What does AgniYoga teach? (Summary)
The main topics of the Teaching of Agni Yoga (Living Ethics) are:
The goal of Living Ethics is a higher stage of human development: The New Man, who creates a New World. Agni Yoga provides the necessary informations and recommendations. In order to achieve this goal, Agni Yoga - as e.g. Zen - and the Mahatmas' directives are to be practiced and implemented in everyday life.
The foundation of our existence is the law of evolution, the plan of God with humanity. It has developed plants from stones, animals from plants and human beings from animals. This Development is not completed with man. More, even higher steps are in front of us. The higher potential of human beings is by no means exhausted.
The saints, prophets and founders of religions, the higher skills reported from their lives, indicate the direction: The next higher step, which will differ from man as much as man differs from the monkeys, will be a creature with higher spiritual powers.
Evolution takes place throughout the universe. The assumption that man is the supreme being that exists in the infinite cosmos is completely unscientific, and demonstrates (as the medieval belief that the earth is the center of the world) childish self-centeredness. In reality, evolution has already produced far higher standing creatures and worlds elsewhere.
According to the principle that nature does not make leaps, the higher steps develop organically from the lower ones. There is no saint, no angel, not even a God, who has not been a man before. They all have risen to their position in the course of natural development.
From the law of evolution follows that there is a hierarchy of souls ranging from the blade of grass, via animals and men, through Christ, Buddha and others, to the rulers of planets, solar systems, and universes. Everyone must take his place on this ladder of Jacob. Everyone has a teacher or soul-leader above him, and disciples who follow him underneath him.
As on earth, everywhere different species live side by side. Just as the animals can find their master, man, so man, too, can get in contact with the beings of the next higher level, the saints and "Sons of God", and be guided by them. The actual existence of creatures of a higher evolutionary order, and the actual communion of at least some more sensitive people with them is the scientific basis of every religion.
The summit of this hierarchy, towards which everything strives, where all lines converge, and which unites all opposites, is God. The Living Ethics present a scientific concept of God. God ceases to be something unreasonably abstract, and becomes a normal part of natural development. Nothing can exist outside nature.
The meaning of life is to strive, like all other nature, to the light, to the heights, to God; to develop the divine potential within one's own inner being; to reach the next higher stage of evolution; to acquire more and more of the qualities of a God through natural effort; according to the word of Jesus, that we should become perfect like the Father in heaven. This goal cannot be reached in a single earthly life. Our existence becomes meaningful only when we regard ourselves as immortal beings who live eternally.
The true essence of man is his soul, which is eternal, not his body, which is perishable. The next step of evolution requires that man acquires the consciousness of his immortality and learns how to act like an imperishable spiritual being on the material plane.
The true home land of the soul is the world beyond. We visit the material level only temporarily. The writings of Living Ethics contain a detailed description of the circumstances in the supermundane spheres. They are a normal part of reality with other, more spiritual conditions. He who wants to reach immortality and to transform into a soul must learn to find his way and to act meaningfully above there as well.
The cognition of the higher reality (existence of the soul, conditions in the higher world, influence of the spiritual spheres on material life, etc.) is wholly scientific: It is based on observation and experience. Living Ethics demand to approach the higher, non-material levels scientifically. For this, however, we need an enlarged science which includes the possibilities of cognition of our higher senses, especially the heart. It is rightly said that one sees correctly only with the heart , as the essentials are invisible to the eyes (Saint-Exupéry).
Agni Yoga teaches the synthesis of science and religion: the intellect grasps the material aspect, spirituality the spiritual side of the one reality which consists of matter and spirit alike. Spiritual knowledge offers higher insight, but it must not contradict reason.
The soul visits on its infinite path a multitude of planets, worlds, times, cultures and levels of existence. The most natural idea is that it will return to the earth as long as it can still perfect itself here. Living Ethics teach the law of rebirth.
Living Ethics teach the law of cause, effect and responsibility (Karma). The free will necessarily entails responsibility. Freedom without responsibility would be a cosmic monstrosity. By doing good, man improves his future destiny. He has to make good all the injustice which he has done. The doctrine that Christ took our sins upon him is, in the spiritual sense, a crime, because it conceals the fact that only we ourselves can purify, elevate, and free ourselves from the filth which was created by no one else but man.
Suffering comes when we violate the cosmic laws. Like pain to the body, suffering shows to the soul when it behaves wrongly. One must be grateful for such indications, without which one cannot further develop, cannot heal the spot, where one is still vulnerable. A beautiful, great and strong soul does not suffer, just as a healthy body does not hurt. The spirit emerges strengthened from all the adversities that it has overcome. It recognizes in them opportunities, steps of the ladder to further progress.
Agni Yoga teaches the supreme importance of consciousness: Man is what he thinks. He creates his Eternal Individuality himself through the spiritual attitude he takes towards the material world: He who is broken by the imperfection of the world is a slave who is driven back and forth like a leaf in the wind. He who stands above the circumstances and meets all attacks with the attitude of an immortal, of a king of the spirit, is an immortal and a king, whatever his temporary material existence may look like.
Man creates the world in which he lives himself: He who complains about the circumstances lives in darkness; he who has learned to smile about them already lives in a higher sphere; and he who rejoices at all adversities, because he can only grow through them, inhabits the highest possible world. "In the same environment everyone lives in his own world." (Schopenhauer)
Consciousness is the true reality. That what exists is a reality for man only to the extent that he is conscious of it. There exists much more (higher, spiritual worlds, higher beings with influence on the material plane) than the present human beings are conscious of. If we want to embellish our lives and create a better world, we must first expand our consciousness.