Helena Roerich (1879-1955) was born on 12 February to the family of Ivan Ivanovich Shaposhnikova, a well-known Russian academician. Her mother was the grand-niece of the famous Field Marshal M.I. Golenischev-Kutuzov.
Helena Ivanovna Roerich was a philosopher, writer and gifted pianist. Her entire life was dedicated to ceaseless labors. She authored fourteen books devoted to conversations with a great Himalayan teacher, which became the basis of “Agni Yoga”. It is a proclamation for our time, which synthesizes yoga with all religions, forming an ideology which is intended to help us understand the nature and purpose of our life on Earth. Helena wrote: “Agni Yoga does not bear the stamp of nationality because it can be applied equally everywhere and at all times.” She also authored a number of other books published under different pseudonyms. These works include: “Foundations of Buddhism”, the St. Sergius of Radonezh sketch in “The Banner of St. Sergius of Radonezh”, and “Cryptograms of the East”. Helena was a brilliant interpreter of the most difficult eastern philosophical texts, such as “The Secret Doctrine”, by H. P. Blavatsky and the Mahatma letters from “Cup of the East”.
From 1923-1928, Helena Roerich participated in the legendary Central Asian Expedition. The complete edition of her book “New Era Community” from the “Agni Yoga” series was published in Urga (Ulaanbaatar) during this period. Upon the conclusion of the expedition in 1928, Helena Roerich became the Honorary President of the Urusvati Research and Development Institute, founded by the Roerich family in the Kullu valley, India. Nicholas Roerich referred to his wife Helena as his friend, companion and inspiration. He added that it would be completely appropriate to sign two names to his paintings—his own and that of his wife. In a report dedicated to Helena, Natalia Dmitrievna Spirina wrote that “[Helena] gave so much to humanity, that her legacy will afford centuries of study and usefulness. But she left more than her letters and books. She left her character and the record of her deeds, which serve as much-needed examples.”