It is added on November, 3rd 2009
The Realm of Culture
Declaration to the Committee of the French Roerich Society
and the Russian section
Last year I had the joy of greeting you and, together with you, of remarking a succession of happy signs beneath which our work progressed. A year has now passed and in full justice we may say that the time has not gone aimlessly. Many splendid seeds were sown in our common labors.
In line with our basic principle of beginning everything with a small seed, we may see how the potential energy of this seed, from the sacred tree of Culture, is growing—growing even faster than may be expected. In my Declaration last year, I said to you: “Each cultural worker can say, ‘We construct culture.’ “ He will be right, because wherein does the structure of Culture lie, if not in self-sacrificing, enlightened, beautiful labor? Let there be one more distinction of your cultural work: let there disappear from it all divisions, conventionally created by prejudice and ignorance. Many efforts upon the field of Culture have been destroyed and become hideous, precisely because of these living conventionalities. The sacred flame of Culture does not tolerate ignorant limitations. Whether we notice the life-creating torch in a hut or illuminating the halls of a palace, it is equally valuable to us, because this torch has become kindled with the very same all-exalting light. Let this condition stand as the cornerstone of our structure and preserve us from the gashing claws of ignorance.
In addition to the call of Culture, we already have above us the Banner of Peace, the luminous covenants of which should not be extinguished in human hearts. We must not only grant our faith to this Banner, but also desire to uplift it through the entire activity of enlightened labor. How many beautiful manifestations this staff of culture affords us! Each creator, each worker, without hindrances and coercion, can find application for his knowledge and his abilities. I have already had opportunity to speak of the League of Culture, of a Universal Day of Culture. Will it not be now one of the most beautiful tasks ahead of us to strive undelayingly in this direction; to begin work without delay in this limitless field, where there is no impediment, where there can be no human hatred and where the pettiness of malice and envy will be dispersed as is darkness before light?
The mission of our Committee may be beautiful not only in giving lectures, concerts, exhibitions in the name of Culture, but also in sending out representatives, fine messengers of Righteousness and Knowledge, to the schools, enlightened societies, factories, cottages and prisons where in beautiful, enlightened expression, they can acquaint others with the highest values of humanity. Poets, artists, musicians, scientists, entrusted by the committee, may become welcome guests at the varied repasts of the human spirit. And how easy is this fulfilled, if only it be begun in the potentiality of the seed.
In the Fund already inaugurated by us for the Banner of Peace and for popular education, one of the first appropriations must be in the name of this enlightened and luminous creative movement. I speak of the necessity of appropriations from the Fund, because it would be unenlightened to believe that the designated carriers of Light have their own means to fulfill this benevolent aim. Verily it would again be cruel to demand that someone without his own means should spend his very last pittance for the manifestations of Knowledge and Beauty. Let us express it more simply—of course, our messengers must be definitely paid; there is nothing unacceptable in this. It would be difficult to demand payment from the listeners, because a Luminous word or sound cannot be bought. But the universal fund into which everyone will bring his voluntary mite will be the sign that humanity has already become sufficiently matured to carry the Banner of Culture. Besides, we are aware that each Luminous thought ripens in space, and that the great realistic conception of the highest justice verily exists. It means that if we direct all the forces of our spirit in this direction, the material shell of the work will also naturally mold itself, as countless examples indicate. But one thing is necessary for success—one must shoot an arrow of complete, invincible, absolute striving. If we are unsuccessful, it means that in some instance the heart faltered; it means that in some instance, someone retreated and did not stretch forth his hands to the key of the gates. Then it is of no use to cast blame, of no use to malign; one must blame only oneself for nullity, for featurelessness, for the betrayal of the most Luminous and most Resplendent.
But one should not presuppose any possibility of retreat. We must walk as firmly and closely as we began. Let us set into the soil the seed of our decided wish. Now, without delay, let us organize small committees which will create the program of our call to Culture. Let everyone who can manifest a cultural gesture, express what he is ready to share. Let everyone also name his friends, each of whom, in his province, can call to mind the greatest cultural values of humanity. I already feel these hours of mutual understanding, when passages of the beautiful classics and the best of modern attainments are read. I already hear the sounds of the great festival of the past and the victorious syntheses of the future. Everything must have some means of beginning. I beg you to accept from me the sum of 3000 francs towards the Banner of Peace Fund as an honorarium to three lecturers, poets or artists, who bring the glad tidings of that which is so undelayingly necessary for the human heart. You may decide as to where it is best to inaugurate this—under our own roof or in some institution of a similarly progressive character. Let two of the events apply to France and one to the Russian Section. Decide among yourselves who can most significantly inaugurate this and when. With this, we shall lay the foundation of the new traditions of Culture, when Knowledge will be transmitted not merely for information, but also for ennobling the heart, for the enlightenment and unification of the human spirit.
The first number of the Annual, dedicated to the Banner of Peace, has already appeared. It is time to think of the second one. In this second one, will not poets, writers and artists ring the sacred bells? The Annuals of the Banner of Peace, as well as the Journal devoted to cataloguing the treasures of humanity, must enter into the immediate program of the Banner of Peace Fund.
In my previous Declaration our future home was mentioned, the home of Culture in Paris. Let us strengthen this thought in space, just as for several years we have strengthened the Institutions in America, which already have branches in more than seventeen countries. Primarily, it is necessary for one to know with absolute precision in what cause he acts and creates. Cementing the Banner of Peace and Culture with all its Beauty and Knowledge into the foundation, and sustained by this concept, we can heartily embrace each other; and in sending out our messengers of Light, we can say: “You shall be conquerors!”
I will end with my poem “Through Smile” written in 1921.
Messenger, my Messenger!
Thou standest and smilest
And thou dost not know what thou hast brought
Me. Thou hast brought me the gift
Of healing. Each tear of mine
Shall heal the wounds of the world.
But, Ruler, whence shall I
Take so many tears and to which
Of the wounds of the world shall I give
My first torrent?
O my Messenger, thou standest
And smilest. Dost thou not have
A command to heal sorrow
Kyelang, 1931, Realm of Light
Roerich Museum Press, 1933