluntary, faithful and sometimes even by anonymous hands, huge American institutions are built.

May the light, which has illumined human hearts, shine for all. These results of voluntary and conscious human aspirations are highly instructive. In them can be measured the specific value of the co-workers for the general good. It is also most interesting to note how American organizations and institutions are developed. One notices not limited specialization, but a broad outlook, unfrightened by prejudiced opinion. One can feel that there is liberality and true good will not hindered by chauvinism, nor by fossilized systems.

It is most valuable to confirm for oneself, how the artistic creativeness of America has expanded, and how in addition to the old known art patrons, many new and vigorous collectors welcome this creation.

There is a saying: “Flowers do not grow on ice.” Artistic and scientific achievements, museums and schools, are necessary. But the essential thing is a broad response of the nation. It is necessary to have those loyal enthusiasts, who understand that striving toward culture is the highest duty and joy of humanity.

One notices that often colossal sums are paid for art works and for books. Is this folly on the part of the collectors or something which results from conviction? When humanity will become conscious that spiritual and creative genius are the highest achievements, and the milestones in the histories of nations, the prices of these works will become a special indicator. In our life, how can we compensate works of creative genius? With money? But only recently humanity had occasion to convince itself what a changing and precarious thing money is. Therefore the price for works of creative genius is very relative. If we hear that somewhere high prices are paid for products of culture, then we know that culture is valued there. And this fact will remain on the pages of history as the witness of the growth of this nation.

The people can value highly the results of labor of the creators of culture. The people can wish to have in their midst the best specimen of creative genius of bygone epochs. One must welcome every striving of thought in this direction. In life everything is relative; mistakes may occur, but it is the direction of thought which is valuable. At present, when old forms are changed so rapidly and vigorously into new, the direction of people’s thoughts is extraordinarily precious.

America follows in its development the path of true progress. During the last few years America stands alone in the creation of new museums, schools, societies, agencies, lectures, theaters… One is amazed at the colossal resources of the country which absorbs this rich stream of creative power. Opportunity is also found both for the development of a national art, as well as for collecting the treasures of the whole world. There are multitudes of people who welcome artistic events and show response.

Reading the pages of history of the most cultural nations, we are glad to note when the people turned toward values of science and beauty. This always occurred at moments of the nation’s ascendance. Now having returned from a long journey, it is admissible for me to express my joy at the artistic and scientific growth of America’s consciousness. This is the very thing in which I had faith. When I was accused of excessive idealism I asserted that, on the contrary, my beliefs were real and practical. And I was right, because it is just the most practical people who show signs of high valuation of cultural achievements.

Creativeness is in its essence real and affirming. A creative nation cannot limit its activity to narrow civilized paths. The expanded consciousness leads to a synthesis of the whole life. The highest impulses and decisions become real and convincing.

America animates the consciousness by broad decisions; in her generosity she wants to have the best objects and wants to hear the best words and aspires to make of her children future creators. The statesmen of America and her finest leaders are at the same time collectors of most varied forms of creative genius. There, where leading men, and where great men, devote the best part of their mind to creative products—there also the masses express the same aspirations and will think in the same direction of true evolution.

Unbound by prejudice or superstition, people want to have not only a convenient, but also a beautiful life. No small habits hang behind the back of the builder of life. And his success will be followed by new progress and even the very obstacles will become levers of energy.

I trust the Secretary of Labor, Mr. James Davis, will not mind if I quote a passage from his letter, sent to the Roerich Museum on March 24, 1929, on the occasion of the laying of the cornerstone:

“As we grow in material wealth it is all the more necessary to keep alive our knowledge and love of the beautiful things of the spirit and mind, otherwise we are in danger of gaining the world and losing our souls. It will gratify every high-minded American who has the destiny of his country at heart, to see enlisted in this preservation of culture and intellect a body of people and an organization as influential, vigorous and enthusiastic as yours.

“In whatever direction your endeavors reach out, I wish you a great and ever-growing success through the years. After all, while this is a time of danger to things of the spirit, that time has also its propitious aspect. Civilization attains its highest peaks only after it has amassed the material means with which to recompense the artist and the thinker. These ample means we have. The need is only for leaders to call forth this wealth and see that it is expended in cultural advancement. You and your associates are such leaders. May you build not only this building but a great new movement among us toward a love of the beautiful, and may both endure to serve our people and bring more light into their lives.”

These are indeed remarkable lines from the mind of a statesman! There, where people think in such ways, there the land is on the path of happy achievements.

When you come from the mountains and deserts, where the best culture lies hidden in the shadow of centuries, the extraordinary growth of artistic and scientific work in America deeply amazes you and brings you great joy. The conquest of culture does not pass unnoticed. It creates that finesse of thought—the creative imagination and the ability to perceive the new wave of progress.

The era of happy attainments is predestined for America. As the rapid movement of a big ship attracts everything movable, so also is the irresistible development of America joined by the highest and the best.

New York
1929



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: isvara_museum@mail.ru