The Wreath of Unity
By NICHOLAS ROERICH
Of Nicholas Roerich, who lives now in India near the Himalayas, Vincent White has written: "He has no home, no date, no nation --he belongs to no race or epoch. Neither do the Persian miniatures, the great Chinese art works, the Etruscan creations. They belong to all times, and all peoples. For every artist, every poet, every philosopher, is primarily a priest; his vocation is holy and timeless, as is beauty."
War is difficult, but still more difficult is post-war reconstruction. When the fundamentals of culture are exposed to danger, when the body and spirit of man are alarmed and suffering, then above the elements there is uplifted some calm miraculous force, the purpose of which is to heal man, harassed in dissonances and unreason. This force is the Eternal Feminine, the reconstructive.
When matters are inharmonious in the home, we turn to woman, who herself has been baptized in the fires of suffering. When things are in turmoil in the world, we turn again to woman, whose heart aches at the wounds to culture and to the spirit. When we say culture, we have woman's influence in mind, she who widely and irresistibly bears the banner of refinement and exaltation at all points, from the cradle to the throne.
In one form or another, the child hears the first word of culture from its mother. With the utmost selflessness and with no egotistical principle, woman introduces cultural bases in the structure whether of family or of nation.
From the most ancient days, woman has worn the wreath of unity on her head. Is not this blessed unity the highest responsibility and most beautiful mission of womanhood? From her, man may learn to seek disarmament not in warships and guns but in the spirit of good-will. And from where can the young generation hear its first whisper of unification? Only from the mother.
To both East and West, the image of the Great Mother is the bridge of brotherhood. To Raj Rajeswari, the all-powerful Mother, the Hindu of yesterday and today dedicates his song. To her the women bring their golden flowers and at her feet lay the fruits for benediction, carrying them back to their hearths. After glorifying her image, they immerse it in the water, lest an impure breath should touch its beauty. To the Great Mother is dedicated the site on the Great White Mountain which has never been climbed. Because, it is said, when the hour of extreme need strikes, there She will stand, lifting up Her hand for the salvation of the nations. Encircled by all whirlwinds and all light, She will rise like a pillar of space, summoning all the forces of faroff worlds.
In this way it happens that when the West speaks of the "Hundred Armed One" of the Orthodox Church, it is but another facet of the many-armed, all-benevolent Kwan-Yin. When the West exalts with reverence the gold embroidered garment of the Italian Madonna, and feels the deep penetration of the paintings of Duccic, and Fra Angelico, we are reminded of the symbols of the many-eyed Omniscient Dukkar. We remember the All-Compassionate, the multitudinous aspects of the All Bestowing and All-Merciful. We remember how correctly the psychology of the people has conceived the iconography of symbols and what an enormous knowledge lies hidden at present under the dead lines. There, where the conceptions disappear and prejudice is forgotten, appears a smile!
The images of the Mother of the World, the Madonna, the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Mother Kali, the benevolent Dukkar, Ishtar, Kwan-Yin, Miriam, the White Tara, Raj-Rajeswari, Nyuka-all these great images, all these great self -sacrificing Beings merge together in one conception, one enlarging unity. And each of these, in spite of the differences of language, are comprehensible to all, ordaining that there should be, not division, but construction; the day of the Mother of the World has come. In the smile of unity all becomes simple. The aureole of the Madonna becomes a scientific physical radiation-the aura long since known to humanity.
The great guidance of woman is her cultural mission to affirm and propagate the creativeness of mankind. Sponsoring constructive thoughts, the consciousness strives toward true progress. It is the daughters of the Great Mother of the World whose hands must now wave the banner of peace, unfurled in the name of beauty. Who, then, if not woman? Precisely it was ordained to a woman first to announce the good tidings of the Resurrection.
Again on a new mountain must woman go, interpreting the eternal paths to those near her. Fearlessly must she stand on guard for the improvement of life, kindling at each hearth a comforting fire, creative and inspiring. She it is who must speak the first word about beauty to the children, about the blessed hierarchy of knowledge. She alone can guard the little ones from disaster, and from their first days of life instill the concepts of heroism and lofty achievement, the primacy of cultural values.
Courage shall ever walk with her, as she utters, with Rabindranath Tagore: "Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it. Let me not look for allies in life's arena, but to my own strength."
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