The Chintamani of the Roerichs: Tales of an extraterrestrial talisman: 8

The Stone as legend and symbol
It has long been believed by many of Roerich’s followers that the Stone was a piece of a large meteorite, but the rather obvious question about the identity and location of its parent stone – perhaps the most significant one after that of the sender – seems not to have been asked. One reason for this, apparent from what has been said earlier, may have been Mme Roerich’s assertion that the Stone was a piece from a meteorite supposedly deriving from the constellation of Orion, which meant that it was not generally looked upon as a conventional type of meteorite. The Roerichs’ followers today who accept their writings about the legendary history of the Stone are content to repeat the story – Andrew Tomas stating, for example, that ‘the Chintamani stone is alleged to have been brought to Earth… from one of the solar systems in the constellation of Orion, probably Sirius… by a space voyager…’, while Constantin’s version has it that the Chintamani ‘Crystal’ was brought to Shambhala ‘from Orion via Sirius’… ‘millions of years ago’ by ‘ET [extraterrestrial] messengers’. Gvido Trepsa apparently endorses its origin in Orion, but implies that it travelled from there in a special dimension of space and time. According to Alla Shustova, the Chintamani stone was received by the ‘Brotherhood of Light’ during the age of Atlantis, and now lies concealed in a special underground repository, where it is unavailable to ‘ordinary people’, including scientists, because, since it belongs to esoteric tradition, these people are unable to believe in it.
    How the foregoing early history of the Chintamani stone could be known about is an open question. Clearly scientists of all kinds would be keen to examine such an other-worldly and elusive stone; but, since both the Roerichs’ Stone and the ‘chip’ installed in the foundations of the Buddhist Temple are said to have derived from this stone, the subject at this point undergoes a contextual shift, crossing the interface from unverifiable legend over to verifiable reality. Obviously since the Roerichs’ Stone was a material object – if we are to believe it is the object depicted in the photograph – the Chintamani stone itself must also exist as such.
    Bearing in mind Mme Roerich’s use of the name ‘Gift of Orion’ in referring to the Stone, its legendary origin seems to have been given some pictorial support in Nicholas Roerich’s painting of 1924, Burning of Darkness.
Burning of Darkness
The painting contains an astronomical cryptogram in which the three central stars in the belt of the constellation of Orion depicted in the night sky above the horizon – to the right of the peak to the right of centre – are aligned with the casket, which itself closely coincides with the position of the star Sirius relative to the Orion constellation. The Masters who bring the casket are depicted in procession on a mountainside, perhaps inspired by Belukha, the sacred peak of the Altai, whose name Roerich said meant ‘Orion, dwelling of gods’. Nevertheless Mme Roerich’s assertion about the origin of the Stone in Orion, which has been interpreted literally by many of her followers, certainly invites a question about its credibility, in the sense of whether this can be established as verifiable fact – not least given the present lack of access to material evidence – or whether instead ‘Orion’ was a code-word adopted by the Roerichs, a ploy they frequently used to obscure sensitive information. 
    There is a graphic clue to ‘Orion’ which was widely used by Roerich, and it is the triad device. As a graphic motif he generally placed it within an enclosing circle, as in the example above – and this is the form in which he adopted it as the symbol for the Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace movements. As previously mentioned, the triad is depicted in the top right-hand corner of Svetoslav’s portrait of his father holding the casket – in this example being placed within a triangle. The triad is a symbol widely used in Buddhism and elsewhere, as Roerich pointed out, but he is not known to have mentioned that it is also in fact a symbol for Orion, a constellation which is strongly associated with Mongolia – a land in whose night sky the stars ‘shine like torches’. The triad is found as a sigil and a decorative device in Mongolia, as Roerich certainly observed – something which is known about from photographs – while the Orion constellation would appear to play a part in the creation myth of the Mongols, said in The Secret History of the Mongols to involve the celestial union of a fox with a doe, an episode which was believed to be the genesis of the lineage of Genghis Khan. The link with the myth is preserved in the Khalka language of Mongolia, where the same word is used for ‘Orion’ and ‘deer’, and a closely similar word is used for ‘doe’. It may therefore be said that for the Roerichs, the destiny of their Stone, like the destiny of the lineage of Genghis Khan for the Mongols, was ordained in the ‘dwelling of gods’ – the constellation of the ‘three stars’. When speaking of Mongolia, it is also necessary to bear in mind that both Nicholas and Helena Roerich were intensely proud of the Mongolian blood-lines in their own ancestry.
Mongolia Stones by Nicholas Roerich, 1933, probably painted from the photo below 
Photo of triad sigils representing the Three Treasures of Buddhism on Mongolian rocks
Nicholas Roerich, left, and George Roerich, right, with an unidentified member of the expedition party in Inner Mongolia, China, during the latter part of the 1934-35 venture sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture. The depiction of the ‘Banner of Peace’ symbol on the rock clearly reflects the character of the triad images in the photo above, and was undoubtedly placed there by the Roerichs to invoke the prophesied Buddhist manifestation which they expected would herald the ‘New Era’ of Shambhala.
    I suggest that in addition to being known as the name of a constellation, for the Roerichs ‘Orion’ was a code-word for Mongolia, or else a figure closely connected with Mongolia. The implication of this would be that the name ‘Gift of Orion’ may indicate an origin for the talisman in Mongolia, or a source for it who was a Mongol figure known to Roerich – or both.

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