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In celebration of the anniversary of Nicholas Roerich’s 145th birthday, Helena Roerich’s 140th birthday, and soon-to-be centenary of the first records of the communion between the Master M. and the Roerichs, we present to followers of Agni Yoga an English translation of the first Notebooks-manuscripts of Helena I. Roerich from the Archives of Amherst College, USA.

Plunging into the Notebooks, we understand that we have been allowed to witness an unprecedented event in the history of mankind, its scale exceeding the boundaries of the consciousness of an ordinary person. This event was an epochal experience in saving our Earth, which appeared on the verge of a terrible death a century ago. For several decades of the twentieth century on our planet, a battle of power was growing between two colossal forces: the Forces of Light and Darkness. Armageddon took place on our planet both in the Supermundane Sphere and in the ordinary terrestrial. To such a state of the Earth led the fierce anger of the Hierophant of Darkness and his henchmen, who slowed down the destined evolution of mankind for many millennia. The overwhelming majority of mankind itself was in an extremely uncultured state, existing within the limits of mundane life and vanity, without thinking about its divine origin and the need for spiritual development − and, of course, without thinking about the personal responsibility for the destiny of the Earth. To save the planet, all the forces of the White Brotherhood − the Himalayan Masters − the Teachers of Wisdom − were strained to an exorbitant state. Many members of the White Brotherhood, its Coworkers, and closest disciples had taken embodiment in the earthly body to help suffering humanity and combat Darkness from an embodied level. The Great Companion of Master Morya, the bearer of the great Feminine Principle, also accepted the earthly incarnation. Urgently − for the umpteenth time! − it was necessary to call people to knowledge, light, culture, to the Ethics of Life − and to do this in the midst of ordinary earthly life, with human hands and feet, to transmit to people the Will and the Call to Light of Master Morya. Master Morya personally had to accept the battle with the Hierophant of Evil and expel him beyond the limits of the Solar System. To gain full strength in the fight against evil, it was necessary to combine the power of the heart of Master Morya and the heart power of the Mother of the World.

But the laws of the physical world are equally difficult for everyone; the embodied spirit, even of a global scale, loses many of its possibilities, loses even the knowledge of itself. And only the desire for the Light, the vague memory of the Brotherhood of the Spirit, and the irresistible desire to help suffering people were burning in the heart of the embodied Spirit of the Mother of the World. It is She and her earthly family who walked the Earth under the name of the Roerichs; they carried the Master’s Call for Light on the planet, they carried the Banner of Peace, gave people the greatest cultural values, gave the world the books of Agni Yoga dictated by Master Morya and recorded by Helena Roerich.

Also, many participants mentioned in the Notebooks incarnated specifically to join the described events with their own task, role and to be rendered extent of required cooperation. Master Morya directly said this on August 27, 1922: “Having accepted the mission, you cannot dispose of life.” Unfortunately, some of the would be coworkers of the Roerichs lost the memory of their voluntarily embraced assignment when immersed in the body.

The Notebooks are not the books of Agni Yoga, but diaries reflecting the history of the dramatic life path of the Roerichs, their experience and in spite of all obstacles − continuous ascent towards the highest spiritual achievements, starting from the very first experiments to establish a clear connection with the Master, to the most extensive and diverse conversations with the Teachers of Wisdom, during which, in particular, the texts of “Agni Yoga” were dictated separately.

While translating the Notebooks into English, a number of linguistic difficulties arose, directly related to the above mentioned circumstances of the Experience. The first conversations took place with the help of a table for spiritual séances, since Helena Ivanovna’s ability for clairaudience was yet to be restored again after entering the physical body, to be developed and attuned with the note of the Master. Therefore, often the meaning of the first conversations was for certain clear only to the members of the séances − we can only catch a high note of attunement over uninformative texts. The translator would really like the translation to preserve that spiritual tuning fork that is felt in the Russian version of the text from the very first entries. But translating that note into another language is an almost impossible task. In addition, the very structure of the recording of conversations was formed gradually. In the first notebooks, we often come across texts in which individual phrases are not related to the general context of the conversation. The conversation probably took place in the form of a dialogue, but Helena Ivanovna did not always write down her questions, and we see only the answers of the Master. Also, apparently, abbreviations were often used to speed up the recording. The list of abbreviations either did not exist initially or was lost; therefore, in order to avoid incorrect interpretation of the meaning of phrases during translation, these abbreviations were saved. When translating the texts, it was decided to translate idiomatic expressions absolutely identical to the original text and not use similar semantic idioms of the English language. Quite often, the imperative mood of verbs is used in texts, which, when translated, loses some semantic connotation, which is similar to a reminder of obligations assumed.

The work on further translation of the Notebooks continues, and they will be posted on this website.