It is added on November, 4th 2009
Banner of Peace
For Vlsva Bharati, Shantiniketan, 1931
At the end of Kali-Yuga, wearying and seemingly unconquerable difficulties obscure humanity. A multitude of problems apparently insoluble, burden life and divide nations, states, communities, families… People try desperately to face them with materialistic inventiveness, but even the most formidable colossi of mechanical civilization are shaken. Every day brings news of commotions, confusions, misunderstandings and misrepresentations. Life is filled with a multitude of petty lies. Everything uplifting and calling becomes, in the eyes of ignoramuses something shameful and depreciating. Thus do the Vishnu Puranas describe the end of Kali-Yuga. But the same Puranas announce also the blessed Satya-Yuga.
What great conception, what bliss lies primarily at the base of this purification and transformation of life? Certainly it is that bliss, in which are united the all-embracing, the all-beautiful, the all-inspiring and all-uplifting. Verily, it will be that great conception which humanity envisages under the name Culture. To this great conception let us undeferrably direct all our best thoughts and creativeness. In this realization, let us reveal the ancient wisdom in the cause of a glorious future. For the glory of this treasure let us realize our great mutual responsibility and let us not impede each other from solemnly upholding this tabernacle of Light. Let us consider our routine work not as hideous shackles, but as the pranayama which awakens and coordinates our highest energies. Let us lose neither the day nor the night in sowing the blessed seeds of refinement and implanting Culture among the broad masses.
To this great Service was our Peace Pact with the Banner of Peace consecrated for the protection of all cultural treasures of humanity. Our great Rabindranath Tagore, who is one of the most enlightened protectors of Culture, thus writes to us about the Peace Pact: “I have keenly followed your most remarkable achievements in the realm of Arts and also your great humanitarian work for the welfare of the nations, of which your Peace Pact idea with a special Banner for protection of cultural treasures is a singularly effective symbol. I am very glad indeed that this Pact has been accepted at the Museums’ Committee of the League of Nations and I feel sure that it will have far-reaching effects on the cultural harmony of nations.”
I am not astonished that we receive so many enthusiastic responses to our Peace Banner. Our past is filled with deplorably sad and irreparable destructions. We see that not only in times of war but also during other periods of error the creations of human genius are destroyed. At the same time the elect of humanity understand that no evolution is possible without the cumulations of Culture. We understand how indescribably difficult are the ways of Culture. Hence the more carefully must we guard the paths which lead to it. It is our duty to create for the young generation traditions of Culture. There, where is Culture, is Peace. There where is the right solution for the difficult social problems, is achievement. Culture is the cumulation of highest Bliss, of highest Beauty, of highest Knowledge. In nowise can humanity pride itself on having done enough for the flowering of Culture. For after ignorance we reach civilization; then gradually we acquire education; then comes intelligence; then follows refinement and the synthesis opens the gates to high Culture. We must confess that our precious and unique treasures of Art and Science are not even properly catalogued. And if our Banner of Peace be the impetus which will urge such an achievement in behalf of the universal treasures, this alone would be the fulfillment of a colossal task. How much of the useful and beautiful could be easily attained! Let us imagine a universal Day of Culture, when simultaneously in all schools of the world will be extolled the true treasures of Nations and Humanity. Amidst the varied works of enthusiasm must be pointed out the great sympathy of the women of America. At a recent celebration dedicated to the Banner of Peace, the representative of 400,000 women, Mrs. W. D. Sporborg, pledged their support for the Peace Banner. Vast is the list of organizations, societies, museums, libraries, schools, statesmen, who have expressed the great hope that this project will enter into life. Several organizations have already raised the Banner of Peace. The International Museums’ Office of the League of Nations under the Presidency of M. Jules Destree, Belgian Minister, have unanimously accepted this project. And now thanks to the initiative of M. Camille Tulpinck, under the protectorate of Dr. Adatci, President of the Permanent Court of International Justice, a special Conference is being organized in Bruges, for which a broad program is being planned. In connection with this Conference, of great interest is the proposed League of Cities united under the same Banner of Peace. M. Tulpinck and other enlightened minds have enlisted in this idea. A letter from Paris indicates that our friend the poet, Marc Chesneau, will represent the old city of Rouen. I have just received an important article by Dr. George Chklaver, “Le Pacte Roerich et la Societe des Nations,” an excerpt of the Revue de Droit International, which highly recommends the Pact from its legal aspect. Verily, the protection of treasures of Culture belongs among those all-unifying foundations which permit us to gather in friendship without petty feelings of envy and malice.
We are tired of destructions and negations. Positive creativeness is the fundamental quality of the human spirit. In our life everything that uplifts and ennobles our spirit must hold the dominant place. The milestones of the glorious path must from childhood impel our spirit to the beautiful future. Be assured it is not a truism to speak about the undeferrable and urgent strivings of Culture. If some ignorant person find this idea superfluous and needless, we shall say to him: “Poor ignoramus, you are outside of evolution. But remember, we are a legion! And in no way shall we abandon our plan for a Peace Banner. And the obstacles of your making we will transform into possibilities.”
Let us realize how many highly useful projects can be easily introduced into life. I return to my long cherished idea of a World Day of Culture, when simultaneously throughout the world under one Banner a day may be dedicated to the recognition and appreciation of the treasures of Culture in one’s own country and the entire world. Cenotaphs recall the past. But everything connected with Culture, with innumerable glorious martyrdoms and magnificent attainments, impels our minds towards the future. Only think with what simple means, if acting in primary unity humanity could establish traditions which would guide the young generations.
Verily I would like to hail our Conference in Bruges as the beginning of a true League of Culture and I would wish that all members and friends of this Conference should joyously welcome this all-enfolding, all-uniting, all-glorifying idea. In such a movement we could set an example to all those who in ignorance divide, disperse and destroy.
Doubtless the inner import of the Conference in Bruges will be highly significant and will open new gates for all the superb future constructions in the realm of Culture. The Conference in Bruges will not resemble a fleeting moth which has singed its wings at the first candle. It will form a radiant legion whose fiery wings will grow in consonance with the achievement of great Beauty and glorious Necessity.
In the Museo Civico of Padua there is a panel of Guariento, “Angels of Peace.” In a solemn circle the angels hold their council. Each angel carries a sphere as an all-embracing sign and the palm of peace which in the angelic hand, is austere as an irresistible sword. This panel rises before me as I think of our Conference. These angels are benevolent but indomitable. Thus benevolent and invincible, I visualize our legion of Peace and Culture.
Let us gather those who, surmounting all personal difficulties, casting out petty selfishness, propel their spirits to the task of preserving Culture, which above all, will insure a radiant future.
Let us exert all means to make paramount the beautiful necessity of Culture. No superlatives are too great in speaking of the most essential conception in the world.
We must not fear enthusiasm. Only the ignorant and the spiritually impotent would scoff at this noble and unsullied feeling. Such scoffing is but the sign of inspiration for the true Legion of Honor. It would be outrageous, if in touching on the great manifestations, such attributes as “small” and “little,” were used. Thus we should beware of committing that most hideous of all acts—disparaging. This would signify decay. Nothing can impede us from dedicating ourselves to the service of Culture, so long as we believe in it and give to it our most flaming thoughts. Do not disparage! The great Agni singes the drooping wings. Only in harmony with evolution can we ascend! And nothing can extinguish the selfless and flaming wings of enthusiasm!
N.Roerich Realm of Light
Roerich Museum Press, 1933