Diamond Light
Newsletter of the Aquarian Age Community
2005 No. 1
Back Issues
A World in Desperate Need of Pax Cultura
Humanity cannot flourish without the knowledge of the greatness of culture. The Banner of Peace will open the gates to a better future. ...Verily, salvation lies in culture.
Infinity I (33), Agni Yoga Society
Hierarchy (331)

Nicholas Roerich tirelessly, passionately and earnestly labored throughout his entire life to create and promote beauty and culture for the people of the world. This great artist, archeologist, philosopher/visionary believed that art and culture had the ability to uplift the quality of life and elevate the consciousness. If one were in the presence of great beauty and open to that beauty, he believed that such would evoke a sense of transcendence and the highest spirituality possible to that individual at that time. Without art and creativity, he said, life would be nothing but a rude and ignorant time on earth. And, he often cited the following verses, reflecting this worldview:

"Where there is Peace, there is Culture;
Where there is Culture, there is Peace."
"In Beauty we are united
Through Beauty we pray
With Beauty we conquer."

All educational, artistic, religious and scientific institutions, as well as all sites of cultural significance were viewed by Nicholas Roerich as part of a world treasure—belonging to the whole of humanity—and not only the product of the country or region in which they were created or resided.

This recognition led to the creation of what is today known as the Pax Cultura Banner and the Roerich Pact—a historically, seminal and pivotal effort to protect all art and all creativity from the ravages of war and neglect.

On April 15 of this year the world celebrated the seventieth anniversary of the signing of the Roerich Pact—the Treaty entitled, "Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Monuments." It was on April 15, 1935 that this Treaty was signed in the presence of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House in Washington D.C. Plenipotentiaries from 21 American republics additionally signed the Treaty, which later was sent to the Senate of the United States for ratification.

The objective of the treaty based on a Resolution adopted at the Seventh International Conference of American States in Montevideo, Uruguay on December 16, 1933 is to protect historic monuments, museums, scientific, artistic, educational, and cultural institutions both in time of peace and in time of war. The treaty also provides for the use of the distinctive flag that is today well known as the Banner of Peace, or the Pax Cultura Banner to identify the monuments and institutions coming within the protection of the treaty.

The poignant need of such a treaty was made quite evident in March 2001 when the ancient, beloved and prized Barniyan Buddhas of Afghanistan were demolished in front of the world's horrified and outraged archeologists, historians and lovers of art and religion.

Art experts around the world also expressed anguish and indignation at the looting and destruction of Baghdad Iraq's National Museum. A CNN report of April 16, 2003 reads, "It's the Iraqi National Museum—500,000 years of history, the most complete timeline of civilization that existed in any museum in the world. It is shattered, it is smashed."

Fortunately and thankfully, the intent of Roerich's visionary Pact and Pax Cultura Banner are today complemented by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)'s World Heritage program that seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world, considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

Additionally, the 191* Member States of the United Nations acknowledged the importance of a "Culture of Peace," by adopting in 1998 a resolution calling for an "International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010)." It is a providential, auspicious occasion that we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Roerich Pact and Pax Cultura Banner at this year's mid-way mark of this International Decade, and it is a great testament to the planetary appreciation of Roerich's vision.

Will these efforts insure that humanity will leave behind the darkness of a culture of war and turn instead to a global culture of peace? The answer to this question is yet uncertain. Yet, humanity's incessant travail and incalculable suffering must eventually bring the recognition of the blind stupidity and barbarism of war so that humanity can then turn to the regeneration of the planet by way of culture and beauty.

Honoring and celebrating this 70th year anniversary in the tradition of Nicholas Roerich, let us each ignite the indwelling spiritual fire as we apply it in striving and in labor towards the realization of this objective and this day.

* As of 28 June, 2006, Montenegro became the 192nd Member State. A full list of all 192 Member States of the UN can be found at the following UN web site address: http://www.un.org/Overview/unmember.html