Big Indian As Sanctuary

Creating an endowment for Big Indian

by Bruce Rubin

In 2013 John Mann wrote this vision statement concerning the future of Big Indian: “As the current owner of the land in Big Indian and passing my 85th birthday I must look to the potential future of this place. What I see as a highest and best use is the transformation of the property into a Sanctuary, a sacred space to which all may come if they approach with sincerity and reverence, a pilgrimage site providing an endless source of spiritual nourishment….” Much as happened in 2014 which can be read here. In brief, new life and activity has returned to Big Indian, and real progress to create a 501(c)3 that would support a Big Indian sanctuary has been made. Bruce Rubin writes:

To All Who Knew and Loved Rudi,

For many years the property in Big Indian, NY, which Rudi purchased in 1970, has been maintained and preserved by John Mann, one of Rudi’s first students. We are filled with deep gratitude for his effort and realize it is time for all of us to join in and assume the continuing responsibility for its preservation. With the goal of sustaining the Big Indian property as an ongoing spiritual sanctuary, open to followers of Rudi and his practice, a not-for-profit organization is being created. This group will assume the responsibility of maintaining the site of Rudi’s shrine, the stupa, the classroom and the Nityananda statue for years and hopefully decades to come.

To endow this endeavor, students of Rudi are being asked to donate a piece of artwork, which they had purchased from Rudi, to an auction of Eastern Art to be conducted by Sotheby’s in the Fall of 2015. In truth, any donated Eastern Art will be appreciated. If you are interested, please send us photos of pieces you would want to donate so that they can be appraised by the auction house. (see below)

Because we need a minimum of $300,000 to create an endowment for the preservation of Big Indian, no artwork will be put up for auction until all the appraisals equal that amount. We hope to reach this goal by early summer. If we do not reach the $300,000 goal we risk seeing Big Indian being sold off and we will lose this precious spiritual resource. Direct donations of cash can also be accepted, once the not-for-profit status is in place. Dean Gitter has graciously promised $25,000. Art work that has been offered so far and their current appraisals include:


A gilt copper alloy repousse figure of Kshetrapala
Tibeto-Chinese, 18th century
Height 16 1/4 inches
AE: $20,000 – 30,000
Since this is repousse it will not command as high a price as cast bronze.
Offered by Bruce Denny


A phyllite stele depicting Vishnu
Eastern India, Pala period, ca. 12th century
Height 44 inches
AE: $25,000 – 35,000
Nice subject, size and inscription but condition is rough.
Offered by Bruce Denny


A thangka depicting Vajrayogini
Tibet, 17th/18th century
AE: $50,000 – 70,000
Offered by Bruce and Blanche Rubin


A thangka depicting a Mahasiddha
Tibet, 18th century
AE:  $40-60,000
Offered by George and Cheryl Subkoff

If you are able to help with this important effort, please email images of your artwork to George Subkoff or Bruce Rubin (or call us if you wish to discuss this further).  

With profound appreciation,

Bruce Rubin

George Subkoff