This nOde last updated February 2nd, 2002 and is permanently morphing...
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The stone was said to be part of a much larger meterorite possessed of occult properties called the Chintamani Stone, which was capable of giving telepathic inner guidance and effecting a transformation of consciousness to those in contact with it. The black stone of the Ka'aba at Mecca and that of the ancient shrine of Cybele, the Goddess-Mother of the Near East, are both believed by some occultists to be pieces of this magical meterorite, which is alleged to have come from a solar system in the constellation of Orion, probably Sirius [part of Canis Major]. The Orion constellation, we may note, is a recurring motif in the Shambhalic story. According to lamaist lore, a fragment of the Chintamani Stone from what is probably the star Sirius [there seem to be actually three of them] is sent wherever a spiritual mission vital to humanity is set up, and is returned when that mission is completed. Such a stone was said to be in the possession of the failed League of Nations, its return being entrusted to Roerich."
- _Shambhala_ - by Victoria LePage
"On August fifth - something remarkable! We were in our camp in theKukunor district not far from the Humboldt Chain. In the morning about half-past nine some of our caravaneers noticed a remarkably big black eagle flying over us. Seven of us began to watch this unusual bird. At this same moment another of our caravaneers remarked, 'There is something far above the bird'. And he shouted in his astonishment. We all saw, in a direction from north to south, something big and shiny reflecting the sun, like a huge oval moving at great speed. Crossing our camp the thing changed in its direction from south to southwest. And we saw how it disappeared in the intense blue sky. We even had time to take our field glasses and saw quite distinctly an oval form with shiny surface, one side of which was brilliant from the sun."
- Nicholas Roerich, Altai-Himalaya
Not long after Wallace assumed his post at the Department of Agriculture, he became acquainted with a strangely charismtic Russian emigre named Nikolay Konstantinovich Roerich. A painter by profession, Roerich looked more like a Chinese alchemist or perhaps a Buddhist monk. He was a small man with a bald head, a long white goatee, and a soothingly quiet voice.
The Russian had achieved his most lasting notoriety in 1913, when he designed sets and costumes for the premier in Paris of Igor Stravinsky's controversial ballet _The Rite Of Spring_, which had featured dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. By 1933 however, Roerich's artistic contributions were largely behind him, and he had given himself over to consuming interests in Russian politics and mystical experience. In pursuit of the latter, he had traveled extensively across Asia, making lengthy visits to China, Mongolia, Tibet, Sikkim, Kashmir, and Turkistan.
Somewhere along the line, Roerich became involved
with the Theosophical
Society, a mystical orgnaization established in the nineteenth century
by another, more illustrious Russian emigre, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.
The Theosophists had made it their business to inculcate the West with
the teachings of Eastern religions and various mystical philosophies.
And in keeping with a pattern of established leaders of this group, Roerich
set himself up as a guru to a small circle of admirers. Among his
supporters in Europe were the Nobel Prize-winning Hindu poet Rabindranath
Tagore and composer Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. But Roerich found a
particularly warm embrace in the United States, where he attracted a circle
of wealthy devotees.
By the time he crossed paths with Henry Wallace, he was ensconced in a twenty-nine-story apartment house built for his purposes on Riverside Drive in New York City. The lower floors of this nearly three-million-dollar building were given over to a vast collection of Roerich's paintings, and the donors had come to think of their teacher as nothing less than a living deity.
The business matter that brought Roerich and Wallace in contact was a pet project of the guru called the Roerich Paca and Banner of Peace. This was an ambitious scheme to make all thenations of earth signatories to a convention protecting religious sites and cultural treasures in the event of war. In concept, the pact was little different from international agreements forswearing the destruction of hospitals in battle. Wallace was so taken with Roerich's plan - and promoted it so energetically - that in 1935, delegates from twenty-one nations turned out to put their names to the agreement at a White House ceremony. Franklin Roosevelt himself presided over the gathering. Not much is known with certainty about the relationship that developed between Wallace and Roerich in the aftermath of this success venture. They met face to face only once, but it appears that the cabinet officer took it upon himself to master the Russian's teachings. In the process, he would certanly have pondered of of the guru's central obsessions - the quest for Shambhala. As depicted in Roerich's writings, Shambhala was a hidden place where holy men studied an enlightened way of life and waited for the time when they would inherit the earth.
Wallace pursuaded his fellow cabinet officer, Secretary
of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., to make a change in the U.S. currency.
An exotic-looking symbol of a pyramid
with an all-seeing eye at its apex had long been part of the Great Seal
of the United States. At Roerich'surging, Wallace convinced his colleague
to make the symbol a fixture on the back of every one-dollar bill.
Morgenthau later claimed that it was not until after the change had been
made that he learned of the pyramid's "cabalistic
significance for members of a small religious sect."