The Chintamani of the Roerichs: Tales of an extraterrestrial talisman: 3

The provenance of the Stone: an introduction
The first crucial question is who sent the Roerichs their talisman and why. Immediately prior to its collection by the Roerichs at the Bankers Trust – and if we are to accept the information conveyed by Daniel’s mysterious informant – it had been held in the custody of an unnamed French secret society. One wonders why the society did not pass on the Stone directly to the Roerichs in Paris, and whether the Roerichs at that time knew of their role or identity. Depositing the Stone at the bank may have been a move on the part of the society to preserve its own anonymity – something of course that is presently the wish of Daniel’s informant – but even though the society had been reluctant to release the Stone, one might have expected a relationship of trust to have been established with Roerich – particularly given such evidence as is available of the possible identity of the society, with whom the artist, it can be supposed, would have had an affinity. Curiously also, the society apparently retained sufficient interest in, or responsibility for, the Stone after its release to send two of their number to follow its journey with the Roerichs when they departed on their mission to the East – eventually losing track of them, as Daniel surmises, after they had reached Moscow. It might be thought that in initially sending the Stone to the society, it was not originally intended for the Roerichs at all, but this is not borne out by the available evidence. Furthermore, and as far as is known, sending the Stone for the Roerichs was not a matter of them retrieving an item of personal property. Daniel has suggested that the unnamed society which held the Stone was the Priory of Sion, noting that Roerich is said to have met its Grand Master, Jean Cocteau, in Paris in 1913, while engaged on the decor for Diaghilev’s ballet Le Sacre du Printemps. Yet the point is at odds with the society’s reported reluctance – albeit a decade later – to pass it on to Roerich, and its distrust of his subsequent moves with it – the reason being that Cocteau was still at that time its Grand Master. A stronger candidate for the secret society will emerge in due course.   
    From the photographs of the box, there are indications of there having been an earlier label on the lid, and it seems possible from the inscription, written in French directly on the lid, that the box had been re-addressed in France. One might well imagine that this writer knew the significance of the letters MM. Had a member of the society re-addressed the consignment, and if so, whose instructions were being represented?  Our attention naturally now turns to the sender of the Stone to France, and therefore also to the problem of the identity of MM – the spirit guide ‘Master Morya’. How Morya is to be understood on the range of possibilities which include a real identity, a coded identity, a discarnate intelligence in communication from the spirit world, or a subjective phenomenon which was a product of autosuggestion, visualisation or imagination, is not a question which is known to have a clear answer.
    According to Alla Shustova, the Roerichs’ Stone was ‘a pure gift of Morya’. Importantly, she not only confirms that it was ‘a piece of a meteorite’ – in other words, it derived from a larger meteoritic stone, which can be taken to refer to the main Chintamani stone – but states that it was one of a number of such talismans. She informs us its functions would be both protective and divinatory, and would assist the Roerichs to focus on their aspirations. Importantly also, they had been expecting to receive the Stone in Paris, and were instructed by their spirit guide Morya that they should bring it to the ‘fatherland’, which lay in ‘the East’. They also knew in advance that this journey with it would signify ‘a new development’ there. In Legend of the Stone Mme Roerich herself wrote how the Stone was ‘returning to the East’, and that the ‘New Country’ would ‘go forth to meet the seven stars under the sign of three stars’ [of the constellation of Orion] which sent the Stone to the world’, expressions which seemingly allude to Roerich’s Shambhala project.    
    It cannot be assumed that whoever arranged to send the Stone to Paris would have been the same person who actually obtained it from source, and perhaps there were also other intermediaries in ‘the East’, and others again who knew its meaning and purpose. Who these people may have been, as well as a possible identity for the French secret society and the reason for its involvement, will emerge from the evidence in due course. In the first-mentioned role, however, we can probably exclude as a likely candidate Vladimir Shibayev, a Theosophist from Riga who later became Roerich’s secretary, and who prior to leaving the Soviet Union operated on behalf of Roerich firms called ‘World Service’ and ‘Pan Cosmos’ for the export of artefacts. The reason for saying this is that he was the recipient of one of the two copies of the photograph of the Stone taken in Paris, which, according to Shustova, are known to have been made – the other being Sina Fosdick. If he had been involved, it seems likely he would already have knowledge of the Stone’s appearance, and would not have needed the picture. Although it might be expected that Roerich’s co-workers in the Soviet Union would have been anxious to arranged a secure passage of the Stone to France, according to Shustova it was in fact sent there by post.

High Lama Agvan Dorjiev, Roerich’s mentor on Shambhala
    It seems the aim in sending the Stone was to enable the Roerichs to obtain custody of a talisman which they probably already knew about, and whose meaning and purpose was certainly known to them. It would seem to follow from this that the sender at source must have been someone with whom they had been in prior close liaison. To be more specific, whoever originally decided on sending the Stone undoubtedly did so in the full knowledge of Roerich’s intended mission on behalf of Shambhala, and to betoken its good fortune. This sender may also have anticipated or have had some foreknowledge of an event Roerich regarded as highly significant for the inception of the Shambhala project, which was the flight into exile of the Panchen Lama from Tibet in December 1923. It was understood that the Panchen originally aimed to go to Mongolia, and these events signalled to his Buddhist followers there, to Roerich, and undoubtedly also to Agvan Dorjiev and much of the Buddhist world, that the prophesied age of Shambhala was imminent. In fact the immediate causes of the Panchen’s move owed more to political difficulties with the Dalai in Tibet, but it gave the Panchen the timely opportunity to aspire to establish his own dominion amongst his followers in western China and beyond. According to the translators of Mme Roerich’s book The Leader, Gleb Drobychev and Burt Wilson, Nicholas Roerich was to become the secular leader of the ‘New Country’, which they say it was his mission to found, while the Panchen Lama was to be its spiritual head – although whether this latter role was Roerich’s aspiration, or his expectation based on a prior understanding, is not known. The Roerichs’ mission on behalf of Shambhala seems to have been encrypted in the full statement of the passage in Legend of the Stone mentioned earlier: ‘The New Country shall go forth to meet the seven stars under the sign of three stars which sent the Stone to the world. Prepared is the treasure and the enemy shall not take the Shield covered with gold.’ Thus the manifestation of the prophesied spiritual ‘war of Shambhala’ would appear first under the ‘three stars’ of Orion – which, as will be reasoned later, is undoubtedly a codified reference to Mongolia – and would meet the ‘seven stars’ – similarly perhaps, a reference to China, where the Panchen Lama’s spiritual jurisdiction was based, but equally possibly, symbolising the path towards the future perfection of humanity according to the seven-fold evolution expounded in the teachings of the Theosophical Brotherhood. The ‘treasure’ is of course the Stone, the ‘Shield’ is plainly a metaphor characterising one of its purposes for the Roerichs, and the ‘gold’ which covers it seems likely to be the embroidered cloth in which it was wrapped – but who precisely the ‘enemy’ refers to, who might undermine its power, is an open question.

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