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


Guru – The Teacher

The sense of conviction is the most hidden quality of high creation in art. The most skilful criticism cannot explain why we believe and cherish many of the Italian and Netherland Primitives, why so much in modernism cannot be explained and still convince. This quality’of inner rhythm, of inner contacts of color and line, this hidden law of dynamic proportions cannot be fully expressed by the conventional phrases; and still they exist and they govern our creations. Certainly there exists some inexpressible conceptions. I remember how in one philosophical society one of the most important contemporary poet-philosophers ceased to attend the meetings. And when he was asked the reason, he shrugged his shoulder, “Because they speak of the unspeakable.” And still everything unspeakable and unconvincing in common conversation, becomes clear and convincing under the benevolent touch of the master. Every art creation is as a dynamo, charged with infinite uplifting energy, a real generator of enthusiasm. Certainly this is comparative. Some of the creations are charged with this primary energy for one hour, and some for eternity—this is relativity. But the most uplifting moment is when the Teacher and the disciples sometime even in a half-silent way are touching this fountain of the Beautiful. Every one knows how often, without a word, one rhythmic gesture covers the abyss of misunderstanding. And is it not the misunderstanding that we have to conquer? Verily, where can there be evil, especially in the vast field of Beauty? Certainly there can be ignorance and ugliness born of ignorance; there can be the offspring of ignorance, misunderstanding. In our day, of so much confusion and corruption, when the spirit is bound with heavy chains of conventionality, how we need to watch each beginning of misunderstanding, and how we must extinguish these ugly parasites which grow so rapidly and pervert the most beautiful garden into a jungle of refuse.

And who can heal this disease of ugliness? Only the Teacher. In what aspect can he act? As a Guru. Is it so difficult and so inapplicable for our day?

I am happy to speak to Teachers. All of you know better than any one else the inner meaning of the sacred conception of Guru and teacher. If we all know it, one may ask then, why speak of it? But we also know the strength of prayer; we know the meaning of incantation, we know the charm of chants; then, let us know what is the meaning of Guru, what is the meaning of a teacher of life and still in the best moments of our life we shall repeat this high conception. Because in repeating it, we are cementing the space with the best stones of the future.

Evolution, young generation, future heroes of a country, future martyrs of wisdom and beauty, we know our responsibility before you! With every affirmation of the Beautiful and of the highest, we are creating the quality of the future life. Is it possible to create this future life and some happiness for the coming generations, without joy and enthusiasm? And from where does this flame of enthusiasm, of incessant creative ecstasy come? Certainly it comes from the flowers of the field of beauty. If we shall take from life all expressions of beauty, we shall change the entire history of humanity.

The teachers of art—are they not the teachers of synthesis? In old teachings, art and beauty are explained as the highest conceptions. You recall the story from the Upanishads, when during the search for Brahma, Brahma was found in the smile of the beautiful Ima. Lakshmi, the Goddess of Happiness, is the most beautiful goddess. Ugliness really has nothing to do with happiness. In our service to art and to beauty, is it not the most gratifying and uplifting feeling, to know that we serve the real synthesis of the coming evolution? And in spreading the seeds of beauty we are creating the beautiful life. Where and how can we amalgamate all the strange formations of the conglomerate of contemporary life? Verily, verily, only the veil of beauty can cover and magically transform the grimace of misunderstanding into the enlightened bliss of real knowledge. Not only for Teachers but for the pupils, also, life is so complicated. How to find the balance between the healthy body and the ugliness of exaggerated sports? How to compromise the highest grace of the dance with the dullness and conventionality of some of the extreme modern dances? How to pacify the noble striving for music, with some of the disturbing jazz of to-day?

How to connect the highest spiritual factor with the lowest state of matter? Are these antitheses quite unapproachable, or can a true unifying basis be found, not alone in dreams and thought but here also on earth? Modern thought demands facts. The most calculating positivism, wants to draw heaven to earth. Let us recall what one of the most positive contemporary philosophers, Prof. Nicholas Lossky, in his remarkable studies, “Matter and Life,” says: “After all that has been stated, it is not difficult to give a conception of the most characteristic traits of the teaching of matter in the system of organic world perception. If matter originates in the highest existence—existence, which is also capable of creating forms of reality other than matter—then the laws of material nature are conditioned to a far greater extent than physicists admit. Naturally one doubts, that the formula of each law should permit a wide range of conditions, most of which are even still uncrystallized; thus the law is not always an exact one, in other words it is usually too broad.

“For instance, to expect that under all conditions, water will boil at one hundred degrees is to take the complexity of nature too little into account; in addition to the necessary temperature, a normal atmospheric pressure is needed, chemical purity of the water, etc. The physicist recognizes these incalculable additional conditions, but as he deals with matter alone he has become accustomed to think of all these conditions as being purely physical.

“Therefore in establishing the most common laws, such for instance as the law of the indestructibility of matter, when the question concerns the general nature of matter, the physicist presumes that there is no need to include the additional details into the formula of the law. Even further, to the mind of such a physicist, who tends towards materialism, any limitation of this law seems inconceivable. And truly, so long as we remain in the domain of material processes, the annihilation of matter through physical means, pressure or impetus, seems inadmissible and even inconceivable.

“But let us presume that matter is not the only form of existence in nature, and further, let us presume that matter is something evolving, subject to the action of the highest principles of the elements, then the place of matter in nature becomes far less durable than the mind of a materialist considers.

“Thus it is not difficult to conceive also conditions when the annihilation of a particle of matter is also possible.”

Thus we see that even in the conception of the most positivistic scientist is clearly expressed the relativity of matter. In this relativity is an open window for the highest conceptions. Let them approach our earth! Let them saturate the coming evolution not only as an external transfiguration but also as the evolution of the innermost being. The facts are needed but the understanding of these facts should be without hypocrisy and superstition. In the field of teaching it is a special joy to expel not only ignorance but that ugly offshoot of ignorance, superstition, and the freedom of discipline enters where ugly superstition is destroyed. The self-denying study of the facts open to us the highest degree of matter. The cosmic ray is no longer a fairy tale but has entered the laboratory of the scientist, and the scientific mind knows how many more rays and forms of energy can enter our life and can be applied for the upliftment of every hearth. The benevolent transfiguration of life is on the threshold; even more, it knocks on our portals because so many things may be distributed at once without delay. How many social problems can be solved without hostility, but with only one condition, that they be solved in a beautiful way. Well, we can evoke the energies from the space; we can enlighten our life with powerful rays, but these rays shall be beautiful—as beautiful as is the conception of evolution.

Our responsibility before The Beautiful is great! If we feel it, we can demand the same responsibility to this highest principle from our pupils. If we know that this is a necessity, as during an ocean storm we can require from our companions the same attention to the keenest demand of the moment.

We are introducing, by all means, art into all manifestations of life. We are striving to show the quality of creative labor, but this quality can be recognized only when we know what is the ecstasy before the beautiful; and this ecstasy is not that of a transfixed image, but this is motion, this is all-vibrating Nirvana, not the falsely-conceived Nirvana of immobility—but the Nirvana of the noblest and most intensive activity. In all ancient teachings, we have heard about the nobility of action. How can they be noble, if they are not beautiful? You are the teachers of art; you are the emissaries of beauty; you know the responsibility before the coming generation, and in this is manifested your joy and your invincible power. Your actions are the noble actions.

And to you, my young unseen friends, we are sending our call. We know how difficult it is for you to begin the struggle for light and achievement. But the obstacles are only new possibilities to create beneficent energy. Without battle, there is no victory. And how can you avoid the venomous arrows of dark enmity? By approaching your enemy so closely that he shall lack space even to send an arrow. And after all, nothing enlightened may be achieved without travail. So, blessed be labor! And blessed be you, young friends, who are walking in victory! The Gurus of the past and future are with you.

Gurus, to you, my invocation and my reverence!

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: