Nicholas Roerich's Samadhi
The word Samadhi in Indian religious tradition denotes the highest state of awareness, “the highest spiritual enlightenment.” According to Helena Roerich, there are many stages of Samadhi – as many as a number of consciousness levels and spiritual development cycles. On our planet only a fully developed Arhat living in a particular environment is capable of achieving complete Samadhi. In Hinduism Samadhi has another meaning as well – the cremation site of a saint or a great man containing his ashes, a place of worship and eternal commemoration.
The Samadhi of the eminent Russian painter Nicholas Roerich is on a hillside just below the Roerich House, on a spacious green clearing with a beautiful view to the Kullu valley and the grand Himalayas. There is a large grey granite stone with the inscription embossed under the sign of the Banner of Peace which says, “The body of Maharishi, Nicholas Roerich, a great friend of India, was cremated at this place on 30 Magh 2004 of the Vikram’s era, corresponding to December 15th, 1947. Om Ram.” Maharishi means “great sage” or “saint.” Om Ram means “let there be Peace.”
From the north the area is framed by sprawling linden trees and from the western side the snow-white peaks of Mt. Gepang tower above it. A narrow stone path densely overgrown with trees and shrubs leads from the Roerich House to Samadhi...
Nicholas Roerich passed away on 13 December 1947.
“Our Enlightened and Beloved one departed just in the same simple, beautiful and dignified manner as he lived. The world is truly orphaned with his decease,” Helena Roerich wrote in one of her letters a month after her husband’s death. – <...> I find it hard to write about his illness and last days, I will do it later. But it is clear that his heart could not stand the excessive poison generated by the mankind gone insane. The noble spiritual beauty is imprinted on his face. We could not stop contemplating goodness, purity and touching tenderness of his wonderful appearance. He looked as if he was glowing with the inner light, and white flowers around him seemed to be coarse against the enlightened appearance.”
“India responded to his departure touchingly, beautifully and powerfully,” continued Helena Roerich. “All the newspapers, magazines, Associations, numerous friends and admirers clearly noted irreplaceable loss to the world of a great Creator of wonderful images, a Giant of Thought, a magnificent Activist and an Initiator of many educating endeavors and institutions. He himself carried inside him the light of all these institutions. Many have wonderfully noted the wealth of his spiritual heritage and a vital need for every conscious person to adopt and follow his high Precepts. Yes, he was a true preceptor and a friend of the mankind. Nobody felt burdened on leaving him, on the contrary, he was able to ease the burden of each one and put one on a new path, the path of conscious aspirations and courageous efforts for the common good.”
...On the spot where now the Stone is, the body of Nicholas Roerich was consigned to flames. As Helena Roerich described, “The day of cremation turned out to be exceptionally wonderful and solemn. There was not the slightest puff of wind, and all the surrounding mountains were dressed in a fresh mantle of snow. I have never seen a cremation before and I must say that the scene was grand and beautiful. The local people laid down a huge pyre of deodars well-saturated with aroma oils. When his palanquin covered with white flowers was placed on the pyre and the fire was lit on four sides, a huge flame like wings engulfed him concealing him from us and rushed upwards into the cloudless blue of the sky. There was neither the slightest smoke nor fume, only a lovely aroma of deodar and sandalwood...” It was over in two and a half hours, while usually cremation lasts five to six hours. The people concluded, “The departed was truly the Great Rishi and Deva – that is why the fire immediately engulfed him and carried him away. He will be a guardian of the valley.”
A large beautiful piece of rock was placed on the cremation site. It was brought from afar by the dwellers of the neighbouring villages. They pulled it using iron ropes and rollers made of large tree trunks pushing it with iron levers. They moved the rock by half an inch at a time, and a few days later erected it on the stone foundation that covered the remaining ashes of the pyre.
In 1990 the ashes collected from Nicholas Roerich’s cremation site were transferred by Svetoslav Roerich along with his parents’ heritage to his Motherland, Russia, where the Roerichs so much dreamed to return. Together with Helena Roerich’s ashes they were solemnly placed in the Monument to Nicholas and Helena Roerich at the International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow.
“Nicholas Roerich was a man who exemplified the highest spiritual efforts,” noted Svetoslav Roerich, “he was an envoy of the great forces that were connected to him and chose him as a messenger of higher revelations. His whole life was an example of the utmost dedication to Beauty, self-perfection and service to humanity. His generous hand was always ready to extend help to those in need, those who aspired to something sublime, those who strove to realize the truth and rise to a higher plane of knowledge.”
...“The Himalayas, let me once again express to You my sincere admiration,” wrote Nicholas Roerich once. “And the entire beautiful India, let me once again salute you for all the allure and inspiration which your meadows and groves, your ancient cities and sacred rivers, and great people are filled with.”
The life journey of the great Russian artist ended in India, the country of much beauty, spiritual feats and great thought. Himalayan cedars rustle over the place of his Samadhi and swift waters of the Beas River resound beneath it. They merge into a single powerful chord of Mother Nature which Nicholas Roerich loved and honored so much...