AGNI YOGA WEB TV
„ASPECTS OF THE PRACTICE OF AGNI YOGA“
The Path of the Interior Temple
Dear Agni Yogis,
Agni Yoga gives you a promise that can hardly be surpassed in magnificence and beauty:
Everyone can live in Heaven, in paradise, anytime, anywhere.
Even you, no matter how terrible the external circumstances may look like in which you ended up.
The disciple asks: "How can this come true amidst all the suffering and misery in the world?"
Before we start our exercise, we must answer a number of questions. First:
To start with, you have to find out: What actually is a paradise?
"Where should I look? Does it exist at all? "
Certainly not on earth. There are no heavenly conditions down here! When you think you have found your personal paradise, you will soon notice: Something always bothers: Barking dogs, biting insects, and most of all our dear fellow human beings who seldom display the least consideration.
Next to a place of tranquillity in unspoilt nature, a cement plant is being built. A monastery gets under the flight path of an airport. So-called "vacation paradises" are haunted by hurricanes, mountain slides, tsunamis or riots.
Thus, we have to recognize:
Paradise is not on earth, but in Heaven.
"What do you mean by Heaven? God's lap? An unreal dream kingdom above the clouds?"
No, Heaven means two different things:
1. The highest world you can possibly imagine.
2. Your true, eternal homeland, in which you lived before birth and to which you want to return after the death of the body.
These two are the same thing!
"How so? I do not understand that."
Because in the Subtle World, in the world of the soul, everything is created by your thoughts, your imagination. That what you are dreaming of on earth is already a reality over there! Your today’s longing for this place comes from the fact that you have already lived there some time ago!
Thus, what is your personal paradise? How do you imagine the highest conceivable world? What does the Heaven look like to which you want to return after leaving the earthly vale of tears? Indulge a little in your dreams! Also remember the paradise lost from which you were expelled.
Where, in which place do you want to live in eternity? Imagine your true home in the Spiritual World! It is your choice! Everything is possible!
A castle, a cave, a hut under palm trees on the beach, a palace in Venice. (Neuschwanstein Castle, Nicholas Roerich "Buddha", Ca d’oro, Venice)
Just think it over: Do you know models of a higher world? Have you ever seen any examples?
"A Greek temple above the city, the sublime atmosphere of a Gothic cathedral, a Tibetan ashram in the middle of a majestic mountain world or the charm of a magical place in nature – these are the most beautiful places I have discovered so far." (Acropolis of Athens, Sainte Chapelle, Paris, Stonehenge)
And what are you dreaming of?
"I imagine a fortress in the sea or a monastery on a mountain top, where the Masters of this world are living, far above the lowlands of the earth, away from the struggles and wars, in untouched nature, with clear air and pure water." (Mont St. Michel, Karl Eduard Biermann "Monastery of Burgeis, Tyrol", Monte Cassino, Nicholas Roerich "Star of the Morning")
Well, there are as many examples as there are dreams. Let us express it in general terms: We all are longing for a place where
Purity, calmness, peace, solemnity, beauty and joy prevail.
Truly, that is a Heaven! How shall we call it with an earthly name?
A Temple! (Monopteros, English Garden, Munich)
Being able to live and work in a sanctuary is the highest achievement a spiritual man can possibly imagine.
How can we make this dream come true?
How can we live on earth like in Heaven?
We had already learned from Schopenhauer (Broadcasting "The Significance of Consciousness"):
In the same environment everyone lives in a different world.
This great wisdom tells us: Our consciousness determines our existence. The same circumstances are experienced and assessed very differently by the various people involved: Namely according to their individual consciousness. One is already smiling while another is still suffering.
In the same circumstances, depending on the level of his consciousness, the one lives in Heaven and the other in hell.
Accordingly, one of the most important teachings of Agni Yoga is:
Each spirit creates his own world, and the beauty or ugliness of the created world depends upon the quality of the consciousness. (Infinity II, 719 )
Practically that means:
You yourself create the Heaven or the hell in which you are dwelling!
"How do I do that?"
With the means of every thought and feeling you are weaving on the world in which you live.
When you are full of joy, even at the difficulties on your path, you are living in a beautiful world. When you whine and moan and get broken by obstacles, you create an ugly world for yourself.
To date, this has happened more or less unconsciously. You used to think and feel in an uncontrolled manner. Thereby you have shaped involuntarily the most diverse worlds. Now we turn the tables: Now you direct your thoughts and feelings consciously for the purpose of creating a very specific world, namely the world of your dreams.
If you have a high, wide consciousness, you can transfigure even the most terrible circumstances and turn them into a paradise.
"How exactly does that work?"
We had recognized several times already and repeat here: The material conditions are insignificant. They are only the external occasion for your thoughts and feelings (Broadcasting "Exercise Inviolability"). Therefore, if you want to improve the quality of your life, you should not merely look at the circumstances (which sometimes you may be able to change, and sometimes not). Above all, you must improve your own thoughts and feelings!
You have to take a better mental attitude towards your material environment.
It is of the utmost importance that you realize, we cannot repeat often enough, ponder in your heart until you have really understood, the basis for everything else is:
Your consciousness is the true reality.
From this follows for our topic:
Living in a better world, in a sanctuary, is a state of the consciousness!
"And what does that mean in practice?"
This is answered by a sentence of the highest importance, which you should memorize for your future path:
You are living in Heaven when you feel like in Heaven!
What “really“ happens around you is in fact meaningless: If, whatever is going on, you remain serene, calm and peaceful, look at your surroundings with bright eyes and stay happy – then you are living in a world of eternal peace, eternal tranquillity and eternal joy!
Such a transfiguration of life is possible in all circumstances. In order to remain in the highest state of happiness, you "only" have to think and feel right, beautiful and great. For this, you must know the laws of existence (evolution, karma, reincarnation, immortality) and the meaning of life, of suffering and of obstacles. If you want to study the details once more, watch again the relevant Broadcastings ("The Meaning of Life", "The Meaning of Suffering" and "Rejoice at Obstacles" from the Series "Introduction to Agni Yoga").
Therefore, walking the Path of the Interior Temple means: You use the power of your spirit and consciously direct your thoughts and feelings in order to achieve the goal, which is:
Always and everywhere you are living in Heaven.
Then you can be indifferent to how others look at things.
People do not understand that the way to harmony is in the art of thinking. Every human being can develop a sense of harmony within himself. After millions of years of evolution humanity is still ignorant about the art of achieving harmony. (Supermundane 341, 345)
By the way, just that we do not forget: You are already living in Heaven. The earth is a paradise!
"Why, I do not I understand. Didn’t you just say that down here is a vale of tears!?”
Because you encounter on earth exactly that what you need to grow greater.
That means: There is no better place for you to live than earth! Nevertheless, let us see how you can make life even more beautiful down here.
3. Create a World of your own!
Many people are longing for a pure, holy life far away from the contagious depravity of the world, which some hope to find in a remote monastery in the mountains of Tibet.
We feel the need for and the possibility of a higher way of life
For a spiritual person, the situation on earth is almost unbearable.
"Yes, I suffer from the hostile conditions. Among all the dirt and hustle and bustle I long for a beautiful, worthy life; for a place where I am not hurt and restricted by the rudeness and selfishness of the others. "
You are not happy with the circumstances in which you are forced to live? Then set about to create better ones!
In the beginning I looked around but could not find the car I was dreaming of. Thus, I decided to build it myself. (Ferdinand Porsche)
This, however, is not a hobby, it is essential for your survival! If you do not want to be overwhelmed or depressed by all the stupidity, sluggishness and selfishness around you, you are forced to create your own higher world.
Let us repeat again because it is so important:
Each spirit creates his own world, and the beauty or ugliness of the created world depends upon the quality of the consciousness. (Infinity II, 719 )
Agni Yoga recommends:
Create your own world!
Do you grasp the magnificence of this concept? You are actually able to create the highest world you can possibly imagine and wish for.
Of course, however, this can only be a spiritual world that exists regardless of the material circumstances. The outer world you can change to a limited extent only. The inner world in which you live is determined by you yourself alone.
A yogi is so close to spiritual perfection that he cannot long endure even the usual interplanetary form of existence. Yogi U., known to you, for this reason created a special form of interplanetary existence for himself. It then was recognized as being of use to humanity. (Agni Yoga 226)
There are no abodes any more for the spiritual (AUM 109). People used to escape the terrible conditions in the old world by emigrating to America, which was then called the "New World".
Today we choose the inner emigration to a New World of the spirit.
Let each one designate for himself a path of progression leading toward one of the higher worlds. (Infinity I, 75)
Building up your own spiritual sphere in the middle of the materialistic desert is the great adventure of the New Age.
You do not have to retreat like Saint Anthony the Great to the desert or Jules Verne's captain Nemo to a submarine in order to live a pure and holy life far away from the evil world. A king of the spirit does not need a physical castle, a hierarch does not need a palazzo in Venice: You can live in the midst of everyday life in your own Inner World.
4. The Path of the Interior Temple
Monopteros, English Garden, Munich
Let us summarize what has been said so far: We want to live already on earth in a heaven which we have called a temple or a sanctuary. And we can create any world, if we only direct our thoughts and feelings accordingly. This results in:
You can transform any place, whatever its external appearance, into a sanctuary.
"I don't understand yet. How is that supposed to work practically? "
For this you have to recognize:
What is a temple? A place with a pure and holy atmosphere.
"How does a pure and holy atmosphere arise in this world, among all that filth?"
What is it that makes a room a sanctuary? Do you really assume the stone altars and the marble columns? No, it is the people who inhabit the place.
When we create an atmosphere of purity, peace, and solemnity, we sanctify every room. When, on the other hand, we comport ourselves roughly or aggressively, all the splendour of a temple building and all the white robes are of no use at all.
A room is pure or unclean, holy or depraved depending upon what kind of spirit prevails in it.
"How does such a spirit arise?"
The spirit that fills a place is shaped by the thoughts, feelings, words and actions of the people who are living there. When they are unclean or pursue selfish concerns, they pollute every room, even the most wonderful church.
Thus, how do you build your sanctuary?
"With the help my own thoughts and feelings!?"
Yes, exactly! Everywhere you can control and direct your thoughts and feelings so that they are joyful, peaceful and solemn. If the power of your spirit is strong enough, nobody and nothing can stop you.
If you think, feel, speak and behave in a pure and holy way at any place, you create a pure and holy atmosphere around you.
This is how you erect a Spiritual Sanctuary, regardless of the material circumstances.
You are building the temple in spirit.
"Isn't that mere imagination?"
The establishment of the Interior Temple is a spiritual exercise!
It is a long way, taking possibly several incarnations (!) and requiring hard work, until you have achieved lasting inner peace and tranquillity. It is not easy to create this state of mind in meditation in the morning. It is even more difficult to defend and to preserve it in the midst of the earthly struggle.
A sublime state of the consciousness is not an illusion but a spiritual reality.
Let us now discuss how exactly you can walk the Path of the Interior Temple in the middle of worldly life.
Section II: Practice
We now want to see what you have to do practically in order to live in Heaven already on earth. Our exercise, the Path of the Inner Temple, consists of 4 steps that you should take one after the other.
Spanish Steps, Rom
Remember: The world that you build up for yourself and in which you wish to live is – at least at the beginning – not a material, but "only" a spiritual world. The sanctuary you want to construct is a building in the Subtle World. There, this Interior Temple, like everything else, is created by your thoughts.
1. Create your Heaven!
Swetoslaw Roerich “Damodar Kund”
The beginning of our exercise is: The Heaven in which you want to live you have to
Imagine as precisely as possible, create in your thoughts and thereby actually build up in the Spiritual World.
Visualize a beautiful and worthy picture of your Eternal Home: You might choose a mountain peak, the earth with all the other people deep down beneath you; or a quiet place, far from human settlements, with palm trees and a small pond fed by pure spring water; or the Ashram of your teacher – that is, a place which you do not create alone, but together with others in thought.
Prepare for your spirit a beautiful garden, not in the desert waste but on the summit of attainment. (Infinity I, 15)
Here is an example:
(Swetoslaw Roerich "Damodar Kund")
Let your imagination run wild! Certainly, you can imagine – and thereby create! – something even more beautiful, even more in accordance with your nature.
We had already said: With the help of your own thoughts and feelings you build up your Eternal Individuality, your Fiery Body like a work of art (Broadcasting "Bring your soul to Life", Series "Experiment Immortality"). However, your soul cannot exist in the middle of nothing and nowhere. It needs an environment in which to live.
You must construct the world of the soul as well, again with your imagination. This, too, is a work of art to be created by you yourself!
The establishment of the Temple Within is the necessary continuation of the practice of shaping your body of light. Like a house for the body on earth, you must also build a home for the soul in the Spiritual World. The Fiery World around you exists anyway. Then you better create it yourself!
If you want to be a soul, you also have to learn to live in the world of the soul.
Of course, there are also temples and ashrams in the Subtle World.
We have entire Strongholds in that world. You already know their names, you have heard about the structures created by thought. One must clearly realize these conditions in order to direct oneself to Dokyood. Thought not obscured by doubt will lead to Our supermundane Abodes. (Supermundane 41)
In the Higher World your temple of thought is a reality! It is the eternal homeland from which your soul comes and to which it wishes to return.
The image of this sacred place which you are harbouring today might not be correct in all details. However, important is alone that you grasp the essence, the spirit of this institution.
2. Visit your Heaven
Nicholas Roerich “Higher than Mountains”
"How do I fill this thought-building with life?"
By visiting it regularly – which means concretely: Your soul goes to its homeland.
The basic exercise is: You visit the Heaven, which you have created in the Subtle World, in the morning, at noon and in the evening in meditation. You put yourself in spirit in this wonderful room. At least your soul lives in paradise in these minutes – wherever your body is.
You fly in spirit to a mountain peak or to the Ashram of your teacher in the Himalayas, as we have already described in detail in the Broadcastings "Exercise Elevation" and "Meditation". (Nicholas Roerich "Higher than Mountains")
Let people travel in thought through the Supermundane World. If their first attempts are primitive, they should not be discouraged. Help will come if the striving is sincere. (Supermundane 754)
It is a miracle that such a sojourn in a Higher World is possible regardless of the external circumstances. And yet this is no imagination, but a real experience. Your transitory personality is tied to the material level. Your Eternal Individuality, on the other hand, can soar up to the spiritual sphere at any time. There it finds the peace and quietness which it seeks in vain on earth.
"And this miracle happens effortlessly, like a gift that falls from Heaven?"
No, unfortunately it is not quite that simple. Nothing is given us as a present, certainly not paradise. It is a spiritual exercise – and not an easy one! – to release your thoughts and feelings from the business, needs, suffering and disgust of the material world and to keep your consciousness in the soul, in a sphere where you are not affected by all of this.
You have to learn spiritual discipline: Again and again, your thoughts are straying away; as soon as they return to your earthly affairs, you immediately fall out of your Heaven again.
You have to get used to visiting your sanctuary for a few moments in the morning, at noon and in the evening. For this you must reserve fixed times and defend them against the demands of your environment.
That must not remain a mere abstract idea.
The greatest happiness, dwelling in paradise, becomes a living experience.
The actual existence of your Eternal Individuality in this Higher World becomes the stable centre, the focus of your entire life.
The disciples asked, “Where will we be after death?” The Thinker [Plato] answered, “Not far from here, and each of you can succeed already during his life to visit the place of his future abode.” (Supermundane 193)
After completing the meditation, you find yourself back again in your room. What do you experience? What do you feel?
“In the beginning there is no difference. It is as if I were still dwelling in my home, in the sanctuary in the Subtle World.”
Exactly! That is the crucial experience! We said at the beginning of this Broadcasting:
You are living in Heaven when you feel like being in Heaven!
This is exactly what you now actually make come true: You feel like in Heaven, and thus you live in paradise, even though physically you did not leave your apartment at all!
It is of the utmost importance for your Spiritual Path that you establish this sublime state of consciousness anew at every morning; that you enjoy the beauty of a life in a higher sphere before you go out into the world. Only then will rise within you the longing never to give up this condition and to transform also your life on earth into a paradise.
3. Emergency Meditation
Let us extend the exercise: In worry, distress or temptation you can escape the world at any time, go through a short "emergency meditation" and put yourself in your Heaven where you are protected and unassailable.
Thus, in any situation you will quickly be able to find peace of mind, tranquillity, equanimity, balance and joy of being. However, using this panacea at any time is not a trifle, but a spiritual achievement which requires a lot of effort and practice.
4. Temporary Stay at a virtual Monastery
In some parts of Asia, it is customary to retreat to a monastery for a few days before making an important decision, in a crisis, or in general regularly several times a year for the purpose of collecting and purifying oneself in the order of a life in accordance with the Cosmic Laws.
On the Path of the Interior Temple you can cultivate this wholesome practice without physically leaving your home. You may visit the virtual monastery temporarily whenever you want: Several times a week or even several times a day.
Spanish Steps, Rome
We continue. We can do more than visiting the sanctuary in the morning, at noon and in the evening. We can take it with us anywhere we want.
1. Establishing the Temple within the Heart
Among the most beautiful and most important that has ever been said on our topic is:
Practice meditation, and you will find that you are carrying within your heart a portable paradise. (Yogananda)
"How can I make this happen?"
One of the most notable pieces of advice from Agni Yoga is:
Establish the temple within your heart!
"What do you mean by that?"
We had already learned and practiced in the Broadcasting "Living in the continuous Presence of the Teacher": Like a beloved one, you can also take your teacher into your heart and keep him there.
Let us now expand this exercise: Always carry the image of your abode in the Hereafter, of your eternal home, from which you come and to which you will soon go back, in your heart. You do love this place! You long to return there! Only there can you be happy!
The heart is a temple. When We talk about building a temple in the form of a heart, We do not have in mind a heart-shaped building; We are indicating the temple’s inner significance. One should understand the temple of the heart as an urgent sensation. Let us start feeling ourselves to be bearers of this temple. (Heart 4, 5)
The establishment of the Temple in the Heart is the necessary consequence of a universal realization: We cannot achieve true peace of mind, equanimity and calmness on the material level in a safe, permanent and unassailable way. This is possible within ourselves only.
Happiness is not in a place. You can only find it within yourself!
Few realize that only the heart is the abode of harmony. (Brotherhood 193)
That is why popular wisdom states so truly and beautifully:
If you do not carry Heaven in your heart, you will not be able to find it anywhere else.
Jesus as well recommended to look for paradise within ourselves:
The kingdom of God cometh not with outward gestures. Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17, 20, 21)
Agni Yoga teaches the same lesson:
The Fiery World is primarily within us, if only we discern its abode! (Fiery World I, 354)
Everyone can move into this Inner Cell, whatever his material life may look like, while at the same time fulfilling all his earthly obligations and overcoming all hardship.
Even those who have been thrown into prison or sold into slavery can free themselves from one moment to the other and soar up to paradise by following this Inner Path.
A very old story tells how a certain king, desiring to free himself of all outside influences, asked a sage for advice. “In your heart you will find liberation,” said the sage. (Heart 92)
Live in this Inner Sanctuary all day! Carry the temple in your heart, wherever you go, whatever you do and whatever happens to you. Even in the middle of the worldly turmoil, preserve the pure atmosphere of a sanctuary within you.
You build the temple in your heart and take it with you into the world.
The stronghold of the yogi is in the heart. (Supermundane 912)
"Should I really take a building into my heart?"
Well, I see you want to know exactly! Of course, we can also hang our heart on a stone building – or on one in the Subtle World made of thoughts – like this one:
Nicholas Roerich "Chapel of St. Sergius of Radonesh"
As you might still carry your parents' house or a holiday home by the sea in your heart where you spent a happy childhood.
But crucial and really intended is something else:
You fill your heart with the spirit that prevails in a sanctuary.
We had already seen: One can fill the heart with the spirit of the teacher who is then present (Broadcasting "Living in the continuous Presence of the Teacher"). Likewise, you can fill your heart with the spirit of a sacred place. Then the temple is present.
You can feel it when you are imbued with its atmosphere, namely purity, tranquillity and solemnity.
"What shall I do in practice?"
In meditation in the morning, you sink purity, tranquillity, peace, joy and solemnity into your heart.
Open your heart so wide that the spirit of paradise can pour into you!
The abode of the spirit is in the heart. (Hierarchy 454)
When, at the end of the meditation, your soul leaves its home and returns to earth, it will remain filled with this spirit. This is not an abstract theory. This is a real experience that you can make again and again with every new contemplation.
During the day, you strive to preserve this high spirit within you, which unfortunately tends to evaporate all too easily. As you take the solemn mood of a cathedral into your heart and try to keep it as long as possible after the exit into your everyday life.
This is a difficult exercise which requires tremendous spiritual effort. You will see: Often you lose your high state of mind already a few minutes after leaving your meditation room because of some ridiculous trifle.
The so-called state of Nirvana is not rest but rather the highest tension of energy. (Heart 260)
We are now coming to one of the key messages of this Broadcasting: To walk the Path of the Interior Temple means:
You carry the spirit of a sanctuary – purity, tranquillity, peace, equanimity, joy and solemnity – always in your heart!
The great secret of this exercise is: It really transforms your being:
You yourself become pure, calm, peaceful, composed, joyful and solemn!
Here is the happiness you are seeking, for which you are longing! Now you are living in the highest conceivable world! Now you are in Heaven! Again we recognize:
Happiness is a state of the consciousness! (Nicholas Roerich "Krishna")
3. The Inner Room
"Despite all that, I still have trouble imagining a temple within me."
Then let us consider another aspect: You understand, and you have already experienced that you can fill yourself with a spirit of strength and joy, purity and solemnity?
"Yes, of course, I certainly have already done that.”
Now look: You can fill only a vessel or a room. Thus, whom or what are you filling? Certainly not your body, as we are not talking about the physical heart either.
Imagine your subtle heart, your heart chakra as a spiritual room in the innermost depths of your being.
This is the world in which your soul lives. We remember (Broadcasting "Bring your Soul to Life"): Your Eternal Individuality is a giant hidden deep within you – that is, in a room within you.
The soul lives on the inner level. Its ancestral home, Heaven is not above or outside, but inside you.
We close the physical eyes and before our inner eye the sanctuary arises. We perceive ourselves, our Eternal Individuality standing in this temple.
This Inner Room you may fill with any spirit – with the spirit of love or hate, of fear or courage, of doubt or confidence, of joy or sadness. You can illuminate or darken it.
In this Inner Room you can create absolute silence and solemn calmness, may the outer world around you rage as wildly as can be. That is why one speaks of inner tranquillity. There the soul finds its peace, which then embraces your entire being and later radiates to your surroundings.
Here you are completely with yourself and undisturbed because nothing external, material, or low can get close to you – as in Heaven!
Build a centre, a fulcrum in your own inner self, where the Love of the Great White Lodge may rest. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 76 “Lest we forget”)
You create your personal paradise by denying lower beings, their negative spirit and their depraved vibrations access to your Inner Room. They have no business in your Interior Temple.
You lock the door of your sanctuary firmly from these enemies. (Lorenzo Ghiberti "Gates of Paradise", Baptistery, Florence)
They have to stay outside.
You alone determine whom or what you admit to your innermost. You can ensure that only peace, quietness and joy find a home there.
You yourself as well still have to find the access to this room! Learn to enter this place of silence and to stay there! It is present in every human being, but the entrance is buried and must be cleared.
Remember: The entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you. (Rumi)
Incidentally, we are speaking of the same virtual room or vessel which the Teaching calls "chalice". There are stored all the accumulations, memories and experiences of the millions and millions of years of our entire existence in all worlds. To this gigantic treasure as well, access will only be granted once we are sufficiently developed.
Inside you is the source from which your emanations, your aura, radiate outwards.
In this protected Inner Room, which Agni Yoga often means when it speaks of the "heart", the soul establishes the connection to the Higher World.
Therefore, think of the heart as a mediating principle that connects you with the distant worlds. (Heart 313)
Here is where you meet your teacher, not in the Himalayas. That is why you hear his call not from the ceiling of your room, but within yourself. Therefore, you can hardly distinguish the voice of your teacher from the voice of your heart.
Precisely the heart is a link between the worlds, and only the heart can respond to the heart of the Master and to the entire Hierarchy. (Hierarchy 219)
Into this Inner Room penetrates the light, the inspiration of divine enlightenment.
Therefore, instead of “meditation” one also speaks of “introspection” or “navel-gazing”. Thereby we express: With the help of your spiritual senses you have a look at what is going on in your Interior Temple.
Every human being is a pharaoh, a house of God.
The temple in the heart is the house of God.
In the most ancient times people regarded the heart as the Dwelling of God. But now, in our enlightened times, the heart has been reduced to nothing more than a physiological organ. You should first of all remind people how important the heart is as a unifier of the worlds. (Heart 73)
First of all, you have to worthily prepare this house so that God or his Spirit can move in there.
The ability to establish the sacred Hierarchy in one’s heart comes through toil. (Fiery World II, 118)
The Sanctuary Within may even be partially destroyed. A few pillars you might have to set up again before you can use it. (Sanctuary of Athena, Delphi)
Above all, you can and must clean your Inner Room, that is, free it from unspiritual strivings and selfishness.
A symbol of the purification of the heart is the expulsion of the traders from the temple by Jesus. (El Greco "Expulsion of the Traders from the Temple")
By its very nature, your soul desires to dwell in a sphere of purity and joy, like a saint in a monastery.
Here, there is no cheating and no selfishness, as in the wonderful world in which a pure, innocent little girl lives. (Titian "Presentation of the Virgin Mary in the Temple")
The channel of the heart must be purified. One should not think of the heart as a lump of lower matter. If so, how to contact the Highest World? (Hierarchy 446)
In a pure Inner Room, good, high, beautiful and great thoughts and ideas are born. In a dive, when you turn your heart into a den of thieves, low aspirations are prospering.
When you encounter rudeness, you have three options:
1. You lead the ruffian back to the right track like a small child – with love like a mother or with rigour like a father;
2. You fight the rudeness like weeds in your garden; or if neither is feasible:
3. You withdraw to your protected Inner Room and thereby prevent at least you yourself from being besmirched.
4. Anton Bruckner Motet “Locus iste”: The Temple in the Heart
Finally, we want to make a last attempt to present the Path of the Interior Temple even more vividly:
With the help of the music of the great masters, you can experience the majesty of the sacred room within you. Sounds convey more than 1000 words!
Let us listen to and watch Anton Bruckner's motet "Locus iste". Open your heart! Let us witness how a temple is being created within us, and what is going on therein:
The tones are building a cathedral. The soul enters the sanctuary. The soul strives upwards, but does not yet achieve a breakthrough. The soul receives streams of comfort, strength, joy, light and love from above. Repetition: The temple arises in our heart. The soul is captured by a vortex that drags it upwards. It comes into contact with something so High, so Sacred that it cannot be expressed and only be experienced in silence.
You may watch the video here.
You may increase the effect of the tones upon you by following the lines of the music with your hands, the blue lines with both hands, the red lines with one hand. You may memorize this very simple piece of music, hum it to yourself from time to time and thereby build up the Temple Within. Finally, you can internalize it to such an extent that it lives within you without sounds and creates a sacred atmosphere there.
Spanish Steps, Rome
The beauty of your Inner Sanctuary must not tempt you never to leave this heavenly place. You are incarnated in order to learn, to grow and to fulfill a mission. Therefore, you must not withdraw from earthly life, but have to descend to the world during the day.
All saints have left their cell in order to serve their fellow human beings.
Down on earth your ideals are turned into reality. Here your help is needed.
Descent to the World
Nicholas Roerich “Descent of Christ to Hell”
Don't be under any illusion:
Descending to hell is essential to a life in Heaven! (Nicholas Roerich "Descent of Christ to Hell")
They will ask: “What kind of heaven is yours?” Answer: “A heaven of toil and struggle.” (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 269 
The Path of the Interior Temple works like this in everyday life: In the morning in meditation you establish the state of the consciousness "Living in a holy place". From this higher point of view, you descend to the material world in order to fulfill your obligations, to do your work and to perfect yourself. You return to your homeland briefly at noon and finally in the evening.
In spirit, the temple on the mountain peak from which you come and to which you want to return is always before your eyes. It is always in sight, within earshot and within hailing distance! (Albrecht Dürer "Knight, Death and Devil")
You continue to carry the temple in your heart – even when you are in the world.
Nothing changes in your external existence. You transfigure your life by adopting a new attitude, by changing your perspective:
Up to now you thought: I live on earth and occasionally visit the Other World temporarily in meditation, in sleep or on Sundays in church. Now you look at it the other way round: Your real life takes place in Heaven, in your temple. From there you occasionally and only temporarily descend to the material level.
You actually lead a double life: partly in the filth of the earth, partly in the purity of your sanctuary.
In the esoteric classic "Initiation", Elisabeth Haich describes how she led such a double life in Egypt: In the morning in the temple for education and in the afternoon in the world for service in the government.
The one of the 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga, which we had called "Living in two Worlds", becomes a living reality:
An Agni Yogi verily lives in two worlds. (Infinity I, 238)
We cannot emphasize clearly enough, and you must not close your eyes to this reality:
Chaos begins behind the door of your meditation room!
The waves of chaos are constantly threatening to inundate your world and to tear you into the abyss. (Nicholas Roerich "Holy City")
The Path of the Interior Temple means struggle with chaos.
You have to defend the temple in your heart against all the hostile influences from your environment. It is a difficult exercise to live "as if" you were in Heaven despite all the odds.
Therefore, even in the dust of destruction one should go on building strongholds of the heart. (Heart 338)
You have to assert the spiritual reality of the temple against the unspiritual physical circumstances!
You must not allow chaos to enter your Inner Realm. In the midst of the worldly hustle and bustle, calmness, peace and serenity reign in your heart. You must not allow yourself be dragged down.
You can and must uphold the spiritual attitude of a "monk of the Inner Monastery" anytime and everywhere, even in the most terrible circumstances.
The temple in the heart is impregnable - if you only stay firm!
"Isn't the term monk outdated? It reminds me of the darkest Middle Ages."
Yes, I have to admit: I tend to fall back to the antiquated terminology. Maybe because in a previous life I had a happy time in a monastery. By "monk of the Inner Monastery" I mean: Someone who leads a holy life in the middle of the world.
The Interior Temple is a regime that you impose on yourself without having to change anything in your earthly situation. You continue to work in the world – but according to the higher laws of spiritual life. The new basis of your existence is an inner, a spiritual order that does not need to be externally recognizable at the beginning.
You replace the monastery walls by self-discipline.
This most synthesizing Yoga exacts an obligation to construct one’s entire life in accordance with a discipline that is externally imperceptible. (Agni Yoga 163)
If you carry the monastery in your heart, it does not matter whether the monastery building is existent or not. (Starez Theophan)
The unpopular term "self-discipline" only means: You refrain from everything that disturbs the glory and dignity of your Temple Within.
Monks used to wear cowls. Such external signs are no longer necessary today.
Agni Yoga must be introduced into life, but its bearers must not differ externally from others in life. The Agni Yogi lives unnoticed. There should not be even the slightest alienation from life. (Agni Yoga 187)
You appear in the world dressed like anyone else. Inwardly, in your imagination you are wearing the white robe of a spiritual disciple. This idea helps you to maintain your dignity and your position as the inhabitant of an Inner Sanctuary. We had already talked about this concept in the Broadcasting "The Invisible Toga" (Series "Spiritual Exercises of Agni Yoga").
As far as you can, you saturate the world with the spirit of your temple. You follow the example of those high beings who dwell in the highest spheres of the Subtle World, in Heaven, and descend from there to the lower layers to help those thirsting for redemption.
Of course, whether the sacred atmosphere of your cell, which you have created in meditation, will remain intact during the day depends not on you alone, but also on the people who visit you. Most of them will consciously or unconsciously desecrate the holy place with their rough habits.
Your Interior Temple will be filled not only with seekers for help, but also with fools, lechers, egotists and even criminals.
Read again the second book "An Inappropriate Meeting" of Dostoevsky’s wonderful novel "The Brothers Karamazov": Experience how St. Starez Sosima has to endure the almost unbearable behaviour of Fyodor Karamazov and his sons.
If the power of your spirit is strong enough, you can drag the ignorant, the insolent and the shameless into the spell of your sanctuary and induce them to behave according to the dignity of the place. Even the evil you can envelop with this world and thereby contribute to their transformation.
Spanish Steps, Rome
We take the next step of the path:
Instead of visiting the temple in the Subtle World or in the heart in the morning, at noon and in the evening, and in the meantime descending to earth, we now say:
Live in both worlds simultaneously, in Heaven and on earth!
1. Living simultaneously in two Worlds
Nicholas Roerich “Tsong kha-pa”
Your being consists of two aspects, your Eternal Individuality and your transitory personality. Both live in different spheres, one on earth and the other in the Subtle World – and that actually at the same time! You now have to learn to consciously lead this double life.
Man is a giant whose head soars up to Heaven while at the same time he is standing with his feet on earth. (Fiery World II, 12)
Our task is to remind men that as the highest expression of the manifested world they can be centers for uniting the worlds. (Fiery World I, 479)
In scientific language we may say:
The human pyramid is a unitary object consisting of physical, subtle and Fiery Body. The pyramid of the worlds is a unit of physical, subtle and Fiery World.
You must not separate the worlds. You have to form and to maintain one unitary being on all three levels. Basically, we would split up this unity when we imagine that we are dwelling on earth in one hour and in Heaven in another. We cannot live sometimes the physical and sometimes the spiritual aspect of our being – we have to express both at the same time!
"Living in three worlds at the same time – that again is too high for me."
In fact, this is not as highflying as it might seem at first glance: A simple example: While the eye is watching the material world, at the same time the heart feels what is going on on the subtle level. This is not that special and not that difficult either!
We call people to be able to observe the features of human nature even during work. One should maintain a natural work and at the same time watch one’s subtle sensations. Through such a combination will people draw nearer to a transfiguration of life. (Supermundane 353)
"What does that mean specifically for the Path of the Interior Temple?"
You broaden what you have practiced so far: Your Eternal Individuality lives in a higher world of peace and quietness. From up there, it controls the words and deeds of the body, which at the same time acts down below on earth in the midst of the worldly hurly-burly. Nothing that happens down there can drag the soul out of its restfulness – out of its heaven!
We see again:
The Interior Temple is a mental attitude.
A beautiful symbol for this state of the consciousness is this painting, which shows the soul in its own world, at its unassailable height. As presented here, you should regard yourself and face your fellow human beings.
(Nicholas Roerich "Tsong kha-pa")
2. The Sanctuary as Subtle Scenery of material Life
Agni Yoga is a synthesis of science and religion. For a better understanding, we also want to explain in scientific language what it means to live in two worlds simultaneously.
You should not imagine your paradise somewhere in the Himalayas. We repeat: Heaven, the Fiery World is very close, around you (Broadcasting "Living in the continuous Presence of the Teacher"). This means:
The Interior Temple surrounds you like a spiritual room, like an aura, wherever you are on earth.
Or let us put it this way:
The Subtle World that you are building around you is the spiritual framework within which your material life takes place.
You can imagine this as in a theatre: You are standing in the foreground and acting on the stage of earthly life. The scenery behind you, against which your material existence takes place, is the temple in the Subtle World. (Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Athens)
You remember (Broadcasting "Living in the continuous Presence of the Teacher"):
There is a spiritual superstructure above every place on earth.
For example: Above the plot of surface of the earth called "Germany", there exists a state named "Federal Republic". It consists of the ideals and worldviews (Marxism, capitalism or Darwinism), the religions, laws, customs and traditions that are in force here. Similar spiritual superstructures are forming above your physical life by reason of your belonging to a family, a people, a football or traditional club, a political party or movement, to the army or police or to a philosophy such as Platonism, Stoa or Enlightenment.
This is the Spiritual World in which you are living!
It arches like an invisible bell over the material place where you are located.
Heaven on earth is realized when over the place where you are living and working there hovers a sanctuary as superstructure on the subtle level.
Instead of "frame", "scenery" or "superstructure", we might also say "spiritual order". It is important that you realize:
Dwelling in Heaven means living in the spiritual order of a Heaven, according to the laws, customs and traditions which apply there.
"So what do you want me to do?"
You are a monk of an Inner Monastery when you live by the customs and practices that apply in a temple – wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Your whole life takes place in this spiritual order. The result of this exercise is:
You are living and working in a sacred place.
To put it as concretely as possible: You are working in a factory on the assembly line and at the same time you are living in your sanctuary.
"Impossible! Or at least quite soaring! "
Well, it again depends on your inner attitude. We will discuss in more detail in the Broadcastings on the establishment of the New World: There are also workshops in the temples of the future. Here everything that people need physically and spiritually for their daily survival is being manufactured and offered in accordance with ethical principles.
In the same way, you may transfigure your daily professional work by regarding yourself as a temple servant who is toiling in the name and on behalf of the Highest and serving the common good.
A beautiful symbol of this attitude is this painting showing St. Jerome at work in his study, which is at the same time a church. (Messina: "St. Jerome in his Study")
3. Living in the Sanctuary as the real Existence
We are now coming to a decisive step on the Spiritual Path: So far you have viewed your existence on the material level as the one and only reality. You had merely a vague idea of the life of the soul in its world. You have to change this attitude radically and turn it into its opposite:
If your soul is your real self, that means necessarily:
The life of your soul in its world is your real existence.
Let us hear one of the most beautiful paragraphs of Agni Yoga which you should call to mind every day when walking the Path of the Interior Temple:
Whence comes this stimulating feeling, called joy of being? Why does this joy not depend upon wealth or self-satisfaction? It may arise amidst the most grievous difficulties and persecutions. In times of stress, such a joy is especially valuable and healing. We call it joy of being, for it does not depend on personal circumstances, success, or benefits.
Can there be feelings of joy when one is afflicted with disease or when one is the victim of injustice or insult? Indeed, for even in such circumstances the eyes may sometimes fill with fire, the bowed head may rise, and new strength may stream in. Then one begins to rejoice at life, perhaps not at one’s earthly life, but at the real existence. (Supermundane 281)
"What does the Master mean by 'real existence'?"
Yes, here we are at the core of our topic: I need not explain in detail, you know yourself from bitter experience: For your perishable personality, there is not much to laugh about on earth. Obstacles and difficulties, need, pain and suffering pile up before you every day in abundance.
However, this does not apply to your soul: As we have already discussed several times (Broadcastings "The Meaning of Suffering", "Rejoice at Obstacles!"), it can always be happy, because it regards difficulties as nothing but opportunities for spiritual growth, as necessary stages on the ladder of ascent.
The "real existence" of which the Mahatma speaks is the life of your soul in its world: In a sanctuary, in a sphere of eternal joy, eternal tranquillity and eternal peace which does not exist on the material level.
So far you used to think: Your "real existence" is your life as a baker, father of a family or nurse, which takes place at home and at your place of work. From today on
You get used to regarding your spiritual life on the Supermundane plane, in the Interior Temple, as your "real existence".
Your kingdom is not of this world; it is to be found, so to speak, above the clouds.
This supratemporal or inner world is much more important than the external circumstances.
Often people complain about the monotony of their external life. But any external life whatever depends upon the riches of the inner life. The external life is but a hundredth part of the inner. Therefore the inner life is the true one. (Fiery World III, 520)
The outer world is a mere reflection of the inner one. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. II, letter of 08.10.1935)
"How do I put that into practice in everyday life?"
Create a subtle reality, a real existence around you that looks like this:
You are the monk of an Inner Monastery.
Whomever you meet, he visits you in your sanctuary. You take an attitude towards him as towards a seeker who asks you for advice or help. This is how you realize the existence on a higher level. This is how you act from a superior, spiritual perspective while at the same time staying on earth.
The Path of the Interior Temple is not a glass bead game, but part of the education of the New Man! For, what is the man of the future, the next higher level of evolution?
A higher form of life, a being of spirit that comes to earth from another, a Higher World.
One must understand in what lies the progress of a spirit who is gradually becoming accustomed to existing above the world and to labour without end. (Hierarchy 336)
You are a Heaven dweller, because your true home is a sacred place in the Other World.
You descend to the material level like an angel to help your smaller brothers and sisters, to pass on higher knowledge and to improve their conditions. (Leonardo da Vinci "Annunciation")
Though, in our days an angel is no longer a cute putto, but a powerful fighter. (Raphael, Angel from "Sistine Madonna")
It is essential that you create this consciousness of your higher existence anew every morning and start the day on the heights, in the real world, in your Heaven, not down below in the material lowlands; and that you maintain yourself up there in spirit, even when you descend in the body.
When the consciousness has assimilated the foundations of the Teaching of Life, all that takes place with us and around us inevitably takes on another meaning. The broadened consciousness carries over the starting point of the thinking into the supermundane plane and unites with the consciousness of the Elder Brothers of our humanity. Such a consciousness learns to live in its true home and knows in spirit and heart its Friends and Helpers. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. II, letter of 08.03.1938)
Building an Inner Temple is the first step in forming your real, supermundane existence.
The very high Yogis live in different conditions created by them far from our earthly hustle and bustle. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. II, letter of 30.03.1936)
"All this is again very elitist! How does the supermundane existence as an angelic being get real and come to life for an average citizen of flesh and blood like me? "
By being in meditation in constant communion with your Supermundane Home and your soul-mates there; by educating your Eternal Individuality, letting it grow and spiritualizing it to such an extent that it actually becomes angelic; and by acting as a representative or ambassador in the name, on behalf and in the service of the Heavenly Powers on earth.
And, above all, of course, by walking the Path of the Interior Temple, that is, visiting your heavenly home regularly or even living there permanently.
4. Role Models
Saint Catherine of Siena was a founder and trailblazer for the concept of the Monastery Within. If you are looking for a living example, a role model for this way of life, study her life. Note her advice; this sentence is one of the most beautiful and most important that has ever been said on our subject:
Create for yourself a cell in your heart and never leave it!
Her confessor and biographer, St. Raymond of Capua, describes her:
She listened to the Holy Spirit, who taught her to set up a silent chamber in her spirit that she should never leave because of external work. Before, when she had had a room with four walls, she had sometimes been in it, sometimes she had gone out of it. But now that she was hiding a corner inside her that nobody could steal, she always stayed there. The holy young woman prepared this room that cannot be built by hand. She was helped by the one for who’s sake she had given up her external stone-built room without hesitation. (Domenico Beccafumi, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo "Catherine of Siena")
By the way, Catherine of Siena was an incarnation of Helena Roerich (see Supermundane 344).
Saint Teresa of Avila has written an entire book on our subject with the title "The Interior Castle".
Brother Lawrence, whom we had got to know already in the Broadcasting "Living in the continuous Presence of the Teacher", and Saint John of the Cross advised to create a chamber of prayer within the heart:
Raise your heart to God as often as you can, even at meals and in company. He is closer to us than we think. It is not necessary to always be in the church in order to commune with God. We can prepare a chamber of prayer in our hearts, to which we may withdraw from time to time in order to have a friendly, humble and loving conversation with Him. Everyone is capable of such confidential conversations with God, some more, some less. (Brother Lorenz of the Resurrection)
Section III: Benefit of the Exercise
"Do we really have to talk about the benefit of living in paradise?"
Well, it is important to make sure that we are aware of what exactly is the goal of our exercise.
1. Holy Existence in the middle of everyday Life
You combine the two seemingly incompatible demands of Agni Yoga: Do not withdraw from life and still do not cling to the earthly existence (see Broadcasting "Living in Two Worlds").
Outwardly you are living in the middle of the turmoil of the world, inwardly in the peace of Heaven.
The Path of the Interior Temple enables you to conduct a pure, holy existence in the middle of everyday life.
2. Transfiguration of everyday Life
One of my favourite terms of the Teaching is “transfiguration”. It means: You may completely transform yourself, your life and your entire environment, and this solely with the power of your spirit.
We had already discussed: You may transfigure your property by managing it in trust in the name and on behalf of the Hierarchy and employing it selflessly in the interest of the common good (see Broadcasting "Selflessness").
You may transfigure the many obstacles, adversities, hardships and sufferings of everyday life by turning them into joy (see Broadcasting "Rejoice at Obstacles!").
The Path of the Interior Temple is another example of the transfiguration of life solely through a proper mental attitude: You are living in a paradise without that the external conditions of your existence change in any way. What you change is your consciousness, the attitude with which you are facing people and circumstances.
You transfigure the physical world by crowning it with the subtle superstructure of a sanctuary.
Everywhere on earth, even in Schambhala you have to do the laundry, cook food, clean and maintain the house and make a living. It is an honour – and a pleasure! – to be able to attend to all these material needs in the sublime atmosphere of a sacred place!
The following was said about Saint Catherine of Siena:
When she was busy in the kitchen or serving the food, she was always dwelling within the Most Sacred. (St. Raymond of Capua)
This transfigured life is the real existence that we talked about earlier.
Gustave Doré “Baptism of Christ”
The secret of the monasteries has been at all times:
Life in a sanctuary purifies, elevates and sanctifies.
We take advantage of this experience and recognize: A physical building is not required. When you are living in the vibration of a sacred place, the craving for alcohol, meat, cigarettes or chocolate, moods like irritability, aggression or depression, and ugly words or unworthy deeds do not come up at all.
The Interior Temple is the way out for today's torn up people longing for a purer life.
4. Closeness of Subtle Creatures
Titian “Transfiguration of Christ”
You remember (Broadcasting “Living in the continuous Presence of the Teacher”): Subtle beings are always nearby.
When you create a room of purity and solemnity within you, according to the law of correspondence you attract higher subtle creatures and ward off evil visitors from the lower layers of the astral world.
How can man create mentally when he is even unable to imagine a desirable environment for himself? How can he think of the refinement of forms when he never pictures them in thought, thus trying to make his surroundings worthy of Higher Beings? (Fiery World I, 645)
When we say: In the Inner Temple Heaven is close, that also means: As in a church, beings from higher spheres of the Spiritual World are present in such a way that you can contact them.
If you come ever closer to the Subtle World, if you become so sensitive that you feel the otherworldly reality, you will one day be able to communicate in spirit with your soulmates, your true brothers and sisters up there in the same way as Jesus with Moses and Elias in the state of transfiguration (see Matthew 17, 1-8). (Titian "Transfiguration of Christ")
Nicholas Roerich “Tibetan Fortress”
Earthly fortresses are no more stable than castles made of sand.
Real security can only be obtained in the World of the Spirit.
Dead are those who presume that by means of earthly Maya they can create strongholds. It is as unwise as children dreaming to build a fortress out of mud! Only the world of spirit is truly strong, for it is indestructible and invincible. (Hierarchy 146)
Never will you have to leave the Inner Monastery. The temple in your heart is unassailable and indestructible.
The drama of Tibet with the destruction, or of Europe with the secularization of the monasteries does not threaten you. (Ruins of Ganden Monastery, Tibet)
Whatever happens to your body, your soul can never be driven out of its paradise.
The Monastery Within is the one and only secure foundation of your life.
You have your roots in this invisible world. On it you rest. From it you draw your strength.
Urusvati has overcome all the earthly misconceptions about safety and material security. Neither exists in earthly conditions, yet this dark mirage seduces multitudes of people. They dream of building towers where they might be sheltered in complete safety. They dream of accumulating treasures that would provide security, forgetting that they can reach such a stronghold only beyond earthly conditions. (Supermundane 45)
For the New Man, who is a being of spirit, the place – or the order – in which he is protected and safe, is not on earth, but in the Other World.
Man should remember that his true Stronghold is not on Earth, and that all his earthly labours should be performed for return to the Supermundane Stronghold. (Supermundane 803)
Or, in other words, within himself.
The heart is the stronghold of the hero. (Hierarchy 436)
The Heart of the Arhat is a sacred stronghold, which guards the sacred gift of the Cosmos. (Fiery World III, 171)
You must never give up this ultimate security, this only reliable refuge.
This painting by Nicholas Roerich is called "Stronghold of the Spirit". The title expresses two things: The spirit needs a home in the spiritual world, and security can be found only there.
6. Place of Refuge
Tiger Nest Monastery, Bhutan
You feel: You have to get away from the distress and misery of the world, from the insolence, selfishness and ruthlessness of the people living here.
People can struggle with base astral entities only when they are firm in their understanding of their own future path. Their passing into the higher spheres will then be easier, and they will not feel the arrows of the dwellers of the lower astral plane. (Supermundane 261)
Every now and then, you have to get out of the unspiritual earthly sphere with its temptations and primitive customs, its ignorance and impurity.
You can and must create an inaccessible refuge in the middle of hostile territory, to which you can retreat at any time when conditions threaten to become unbearable.
Many a one would like to announce to the world in the midst of trouble: "I am retiring to a monastery." You can satisfy this longing and take this step at any time. (Tiger Nest Monastery, Bhutan)
The strength, the superiority of the New Man rests precisely on the fact that he is a lord of a castle, who operates from an impregnable fortress far above the lowlands of the world. (Eltz Castle)
Seekers of achievement, I will set you above a precipice as on an inaccessible tower. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 66)
On the Path of the Interior Temple you will find heavenly tranquillity and heavenly peace in your true Supermundane Home.
Here is your one and only salvation! The protection offered in former times by the monastery walls you are now building up around you with the help of a virtual room.
Requiescat in pace – May you rest in peace!
But not, as the Christians think, after death only, but regularly already during the earthly incarnation. Dwelling in the Interior Temple, your Eternal Individuality is not affected by the misery of the world; once you get back up there, it is no longer any of your concern – as in Heaven.
You can find this peace and quietness only in your heart. This is the sole cure for today's torn up man. Even a quiet outside place is of no use when you are restless within.
If you are unable to find peace of mind within yourself, there is no point in looking for it elsewhere. (François de La Rochefoucauld)
The seeker should look upon his heart as a refuge. (Heart 444)
Not even escaping to a physical monastery guarantees you a calm and peaceful life. How many saints, for example Bernadette of Lourdes and Therese of Lisieux, were tormented by small spirits even there!
"Is it then the meaning of life to be left in peace and quietness?"
No of course not. But when you are labouring tirelessly to fulfil your mission, you deserve and need some relaxation in between. Then you may take a rest and tune out completely for a moment from time to time (even several times a day!), as on holidays in afar, abroad, far away from the worries of everyday life.
All the terrible troubles are endurable only because you know that you will soon be able to return to the Higher World and draw new strength there.
Make good use of the mountain air. Do not tire yourselves out; even a diver must not descend when fatigued. Precisely, descent into human filth can be compared to a diver’s work. The diver is ready to save a drowning person, but he himself is in need of access to air. (Heart 568)
In distress you take refuge in a place where there is no oppression: In your heavenly realm.
When our consciousness is completely transported into the domain where there is no fear and depression, then we are invulnerable to any filth. (Fiery World II, 72)
Your true self can rise above the awful conditions on earth at any time. Retreating to higher, purer spheres is a sure means to counter disgust with the world.
Make conscious use of the possibilities of your being of spirit! Your soul can employ a moment of leisure to detach itself from the earth and to pay a short visit to its homeland. Go for a walk in spirit in your garden of Eden at every free minute!
Our Sisters and Brothers often visit the Subtle World in order to feel at home there. (Supermundane 223)
To be allowed to stay in Heaven even for a short time is your greatest bliss.
A time of happiness—thus We call that step in the development of consciousness when, without turning away from life, Our co-workers are given the opportunity to join Us in Our Abode. (Agni Yoga 338)
7. Higher Standpoint
Nicholas Roerich “Tibetan Stronghold”
The Monastery Within is a standpoint above the earthly hustle and bustle. You have to get used to look at everything from there, from the perspective of eternity; sub specie aeternitatis, as the Romans said.
From this higher point of view, you look down at the world, at the people and among them at yourself and your own life: At the worries and joys, the struggle for existence, the distraction and greed, the grabbiness, haggling and overreaching, the violence and need that prevail down there. (Nicholas Roerich "Book of Wisdom")
You can judge the earthly world correctly only from this superior point of view.
The entire earthly existence must be comprehended from the standpoint of the Higher World. (Fiery World I, 508)
Agni Yoga speaks of strongholds of the spirit. (Nicholas Roerich "Tibetan Stronghold")
The fiery waves will compel people to seek safety in the towers of the spirit. (Fiery World I, 508)
You must take and defend this lofty standpoint every day anew. You should not allow yourself to be dragged down from this secure height: Not by your own lower self, not by unspiritual people and just as little by adverse circumstances.
The superiority of the New Man is based precisely on the fact that his real existence takes place on these heights, where he is not affected by the events down on earth. Memorize:
The first step to happiness is standing above things!
This is not easy. We are speaking of a mental attitude that you have to acquire with a lot of practice.
Section IV: Establishing the Temple on the material Level
So far we have only asked: How can you live happily, contently and peacefully in your small, private paradise under all circumstances? Finally, let us take a last step that goes beyond your inner life, your personal well-being, and already points to service in the world:
We do not just want to build virtual cloud cuckoo lands, we actually wish to change the material world.
The three worlds are one. Therefore, your work is not yet complete when you “only” establish a sanctuary on the inner level, in the Subtle World, within your heart.
Like all subtle creations, your ideal – the Interior Temple – strives to become a physical reality on the material level.
It is the incessant longing of the soul for its true home (the Garden of Eden from which it was banished) that incites every impulse toward building of an ideal home. It is the soul memory of the beauty, the grandeur, the harmonious surroundings, the peace and joy radiating from each member of that heavenly home that impels the normal man and woman to unite and endeavour to reproduce some semblance of that home upon earth. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “The Homeless”)
You cannot live in a temple in the Higher World and in a pigsty on earth. Therefore, let us start with the realization of our ideal on the physical level. By the way, working on this also contributes to the specification and refinement of the ideal itself.
As the existence in Devachan [in Heaven] is the reproduction and idealizing of all that has appealed to us and that we have thought or done in earth life, it is very evident that every thought and act making for a home center on earth is an addition to the devachanic home center. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “The Homeless”)
The task of a spiritual worker is:
In the Supermundane World refinement and spiritualization and on earth embodiment of thought forms.
Just as the spirit can refine a condensed thought-form, so can it condense subtle forms. (Fiery World III, 248)
1. Transformation of a material Room into a Sanctuary
Saint Pope Gregory the Great
Apparently unattainable role models for our project are saints like Francesca of Rome, who set up a cell under the roof of her husband's noble palace, or Gottfried of Kappenberg and Pope Gregory the Great, who converted the castles of their ancestors into monasteries which they entered as monks. (Orazio Gentileschi "The Vision of St. Francesca"; Gottfried von Kappenberg; Goya "Gregory the Great")
Now we are able to imitate these great saints!
"But I don't own a palace. What shall I do?"
The Path of the Interior Temple allows you to follow these high examples, wherever and however you live:
You establish an Inner Monastery at your place of residence and move in there as a monk.
"Impossible! How am I supposed to turn my little apartment on the 15th floor into a sanctuary?”
Well, you will see: This extension of our exercise takes place automatically, completely naturally and almost imperceptibly: When you are permeated by the sublime spirit of a sanctuary, this is necessarily reflected in your aura. Whether you intend it or not:
You radiate exactly that spirit which you have received, which fills you.
When you create the pure atmosphere of a temple in the morning meditation, you automatically establish the solemn mood of a sacred place not only within yourself, but also in your room.
The Subtle World around you consists of subtle matter. You influence these vibrations of your room and ramp them up by imparting to them your own high vibration.
Your radiations form a temple around you, just as the light of a candle fills an entire room with a solemn mood.
You expand your Inner Room, the Interior Temple. Like a hologram that you project to the outside, you build up an aura around you which everyone senses who enters your room.
You saturate not only the Inner Room – yourself – but also the outer room – your apartment – with the spirit of a temple.
Thereby, you transform not only your own being, but also the place in which you live, and bring about a real transfiguration of the material earthly reality:
All of a sudden this worldly room, whatever its external appearance, becomes a temple because there reigns the spirit of a sanctuary.
The Sanctuary Within embodies, as is its aspiration, in your place of residence. The Interior Temple becomes an exterior temple. Not only within you, but also around you there is purity, tranquillity, peace, joy and solemnity.
Keep expanding this sacred area! Start involving your partner, your family, and your friends. Surround, envelop them – not with the wall of a monastery, but with the protective aura of your virtual temple!
The construction of the temple on the material level is an internal process! The artist within you does not have to build a stone structure nor to convert your material home. Like an interior architect, he equips an existing physical building with the spirit of a sanctuary!
By higher dimensions we attain a higher existence. In spirit one can build more than with hands. By thought one can build an entire empire. One can be affirmed upon the earthly crust as well as in the far-off worlds. (Infinity I, 140)
You see: Agni Yoga meditation is more than contemplating the tip of your nose!
Meditation is a process of creation: You are building up a whole world!
If the concept of a temple is too spiritual or too esoteric for you, we can also say: Your kingdom is the Heavenly Jerusalem, the Ideal City in the Subtle World which strives to incarnate on earth.
There once stood a city and reigned a people far in advance of the present civilization, taught and governed by one of the great Masters of the Lodge. The city which will some time be built already hangs in the heavens in form. This form will be given to you ere long. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 29 “Building in accord with natural and Divine Law“)
Instead of an “Interior Temple”, we may also speak of the “World of the Future” growing in our hearts.
Not infrequently entire structures, prior to their earthly realization, have been created in the Higher Worlds. One may read in the ancient Covenants about Heavenly Cities; in fact, they are being constructed in reality upon different spheres, and thus a magnetic attraction is created. Can it not be that certain cities already do exist, and named people live in them? One may walk into the future as assuredly as if the delineations of the city were before the earthly eyesight. (Fiery World II, 403)
As paradoxical as it sounds, it is true nevertheless:
You have already lived in the City of the Future!
You come from there (from the future!) and go back there (to the future!) after death. Your striving, your longing is to make the ideal that you have already experienced in the World Beyond a material reality on earth.
None save those who inhabited this prototypic city, could by Karmic right complete and occupy the New City. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. III, Lesson ”Harmony and Responsibility”)
2. Actually living in a Sanctuary
Now your temple is ready. Now you start living and working in your room as in a sacred place: in accordance with the law, purely and solemnly. The external circumstances of your life are irrelevant for this.
This exercise transfigures even a prison cell!
Thereby you create on earth the same conditions as prevail in Heaven.
You will be told of places where there are many gods. What does a site of the gods mean? Does it not signify that this is a place with special conditions for the astral? (Agni Yoga 443)
Let us employ more imagination! Let us be like children! Let us play, we lived and worked in a temple! We playfully, tentatively stick to the rules that apply there and try out whether they enable us to lead a better life:
When you take a meal, imagine: You are sitting at the table in the refectory together with your teacher and your spiritual brothers and sisters. When you go for a walk, you are strolling in the cloister of the monastery.
In this way, your fantasy world becomes a spiritual reality. Your soul actually lives in it like a child in the world of its fairy tales or its books.
You are living in a virtual, in your own spiritual world.
This is like those computer games where you build a virtual personality that lives in a virtual world. The big difference, however, is: You make your dream come true in earthly existence.
"Is not that pure imagination?"
No, not at all! You are establishing a spiritual reality that is as effective as a material one:
You create a sacred, solemn atmosphere around you. This is not an illusion! This is a reality!
There can be no doubt: Such a spiritual environment is not only real, it is even curative: First for yourself, and then for all the other people who enter this wonderful world.
You do not merely dream, you actually create a world of your own.
You are dwelling in an area of dull multi-storey buildings? When you are living in the spiritual world of an ashram in the Himalayas, you find the mountains before your inner eyes. Then it does not matter what the physical world looks like outside your window. (Nicholas Roerich "Star of the Morning")
This transfiguration of your surroundings is of course easier to achieve if you have a room available that is reserved for meditation and spiritual work only, which is largely isolated from worldly affairs – that means, which is as pure as possible; a Lord’s corner, where you set up a small altar with a candle and portraits of Mahatma M, of your teacher and of the saint of the day.
In principle, however, you can transform any worldly room into a sacred place by filling it with a sacred spirit – if only the power of your spirit is strong enough to overcome all opposing influences.
“I find it difficult to live in two places, one physical and one spiritual, at the same time. I am not that far advanced yet."
Well, in order to facilitate the understanding, let us express the process in scientific language as well:
You build up the Interior Temple by attaching the material plane to the Higher World.
We had already said (Broadcasting “Living in the continuous Presence of the Teacher”): Since Heaven is not far away, but present everywhere, any place on earth may be attached to any place in the Subtle World.
You attach your earthly dwelling to the Heaven of which you dream; to the sanctuary that already exists in the Spiritual World.
Every earthly place is connected to some higher or lower subtle sphere anyway. Then you better choose yourself to which one you attach yourself!
"What does 'attachment' mean specifically and practically?"
You connect – not physically, but of course in spirit: The same atmosphere, the same spirit prevails as above, so below. The same conditions, laws, customs and traditions as in Heaven also apply with you on earth.
Shambhala is the indispensable site where the spiritual world unites with the material one. But to work there where the spirit has descended into matter, the conditions of both planes must be met. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 88, 91)
Then the connection of all worlds is established.
Then the earth is close to Heaven. Then Heaven is open.
Then the heavenly state embraces earthly life as well. Then your location is the lowest, the physical level of a unitary world pyramid, the subtle level of which is the temple in the Higher World.
Your house is a part, an embodiment, a branch of the Supermundane Sanctuary on earth.
We remember (Broadcasting "Living in the continuous Presence of the Teacher"): Mostly, the pyramid of the worlds look like this:
The Higher Spheres are separated from the material world.
Through the attachment you pierce at least at one point the dark layer above the earth that separates us from Heaven. You establish a living connection to the top. You are now under the ray of the Supermundane Sanctuary like under a cone of light.
Your home is connected to Heaven by a protected channel that breaks through the lower subtle spheres around the earth. This is similar to the channel through which your soul descended to the material level when you were born (see the Broadcasting "The Subtle Constitution of Man").
The attachment enables the Higher World to break through into material life. If such a connection exists, Higher Beings can come to your aid, work together with you or act through you down here. (Botticelli "Annunciation")
The boundary between the material and the Subtle World melts away and finally vanishes completely.
Heaven is, so to speak, in the next room.
Your homeland is next door, and so are your soulmates. But not behind a wall, but beyond a kind of veil made of subtle matter of the highest vibration. You may penetrate it at any time, cross the border and – as when falling asleep and at death – deliberately switch over to the Other World.
Instead of flying to the temple, you shorten the distance: It is now within you, around you, right next to, behind or above you.
You draw near to the Higher World by spiritualizing yourself. As soon as the vibration of your being sinks, you fall back into the purely material state and move away from Heaven again. (Nicholas Roerich "Ecstasy")
Indeed, it is needful in everything to attach oneself to the Higher World. Without such attachment, the path will be a long one. Amid the densest of earthly conditions it is still possible to direct oneself toward the Higher World, and this World of Beauty will be close by. In the earthly body the spirit already learns to attach himself to the Higher World as if returning into its own wondrous native realm. Man feels an attraction even to his earthly native land which is transitory; so much the greater is his attraction to the eternal Fatherland. (AUM 82)
You are never alone. Your supermundane brothers and sisters are watching you; you sense their presence and can communicate with them.
Every co-worker of the Brotherhood comes into close contact with the Subtle World. The Abode of the Hierarchy in the Himalayas is in constant communication with the Abodes in the Subtle World. (Supermundane 41)
Live this idea as concretely as possible! Be aware of their proximity! This means, for example: If Heaven is next door, you must not disturb the important, sacred doings that are going on there and should behave as is befitting in such a high presence.
If an important task is being performed near us, we should not quarrel or make noise. (Supermundane 354)
4. Every Man a Priest
Nicholas Roerich “Zarathustra”
If the place where you are living and working is a sanctuary, you are a priest!
Your Eternal Individuality is by nature a holy being. You imperatively have to uphold this dignity!
The higher powers are close to you. You know the Will of God. You convey it to others and enforce it on earth. You bestow divine gifts: truth, justice, beauty and love.
You take over the spiritual guidance in your home and in every other room you enter.
In the world, wherever you appear, the Hierarchy manifests itself. Your work is being carried out in the name and on behalf of the Higher Powers.
You bring order to the chaos of the world.
5. Establishment of the Interior Temple as Service to the Common Good
Bartolomeo Vivarini “Saint John of Capistrano”
We are approaching the end of our Broadcasting. Establishing an Interior Temple is not just a private pleasure to make your life more comfortable. When you create the atmosphere of a sacred place around you, this is at the same time service to the common good!
You are dreaming of a world of beauty and harmony, where people get along well with each other and settle their disagreements by a loving dialogue rather than by strife or violence?
Then create such a better world in your surroundings!
Make every room you enter such a higher place! Draw people under the spell of your Inner Temple!
They visit your place of residence or work and thereby enter your Holy World! Or you bring your Heaven, your portable paradise with you to them. Thereby you also transform the material level.
"This is very general, though. Can you give an example?
In 1453 the Turks had conquered Constantinople and continued to advance westward. The rulers of Europe were unable to organize resistance. In this situation, 70-year-old Saint John of Capistrano alone collected an army of crusaders from ordinary people and decisively repelled the Turks in 1456 off Belgrade. He went down in history as the “Saviour of the West” and his deed as the “Miracle of Belgrade”.
His military camp is described as a monastery. Mass was read, it was preached, confessed and the sacraments administered daily. There was strict discipline. The spirit of the saint completely controlled the masses. They obeyed him like novices. The usual excesses of soldier's life did not come up at all. The rough fellows said: "We are serving under a holy captain, hence we must behave properly." (Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant "The Conquest of Constantinople"; Bartolomeo Vivarini "St. John of Capistrano"; Statue Stephansdom, Vienna)
If St. John of Capistrano was able to turn an entire military camp into a monastery, you too can set about making of every room you enter a temple.
In the Broadcastings on the establishment of the New World we shall discuss in more detail: Our task is to adapt the conditions on earth to those in Heaven. The goal is:
The whole earth is to become a sanctuary.
A planet on which everywhere, in any place the Will of God – or scientifically speaking: the Will of the Hierarchy, the Cosmic Order – prevails; on which the principles of the Higher World such as truth, justice, beauty and love are actually enforced.
"How can we make this high ideal a reality?"
The world of the future must first be created in the consciousness, in the hearts of the people, which means in scientific language: in Heaven, in thought, on the subtle level!
The old world and the New World are distinguished through consciousness, not by outer evidence. Age and circumstance bear no importance. The New World is born everywhere, but beyond boundaries and conditions. (Agni Yoga 55)
The establishment of the Temple Within is the first step to create the New World.
The New City must be built first in the hearts of mankind before it can be objectified on the physical plane. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. III, Lesson “Harmony and Responsibility”)
You must make paradise a reality at least within yourself before you can think of building it in the outside world. How do you want to clear the earth of garbage when your own Inner Room is still full of dirt?
One has to provide the world with evidence, and isn’t the temple of the Spirit such evidence? (Heart 215)
If the whole earth is to become a sanctuary, we have to transform every single location on this planet into a temple. The more people establish an Interior Temple there where they are dwelling, the more the New World will emerge over time by itself.
6. Heaven: A Community of Soulmates
Nicholas Roerich “Zvenigorod”
You remember (Broadcasting "The Supermundane World"): Heaven is less a place than a community of soulmates. A paradise is a paradise because you are living among your own kind. Lower beings have no access here and cannot bother you.
A Heaven is created by spiritually related beings living together according to common customs, traditions, rules and laws.
High-minded souls are gathering together in the Hereafter to build holy places: Cathedrals, ashrams, monasteries and temples. If your Eternal Individuality belongs to such a sanctuary in the Subtle World, that means: You – your true self – are a member of such a supratemporal community.
Let us imagine a community of pure and holy spirits in white robes. Under the guidance of a wise master, they strengthen their soul with spiritual exercises and selflessly serve the common good with their daily work.
In order to become and to remain a member of this supermundane community, you must in all worlds, in Heaven as well as on earth:
Live according to the same customs, do the same exercises and serve the same goals.
Then living together physically is not important. That is why the concept of the Interior Temple is sufficient to remain attached to your spiritual homeland.
Of course, you carry this true family within your heart, which you had to leave for a short time and to which you want to return to as soon as possible. Of course, you stay in touch with your eternal brothers and sisters when you are away from home.
We shall discuss more details in the Broadcasting “Living in the Ashram of the Teacher”.
Now, after so many words on my part, it is your turn: Set up your paradise and enjoy the happiness of living therein!
And pass on the experiences you are making to other people, so that they too can beautify their life.
May everyone perceive:
Here is the New Man!
Here is the New World!
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