The Chintamani of the Roerichs: Tales of an extraterrestrial talisman: 7

The Martinist connection
According to Markus Osterreider in his scholarly article From Synarchy to Shambhala, Roerich and Barchenko had known each other at least since 1909, when they had both been members of a St Petersburg lodge of the Martinist Order, a secret society affiliated to the Rosicrucians. Conceivably through the trust established through this friendship and the network of contacts it made available, the safe passage of the Stone to Europe may have been facilitated. Likewise, once reaching Moscow, it would be reasonable to suppose that Roerich would have expected to receive further assistance from his Martinist contacts, and certainly Roerich is said to have met Barchenko there. It is surely not insignificant that Roerich’s code-word for Moscow was ‘Martin’, deriving from the surname of the founder of the Martinist Order. The code-word, thus decrypted, suggests it was chosen to invoke the realisation of aims shared by an associate, or associates, whose identity he wanted to keep secret.
    From a suggestion in Constantin’s story about the Stone being sent to Europe through a ‘Masonic or Rosicrucian network’, and from Daniel’s source that it was in the temporary custody of an unnamed French secret society, it seems at least plausible that the Stone was sent to Paris with the help of members of the Martinist Order, and its fraternal organisation, the Ordre Martiniste in France. The arrival of the Stone in Europe was said by Mme Roerich to have ‘illuminated’ an organisation which is generally thought to have been the League of Nations, and it furthermore seems plausible to suggest that the intermediary recipient was a Martinist who understood the powers of the Stone to influence the organisation’s inception.
    A fellow member of the St Petersburg Martinist lodge in 1909 along with Roerich and Barchenko was Gleb Bokiy, who became a Bolshevik revolutionary and then head of the Petrograd Cheka, and subsequently ran the ‘Special Department’ of the OGPU, whose concerns included cryptography and paranormal methods of mass control. Bokiy was one of those who attended Barchenko’s Kalachakra study group; he supported the scientist’s research work and became his patron, for example securing government funding for the psi-research – so-called ‘neuroenergetics’ – laboratory Barchenko established at the All-Union Institute for Experimental Medicine in 1925. Barchenko and Bokiy, through the OGPU, are said to have wanted to sponsor the Roerich Expedition for their own purposes, which seem to have involved both esoteric and political interests. In pursuit of the former, they are believed to have wanted to discover and research the occult powers supposedly to be found in Shambhala, in order to use them to help control and politicise the mass of the population. To this end by 1925 they had begun to organise their own expedition in search of Shambhala, but this had been abandoned by the time of Roerich’s arrival in Moscow the following year, and it has been suggested they decided instead to use the Roerich Expedition to achieve their aims.What Bolshevik political interests the Roerich Expedition might have been used to serve is an open question. According to the historian Andrei Znamenski, the idea of a Buddhist-Communist synarchic state in Central Asia certainly fitted in with the Bolsheviks’ early geostrategic aspiration of turning the East against Western imperialism. However – apparently in an example of the rivalry between the government and the secret police – the Bolsheviks’ intention of controlling the Expedition is said to have been overruled by Georgy Chicherin. Chicherin, who called Roerich ‘our Buddhist’, is said to have favoured the artist’s own agenda, seeming to conclude that in travelling under the protection of the American flag during its return leg, the Expedition was best able to discreetly assist Soviet interests. Nevertheless, suggestions persist that as it made its way through western China to Tibet, the Expedition could have been used as a cover for Soviet agents involved in developing political contacts and in intelligence-gathering.

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