What does Agni Yoga teach?


The goal of Agni Yoga (in the West also called "Living Ethics") is a higher stage of human development:


The New Man who creates a New World.


To this end, the books of the Teaching give the necessary indications and advice. To achieve this goal, Agni Yoga - like Zen, for example - must be practised and the instructions of the Mahatmas implemented in the midst of normal everyday life.



Immortal Man


The true Self of man is his soul, which is immortal, not his body, which is perishable. Therefore, it is reasonable to identify with one's soul, not with one's body. Not: "I have a soul", but:


"I am a soul"!


The human being of the future has transformed from a material to a spiritual being which is not bound by the limitations of matter, time and space and is therefore immortal.


" Immortal man — is this idea not worthy of the future?" teaches Agni Yoga.


Being immortal, the spirit man of the next stage is imperishable, invulnerable and invincible, thus fearless and completely free – and therefore far superior to the old, mortal man.


The Eternal Individuality appears on the material plane, using the body as a tool and directing its thoughts, feelings, words and deeds.





The basis of our existence is the plan of God (the Cosmic Order) with humanity: the law of evolution. It has brought forth from plants stones, from these animals and again from these human beings. This development does not end with Homo sapiens. Further, higher evolutionary stages ("Overman", Homo immortalis) are ahead of us. Our potential is far from being exhausted.


The saints, prophets and founders of religions, the higher skills ("miracles") reported from their lives point the way: The next stage, which will be as different from man as man is from the ape, will be a creature with greater spiritual power.


Evolution takes place throughout the Universe. The assumption that man, of all beings, is the highest creature existing in the infinite cosmos is completely unscientific and testifies (like the medieval belief that the earth is the centre of the world) to childish self-centredness. In fact, evolution has elsewhere already produced far superior creatures and worlds.





From the law of evolution follows: There is a Hierarchy of souls, ranging from the blade of grass, animals and humans, to Christ, Buddha and others, to rulers of planets, solar systems, galaxies, cosmosses and universes. Each one must take his place on this Jacob's Ladder. Everyone has a Spiritual Father (Mother), teacher or soul guide above him and disciples who follow him below him.


As on Earth, elsewhere as well different species are living side by side. Just as animals can find their master, man, so man can contact and be guided by the beings of the next higher level, the saints and "Sons of God", the Mahatmas of Shambhala or their representatives.


The actual existence of creatures of higher levels of evolution and the real connection of at least sensitive human beings with them is the scientific basis of every religion.



Scientific Concept of God


The peak of the Hierarchy from which everything proceeds, towards which all evolution strives, in which all lines converge and which unites all opposites, can be called God.


Living Ethics establishes a scientific concept of God. God ceases to be an unreasonable abstractum and becomes a normal part of the natural evolution to ever higher levels. Nothing can exist outside of nature.


"There is no God who was not once man", teaches Agni Yoga.





On its eternal path, the immortal soul touches a multitude of cultures, times, planets, worlds and planes of existence. The most natural idea is that it also returns to Earth, because only here and nowhere else can it continue to perfect itself. Living Ethics teaches the law of reincarnation.



The Meaning of Life


Man, like all other nature, strives towards the light, towards the heights. Our immortal, spiritual being is already endowed with the immeasurable potential for an eternal development.


The meaning of life is to develop and utilise this potential within oneself without limits; to grow from a small soul to a Great Soul ("Mahatma"); to reach the next higher stage of evolution and then further and further steps (ruler of planets, galaxies, solar systems, cosmosses and universes); to acquire through natural effort more and more characteristics of a God – according to Jesus' word that we should become perfect like the Father in Heaven.


"Man is on the path to God", so teaches Agni Yoga.


This goal cannot be reached in one single earthly life. Our existence only becomes meaningful when we regard ourselves as immortal beings of spirit, walking an eternal path to ever greater heights.



Heart and Knowledge of Feeling


The brain can gather facts but cannot make assessments. What is good or bad, right or wrong, great or small, beautiful or ugly can only be decided by the knowledge of feeling of the heart. It takes the cognition of the intellect further into areas that are inaccessible to the latter.


"One sees clearly only with the heart; what is essential is invisible to the eye." (Saint-Exupéry).



Synthesis of Science and Religion


The cognition of the higher reality (existence of the soul, conditions in the Higher World, influence of the spiritual spheres and their inhabitants on the material, earthly life, etc.) is completely scientific: It is based on observation and experience. The Living Ethics demands that we approach the higher, non-material planes by scientific means.


For this, however, we need an expanded science that includes the cognitive possibilities of our higher senses, especially the heart.


Agni Yoga teaches the synthesis of science and religion: the mind grasps the material, spirituality the spiritual side of the one unitary reality, which consists of matter and spirit alike. Spiritual knowledge offers higher possibilities; however, it builds on reason and must not contradict it.



The Higher World ("Heaven" and "Hell")


Man's true home is the World Beyond. His soul comes from there to temporarily incarnate (form a physical body) on the material plane, and returns there after its death.


The books of Living Ethics contain a detailed description of the conditions in the Supermundane Spheres. They are a natural part of the one unitary reality which consists of material and spiritual planes.


The Higher World is a plane of higher justice. Whoever has lived purely and selflessly on earth will enter the Higher Spheres of the World Beyond ("Heaven") after his death. There he may enjoy the indescribable bliss of being close to great spirits such as Pythagoras, Plato, Francis of Assisi, Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena or Gandhi. Coarse consciousnesses who attended gladiator fights in ancient Rome and boxing matches today enter the lower strata of the Other World ("hell"), go on doing mischief there and even continue to wage wars against each other.


Heaven is a paradise because there (unlike on earth) high consciousnesses can no longer be harassed by lower ones. One can descend to help down below, but the inhabitants who live below have no access above.





Agni Yoga teaches the law of cause, effect and responsibility (Karma). Free will necessarily entails responsibility. Freedom without responsibility would be a cosmic monstrosity.


By doing good today, man creates a better destiny for himself in the future. He has to make amends for all the wrong he does. Karma is not punishment, but a natural law which ensures that violations of the Cosmic Order are healed.


The Church's teaching that Christ took our sins upon himself through his death is just as superstitious as the idea that one can wash oneself clean of responsibility for evil deeds by bathing in the Ganges.


In a spiritual sense, this doctrine is misleading because it hinders the realisation that only we ourselves can purify, elevate and free ourselves from the filth that was created by us.



The Meaning of Suffering


Suffering arises when we violate the Cosmic Laws. Like pain to the body, suffering indicates to the soul where it acts wrongly or still has weaknesses. One must be grateful for such indications, without which one cannot develop further and heal the spot where one is still vulnerable. Ends the weakness, ends the suffering, because it then no longer has a function.


A beautiful, great, strong soul does not suffer, just as a healthy body does not hurt.



Transforming Suffering into Joy


An Agni Yogi transforms suffering into joy by taking the standpoint of eternity and recognising the benefits of obstacles: The difficulty that is before him is an opportunity for further growth, namely the next step on the ladder of Hierarchy. If it did not exist, he could not ascend any further. An easy life offers no opportunities to grow greater.


" Have you finally learned to rejoice at obstacles? Joy is a special wisdom." So teaches Agni Yoga.



The Significance of Consciousness


Living Ethics teaches the paramount importance of consciousness:


Man is what he thinks.


He creates his Eternal Individuality himself through the mental attitude he adopts towards material conditions: He who is broken by the imperfection of the world is a slave who is driven to and fro like a leaf in the wind. He who stands above circumstances and meets all attacks with the attitude of an immortal, a king of the spirit, is an immortal and a king, whatever his temporary material existence may be.


Man himself creates the world in which he lives.


About the same circumstances, one man complains and lives in darkness; another smiles about them and thus already lives in a higher sphere; and a third one welcomes all adversities gratefully and joyfully, because he can only grow from them, and inhabits the highest possible world.


"In the same environment everyone lives in a different world." (Schopenhauer)


Consciousness is the actual reality. That what exists is real to man only in so far as he is conscious of it. There exists much more (higher, spiritual worlds, higher beings with influence on the material plane) than today's man is aware of. If we want to improve our lives and create a better world, we must first expand our consciousness.



The New World


From communities of New, immortal Men, a New World arises by itself, in which there is no need, no suffering, no greed, no violence, no poverty and no unemployment.


The basis of this promising development is the selflessness of the New Man. As a being of spirit, he needs no material things, no food, clothing or shelter – neither for his survival nor for his well-being.


The people of the future share fairly among themselves both the work necessary in the community and the revenues generated by it. In this way they overcome poverty and unemployment.


A soul grows greater when it gives, not when it takes!



Further Topics


The books of Agni Yoga contain an endless amount of practical instructions for the Spiritual Path, in particular on the following topics: Self-perfection, self-education and self-mastery in thoughts, feelings, words and deeds; building up and using the spiritual powers (psychic energy) of the Eternal Individuality; nutrition and healthcare; prayer and meditation; teacher, disciple and imitation; marriage, family and sexuality; rules for forming communities and living together; property and possessions; service to the common good; the role of women in the World of the Future; art and culture; state government and economics.



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