The book is an unparalleled for its time; it became a classic study of Tibetan sources from the collection of the Institute of Oriental Studies in Leningrad and in the libraries of Buddhist monasteries. For the first time, the principles of classification of Tibetan literary sources according their genres were formulated, a philologically verified reading of Tibetan texts was proposed, the number of written monuments involved in the study was significantly expanded, a special table was compiled for translating the dates of the Tibetan chronology in a 60-year cycle into the European one, which made it possible to avoid errors in dating. The relevance of this work for Buddhist studies was determined with the fact that the historical literature of Tibet was little known to the modern world. Besides, the book contained information not only on the history of Tibet, but also on the history of all the countries where Buddhism was widespread and where Buddhist texts in Tibetan language were circulating.
After the arrest of V., the most part of the researcher's manuscripts prepared for publication or staying in process were lost in state repressive institutions. This work was first published in 1962 thanks to the efforts of the scholar's widow N.P. Yaroslavtseva-Vostrikova and edited by Yu.N. Roerich; in 1970, it was published in English.