Anita Stasulane

Agni Yoga / Living Ethics


1847:  Agni Yoga/Living Ethics founder Nicholas Roerich was born in St. Petersburg (Russia).

1893-1898:  Nicholas Roerich studied jurisprudence at St. Petersburg University and attended the Imperial Academy of Arts.

1899:  Nicholas Roerich met Helena Shaposhnikova, who became his wife and closest colleague.

1900-1901:  Nicholas Roerich established contacts with esoteric circles in Paris and began to participate in spiritualist séances.

1908:  The Russian Section of the Theosophical Society was founded.

1909:  Nicholas Roerich was elected a member of the Russian Academy of Arts.

1912:  The first contours of the image of the Mother of the World appeared in the fresco depicted by Nicholas Roerich in Talashkino, in Smolensk province.

1916-1921:  A collection of sixty-four poems Tsvety Morii (The Flowers of Morya) marked by a strong Theosophical subtext was written by Nicholas Roerich.

1918-1919:  The Roerichs moved to Finland and Sweden after having left the Bolshevik Russia.

1919:  The Roerichs moved to Great Britain and began to gather followers.

1920:  The Roerichs arrived in the U.S.

1921-1923:  The Roerichs built up the organizational structure of their movement by establishing four institutions in the U.S.: The International Society of Artists (Cor Ardens), the Master Institute of United Arts, the International Art Centre (Corona Mundi), and the Roerich Museum.

1923:  The first book of Agni Yoga, The Leaves of Morya’s Garden, was published in English in a translation by Louis L. Horch.

1923:  The Roerichs arrived in India and later settled in Darjeeling, located in the foothills of the Himalayas.

1925-1928: The Roerichs undertook the Central-Asian Expedition.

1947:  Nicholas Roerich passed away.

1955:  Helena Roerich passed away.

1957:  The Roerich’s son George (Yuri) Roerich (1902-1960) returned to Russia.

1987:  Svetoslav Roerich (1904-1993) met with the Secretary General of the USSR Communist Party, Mikhail Gorbachev.

1989:  Sovetskiy Fond Rerihov (the Soviet Foundation of the Roerichs) was established.

1991:  The International Centre of the Roerichs, which coordinates the majority of the Roerich groups in the post-Soviet nations, began its work in Moscow.


Theosophy has undergone numerous schisms and the creation of new branches. Agni Yoga/the Living Ethics, founded by the Russian painter Nicholas Roerich (1847-1947) and his wife Helena Roerich (1879-1955), is one of the most widespread branches of Theosophy. Based on ontology, cosmogony and anthropology developed by Helena Blavatsky, the Roerichs created new theosophical system enriched with elements of ethics and psychology. Nowadays, the Roerich’s teachings are consistently called the Living Ethics rather than Agni Yoga in the post-Soviet space. Nicholas and Helena Roerich used both names as synonyms. The Living Ethics concept was meant as a contrast to the ethics of the Christian Church which, according to them, had lost spirituality (Roerich, 1933:23).

From the very beginnings of the movement, the followers of Roerich have been characterized by respect towards the founder of the Agni Yoga Society, whose authority is based on a narration about the Roerich family’s special origin. Starting from the first publications dedicated to Roerich’s painting, and finishing with the latest monographs which analyze various aspects of the Roerichs’ activities, the legend created in the Roerich family itself about the family’s connection to the Vikings has been persistently repeated. In the early twentieth century, it was asserted that the name Roerich, Scandinavian in origin, means “rich in glory”: rö or ru (glory) and rich (rich) (Мантель 1912:3). The legend about the special family history reached its culmination in the assertion that the Roerich’s ancestors had been the descendants of the Viking Rurik, the founder of the first Russian state. The consolidation of this legend has been promoted by Aleksey Remizov (1877-1957), a friend of Roerich, obsessed with a love for northern Russia, who published a mythologically poetic tale about the origins of the Roerich family (Ремизов 1916).

The Scandinavian origins of the Roerichs is mentioned in nearly all publications dedicated to Nicholas Roerich in the early twentieth century, although there is also simultaneous discussion about his Russian roots (Ростиславов 1916:6). In the 1930s, the story about the Scandinavian origins of the Roerich family was so well known, that it was also repeated outside of Russia as a generally known fact (Duvernois 1933:7-8). In the 1970s and 1980s, when the communist regime within the USSR thawed and new books could be published about the emigrant painter N. Roerich, the same legend about the family’s origins was repeated (Беликов, Князева 1973; Полякова 1985). The authors in Western countries also spoke about the Scandinavian origins of the Roerich family in the 1970s and 1980s (Paelian 1974; Decter 1989).

Despite the tendency to repeat the legend about the origins of the Roerich family without delving more deeply, some authors have, however, mentioned Roerich’s connection with Latvia (Полякова 1985:3; Короткина 1985:6). Nowadays, the followers of Roerich in Riga do not deny Nicholas Roerich’s family’s connection with Latvia. The Roerichs arose from the Baltic-Germans (Silārs 2005:64), who entered Courland from Pomerania; nowadays, this is the western part of Poland and the eastern part of Germany, lying on the Baltic Sea. In the latest research, the origin of the surname Roerich from the male Scandinavian name Hroerikr has been rejected. The origins of the surname are more likely to have arisen from das Röhricht (reed) (Silārs 2005:64). Through detailed research of archival documents, Nicholas Roerich’s oldest ancestor was discovered, his great-great grandfather Johann Heinrich Röehrich (1763-1820), who was a shoemaker (Silārs 2005:70) and lived in Latvia, where the surname Roerich continues to be quite widespread in the western region.

Nicholas Roerich [Image at right] was born in St. Petersburg into the family of Konstantin and Maria Roerich. As a young boy he showed great interest in the history ancient Russia and literature: he wrote poems, stories, and plays on historical themes. The encounter with the realm of mysteries was caused primarily by his paternal grandfather, Friedrich (Fyodor) Roerich, who had a collection of mysterious Masonic symbols (Рерих 1990:24). He attended one of the best and most expensive private schools in St. Petersburg, the gymnasium of Karl von May. The artist Mikhail Mikeshin (1835–1896) first noticed Nicholas’ artistic talent and became his first art teacher. The father, who always dreamed that his son would study the law, permitted him to enter the Imperial Academy of Arts (1893) on condition that he simultaneously enroll in the law departments of St. Petersburg University. At the turn of the century, many Russian artists were concerned that increasing industrialization would rob life of its natural beauty. The revival of interest in folk arts and crafts started, as well as the drive to study, collect, and preserve the art and architecture of the past. The preservation of the cultural heritage became a cause to which Nicholas Roerich devoted much of his writing and paintings, and a good part of his life.

Nobody so vitally influenced Nicholas’ thought as did Helena Shaposhnikova [Image at right] whom he met in 1899. He deviated from historical subjects and started to paint in a much brighter and more colorful manner. In 1901, Nicholas and Helena got married, and Helena became his companion and inspiration for the rest of his life. In 1912, Nicholas began a series of “prophetic” paintings and employed details of Helena’s dreams in his paintings. His growing involvement in the philosophical and spiritual teachings of the East was most directly influenced by Helena who had a profound interest in Eastern religions and philosophy.

It has remained unknown from which sources Nicholas Roerichs had acquired the first information on Theosophy. He had become rather actively engaged in the salon life. From time to time, he attended sredy v bashne (Wednesdays in the tower) where the Russian symbolists were meeting regularly at the poet, philosopher and literary critic Vyacheslav Ivanov’s (1866-1949) apartment. “Wednesdays in the tower” became a school of Theosophy for many intellectuals, as Ivanov was often visited by one of the most active Russian theosophists, Anna Mintsolova (1865-1910?), who was trying to take after Blavatsky even in her looks. Nicholas Roerich was so strongly affected by Blavatsky’s works “The Stanzas of Dzyan” and “The Voice of the Silence” that his collection of sixty-four poems in blank verse “Cvety Morii” (The Flowers of Morya) written in large part between 1916 and 1921 were marked by a strong theosophical subtext.

Nicholas Roerich’s attitude towards the Russian Revolution of 1917 has been described in various ways, as the artist’s political orientation changed several times. During the period of the Tsarist Empire, Nicholas Roerich’s political views were distinctly monarchist, but after the Bolshevik uprising in Russia, he accepted an offer to work under the wing of the new power, whereas after the artist had immigrated to the West, he railed sharply against the Bolsheviks (Roerich 1919). In January 1918, the Roerichs left Russia for Finland; in 1919 they stayed in London; and in 1920 they came to New York.

The Agni Yoga Society developed in the U.S. in the mid-1920s (Melton 1988:757), when the first people who were interested in it began to gather to study the messages received by the Roerichs from the Mahatmas, published in The Leaves of Morya’s Garden (1923). The Roerichs had begun gathering followers in Western Europe around them even before the publication of the first Agni Yoga/Living Ethics book. The Roerichs believed in the ability of mediums to make contact with the dead, attending and later even holding spiritualist séances themselves, which were “minuted” (Рерих 2011:20); that is, the enunciations received during séances were recorded, so that they could be considered later (Roerich 1933:177). Helena’s life work began in recording the messages received during spiritualist séances. Other books followed the first Agni Yoga volume, and these seventeen books are studied by all groups of Roerich followers.

Initially, the movement’s organizational structure was based on four institutions established in the U.S.: the International Society of Artists (Cor Ardens) (1921), the Master Institute of United Arts (1921), the International Art Centre (Corona Mundi) (1922) and the Roerich Museum (1923). Several other societies were affiliated around these, the work of which was coordinated mainly by the Roerich Museum. The Roerich movement spread surprisingly rapidly; forty-five  societies in twenty countries were established from 1929 to 1930 (Roerich 1933:177). These groups usually formed after the successful participation of Roerich at exhibitions. In one decade, the Roerichs were able to create well-coordinated network of new theosophical groups.

The Roerich movement began in the so-called time of the second Theosophical generation, when the Theosophical Society was headed by Annie Besant (1847-1933) with her closest colleague Charles Webster Leadbeater (1854-1934). The Roerichs attempted to collaborate with their group. In January 1925, Nicholas Roerich visited Adyar (India). Before his arrival in Adyar, Roerich published the article “The Star of the Mother of the World” (Roerich 1924) prophesying the coming of a new epoch of the Great Mother of the World. He bequeathed the painting The Messenger, dedicated to Blavatsky, hoping to create the Blavatsky Museum in Adyar (Roerich 1967:280). The visit had obviously not reached the expected goals: in Adyar he was respected just as an outstanding artist, and the message of the beginning of the new age had not been accepted by the Theosophical Society. Because collaboration did not develop the Roerichs rejected the claims of Besant and Leadbeater to have higher authority in the theosophical fold. As Helena had translated Blavatsky’s work The Secret Doctrine into Russian, the relationship of the Roerichs with the Russian Theosophical Society, which owned the translation rights for Blavatsky’s work, deteriorated. Disagreements also developed with other theosophical groups for the Roerichs: they rejected the Temple of People (1898) created in California by Francia La Due (1849-1922) and William Dower (1866-1937) and the Arcane School (1923) established by Alice A. Bailey (1880-1949). The Roerichs stood in a severe opposition to all theosophist groups claiming that they themselves “have the whole Ocean of Teaching, the works and foundations of H.P. Blavatsky, and all the treasures of the Wisdom of the East as well” (Roerich 1967:280).

The Roerichs published the Agni Yoga book series, which concluded in 1938 with Supermundane and maintained that Helena Roerich received messages from the Teacher Morya, who had earlier been in contact with Blavatsky. To highlight the service of Helena Roerich, she is called the Agni Yoga Mother, who has been given a redemptive function in the Roerichs’ theosophical system (Infinity 1956:186). In 1924, Roerich published an article The Star of the Mother of the World in The Theosophist magazine and announced that a new era was approaching, the Great Mother’s daughter’s era (Roerich 1985:154). Roerich discerned the beginning of the new era in a special sign: in 1924, Venus, namely, a star of the Mother of the World, had approached the Earth for a short time (Рерих 1931:50).

The spread of Agni Yoga/Living Ethics in the homeland of the Roerichs had the greatest hurdles due to historical political circumstances. Even though the Roerichs had supporters in the USSR as well, their teaching was not known by wider society after World War II. The situation changed after the death of Stalin. In 1957, their son George (Yuri) Roerich (1902-1960) returned to Russia. George promoted the father’s art in parallel with his own work at the Russian Academy of Science’s Institute of Oriental Studies. Exhibitions followed on, one after another, in various cities in the USSR after the first exhibition of paintings in Moscow (1958) by Nicholas Roerich. Even though theosophical literature was banned, the paintings by Roerich exhibited in the museums provided a great opportunity to popularize theosophical teaching, and art served as the door which led into the world of Agni Yoga/Living Ethics.

In the 1980s, Svetoslav Roerich (1904-1993) had a crucial role in the development of the movement. He met with M. Gorbachev and his wife Raisa (1987), who soon joined the Moscow group of Roerich followers. With the collapse of the Soviet ideological system, much broader opportunities opened for the spread of Agni Yoga/Living Ethics, and Roerich societies were set up in many places in the crumbling Soviet empire. [Image at right] Of these, the Moscow group operated most successfully. It established the N. Roerich Museum and the Soviet Foundation of the Roerichs (1989), which has continued its operations now as the International Centre of the Roerichs (1991). In 2017, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation seized the Lopoukhins’ Estate where the Museum was located. This has made it very difficult for the International Centre of the Roerichsto operate.

The legend about the Scandinavian origins of the Roerich family continues to circulate and is also intensively repeated in both the post-Soviet space, as well as in the western world. In the ranks of the Agni Yoga followers, the important role ascribed to the Roerich family in Russian history serves a specific aim ‑ to justify Nicholas Roerich’s special status: he has arisen from an important historical family and must undertake a mission equally important to that of his ancestors in history. Therefore the 21st century legend has been supplemented with a new and very important element: now, the aristocratic nature and importance of Helena Roerich’s ancestors in the history of Old Russia is also mentioned in parallel with the enunciation about Nicholas Roerich’s family. The continuation of such a legend is quite expected: in the first half of the 20th century, the most visible person in Agni Yoga was Nicholas Roerich, who included theosophical ideas in the images in his art and worked on the organizational issues of the movement. Whereas, after Roerich’s death, the members of the movement began to increasingly recognize the important contribution of Helena Roerich: she was specifically the one who wrote the Agni Yoga or Living Ethics books. In praising the accomplishments of the Roerich family, the contribution of Helena Roerich is being increasingly highlighted today, and icon’s style pictures dedicated to her have even been created in some groups.


The Roerichs positioned their version of Theosophy as yoga. Helena Roerich had been introduced into the world of yoga through the literature of American occultist William Walker Atkinson (1862-1932), known as Ramacharaka. Later her attitude to the works by Atkinson had changed, and promoting their system of Theosophy, the Roerichs juxtapose it to the one of the prominent proponents of the New Thought movement, Atkinson. Convinced by their readings of religious texts from various traditions that the symbol of fire is common to all religious systems of the world, the Roerichs came to a conclusion that in various religions the same deity is worshipped manifested for the human in fire (“agni” in Sanskrit ). In the Roerichs’ understanding fire was to be considered as energy, and eventually energy became the key notion of their new-fangled theosophical system. Though it may seem that by choosing the label of Agni Yoga the Roerichs were quite innovative, they were in fact devoted followers of Blavatsky. Helena Roerich referred to Blavatsky when she stated that “deity is an arcane, living (or moving) fire” (Roerich, 1954:489).

As in the Theosophy of Blavatsky, one of the main constitutive elements of Roerich’s teaching is the belief in Mahatmas or wise Himalayan Teachers. The teaching of Roerich has developed specifically under the influence of Blavatsky’s doctrine, and it is not only the basic ideas, but also the details of Roerich and Blavatsky which are identical. Respectively, in adopting Blavatsky’s concepts of Mahatmas, the Roerichs have even borrowed their manifestation scheme: both Helena Roerich and Helena Blavatsky had both experienced visions, even from childhood (Supermundane 1938:36) and accomplished certain phenomena (Roerich 1974:224); both of them had one and the same spiritual Teachers, and both Helenas had met with the same Teachers in one and the same places (Roerich 1998:312; Roerich 1998:365-66).

After the death of the Blavatsky, Nicholas Roerich and his wife Helena Roerich claimed to be the channels of a new revelation and that they possessed supernatural powers: Mahatmas had demonstrated “the formulas for atomic energy” (Supermundane 1938:18) to Helena Roerich. She had the ability to sense “the magnetism of objects” (Supermundane 1938:143), to predict natural catastrophes and turning points in history (Supermundane 1938:117, 173, 163). She could heal and influence human evolution (Roerich 1974:244; Supermundane 1938:186). Paintings by Roerich also had the capacity to heal (Roerich 1954:167-68).

The Roerichs had given the Himalayas sacred significance, as the Mahatmas lived in some secret place in the Himalayas, from where they were looking after the evolution of the Earth. It was specifically due to this conviction that mountains, which symbolized the spiritual world that is separated from the daily world, but which is still reachable for those who strive for a Higher Reality, dominate in Roerich’s paintings. In responding to critics who have travelled around India and the Himalayas, and said that they have not noticed Mahatmas anywhere, the Roerichs engaged in disputes about the existence of Mahatmas and maintained, firstly, that in the folklore of all peoples, elements could be found which provide evidence about Mahatmas; secondly, Teachers do not require a physical presence (Roerich 1954:367), as they exist in astral bodies.

The role which Roerich allocated to his wife in ensuring the evolution of humankind, was closely associated with the idea about the special mission of women in the process of evolution. He emphasized that in every cycle of evolution, the critically necessary thing for the evolution of humanity is made known by one Teacher, who assumes responsibility for a certain cycle of evolution. The Roerichs maintained that the spirituality of  the twentieth century had slid to such a low level that, with fire energy approaching the Earth, there was a need for someone who could transform higher cosmic energies in a way that humanity would be able to receive them. This had been achieved by Helena Roerich, who in this way had saved the world (Infinity 1956:186). Being conscious of the fact that the new theosophical system requires some unifying symbol, the painter had offered the image of the Mother of the World, which he frequently reproduced in his paintings, and which can be considered Theosophical icons.


Even though the name of the movement is Agni Yoga, the followers of Roerich do not practice some new type of yoga, as the Roerichs did not develop a systematized method for how their yoga should be practiced. From the scattered references provided in the Agni Yoga books, we can conclude that three stages were foreseen in the Roerichs’ yoga: purification, the widening of consciousness and fiery transmutation (Stasulane 2017a).

Though Roerich’s followers call themselves worshippers of culture and give much space for cultural activities in their actions, their movement is characterized by ritualized behavior. [Image at right] As discovered in fieldwork undertaken in the Latvian Department of the International Centre of the Roerichs, the ritualized behavior is centered on three basic attributes: the Banner of Peace, fire and flowers.

The most important attribute is the Banner of Peace designed by Nicholas Roerich himself. It is meant to represent the protection of mankind’s cultural achievements, just as the red-cross stands for the protection of human life (Roerich 193:192). The design on the Banner of Peace is generally interpreted as symbolizing religion, art and science encompassed by the circle of culture, or as the past, present and future achievements of humanity, protected within the circle of eternity. However, it contains an esoteric meaning: the three red spheres within a white area, surrounded by a red circle, is a symbol of the Mahatmas (Stasulane 2013:208-09). [Image at right]

Fire is another ritual attribute of Roerich’s followers. Candles are placed outside the venue for event proceedings, e.g. in the yard, on the staircase, as well as within the venue. Nicholas Roerich established that most, if not all, religions worship the same divinity revealed in fire (Roerich 193:232). It comes as no surprise that the Roerichs preferred to call their own system of theosophy Agni Yoga or Yoga of Fire.

The third attribute, flowers, is strongly related to ritualized behavior. In carrying out field research over the years, there was an opportunity to observe the dynamic development of ritualized behavior: paying homage to the founders of the movement with flowers has become regular, but during the latest event with Roerich’s followers, it was obvious that the placing of flowers was turning into a ritualized action.


Nowadays, the followers of Roerich form a network of theosophical groups, which includes almost all of Europe and North America, as well as several South American and Asian countries. After the collapse of the communist regime, Moscow, where the International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR) operates, plays a special role and successfully competes with the movement’s oldest center in New York (U.S.). Disagreements between the centers in Moscow and New York came about firstly due to the issue of the rights to the literary legacy left by the Roerichs. As the Roerich’s youngest son Svyatoslav Roerich (1904-1993) handed over his parents’ archive to the Soviet Foundation of the Roerichs in 1990, the Moscow group maintains that the rights to publish Roerich’s works belong to them only.

Despite their varying geopolitical orientation, all groups of Roerich followers are characterized by firstly, strong belief in the messages that Roerich received from the Mahatmas; secondly, the shared iconography. Nicholas Roerich’s paintings, in which the artist has also interwoven details of his wife’s visions, in this way creating a new theosophical system of symbols. Further, the groups of Roerich followers have consolidated poorly organizationally. For example, in Latvia, there are three groups of Roerich followers: the Latvian Roerich Society, Latvian Department of the International Center of the Roerichs, and the Aivars Garda group or Latvian National Front. Each of these groups operates in their own area: cultural events are the main form of activity of the Latvian Roerich Society and the key word “culture” dominates in its social communications, as the Roerichs explained the concept of culture as a cult of light or, more precisely, as worship of the creative fire (Hierarchy 1977:100). The Latvian Department of the International Center of the Roerichs has been able to gain influence in the Latvian education system. It successfully popularizes the gumannaja pedagogika (humane pedagogy/education) developed by Shalva Amonashvili, which is based on the teachings of Roerich. Students are encouraged to acquire Roerich’ cultural heritage by, for example, redrawing his paintings. The activities of the Aivars Garda group, or the Latvian National Front, extends to politics (Stasulane 2017b). Similar divisions can be observed in other countries as well. Although theosophical groups are weakly consolidated, they are socially influential, as each of them covers its own area, in this way ensuring quite a dense presence of theosophical ideas in contemporary society.


Even though all the groups of Roerich followers usually present themselves as cultural organizations, their activities also include a political accent, which can be seen, not as a marginal expression of Theosophy, but rather as the movement founder’s tradition of historically based political aspirations. The opening of the USSR’s secret archives and the publication of several Theosophist diaries and letters, which were previously inaccessible, provide surprising evidence of Roerich’s spiritual geopolitics (McCannon 2002:166). Recent research into the Roerich movement’s history reveals the political goals of the Central-Asian expeditions organized by the artist (1925–1928; 1934–1935) (Росов 2002; Andreyev 2003; Andreyev 2014). Roerich tried to carry out the Great Plan. The Plan was to establish the New Country, which would stretch from Tibet to southern Siberia, including territories which were ruled by China, Mongolia, Tibet and the USSR. This New Country was planned as the Shambhala realm on Earth. Great significance was intended for the Altai in Nicholas Roerich’s planned realm, where, according to him, the wonderful Belovodie (the Land of White Waters) could be found. This is heralded in Russian folklore, as well as in the teachings of several new religious movements.

Nicholas Roerich tried to gain the support of various countries, including the political support of Soviet Russia, to create this new empire in the east. Roerich met several times in the West with representatives of Soviet Russia to gain the support of the Soviet regime for the creation of the New Country (Adreyev 2003:296-67), and in 1926, he arrived in Moscow with a letter from the Mahatmas and a painting in which the Buddha Maitreya was portrayed in a way that closely resembled Lenin. In the letter that was delivered to Moscow, the Mahatmas encouraged the spread of communism throughout the world, which would be a step forward in the process of evolution (Росов 2002:180). In the 1930s, when Stalin’s repressions began in Russia (including repressions against the followers of Roerich) and when the Soviet regime changed its Far East policy (Andreyev 2003), Roerich became convinced that the Bolsheviks would not provide the expected support for the Great Plan and recommenced seeking support from the U.S.

It may seem that the plans for founding the New Country have passed away along with Nicholas Roerich, but this idea is still topical in contemporary Roerich groups. Roerich followers regularly travel to the Altai, and they are well informed about the political aspirations of Nicholas Roerich, yet they treat him as an outstanding politician whose foresight was grounded in his prophetic insight. Ever more new academic research is coming out about how political esotericism is being expressed in contemporary Russia, but in which the theosophists oppose the expressed criticism, spiritualizing Roerich’s political goals.

The International Center of the Roerichs is striving to introduce the “cosmic thinking” into science through the so-called philosophy of cosmic reality that is usually explained as follows: in the course of the twentieth century, cosmic thinking has appeared as a qualitatively new synthetic way of thinking marked by the synthesis of the scientific, philosophical, and religious experience of humankind revealing new opportunities for diverse means of cognition including the extra-scientific ones.

Inclusion of theosophical ontology and cosmogony into contemporary science is the project of the United Scientific Center of Cosmic Thinking, formed in 2004 under the aegis of the International Center of the Roerichs, which is responsible for the cooperation with the Russian Academy of Science, the K. Tsiolkovsky Russian Academy of Cosmonautics, the Russian Academy of Education, and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. The most active Russian physicists participating in the Roerich movement were the scholars investigating the so-called torsion fields, Anatoliy Akimov (1938-2007) and Gennadiy Shipov (b. 1938), who in the 1990s made lecture tours around the collapsing USSR. The researchers who have accepted the “cosmic thinking” successfully promote the Roerichs’ teaching and argue that recent developments of contemporary science prove the verity of the Living Ethics.


Image #1: Nicholas Roerich, the founder of Agni Yoga (1847-1947). Accessed from
Image #2: Helena Roerich. Accesse d from
Image #3: Exhibition dedicated to Nicholas Roerich at the International Baltic Academy in Riga, Latvia. (2009). Photo: Anita Stasulane.
Image #4: A sacred space created by Roerich followers at an event in the Latvian Academic Library (2009). Photo: Anita Stasulane.
Image #5: Nicholas Roerich. Madonna Oriflamma. (1932). Accessed from


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Publication Date
3 February 2022