In September, 2007 the Siberian Roerich Society received the documents confirming that reconstruction of the building allotted to it by the Novosibirsk city administration for the Roerich Museum is completed and the building is accepted for exploiting. The people’s construction is finished. We were going to this event for 10 years.
Roerich Museum in the center of Rossasia, which internally grew much more than its materially visible 3 storeys, is unique not only because it has been predestined from Above, but because of how this task was accepted by the co-workers, how this task embodied in their everyday efforts, for ‘by hand and by foot of man’ are the light footsteps to the future being put together.
The Museum, as it has been conceived by its inspirers, had to become an unusual construction. Has it really been like that?
Let us leaf through the filings of our magazine and feel anew this amazing spirit of joy and enthusiasm which were filling these difficult and productive years.
On the 28th of June, 1998 at the ‘Round Table’ of the Siberian Roerich Society Natalia Dmitriyevna Spirina addressed the audience with the following inspiring words:
RISE, THE FRIEND!
Now the time comes when the theory is coming to the end, and practice begins. In theory we are expert enough — for many years we have been reading the Teaching, Helena Ivanovna Roerich’s correspondence, Nicholas Roerich’s works, and in the last time — ‘Facets of Agni Yoga’.
The time has come to embody what we read of, and we feel urgency and imminence of this moment. What this embodying should be?
Long since have we received the formula ‘By hands and by feet of men’. Thinking of it one can easily visualize Nicholas Roerich’s painting ‘Signs of Christ’ and the outlines drawn by Christ on sand — shapes of human hand and foot. And as a result of the earthly labor — construction of the Temple of the New World, predestined in the star runes.
Nicholas Roerich peered into the very core of the phenomena. And when in 1943 he painted the canvas ‘Nastasya Mikulichna’ he foresaw not only the nearest victory of Russian Army over the deadly foe, but also the great future of Asiatic Russia. Nicholas Roerich affirmed that ‘Spiritual rebirth of our motherland will come from Siberia.’
Now the first stone is put in the foundation of this rebirth — the Roerich Museum in Novosibirsk. This namely will be the beginning of embodying the Teaching of Living Ethics into real material form.
What is required from us? To realize that in the present moment taking part in the Museum’s construction is the most important task for everyone who accepted the Teaching and entered the path of service to Common Good.
‘Meditation gives birth to deeds,’ and aspiration to fulfill the errand attracts new possibilities. The construction will be especially successful if its necessity will be realized not only formally but by heart.
Novosibirsk Roerich Museum will be a center of study and spreading the high ideas of the Teaching of Living Ethics not only in Russia but in the whole world, and its magnet will be continuously growing. And multitudes of people will throng to it to slake their spiritual thirst from the living, functioning source.
And is it not happiness that each of us can contribute one’s mite to this construction marking the beginning of the New Era.
Arise, my friend.
The message has been received.
Your rest is over [...]
Don’t you see
The way to what
We will find tomorrow?
The star runes are awaken.
Take your possessions [...]
Our path will be stony.
The East grows lighter.
It’s time for us
N.K. Roerich. The Flowers of Morya
This call was not just heard — it has awakened an unprecedented splash of activities of the people from many cities. With great enthusiasm they began to address the enterprises’ management, officials of different levels. Not in fairy tales but in real life were created wonderful stories about co-workers’ resourcefulness and aspiration, about readiness to reply dormant in hearts of the most ‘inveterate’ businessmen. And along with construction materials SibRO received the stories of their acquisition. July 1998 issue of the magazine ‘Before the Dawn’ was completely dedicated to this subject.
Quite unusual and meaningful is the article by Natalya Zhukova ‘Oasis of Light’. There in color and in detail the author represents the magnificent picture of the future Museum. And this is not just a sketch of a dreamer — it was clear to all the co-workers who read this article. This is our common homework for every day. Since that day many friends and helpers were continuously visualizing the archetype of the Museum, invisibly strengthening the future construction. And the immediate builders who laid the bricks were seeing by their mental sight not just ‘construction landscape’ but halls, paintings, excursions, concerts...
The building enterprises addressed by SibRO did not dare to take up such a difficult object. The one who replied was general director of ‘Rekonstruktsiya Ltd.’ Yakov Ionovich Denisov — a man of great soul, daring and talent. He took on himself the main burden of the construction works. The Museum’s co-workers are talking about him with great thankfulness, they remember how inspired he was by the painting ‘They build the Town’ published in one of the Magazine’s issues; he then said: ‘When the construction is going, everything is going’. In the difficult times of SibRO Y.I. Denisov has always been offering his help and support.
‘The initial years of the construction were especially arduous’, recall today the Museum’s co-workers. ‘The men were working almost round the clock, in great tension, and the food was very niggard. Sometimes they had only bread with boiled water... Because almost everything that was being collected was sent to Altai where Atamanov’s mansion was under reconstruction. Now the collective force which is capable to support each of us is already grown up, great experience of friendly cooperation is acquired... And in the beginning years of the construction the only rescue from all the difficulties has been the ardent aspiration to fulfill the covenants and realization of extreme importance of the current events.’
‘Is it easy, and at all possible in our times to complete the Museum in this way?’ — was asked in one of the articles of ‘Before the Dawn’ magazine in 1998. — ‘To say it is not easy and even very difficult — would mean to say almost nothing about this permanent, almost inconceivable tension exerted by all the co-workers of the Siberian Roerich Society who bear the main burden of responsibility for this construction. One can just say that the construction demands to use all our efforts. But that is literally the instruction given to us by the Teaching of Living Ethics that the utmost tension is followed by rise of the Psychic Energy which decuples forces, attracts support and gives ineffable joy.’
Below is one of the recollections of that time — a quotation from a letter to Natalia Dmitriyevna Spirina by Vasili Yefimovich Zhityayev from the town of Lesnoy in the Urals: ‘In spite of the cold weather and rough work, one feels inside animation, joy, desire to sing, declaim poetry, to talk of the high things. Moreover, one wanted to work not alone, but with someone, to discuss whatever should be done, to ask advice how to do it in the best way.’
‘Looking at us, in the frosty days the workers also didn’t use to seat in their caravans, but rose up and calling us to help began to mount roof timbers. All of us were filled with cheerful spirit: to move forth the construction!
It’s also wonderful that during the process of construction we can take part in the seminars on the Living Ethics, in the arts study classes where we learn to express high ideas and feelings in simple words, to notice fine points and intrigue in the paintings. I believe that another part of our work are our work meetings in the caravan. Here in simple and friendly way we help each other to see the faults of our interactions on the construction... The air of the Museum must be pure — even the ordinary workers restrain themselves from strong language in our presence. [...] And how are people waiting for ‘Round Tables’, waiting to meet you, Natalia Dmitriyevna, how sincerely they are glad for those ones who were lucky to visit you! But I’m amazed by your energy and stamina — to endure seven hours at the ‘Round Table’ in conditions of fierce cold in the hall!
When after my return from the mission to Novosibirsk I told my friends and co-workers about the wonderful meetings in Novosibirsk, I considered necessary to tell somewhat about the conditions in which you have been living for more than 35 years, what your way of life is (simple and light), how your nearest co-workers live, working till the late night, having just few hours for sleeping, or how they sleep in the Society premises on the chairs or in the co-workers’ apartments on the floor with temperature +5–8 centigrade. We must know all this.
And what about the working on the construction till midnight in some days when we had to finish pipe work and to fill up the deep trenches before the cold comes! They were really like trenches of the front line, but this time the small group of guys defended not only Russia but also the future of the whole Earth and humanity! And the humble parcels with warm clothes, food, small amount of money — everything just like in 1941–1945, signs of people’s sincere desire to pave the way for the Victory of Forces of Light! It means that Ivan Stotysyachny is really being awakened!’
Our friendly societies in other cities were making great efforts trying to raise funds and collect materials for the construction. All the difficulties in communication with the enterprise management were considered as school for developing the necessary qualities of character. At the ‘Round Tables’ we shared our experiences, encouraged each other.
‘We are moving ahead with joy and enthusiasm,’ told Larisa Kalinichenko, because ‘each moment bears its own necessity’, and now the most important thing is rebirth of Culture. And when we spoke about this with inspiration, we found the reply...
The most important thing is to fully realize that we are building the Museum unparalleled. It is the Museum of the future, Museum of our progeny. Museum to let Beauty to enter our real life. And it depends upon every one of us what contribution we will manage to make to this construction, which drop we will add. Because really ‘the ocean consists of the drops‘ — and we felt that each one can do something...
Once an interesting thing happened: we came to ‘Ptitseprom’ — it is an organization which distributes the food eggs. Its director was very surprised that we came not to someone other but to him: ‘But what after all can I do to help you?’ — ‘We really accept help of any kind! If you can’t help with money, suggest some ideas, where can we go, direct us to your friends, in other words, help the Museum with whatever you can.’
He was puzzled: ‘What kind of help can I offer but eggs?’ And we shout immediately: ‘Give, give us eggs!’ — And he allotted us eggs, and we easily bartered them for stair-wells, because now everything can be bartered for everything. Help to the Museum can come so unexpected and unusual that each of us must be capable to catch all the opportunities.’
It is actually not such a simple task to ask for help showing that persistence. The co-workers of Roerich Society from Nyagan (the Tyumen district) wrote: ‘Yes, we are looking for sponsors, yes, we need help and ask people to offer it, that’s all true. But at the same time we don’t forget for a moment about dignity of our own spirit and greatness of the cause which is behind us. We are not beggars, we propose to work together for the future, to take part in rebirth of our country. In our visits to sponsors we represent the cause of the primary importance for the whole planet. And if one always keeps it in mind one can escape many negative moments: there will be no desire to be obstinate in one’s request, to knock at the door where we already were refused, to take more than was offered, etc.’
It was understood as well by many directors of the enterprises.
‘I gave our magazine to a director’, tells Lyudmila Sergeevna Khizhko from Yurga, ‘thanked him for his help, said that his name is also here, showed the picture of the Museum. And after all he said ‘Thank you’ — and with such air that my heart was warmed; it was gratitude not only for the magazine but it was clear that we gave him something more. And that is really so.’
‘On our seminars, noticed Lyudmila Ivanovna Yefimova from Berdsk, we discussed much, how to address the potential sponsors, and came to the conclusion that we must leave any preoccupation towards the people we visit. We address not businessmen, entrepreneurs, but simple, common our Siberians...’
‘And than really miracles happen: how they respond — not to some artificial phrases, but to simple heartfelt word! We speak simply, and that meets respond: they share with us their own problems, we share ours, and a cordial dialogue results. Perhaps the most important is to be attuned to feel that Light which is in every man’.
Co-workers of the Berdsk Roerich Society told: ‘Some people erect the walls, some, caring about the materials for the construction, go to those who can provide the necessary materials. Many people want to help, but not all of them are able: some have problems with documents, some have not enough money to pay salaries to the workers. Director of the forestry though couldn’t help at the time, gave useful advise, thank him for that. He didn’t repulse us, didn’t wave away. He called the chief accountant, discussed the problem in a constructive, intelligible way. It was clear, he would help, if the accountant wouldn’t tread his foot under the table. This also happens — one man get inflamed to help, and another one thinks just how to support one’s own enterprise, how not to let it fall apart finally. The latter also must be understood, he really cares about the people. They gave us nothing, but supported morally, and we left them brightened. As one can see, not everything can be measured even by timbering...
Sometimes during the meetings people themselves started to talk about ethics, spirituality, about the problems of culture. So we were happy not only about bricks, slabs, petroleum or sack of wheat flour, but also for people’s tenderness, sensitiveness, understanding of the today as a transitional hour to something more perfect...
Thus we come from one enterprise to another and are happy to have chances for new meetings and new discoveries. We don’t only ask something from them, but give in our turn. We let them see that not everything yet has been extinguished and died, that spirit of humanity is still alive. Some time in the future these sparkles will flare up into a beautiful united flame, so that no darkness could extinguish it. We’ll not be able to stand up one by one, but as a single community nothing could frighten us. Because the covenant we have that ‘The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.’
Some co-workers had to show the wonders of inventiveness.
Just imagine a small tiny woman who was telling at the ‘Round table’: ‘I went to another town, where there is a forestry. They told that they will help and give us 10 cubic meters of timber, but... alive. Another problem: we must fell the trees ourselves, fir and silver fir. But that we can also manage somehow. Since we are given something, we can cut down the trees as well...’
Vera Alexandrovna Smolina from Gorno-Altaisk also told about unusual ways to find help. ‘There is a man who visited our ‘Round table’two years ago, saw Natalia Dmitriyevna, felt deep respect to her. We came to him and asked: ‘Don’t you want to listen to the last ‘Round table?’ There’s a speech by Natalia Dmitriyevna. — ‘Surely I want’. Then a fortnight later he ran to our home: ‘I received my salary, you urgently need money, for the Museum, please send it’, and gave us 2000 rubles.’
‘He had also a friend, businessman, but very cautious. However, felt sympathy to us. We came to him and asked: ‘You know, your friend gave his salary for the Museum...’ — ‘Really?’ — ‘Yes, and what about you?’ Thus we got another 2000 rubles. The men helped in this way. And we, women, sat and thought — how we could also make money? Brooded over it for a while... Suddenly my workmate came and said: ‘There’s a job. One needs to whitewash an apartment’ — ‘Well, how much they pay?’ — ‘Eight hundred’ — ‘Deal!’
So, we got this money and brought here, now we’ll whitewash the apartment and invent something else...’
‘When our first load for the Museum’s construction was to be dispatched, — recollects Marina Shikulo from the Kiselyovsk Roerich Society, — we had not a faint doubt that the car must go only under the Banner of Peace...
On the way various sudden events occurred. Along the whole rout we met green light. In Novosibirsk we passed freely through Krasny avenue, although it was closed for the trucks. The way back was late at night, also with the Banner of Peace, and the road was desolate, as if all the cars disappeared, freeing the path for us.
All of us will remember this unusual trip for long.
And we affirm that the Banner of Peace opens all ways, because it is indeed a Master’s shield!’
Many of us remember the story told by our friends from Nyagan, when the seemingly obstacles turned into possibilities as fiery aspiration was applied: ‘To dispatch a freight railway car seemed not at all difficult, we couldn’t even imagine that the main problems were ahead. The days of unavailing search passed. We explained, proved, spoke about the urgent need to construct the Museum’s roof, but heard every time the same answer: ‘Railway tariff is not a barter, we don’t have money to pay salaries, so that have to give them vegetables instead, so how can I give it (tariff) to you? Who will understand me?’
We tried to solve the question by mutual set-off with the railway — refusal. We start make the rounds of the enterprises where workers didn’t get their salaries on time. Persuaded: ‘You will help such an important affair even if you will give to the workers the salary which you have to give. Your enterprise will really not lose anything’. They believed us, it was obvious, but no one gave us money...
We were pressed by such a burden that now we try to forget it. Saw timber lay prepared long since, it was raining heavily in the beginning of the fall, first snow fell from the sky. Bitter thoughts possessed our minds: how could that be?
Even ‘genii build temples’, even ‘wolves bring tidings’; why is our existence if we can’t help? We couldn’t find any answer to these questions. We knew that the help in good cause comes in the last moment, but it seemed to us that this moment had already passed long time ago, and the Museum stood without the roof!
And at some moment the verses became for us a new impulse. In our Nyagan it often happened that Natalia Dmitriyevna’s verses came to us in the most difficult moments as a vivifying spurt:
Rising for battle in the morning
Feel that you are not alone
Know that your prayers are reaching
The highest luminous peaks...
Our prayer was reduced to just the two words: ‘Help to help!’
And suddenly unbelievable thing happened. One of the coworkers, woman, which grew her children alone, very needy, gives for the car’s dispatch a sum which was almost half of the railway tariff, saying: ‘These money are quite unexpected for me, I didn’t count on it, will manage. I thought for a long time, how to help...’
Suddenly immediately after that an enterprise which owed salaries paid them off, some other tributes came, and we gasped: the needed sum was in our hands!
Ran in haste to our enterprise. And here, in the waiting room of the director’s office, we got a phone call, saying that the organization which yesterday flatly refused us, agreed promptly, tomorrow, to dispatch the car at their own expense!
Finally the best possible thing happened: the car with saw timber came to Novosibirsk, and along with it we gave extra money to our Center — the Siberian Roerich Society.
One can’t express our feelings and gratitude to the Forces of Light, it can be only felt by heart:
With Your Power we’re strong
With Your Wisdom we are rich,
With Your Ray we’re enlightened,
With Your Joy we’re winged…
And all the victories, and all awards,
And all the firmest shields
Are in the single word — ‘You’*
* Spirina N.D. Kapli. Novosibirsk, 2001, p. 290.
Time was passing, and people of the most different ages, characters and destinies were growing into more and more friendly collective. SibRO began to receive letters in which the helpers who came on the construction from afar to work during their vacations, recollect the time spent here as something which they never experienced before.
Below are recollections of a bank clerk from the city of Omsk Igor Mikhaylov: ‘After the clerk’s job it’s difficult to get accustomed to working cloths: wadded trousers, wadded jacket. Experience gained in the army helps to overcome physical hardships. But the most important help is the magnificent Spirit which is present here, on the construction. It’s invisible, imperceptible, but I know it, I feel its beneficial influence. It helps, it guides, everything minute goes away, just one phrase resound in the mind: ‘In hardships we grow firm.’ In hardships we grow, we grow, we grow — resounds from one storey to another and echoes back to me, bringing decupled forces. I smile. I thank and continue to work. Thus I spent my first day on the construction of the Temple of Culture...
New rhythm of life was simple: raise in the morning, long trip from the military garrison, work on the construction. In the evening we returned to the apartment which was offered as a hostel by a woman-coworker; then dinner, after which with thrilled soul I touched the Teaching of Living Ethics...
I would like to say special words about amazing people with which I worked and lived on the construction. I’ve never known such a serried collective. Love and respect towards labor and towards one’s fellow creature, patience and forgiveness to any mistake create unparalleled air of heartfelt warmth, chariness about each member of our small commune. There was no need in words to communicate, once a thought appeared to do something, and it was already done by my friends. In such a subtle and beautiful atmosphere passed my life in the Society.
Once at night, before sleeping, I suddenly caught an idea that this is a real paradise on Earth, one has no need to seek it afar, overseas, it is just near, one has just to be able to see it, to feel it with one’s whole heart. This is wonderful!!! I also realized that now it will be much more difficult for me to perceive the surrounding grey world. But this sense of paradise in my soul will help me to keep in my heart this unforgettable cordial warmth, love and joy during my whole life. In hardships we grow firm!’
There were many who worked by hands, but not everyone dared to convey in words one’s impressions and inspirations — really, each one expresses one’s creativity in his own way. Prosaic and rhymed lines once they appeared were communicated to each other, they were felt as a part of common creative work. Songs were also composed on the construction helping in the hard physical effort. For example, below are the lines from ‘the Song of the Museum’s builders’ by Alexey Grachev:
How can we do this all —
In spirit with higher force.
The temple will be completed at the dawn
By great common effort...
Every time V.E. Zhityayev found new cordial words to describe his trips to Novosibirsk: ‘Time-table of the work in the Museum is very intensive — the whole light day and weekend is being used. Lorries with materials are coming from far away (cement, bricks, pipes, metal, macadam) —we have to meet and unload them in the evening or at night, in the floodlight, or early in the morning.
After a short break in the evening we continue to whitewash, paint, repair equipment. In the same intensive way all the collective of SibRO works permanently. Co-workers of the Society not just guide all the construction’s organization but in practice take part in all small and large affairs of the construction. Everyone needs to work more than 12 hours, though everyone has family, kinsfolk and fellow creatures, which also demand attention and care.
Not everyone is able to endure this rhythm of arduous effort, someone has left. Really, in these complicated conditions foundations of the Commune are being laid, here the sword of spirit is being smithed. The calx fall away, slag peels off, but human spirit grows tempered, and shines with pure lights of joy...
Work goes swimmingly, guys work well together since long, and understand each other almost without a word. Each worker has good practical experience and mastered more than 10–15 specialties: joiner, carpenter, electrician, tinsmith, metalworker, welder, hooker, each one can drive car and work on hoisting crane, and besides all this they possess subtle artistic taste, are experts in classical music, write poetry. Each one makes his work without sputter, thoroughly and conscientiously. We build for ages. The air on the construction is brisk, it resembles very much Nicholas Roerich’s painting ‘They build the town.’ Natalia Dmitriyevna Spirina’s verses resound in one’s soul:
We build the town unprecedented,
white garments having put on us,
Neither for power nor for glory —
For common good of humankind
At noon, before lunch, we gather at the Society, at the reading hall, for a short five-minute talk. Hear Natalia Dmitriyevna’s records at the ‘Round tables’. Recite her verses, transferring with care her new collected poetry book. Rejoiced that the true friends gathered around one table, one in working cloth covered with dust, another in snow-white blouse or shirt. As it is said in the Teaching, ‘It does not matter how the New World will enter — in a caftan, a frock coat, or a shirt...’ Effort for common good and cordiality unify us all. One can feel unfeigned simplicity and mutual respect to each other...
This morning, early enough, at sunrise, after my duty in the Museum I was meditating upon our construction: what is the most important factor that moves us all, coming here to take part in the Roerich Museum’s construction? I believe this is — Love. I recollected how we prepared the fireplace hall, the next rooms of the Museum, Natalia Dmitriyevna Spirina’s office, where she would work. Surely, all the boarding, all the nails were being fastened with great love, with diligence, with high quality: we visualized will it be convenient for this woman, will her visitors feel here harmoniously; and when we all will come here together — shall we feel here comfortable. High quality of the work results from felling of love to everyone and to her, who united us all.
And the next thing I realized was: it matters what you are yourself, what are your inner qualities; are you changing while doing your job, and to what degree are you changing to good.
Nicholas Roerich has a wonderful poem called ‘Let’s leave it‘ in the book ‘Morya’s flowers’— describing how he sat at the table, put pen to paper and continued the work started by the Master. Natalia Dmitriyevna Spirina wrote a kind of sequel to it:
Only Your Cause can purge of
All the pests,
Only it can set the spirit free,
Only it makes breath released
And strengthens step...
And we surely are becoming stronger, cleanse ourselves, because we are allowed to great construction, because we understand that it is not just about the house’s building, but enormous work which is necessary for the future — for the Altai, for Zvenigorod. And we are also participators of that labor.’
Days passed, construction went on. And meanwhile cultural activities were carried on not only parallel to construction but on the very building site! One can say not only figuratively but literally that the plasterer-painter often was immediately followed by co-workers with reproductions who decorated the walls. The following are recollections about those years by one of the co-workers: ‘As far back as the very first days, when the builders demolished to foundation the dilapidated walls and built the new ones, in the Museum cultural work was in full swing. Where else can you meet such a building site where the bearded builders in wadded jackets gather for lunch into their caravan, a warm oasis amidst Siberian frosts, and... begin to recite poems in circle and discuss the future exhibitions! Once the first walls were built, not yet plastered, they were immediately adorned with favorite reproductions. And all the finishing works were concentrated on the exhibition hall — and there started real exhibitions, and at the same time when visitors are guided to look at them, in the adjacent rooms construction work was never ceased. Thus it turned out that the Museum which managed to finish by the Open Doors Day only two storeys from three, already had by this time its long cultural story!’
And really, unofficial opening of the Museum took place on the 4th of May, 2001, on the day of celebrating Natalia Dmitriyevna Spirina’s 90 year jubilee. At the same time the Day of Roerichean poetry has been inaugurated — the poetry of the New Age. Since that time the Museum began gradually to accept visitors...
Two years later the everyday work of the Museum will be described in ‘At the Dawn’ magazine like this: ‘Morning breaks upon the Museum. Ordinary people are gathering to it on the sun’s call. At the breakfast one can hear the workers’ words of hope and beauty. Not baseless are their hopes: with their own hands people make the song of the future happiness. The work is in full swing in confidence, amicability, self-surrender. And each labor will be accompanied by a hilarious, kind word. It seems, exhausting is the scrupulous labor upon the quality of the construction work. But smiling are the workers with great precision leveling an awry concrete slab: ‘Look, we are doing concrete-carving!’ Or another worker carries out a monotonous job, long, long, long time he works, other people begin already to express compassion to him, but he answers: ‘I know the sense of my job: I’ll find a golden brick, it will be the last in this bricklaying.’ Thus he spoke of the inalienable treasure of the earned patience and composure in labor.
Before lunch laborers gather in the hall, listen to the words inspired, subtle, urgent, absorb the poetic lines, fill up with music, refresh in mind the meaning of the labor carried on, its significance for the future of the country and the planet. And then with new enthusiasm they are ready to take up their works. Really it is not for some alien people the Museum is being built, but for our own humanity.
On the memorial days resound the summoning words of the slide-shows. The builders are speaking of the great images of the toilers of Russian land and the whole humanity, and outlines of the new world become more clear, the world which was built by people in all the times, sorrowful as well as joyous.
Who is heading the construction truly, in big as well as in small things? That one who labors most of all others, he is leading others with his example. Who will lay the brick without which the construction wouldn’t go? That one who is not afraid of the work. Thus the life of spirit is being built up, and along with it the daily effort of constructing the Museum in Siberia. And in the most difficult moments will arrive expected-unexpected help: either a car with load, or a new worker, or the urgent word will sound. Or a tomtit will fly down to the shoulder, or a cloud will look up unto the window as a messenger, and what is their message you will hear and comprehend. The next time new books arrive from printing-house. How much joy gives to bring this load to the storage, wherefrom they will fly away throughout the whole world as skylarks of the new daybreak!
In the evening, when the song of hummers and planes is ceased, comes turn of piano keys and guitar strings, time of slides’ colors and rustling of book pages. While slides on the wall are fluently changing one another, a car driver tells about the beauties of dear Altai. A carpenter unclose to his friends the spaces of Cosmos, Galaxies, constellations and planetary systems. And stars are like people: where it’s most hard, where Cosmos needs help, there the most bright ones are crowded. The friends share the light of their songs, which was carefully collected for many years amidst the motley meadow of life. One who sees or hears this all the first time, leaves stunned: how much beauty there is on Earth! Though all this is just a small grain of it...
On time the Museum holds special section meetings, one could tell much about each one of them. One is pedagogical. Who doesn’t feel now that the present educational system is quite obsolete! How much the new vital ways which call to the beauty are needed! Not abstract one, not nominal, but to real beauty of everyday life.
Another section is musical and art studies. One could say, what science is it, to listen music and look at paintings? And in fact it’s an absolutely real science! There are pieces of art which in the literal sense of the word can save one’s life, restore vital forces, imbue with mew might. But all this requires skill to hear, to see, to concentrate this power in one’s heart. Very rare school is learning this as now. But from how many disasters can save us the Beauty!
Working on the Museum’s construction is happiness unforgettable!
And when will the Museum open for everyone? When will everyone be able to joh this happiness? This day comes closer. Many people are drawing it near. Everyone does what he can. By work, by money, by building materials. Someone — dispatches a railway car of timber for the Museum. Someone — spares money on school breakfasts. Someone — sends to the builders his thoughts of encouragement. And those who can’t come to the Museum personally somewhere in a faraway town keep in their hearts its light and little by little insensibly dispel the clouds of despondency. And seeks out the ‘golden brick’ on an ordinary building site, and brings to a most common office the light of paintings, triumph of music, shining of human kindness.
Soon, soon shall we open the Museum. For everyone. Though at the beginning it was almost nothing! But was it really nothing? A young woman for which the most important thing was Common Good came from Harbin. Natalia Dmitriyevna Spirina. She was alone in an unfamiliar city. Alone, if only we don’t count the main — flame of heart. And remembrances of the words from Helena and Nicholas Roerichs’ letters, repeated by her teacher, Boris Nikolayevich Abramov: ‘To move, move and move to the motherland! You are needed there’.
The years of labor, struggles and victories have passed, and now for the whole country the People’s Museum is unclosing its spiritual storerooms. And that’s just the beginning!
‘Father Sergiy, Glorious, with You we go, with You we shall
Compiled by Ekaterina Peresvetova
The building given to the Siberian Roerich Society for the Museum. 1997
The building given to the Siberian Roerich Society for the Museum. 1998
With Yakov Ionovich Denisov
Кровельные работы в зимнюю стужу
Lifting tiles onto the roof
The load from Kisselevsk was transported under the Banner of Peace
The exhibition hall at the Museum