Nicholas Roerich - Burning of Darkness

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Burning of Darkness
Read at the meeting of young idealists, New York, 1931

Part I

Creative Thought

Part II


Part III

The Great Culture

Burning the Darkness, 1924,
© Copyright WikiPaintings


Thus we will not grow weary of repeating that at the base of Existence lies creative thought. We will consciously realize the significance of rhythm as the underlying dynamo of our work. We will remember the covenant of Light—that, of all things, the first in importance for us are spirit and creation; second, comes health; and third, wealth. If, however, you hear the sweet-voiced whisperer, creeping through darkness say,

“First wealth, then health and last, creation,” then say,

“We know thee, disguised homunculus! Thou hast again crept in. Thou hast taken advantage of the door unlocked while the caretaker was absent for his morsel. Thou art reckoning once more on human weakness and inconstancy, and again thou hopest to revive the seedling of treason. No matter what thy disguise, we will recognize thee. With thy materialistic revaluation of values thou hast revealed thyself and thy decaying influence. The next evolution is not built according to thy foundations, homunculus! Verily, thy ornate disguise will not help thee. We know without question that the values of spirit and creation lie at the base of Existence and can be the only salvation of humanity!”


Vigilantly penetrating into the laws which govern humanity, we see redeeming sparks everywhere. Observe that the homunculi, as prototypes of the treacherous Mime, who dreamt of annihilating the heroic Siegfried, always reveal, in one manner or another, their hidden intentions.


You remember how Mime sweetly stills the vigilance of Siegfried, whispering to him how he brought him up. He even speaks to Siegfried about heroic achievement, obviously with the motive of appropriating the rewards of this gigantic task, whereas Siegfried will be killed through his treason. But in some miraculous way, Mime begins to tell, not what he would like to tell, but what he actually thinks. Verily, watching closely, you will discern the true formulae of homunculus, which, sooner or later, he pronounces in your presence.


Sharpen your attention; in small things learn to intensify your concentration and be always alert, so that at the required moment, you will not be obscured by your own foggy, petty thoughts. It is said that a criminal is always attracted to the scene of his crime and thus exposes himself. Likewise will homunculus betray himself, for in the final analysis, everything which is destructive, will be exposed. Homunculus dreads the future, just as many people become atheists merely to reject all thoughts about the future.


The idea of a “Guiding Spirit,” the idea of “High Leadership” passes through all ages, for in this concept is contained a counter-balance to the dark homunculus. Beginning with an address to the exposed homunculus we remember some of the covenants of Light which unwaveringly and eternally guide struggling mankind.


This is what the Eastern Wisdom ordains:

“In the construction of affirmed beginnings, one must remember that construction always proceeds upward.

While constructing in the name of the Lord, there is but one path—that which leads to the Creative Source; the path of mighty Hierarchy, the path of the mighty Leadership of Great Service; hence the contact with the creative principle impels the spirit to the affirmed law of Hierarchy. Each construction requires upward striving. Therefore only the law of obedience to the Hierarchy can give the lawful tension. Therefore what is given for the foundation must be guarded, for without the stones of foundation the structure cannot stand.


“How then to affirm oneself in the Teaching? How to come close to the Highest Law of Hierarchy? Only through the refining of thought and expansion of consciousness. How can the Command from Above be attained if the affirmation of conformity is not present? One must be able to accept the vastness of the Teaching. Conformity alone can permit the vessel to be filled. Hence, the manifestation of tolerance is worthy of a broad consciousness. On the way to Us one can attain only through Hierarchy. Thus only through the power of Hierarchy can We send that which is given, therefore all armors must remain pure. How can new possibilities and new people be attracted if one does not proceed in the Name of Hierarchy?


“With Us certainly one can achieve through the saturation of the heart. He who attains this, is privileged, for the source of the heart will not wear away. The Image of the Lord centered in the heart will not be blurred, and at any hour is ready to help. This method of using the heart is most ancient, but requires considerable expansion of consciousness. One must not speak about the heart in the very first talk, because it is possible to overburden it without result. Likewise it is useless to speak of love, if the heart does not as yet contain the Image of the Lord. But the hour strikes when it is necessary to point out the power of the heart. I advise recourse to the heart, not only because there the Image of the Lord is near, but also on account of cosmic reasons; it is easier to cross abysses if the bond with the Lord is strong. Thus it is not easy to go without the Lord. Not only with the lips repeat the Name of the Lord, but revolve It in your heart, and He shall not depart, but shall be as an image carved into a stone by the mountain streams. We say Cor Reale when the King of the Heart enters the predestined abode. One must protect oneself with the Image of the Lord.


“The omnipresent fire imbues each vital manifestation. The omnipresent fire strains every action. The omnipresent fire impels each striving, each beginning, therefore how not to imbue oneself with the omnipresent fire! The cosmic might which is subsistent in each impulse of man, and in creative power, is directed towards conscious creativeness. With what great care should we gather these corresponding energies for the creation of a better future! Only a conscious striving toward the possession of the power of co-measurement can manifest creativeness worthy of future progress. Hence every one on the way to Us must strive to attain creativeness, consciously directing his discrimination.


“When the consciousness prompts your recognition of the necessity of having an Image of the Lord constantly before you, retire into a quiet place and direct your eye upon the chosen Image. But remember that you have to decide irrevocably, for the constant Image will be a constant reproach in case of treason. After a fixed contemplation of the Image, close your eyes and transfer It into the third eye. Exercising thus, you will receive a vivid Image and you will feel an intensive tremor, especially in the heart. Soon the Image of the Lord will abide with you inseparably. You can test yourself against the sun and you will see likewise the Lord before you, sometimes colorless, but again vividly, and even in motion. Your prayer will lose its words and only the tremor of the heart will fill your understanding. Thus, one can achieve in life something very useful, but the consciousness must correspond.


“How important it is to preserve the fire of impulse; without this incitement one cannot imbue the very basis with the best potentialities. The forces applied in the beginning, multiply through the fire of impulse. Therefore, it is very necessary to strive to multiply the given Forces of the Primary Source. In all constructions it is necessary to observe harmony and co-measurement; hence to imbue Our beginnings it is necessary to co-measure the given with the applied measures. Fire and impulse sustain life in every beginning. Without these, the beginnings lose their vitality. Thus let us strive to the affirmed Fire, given by the Lord. Thus one can attain the fiery saturation. Yes, yes, yes!


“Embarking on a ship a traveler was robbed of a purse containing his gold; every one became indignant, but the loser smiled and said, ‘Who knows?’ “A storm arose, and the ship was wrecked. Only our traveler was thrown ashore. When the islanders regarded his rescue as a miracle, he again smiled saying, ‘I simply paid more dearly than the others for my passage.’


“We never know when the good seeds will sprout nor how long it takes for the harvest of poisonous thoughts to ripen. They also require time to ripen. Therefore, beware of poisonous thoughts; not one of them will be lost without leaving traces.


“But where is that country, where is that hour, where an ear of poison will ripen? Even though small but stinging, there will be no pieces of bread which would not tear one’s throat.


“Is it possible not to reap from one’s sowing? Let the seed be a good one, otherwise poison will generate only poison. Much can be avoided, but the treasury of thought is finest. Thought, being the highest form of energy, is indissoluble, and can be deposited in sediments. The manifestation of an experiment upon plants proves the power of thought. Likewise a scientist whose thought is tense, can take from a shelf the needed book.


“Therefore one must develop the wondrous impulse of fire, which gives life to everything. Thus the imbued fire can attract all corresponding energies. In the culture of thought one must, first of all, nurture the fiery impulse. As the creative impulse attracts reverberations, likewise thought attracts correspondences. Thus guard the impulse of fire.


“The main mistake of people is in considering themselves outside that which exists. From this misconception arises the lack of cooperation. It is impossible to explain to the one who stands without that he is responsible for what happens within him! The manifested father of selfishness has sown doubt and deceit in order to sever the link with the treasury of Light.


“One can enroot oneself in world thought, and thus grow for oneself wings in heaven and in the foundation upon earth…”

Study without prejudice the history of humanity, and you will see that however he may be disguised, homunculus despises Light, and most of all hates the Hierarchy of Bliss and Knowledge. With this light-bearing Hierarchy, homunculus begins, in his own confusion, to reiterate his own concealed formulae. But all which has already been pronounced is no longer dangerous. The thin cobweb of the net of darkness will be instantaneously destroyed by the fire of space.


In the service of great Culture one should not limit oneself to a uniform program. Every standard leads to tyranny. The fundamental flame of Culture shall be one, but its sparks in life shall be extremely manifold as well as preciously individual. Like a careful gardener, the true culture-bearer will not ruthlessly crush those flowers which enter life outside his garden, if they belong to the same precious kind which he safeguards. The manifestations of culture are just as manifold as are the manifestations of the endless varieties of life itself. They ennoble Be-ness. They are the true branches of the one sacred Tree, whose roots sustain the Universe.


Should you be asked of what kind of country and of what future constitution you dream, you can answer in full dignity: “We visualize the country of Great Culture.” The country of Great Culture shall be your noble motto. You shall know that in that country, where Knowledge and Beauty will be reverenced, there will be peace.


Let all ministers of war not be offended if they have to concede their priority to the ministers of public education. In spite of all homunculi who spy from their holes, you shall fulfill your duties of great Culture and you shall be fortified by the realization that only homunculi will remain as your enemies. Nothing can be nobler than to have the homunculi as your enemy. Nothing can be purer and more elevating than the striving for the future country of Great Culture.

Himalayas, 1931.


  • Roerich Nicholas.
Nicholas Roerich Museum. n.p. n.d. Web. Accessed December 16, 2013. <