I am indebted to Madame Shaposhnikova and the International Roerich Centre in Moscow for giving me the opportunity to edit the English translation of this wonderful book about the inimitable Nicholas Roerich; it is an excellent introduction to the man and his mighty works, and will undoubtedly inspire readers to find out more about the Roerich phenomenon, and hopefully to disseminate and spread the ideas of this scholar, thinker and artist of incalculable importance. I sincerely hope it achieves this, because a new ‘cosmic mentality’ as exemplified by Roerich and the great Mahatmas is something humanity needs to hold on to and aspire to in these troubled and terrible times: war, famine and flood are upon the Earth in biblical proportions. Now more than ever we need the lights of truth, beauty and culture to shine as beacons on this planet, penetrating the darkness and banishing ignorance and greed. The battle between good and evil is ever raging. The great truths, spoken of and transmogrified by Roerich on canvas and realised in momentous actions, shall not be easily extinguished or explained away by cynical and dark forces; a new ‘cosmic mentality’ is carrying humanity on its current into a new age of enlightenment. Roerich believed that it was society itself and the common man, each and every one of us enlightened and empowered, who must triumph and point the way to a brighter future. In the individual lies the redemption of the many. It seems that now, after endless wars and the pillaging for profit by global empires, many a common man and woman are waking up to new ways of thinking and being. They are saying ‘no’ to the hawks of war and damning the militarised, industrial and corporate machines that seek to divide and drive us recklessly along a path of death, calamity and cultural ruin. Let us hope that humanity, in all its glorious colours and creeds, finally and fully, embraces a new ‘cosmic mentality’, and that its light radiates among us, in truth, beauty and love, as vivid and inspiring as the works of Nicholas Roerich himself.
Steve Elliott, Moscow, 25th September 2013