AGNI YOGA WEB TV
Education of the physical Body
Dear Agni Yogis,
education or self-improvement is one of the key topics of Agni Yoga. To grow, to become a Great Soul, is precisely the meaning of our life (see Broadcasting "The Meaning of Life"). The aim of Agni Yoga is to create the next stage of evolution, the New Man. Thus, we are embarking on a gigantic project:
We want to grow a new, superior race by spiritual means.
The disciple asks, "Are you a racist?"
No, of course not. A racist is someone who pretends to be superior to others just because he belongs to a certain people. In the sense in which it is used here, "race" is a theosophical technical term denoting the next higher step of evolution.
Its superiority is based on real, eternal, inner values that are independent of the colour of skin, hair or eyes. Nietzsche's Overman becomes a reality: On the ladder of evolution, he is just as much above today's human beings as we are above the monkeys.
You can acquire these higher qualities of the soul just as well as those of the body.
Unlike the animals, we humans must actively take part in the progress of our own evolution. The coming immortal man of spirit will not be born. He will not appear unless we ourselves create him.
Agni Yoga, and thus our school, offers an education plan, a complete programme for your development from a small to a Great Soul.
The Mahatmas of the Brotherhood of Shambhala have already climbed this step. We only have to follow them and walk the same path which they have gone ahead of us and which they paved for us.
We are talking about a scientific concept of education. Just like Helena Blavatsky and others in ashrams of the Brotherhood in Tibet, you too are being systematically trained for your mission on earth – although with us, of course, starting at a lower level.
The highest yogis were in contact with the Supermundane World and knew what scientific and spiritual perfection was possible. (Supermundane 903)
The Series "Education" is based on those three sets of exercises we have already discussed, and continues what has been achieved there:
First: Series "Experiment Immortality", with the exercises "Transformation into a spiritual Being", "Exercise Invulnerability", "Bring your Soul to Life" and "The Fiery State".
Second: Series "The 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga", which presents and rehearses a way of life appropriate to infinity.
Third: Series "The Path of the Disciple". Without a teacher there is no progress, a fact that many of you have not yet fully realised. There we are talking about your entry into the Spiritual School and the topics: Finding a teacher, becoming a disciple, living in the continuous presence of the teacher, the path of the Inner Temple and living in the ashram of the teacher.
If you practise these exercises regularly, you have already made good progress on the path of your education to a Great Soul.
We have already said (Broadcasting "Exercise The Fiery State"): Man, like a Centaur, is a hybrid, namely partly a material, partly a spiritual being. (Veronese “Centaur”)
He lives with his feet (the 4 perishable bodies) on earth and with his head (the Fiery Body, the Eternal Individuality) in Heaven, in the world of the soul.
The education of Agni Yoga deals with our whole being, with its physical as well as its non-material aspects. This leads us necessarily to the following education plan:
We have to train first our four perishable bodies (the physical body, the body of feelings, the body of instincts and the body of thoughts) and finally to educate our Eternal Individuality, the soul.
We will go through this programme step by step today and in the subsequent Broadcastings.
"What does education mean?"
Purification, mastery, strengthening, beautification and refinement.
"Going to school once more? Go through education again? That does not look particularly attractive to me."
Well, let us emphasise again: Deep within you is hidden an immeasurable potential. Your Eternal Individuality, your being of spirit is invested with gigantic, hardly imaginable abilities and powers, which at present still lie almost completely dormant. "Education" means nothing else than to unearth and use this treasure.
Is it not a wonderful project to unfold your being to its true greatness?
Nicholas Roerich "Glory of the Himalayas"
Let us first clarify three basic terms which we will encounter again and again in the further course of our Broadcastings: Spirit, Higher Self and lower self.
"The body is always contrasted with the spirit. This is not really clear to me. Which spirit is meant?"
Yes, the term “spirit” is ambiguous, and its various applications lead to much confusion:
Firstly, there is the threefold division of the human being into body, soul and spirit. We had already talked about this in the Broadcasting "The Law of Evolution".
In this context, "spirit" means the monad, the indestructible grain of spirit within us: The spirit fire, the part of the Divine in us that drives us to refine and spiritualise ourselves ever further. With it we are not concerned when we are speaking of "education".
Because the grain of spirit is immutable and therefore cannot be educated at all.
Secondly, we often speak of the spirit in contrast to the body. This refers to the six non-material, invisible aspects of the human being that exist in addition to the physical body, namely the perishable bodies of feelings, of instincts and of thoughts (also called the "Subtle Body") as well as Atma, Buddhi and Manas, the Eternal Individuality, the soul (also called the "Fiery Body"). If you forgot about the details, watch again the Broadcasting "The subtle Constitution of Man".
Thirdly, the term "spirit" is also used as a synonym for the soul, the Eternal Individuality.
We must clearly distinguish between these three completely different meanings and express ourselves so unambiguously that there can be no doubt as to which of them we are referring to.
In the language of Agni Yoga, "lower self" is a term for the four mortal bodies or the transient personality: physical body, body of feelings, body of instincts and body of thoughts.
"Is the lower self now bad or not?"
Neither; it only belongs to an earlier stage of evolution: On the descending arc of involution the grain of spirit first appeared in an ethereal garb, and in the further course of development formed an ever denser physical body, see the Broadcasting "The Law of Evolution".
To this body belongs an animal consciousness, such as also the animals have.
It is connected to the physical plane alone and separates itself from other beings. The thoughts, feelings, words and deeds that arise from the animal consciousness are egotistic and directed towards survival, reproduction, comfort, pleasure and power over others.
These feelings and needs are a natural part of our being that we brought with us from earlier times of evolution.
They are not bad, but a legitimate expression of the Divine spirit.
They were necessary and even progressive at that time in order to overcome even lower levels, in order to take the step from the plant to the animal kingdom: An animal, in contrast to a plant, can move freely and enters the new world of eating and being eaten; it will hardly be able to survive there without a pronounced instinct for self-preservation.
The soul in itself, when it appeared on the material plane billions of years ago in the first race of the first round of the first cycle, was originally ethereal, non-material and perfectly pure. Through many later incarnations in animal and human bodies, however, it also acquired animal qualities that are in actual fact alien to its true, spiritual nature.
When your soul was incarnated in a lion or a tiger, you had to hunt other animals such as antelopes or buffaloes every few days, defeat them in a wild and dangerous struggle, kill and eat them in order to ensure your own survival and that of your brood.
Of course, something of that still sticks to your bones, and you now have got to get rid of it again.
Humanity is saturated with cravings. When the spirit yields to the manifested cravings, the step into evolution is limited by the visible. The opposite striving of the spirit establishes the step of affirmed evolution. (Infinity II, 540 )
For millennia, in all cultures, the churches have put people under pressure and made them feel guilty about their so-called "base desires", without us really knowing why.
Religions began to prohibit something without knowing exactly why. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 329 )
Today we say better: We must gradually overcome the animal qualities retained within us if we want to reach the next, the superhuman level. They are outdated, they no longer correspond to the latest state of evolution.
Urusvati overcomes her inherited atavism. Every Yogi understands that he will succeed in throwing off the burden of atavism only by elevating his yogic nature. (Supermundane 929)
It is said that the monkey is easily offended. What is that to us? The panther can be very irritable. What is that to us? It is said that the hen clucks without reason. It is said that the vulture endlessly nurses his ire. What is that to us? A parrot repeats slander. What is that to us? It is said that a duck cannot control its nerves. What is that to us? Let us not emulate them. (Agni Yoga 367)
"Higher" and "lower" self denotes a relative evaluation.
What used to be a considerable achievement yesterday will have to be replaced in the course of the further progress of evolution by a still higher attribute tomorrow.
Each action which rends the spirit from earthly desires is a higher realization. (Fiery World III, 37)
Those were great and proud times when you were the king of the animals.
Nietzsche indulged in glorifying them still in our days with expressions like "blond beast" or "pack of blond predators". But these supposedly good old days are gone for ever. Let us not look back, but forward! The animal in man has no future, that belongs to the king, the priest, the sage, the Divine within us.
The caterpillar must pass away so that the butterfly can emerge, both cannot exist at the same time.
3. The Higher Self
In the language of Agni Yoga, "Higher Self" is a term for the three immortal aspects of the human being: Atma, Buddhi and Manas, the Eternal Individuality.
"The term "Higher Self" gives me trouble: It certainly means the soul, the spiritual, eternal part of our being. But we have learned (Broadcastings "The Supermundane World", "Preparation for Death in Dignity” and "Bring your Soul to Life"): Bad accumulations such as desires, addictions, irritability etc., which are attributed to the lower self, stick to the soul as well. It takes them all with it at death into the Higher World and brings them back to earth again at reincarnation. Thus, the Higher Self does not actually seem to be any higher than the lower one or the body. The same bad qualities adhere to both."
Yes, well observed and correctly remarked! There is really a great ambiguity of concepts and understanding here.
In fact, our souls are by no means already great, beautiful and pure. Many residues from animal times are still clinging to your Eternal Individuality and staining its gold like dross or ulcers.
The souls of criminals like Hitler or Stalin were certainly not purified by death. They remain depraved, enter the lower layers of the World Beyond (the "hell"), continue to cause mischief there and will one day return to earth with all their terrible accumulations.
The so-called "Higher Self" is "higher" only insofar as it is not material.
It is not automatically spiritually or morally above the transitory aspect of our being.
4. The Fiery Body
Agni Yoga therefore introduces the new concept of the Fiery Body. It is, as we had already discussed (Broadcasting "Exercise Fiery State"), a being of the highest vibration and thus necessarily completely pure.
A Fiery Body polluted with physical desires or irritation is inconceivable. The high vibration burns away all animal residues.
Hence comes your certainty that you are originally, "actually" pure like a child or an angel. Hence comes your shame about behaviour that is unworthy of your true self. Hence come the warnings of your heart, the most important organ of the Fiery Body.
The Fiery Body is able to live in the Highest World, in Heaven. There, of course, only beings of the utmost purity have access. What may happen is that your vibration decreases, which would cause your Fiery Body to dissolve again and make you leave Heaven.
Your Fiery Body exists, but it is for the time being still small, weak and hidden deep within you (see the Broadcasting "Bring your Soul to Life"). In the course of further evolution you are to develop it more and more, to make it greater and stronger.
Therefore, when we are talking of "Higher Self" or "Rule of the Spirit" according to the established way of speaking, we have to bear in mind that we mean the slowly unfolding Fiery Body.
In this Broadcasting we will first speak in general terms about the mastery of the four mortal bodies and then specifically about the formation of the physical body. In later Broadcastings, we shall talk about controlling feelings, instincts and thoughts, and finally, as culmination, about the education of the soul, the Eternal Individuality, the Fiery Body.
Section II: Struggle between Higher and Lower Self
Our twofold nature is known since ancient times. Plato compares man to a chariot drawn by two horses of different kinds, which the driver (the spirit) tries to bring in accordance with one another.
Let the immortal soul be compared to a pair of winged horses and a charioteer. Now the winged horses and the charioteers of the gods are all of them noble and of noble descent, but those of other races are mixed; the human charioteer drives his in a pair; and one of them is noble and of noble breed, and the other is ignoble and of ignoble breed; and the driving of them of necessity gives a great deal of trouble to him.
The chariots of the gods in even poise, obeying the rein, glide rapidly; but the others labour, for the vicious steed goes heavily, weighing down the charioteer to the earth when his steed has not been thoroughly trained; and this is the hour of agony and extremest conflict for the soul.
(Plato, Phaidros, 25, 26 [245, 246])
Goethe speaks of two souls in our breast:
Zwei Seelen wohnen, ach! in meiner Brust,
die eine will sich von der andern trennen;
die eine hält, in derber Liebeslust,
sich an die Welt mit klammernden Organen;
die andere hebt gewaltsam sich vom Dust
zu den Gefilden hoher Ahnen.
Two souls, alas! Are dwelling in my breast,
one wants to separate from the other;
the one holds on, in the lust of love,
to the world with clinging organs;
the other lifts itself forcibly from the haze
to the realms of high ancestors. (Goethe, Faust, Part 1, Before the Gate)
The wisdom of the Sufis puts it this way:
You get the soul of an animal and the soul of an angel at the same time. Cast off the soul of the animal and surpass the soul of the angel. (Rumi)
This coexistence of animal and divine nature, of inherited ape-man and slowly forming God-man, is our fate and mission. It explains why, in world history, one and the same people (for example, we Germans) have repeatedly produced cultural excellence in some times as well as terrible downfalls in others.
The Thinker [Plato] sometimes confided to His disciples that He felt two lives within Himself, one of light and the other of darkness, but that the one of light was the guide to the higher worlds. He said, “The life of light is always vigilant—call it, and it will answer.” (Supermundane 433)
Today we say in modern language: Man consists of a transient personality and an Eternal Individuality.
Both are striving for completely different things and in completely opposite directions: The soul sacrifices itself for truth, justice, beauty and love. The body is selfishly concerned only with its defence, wellbeing and reproduction and opposes to all higher aspirations a natural sluggishness and resistance.
One should not be distressed if the two natures, the earthly and the subtle, do not easily manifest themselves as one. (Brotherhood 416)
For each individual human being as well as for humanity as a whole, at every moment the question arises anew: which aspect prevails, the earthly or the heavenly?
The animal and the divine nature of man are waging a relentless war for supremacy.
It is precisely in man himself that is revealed
the eternal competition of the higher and the lower spheres. (Agni Yoga 531)
"Is not struggle far too coarse and brutal a term for a spiritual person?"
No, you should not indulge in illusions, you must face reality:
Life on the material plane is a constant battle!
Between new and old, good and bad, great and small. At every moment it hangs in the balance which of the two will gain the upper hand. Nothing is granted as a gift to us. We have to fight hard for every progress.
Many battles are past, still more are ahead. Every atom of the Cosmos is battling. (Community 39)
Many a pseudo-esoteric rejects the term "struggle" because he looks at the world through rose-coloured glasses and does not wish to perceive it as it is. His fate will be to succumb without fight.
The goal of all education is summed up by the mantram:
I reveal the Divine only!
I believe in the Unutterable Divine Principle, which abides in each human being, and I believe in the birth of Christ in the human soul on its path to perfection. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. II, letter of 22.07.1935)
The Christ on the cross, which is present in every human being, must descend into Hell at some point of its evolution, in order to drag out from there and elevate again to its higher, normal condition the soul that has been plunged therein as an effect of the illegal deeds of its lower self. In other words, the Divine Love must reach down into the heart of man and conquer and regenerate him. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 161 “Atonement” = Helena Roerich Letters Vol II, letter of 22.07.1935 and of 08.06.1936)
Wird Christus tausendmal in Bethlehem geboren
und nicht in dir, du bleibst doch ewiglich verloren.
If Christ were born a thousand times in Bethlehem
but not with in you, you will nevertheless remain lost eternally. (Angelus Silesius)
1. Conquering oneself
The price for the revelation of the Divine within us is overcoming the lower self, the inner swine, as it is properly called by folk wisdom.
If you want to grow greater, you must give up that within you what is still small.
Man must lose his lower life to find his Luminous Higher Self. (From the Mountain Top Vol. II, Lesson “The Palm strewn Path”)
This alone sets man above the beast of the field: his power to know God; his power to sacrifice self to Self that the True Self may live and reign in eternity. (From the Mountain Top Vol. II, Lesson “It is to Thee”)
You have to choose between great and small, spirit and matter, the God and the animal within you.
The choice is yours, O son of man, to reach the highest heights of life and win the crown of immortality and selfless love, or to sink into the depths of the underworld to mourn and lament during long ages. Again and again someone of good and someone of evil character comes to thee daily and says, "Choose between thy faithful service to the gods of life and the same service to thy lower self." (Teachings of the Temple, Temple Artisan No. 249)
Every moment you have to decide anew: What do you wish to reveal: Your higher or your lower nature?
No man can serve two masters, as the Bible so truly says. (Mt 6, 24).
Whatever strengthens the one weakens the other. Every victory of the spirit over the flesh increases, every yielding decreases the power of the Divine within yourself and in the world.
The self of spirit and the self of matter can never meet, one of the twain must disappear. The true and the false are diametrically opposed to each other, and all the energy of all the vast spaces of the universe cannot draw them together. Truth and falsehood cannot unite. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 105 “My Brother’s Keeper”)
"Ye cannot serve both God and Mammon." Applied alone to mediums of exchange, to gold and silver, flocks and herds, to lands and houses, Mammon stands for man's possessions only; yet He who gave it utterance meant a wider range of that which stands for wealth than man now gives to it. Mammon! Beast! In truth the words are all but interchangeable in this age, and if by beast the lower self of man is also meant it will fitly express that which the great Master meant by Mammon. Man cannot serve the beast within himself, and serve his Higher Self, his God, at the same time. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 185 “Whom will Ye serve?")
Mastering the lower self is a constant battle that breaks out anew every hour, never ends and inflicts deep wounds. To overcome oneself in this struggle: This is the great heroic deed that a warrior of light has to accomplish in our days.
Whom, then, should one treat especially austerely? Definitely oneself. (Community 130)
You must indeed conquer yourself – namely your lower self.
Mastery is confirmed by realization of victory over self. Conquering self, the victor will rise. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 372 )
Each victory over oneself will be a true success. Life provides many an opportunity for such victories. (Brotherhood 565)
"Would you please explain this more clearly?"
Well, you know yourself very well how things go in your daily life: You have resolved to curb your tendency to irritability, to drink no (or only a little) alcohol or to eat no (or only a few) sweets. Then you are offered a glass of wine or a piece of chocolate, or you see the bottle or the bar in the supermarket that you have reached for so often in the past.
Your body says, "I want it." Your soul says, "I don't want it."
Now it really comes to a fight between these two wills!
You vacillate back and forth between them. You first pass by and then return. Your intellect gives you plenty of good reasons for both options: Just once does not count, it is as good as never; sometimes you have got to spoil yourself; this will really be the last time, after this I'll stop, and so on. This is how it goes for all of us several times a day in more or less the same way.
"And who will prevail in the end?"
The stronger will!
The noble brings the beast within us under the control of man, rather under the control of the Divine within us; the mean makes the noblest within himself the slave of the lowliest, the noblest part of his soul is weak and cannot master the beasts. It is the advantage of every man to be under the rule of something Divine and rational, preferably under the rule of that which he has within himself. (Plato, The State, Book 9, XII, XIII)
These were just a few examples. In fact, there are a myriad of animal traits left that you have to fight and overcome: Desires, weakness, sluggishness, dejection, fear, rudeness, irritability, unkindness, laziness, and so on and so forth.
He must daily fight the powers of darkness, the fiends of fear and desperation, the demons of cowardice and hate. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “The Lie”)
Your true pride is the ascent, the gain in power and greatness that every victory over your lower nature gives you.
Overcome, and ascend! (Supermundane 799)
The throne of a king of the spirit is founded on the subjugated lower self.
It is the monsters that provide the legs for the throne. There is a good reason why sacred objects are depicted as mounted upon animal-like pedestals. (Heart 259)
If you take up this struggle, you may naturally expect help from Above.
You who are suffering with this demonical force, take one brave step toward staying its advance, toward routing its hold, and you will immediately feel the Lodge forces pouring in and through you to help you. It will at once be easier for you to take the next step, and so on to the finish. You have no idea how important a matter this is to you.
There is no strain, no burden too great for us to help you eliminate, if you will but work with us. But you must make the first effort, must indicate the initial desire. You are caught in the intrigues of the negative side of living, and must jerk yourselves up positively, if you would be free from its grip. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “If we knew”)
Tintoretto "The Battle of St. George with the Dragon"
It cannot be said clearly enough: You must actually kill the beast in man!
God is ever close at hand and ever waiting for the beast in man to die and the angel to be born. (From the Mountain Top Vol. I, Lesson “The World Pain”)
When, as is said, the beast in man awakens, precisely then individualization, without any nourishment by the consciousness, turns into a cruel egoism. Then begins a campaign against enlightenment and cooperation. Such egoism does not become a noble realization of personality, but returns to the animal state. There will be found conquerors of the beast. Destroy the beast-man! Men with tails, and centaurs, do not enter into evolution. (Community 218)
"That sounds brutal though!?"
Yes, but that is how reality is.
You literally have to slay your inner swine. (Nicholas Roerich "Gorynych")
Each Neophyte to the great Mystery must experience the blind struggle with the Demons which bar his way; the annihilation of those piteous, pleading elemental selves which cry out from the depths of their torture, give! give! give! – these must not only be met and denied, but slain in cold passionless deliberation to make room for the higher, the unselfish-Self, for the Laws of Space are inexorable. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 16 “Unselfish Love”)
The whole great purpose of human life is the attainment of Mastery, and the first and last enemy to be slain by the accepted disciple of the White Lodge is the personal devil – the force which incites to treachery. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 205 “The Betrayer”)
The dragon within you is indeed the mortal enemy of your soul!
Elevate your self through the power of your Self , and not degrade your self, for the self can be the friend and also the enemy of the Self. For those who have conquered the self, it is their friend. For those who have failed to do so, the self works like an enemy. Those who have conquered the self rise above the dualities of cold and heat, joy and sorrow, honour and dishonour. They remain peaceful and steadfast. (Bhagavad Gita VI, 5-7)
If you do not kill this enemy, he will kill you – namely, your Higher Self!
The demon would slay the Higher Self had it the power. A liar, a deceiver, a murderer, a foul epitome of selfishness and lust, such is that lower self – a tempter of the pilgrim starting out to climb the Path of Power. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 185 “Whom will Ye serve?”)
It is the World Dweller, called by you the Disintegrator, a very demon, giving vent to itself in most cowardly manner in the endeavour to throw you from the Higher Throne of your spiritual acquisition obtained through sweat of blood, toil and labour in a long sequence of incarnations. No man, no power can loose its hold upon your Threshold but yourselves. It must be taken by the throat and throttled by power from within. Little by little, inch by inch, swoop by swoop will it take possession until your entire being come under its sway and you will no longer have power to throw it off. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “If we knew”)
This is a battle in which you cannot avoid inflicting pain on yourself.
Spirit is flesh that cuts into the flesh. (Nietzsche)
"How should I proceed practically?"
Nicholas Roerich "Brahmaputra"
If you feed your lower self, it develops at the expense of the higher. If, on the other hand, you feed your spiritual being, it grows and your animal nature shrinks.
The lower desire is like a poisonous snake within you: If you give it food, it grows bigger and bigger and will finally rule over you.
Let me tell you a nice little story:
If you keep the dragon within you in check and give it less and less of that what it so impetuously demands, you free yourself from it. It will gradually wither away and eventually stop bothering you altogether.
Man must be able not only to gaze into the Heights, but also to look into the depths of his own nature. The age-old serpent lies ready in the depths of the Chalice, and will awaken and stir with any misstep. He fills one with malice, he saps one’s strength, and obscures good intentions. Only with great striving can one rid oneself of this ancient companion. Yet a determined person can develop within himself one quality that can resist the stratagems of this monster.
With purity of heart one can sense the borderline that defines the influence of the creature and, sensing this boundary, correct an intended mistake. Later other danger signs will appear. The most important thing is to abstain from acts of questionable rightfulness. One should develop within oneself this sense of right action and thus not waken the monster. It is far better to discriminate in one’s actions than later regret the deeds. (Supermundane 478)
You can and must literally starve the dragon within you!
People do not want to admit that an evil monster has been born within themselves. It is not possible to remove all the heads of the hydra with one blow of the sword. It is said that each drop of its blood begets new offspring! Therefore, one must find the way to cause the monster to die of hunger. Remove the monster’s nourishment and it will disappear. (Supermundane 480)
Entirely ignore the lower self – which is the one thing it fears. By refusing to give it the substance it requires to live upon, that is, the substance of your own evil thoughts and words, it is rendered powerless, becomes more and more tenuous, and disintegrates quickly. Kill it out by overcoming it with good, thus changing its nature. Do not feed and nourish that lower self by yielding recognition of its power over you. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 114 “The lower Astral or "Ka”)
If you want to be a great and strong being of spirit, a cosmic giant reaching to Heaven, you must not make yourself an earth-bound worm by giving in to the poisonous snake within you.
Ernst Barlach gave expression to this struggle of man with himself, of the angel with the wolf within us, in his Kiel sculpture "The Warrior of Spirit" – the contemporary treatment of the age-old theme of Archangel Michael's fight with the dragon.
Nicholas Roerich "Lama“
Instead of "struggle" we may also speak of "transformation": If you want to overcome the old man, you must transform into a New Man, into Nietzsche's Overman.
Put off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4, 22-24)
In the entire Cosmos the guiding principle is transmutation. (Infinity I, 183)
The disciple chisels out at pains the higher image of himself from the material that previous evolution has made available to him.
"How does this transformation take place?"
You change your being by taking on the attributes of the Higher Self, the characteristics of the Divine, the seeds of which are already planted within you.
The crown of completion is within yourself. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 238 )
The lower self can have no appreciation of the Higher Self until it has attracted and assimilated the attributes of the Higher Self, and incorporated them into its own essence, thus changing the nature of the lower self. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 119 “The Law of Opposites”)
That means concretely: Transform suffering into joy, impurity into purity, weakness into strength, darkness into light, fear into courage, coarseness into subtlety, irritability into serenity, unkindness into love, laziness into activity, physical pleasures into spiritual ones, ignorance into knowledge and so on.
When the desire of the soul for obedience to the Divine Law has overcome the desire of the body to break that Law for the purposes of sense gratification, an entire change has taken place in the lower nature. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 161 “Atonement”)
Your mantram is:
May only my Higher Self think within me, speak through me and act with me.
O, Christ, Thou Son of God, my own Eternal Self; live Thou Thy Life in me; do Thou Thy Will in me; I will have no will but Thine; I will have no Self but Thee. (From the Mountain Top Vol. II, Lesson “Within your Presence”)
Section III: Self-Mastery
The magic word, the key to all progress is: self-mastery.
Without self-control nothing is possible. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 10.05.1933)
This is especially true of the relationship between the four bodies, the lower perishable personality, and the eternal spirit.
1. Establishing the Rule of the Spirit over oneself
The goal of evolution is: The Cosmic Order, the Divine Will is to apply everywhere, right into the last corner of the Universe. In other words:
We are to establish the rule of the Divine Spirit everywhere.
"Where shall I begin?"
Where else but with yourself? The first and indispensable step on the Spiritual Path is:
You must first establish the rule of the Spirit over yourself!
All Teachings repeat about the burden of the flesh in order to direct attention to the superiority of the spirit. (Heart 72)
If you wish to grow greater, you must submit your small, personal self, your lower nature, to the guidance of the Spirit.
Mastery is the absolute control of the lower self. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 173 “Sex”).
Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5, 16)
I stand on the Mount Supernal of my Spiritual Divine Self, my heart free from hatred and free from fear, my soul given in service, consecrated to God and mankind. Faith, Love, Compassion, Beauty, Wisdom, Truth, the Light of Life Eternal surround and pervade me. (From the Mountain Top Vol. II, Lesson “The Mount Supernal”)
How will you assert the rule of the Spirit in the world if you are not even able to establish it over yourself?
First rule yourself sovereignly, only then you may think of becoming a Spirit ruler, a Hierarch, and as a member of the Hierarchy leading and governing the world and other people.
How can we rule cities, nations, planets – rule with God – until we rule ourselves? (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “The Foundation Stones of the Spiritual Temple”)
A youth asked a Sage to teach him how to be the ruler of a nation. The Sage said, “Willingly, but first you must become ruler of your heart; when you have mastered that kingdom, come to me.” (Supermundane 658)
"What exactly does self-mastery mean?"
Your Self rules itself – namely, the higher rules the lower self.
I cannot say clearly enough: We are really speaking about power, about asserting interests, about domination!
Are you (your Eternal Self) a king who sits firmly on his throne and reigns, or a subject who is ruled by someone else?
The Eternal Individuality directs its four perishable tools, the physical body and the bodies of feelings, instincts and thoughts, so that it reaches its goal and not the horses determine the course.
When the horses get their way and bolt, when you are torn to and fro by the feelings and desires of your lower nature, the natural order is turned upside down. One of the horses is always about to break out. It takes a tremendous effort to force them all to follow together only one direction at any time, namely that which you give them. (Rubens "The Fall of Phaeton")
The hands of your spiritual self should be at the helm of your personal nature as surely and persistently as the hand of the captain is never withdrawn from the control of his boat lest unseen, unlooked for, and unexpected obstacles suddenly appear and his vessel be rammed, swept out of course by high seas, listed, and sunk. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “The Crossing of Swords”)
Self-control is the first characteristic of the man of the future, the firm basis of his superiority over the old man. (Nicholas Roerich "Lama")
The power of your spirit can only develop if you first assert it over the aspirations of your own transient personality!
He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city. (Proverbs 16, 32)
Only the highest self-mastery can prepare a person for the fiery spheres. (Heart 162)
Power in the world is based upon power over oneself.
As long as you are a slave to your lower desires, instincts and passions, there can be no question of mastery. Then the Divine remains buried within you and is unable to express itself.
The more he indulges his desires the more control they will have over him. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Sex and Self Responsibility”)
Ah, ye triflers on the Great Stream! Victims of feeling, slaves to emotion, pitifully weak, glorying in the strength you would make yourselves believe yours, while as yet you have only touched upon it as an ideal; grasping at the orb of universal power while you have not yet gained control over a single quality of human nature. (From the Mountain Top Vol. III, Lesson “Be no longer a Slave”)
You are a king of the spirit only if you have freed yourself from this bondage.
Freedom is the release of the soul from the ancient bondage of the lower self. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 244 “The Cause of Failure”)
A master controls all the movements of his body, feelings, instincts and thoughts.
Your dignity is based on your higher, divine nature. Your self-respect, your pride depend on your expressing it.
Each one respects his own dignity, and each one appraises the pearl of his consciousness. (Community 130)
It is unworthy of your eternal, spiritual being to subordinate itself to the animal within you.
Self-control alone produces self-respect!
Section IV: Means of Education
Let us now look at the means that help us to master our lower, animal nature.
1. Spiritual Discipline
All religions and teachings of wisdom emphasise the need for spiritual discipline.
Without discipline there is no progress on the Spiritual Path.
Discipline is the beginning of everything. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 250 )
Discipline is the bridge between your dreams and your goals.
Discipline is the price you have to pay for realising your ideal.
If this price is too high for you, you should not think of mastery.
Let us speak about Lord Buddha. People do not grasp the foundation of the Teaching of the Blessed One. The foundation is discipline. With spiritual and physical striving, the monastics of the Community endeavoured to stay on the path. In the first years a monastic underwent a rigorous regimen. He was forbidden to mortify himself with exaggerated ascetic practices; rather, he was ordered to do battle along the lines of the spirit alone.
Thus, the Buddha was strict in teaching His disciples. In fact, they only knew joy in spiritual battle, which is why the thorns on the path are spoken about. Only when the will of the spiritual warrior had grown strong as a lion’s, and the silver bridle of the spirit guiding the disciple’s senses had begun to sparkle—only then did the Lord lift the veil slightly and assign a task. Then gradually the disciple was initiated into the mysteries of knowledge. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 251 )
Basically, true freedom is to submit to the realities and laws of the Cosmic Order, for only in harmony with them does evolution progress.
You need to exercise discipline of the spirit, for without it you cannot become free. For the slave, discipline of the spirit will be a prison; for the free, it will be a wondrous healing garden. So long as discipline of the spirit seems like shackles, the door will stay shut, and one cannot go up the steps bound in chains. You can think of discipline of the spirit as wings. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, Preface)
No man is free who is a slave to the flesh. (Seneca)
"Does not discipline imply compulsion against oneself which the Teaching rejects?"
No! The term discipline has unjustly fallen into disrepute. Here, as everywhere, the Cosmic Principle of goal-fitness applies.
Discipline is nothing else than purposeful action to achieve a goal.
The Brotherhood points out the goal – the rule of the spirit – and clearly names what is harmful and what is necessary, useful and expedient on the way there.
Let us imagine that you see a man doing harm who yet has a spark of psychic energy. It would not be wise to tell him that he is acting wrongly, but it is possible to say that his action does not follow the trend of evolution. It is not a matter of bad or good, it is only that his conduct is not goalfitting, and therefore not practical. (Community 179)
If only you are truly determined, you will abandon outdated behaviour of your own accord, because you realise that it moves you away from your ideal.
Discipline is necessary because any yielding to the lower self weakens the spirit.
People want to preserve all their petty habits, forgetting that the habits of the spirit follow from the habits of the body. The spirit weakens and begins to fear courageous action. Thus, people become commonplace, with the same conventional joys and sorrows. (Agni Yoga 262)
Every deviation lengthens the path. (Supermundane 14)
On the other hand, every proving of yourself, every assertion against the resisting animal ego strengthens the power of your spirit.
Each discipline is only strengthening. Discipline of spirit fortifies the wise. (AUM 350; Fiery World II, 42)
Practical Tip: Transforming Pain of the Soul into Joy
In actual fact, we are talking about a very simple, natural and salutary concept: You feel painfully: Something lowers your vibration, brings you out of the Fiery State and makes you small and weak, whether it is gluttony, irritability or dejection.
Then, discipline only means: You learn from the mistake and refrain from repeating it in the future. Thereby you overcome the pain of your soul and transform it into joy:
In the end, it is the highest satisfaction to have remained true to yourself (to your Higher Self). After some practice, daily discipline carries you more than you have to endure it.
The discipline of Good is a self-generated joy. (Supermundane 559)
A wonderful joy at purity, fidelity and firmness takes the place of more primitive pleasures and affords a much deeper satisfaction than these.
"What exactly does discipline relate to?"
The life of an Agni Yogi is ruled by the 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga. They make up a large part of the education of the body.
"Aren't you exaggerating the importance of the 10 Pillars when you keep emphasising them over and over again? In the end, they are only a matter of outward appearances!"
I am sorry, but you have got it pretty wrong! In reality, the 10 Pillars are the indispensable basis for a new, more beautiful, more dignified, more spiritual and healthier life – both for the body and for the soul!
We in Tabenisi propose to heal the depressed, the sick, the addicted and even the criminal simply by letting them participate in our normal daily life with its spiritual discipline. A fixed daily routine of worship or meditation, work and education is the royal path and almost a panacea for anyone who wants to start a new life.
The 10 Pillars describe the habits and customs that reign the Higher Worlds, in the Abodes of the Brotherhood. According to the ancient principle "As in Heaven, so on earth" (Fiery World II, 16), we are called upon to apply them to our everyday life as well.
2. Strengthening the Will
We had said earlier: In the battle between body and spirit, the stronger will prevails. Thus, the second tool to master your lower nature is: You educate, exercise, preserve and strengthen your will.
"What actually is will?"
An important, interesting and difficult question. But we do not want to philosophise. First of all, "will" only means: You form a wish or an intention, make a decision or a choice: You want this and that and not something else.
You decide to raise your hand to greet someone. You resolve to put one foot in front of the other and start walking.
Forming a will is easy. The difficulty lies in enforcing what you have resolved to do in the face of adverse circumstances.
For example, if you want to finish a marathon run, you have to persevere with your intention for 42 long kilometres despite the body's resistance and pain.
This is a question of the strength of your will. In the terminology of Agni Yoga, we say:
Whether you are able to assert your will depends upon your mental strength, your psychic energy.
When we speak of a strong or weak will, we basically mean a strong or weak psychic energy.
For our topic this means: In order to keep your lower self in check, you have to strengthen the spiritual power of your Eternal Individuality, your psychic energy. We already talked about this task in the Broadcasting "Psychic Energy". Do you remember how that works?
Every applied thought will bring growth to the spirit. (Infinity II, 777 )
Just by making up your mind to do something and then starting to realize it (for example regarding bad qualities or habits of your body), you strengthen your psychic energy and thus your will. Here as well applies:
Practice makes perfect the master.
We have often said: Your Eternal Individuality, your Fiery Body is still small and weak and being led around by the nose by its vehicle, the brother donkey.
When you develop your soul, as we shall discuss in detail in one of the following Broadcastings on the "Education of the Eternal Individuality", it will grow ever greater. Then one day it will have such a spiritual power, such a strong will, that it will be able to assert itself against the body.
It is the will that makes a man great or small. (Friedrich Schiller)
"What shall my will be directed at?"
Basically, it is quite simple:
Hearken to your soul when it says to you, "I want one thing, but I do not want the other!"
If a desire is selfish, crude, or half-formed, speak to it with all the concentrated willpower at your command: "I do not desire this thing, though my mind or body may desire it. It is not in accord with universal law, therefore it is not my real desire." If you do this with sufficient intensity you will find that particular desire shriveling up, going out, and know yourself free from it with a higher desire in its place. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. III, Lesson “The Rationale of Self-Examination”)
A help in strengthening your will is the ancient wisdom that teaches:
If you want the goal, you must also want the means!
Therefore, set yourself a goal (for example, to free yourself from a habit that oppresses you), keep it constantly in mind and imagine again and again how wonderful it will be when you have reached it. Then you will also find the will to walk the path that leads to this goal.
Practical Tip: Self-command
You can actually command yourself to do or not to do certain things. Such a self-command is something like a self-fulfilling prophecy. It has a strong effect, creating a corresponding vibration and invoking the help of the Supermundane Powers.
People should understand that self-command toward good and the General Welfare will attract Supermundane Help. Victory will come when one commands oneself to achieve victory. Such a victory through self-command shortens the path. It also should be known that in a beneficent command vibrations are created that unite one with the Higher Forces. (Supermundane 867)
"I don't understand. Is that magic?"
No! A self-command works practically like this: You resolve very firmly, as firmly as you possibly can, "I will not drink a single glass of wine today." If not the slightest trace of doubt remains within you (because you have only resolved to do something that is realistic, that you can actually carry out), success must follow.
Habits are not only a burden on the Spiritual Path. We can even make use of them to uplift our lower nature:
We can accustom the body to a certain rhythm of the day (then it will of itself wake up and become tired earlier than before), or to a certain kind or quantity of food, then it will no longer demand anything else or more.
Let us consider an example from life:
My wife once had a cat, called fat Elli, who was fed for years with bought ready-made food. When one day this became too expensive, my wife offered the cat only a bowl of curd cheese diluted with water. The cat meowed miserably around the potty and refused the food. This went on for several days until Elli was finally so hungry that she had no choice but to accept the new meal. From then on there were no problems. She got some minced meat every few days and stayed healthy and grew very old.
This is the way to treat your transient personality: Like a stranger, like a pet.
The spirit allocates what and how much it sees fit, and the body must comply.
You can replace the relaxing red wine in the evening with tea or meditation, and chocolate with fruits or dried fruit. This is just a question of habit! I can assure you from my own experience: Once you get used to fruits, they will satisfy your craving for sweets just as well, and the excessive sweetness of chocolate will then even be repulsive to you.
Of course, your vehicles, the four horses, will rebel at first when they no longer get the treats they were used to. But as soon as they realise that this is over for good, they will soon comply.
Your body will get used to anything if it has to.
The example of fat Elli shows: By some kind of rehab not only alcoholics or smokers can get rid of their addiction. In the same way you can free yourself of all vices, even those of a mental nature, such as irritability or dejection.
"Is there really a treatment against the addiction to irritability?"
Yes, of course!
Pause a second! Get into the habit of not blurting out a thought right away.
Consult your heart first. Give your soul a moment to take over control and check your thoughts, feelings, words and actions – especially in case of negative ones.
This is also a matter of habit. In the beginning, it takes a heroic effort to master yourself. But the longer you hold on, the easier it becomes. In the end, the new, better practice naturally enters your being. It becomes a part of you, so that you follow it automatically and without thinking about it any longer.
Saint Bernhard of Clairvaux
Another tool to maintain unwavering spiritual discipline are vows. In order to finally get rid of a vice, for example alcohol, you vow never to drink again.
Vows of the most diverse nature have been sanctioned by various teachings. Each vow is very useful from the standpoint of discipline. It is difficult for people to believe how necessary for future achievements are such exercises of discipline. A vow cuts short many paths of dissoluteness. In the Subtle World it is difficult and painful to begin tardily ridding oneself of dissoluteness. It is better to test oneself here by various useful vows.
People often find themselves in ridiculous situations when they take vows zealously only in time of danger. The ancients showed a better understanding of this in their vows in the Name of the Most High, thus strengthening their exalted and solemn state of mind. This was not superstition or bargaining with the Higher Forces, but the transport of a spirit which had attained a new freedom. (Fiery World I, 421)
We are not talking about a great ceremony in the temple or a solemn oath as in the army. It is quite enough if you make a promise to yourself – to your Higher Self!
It is sometimes helpful to ask oneself how much of the Teaching has been so far applied in life. It is useful to suggest this thought to friends. Let them reflect and write down. Worn out thinking is cleansed by such writings, it is like taking an oath before oneself. (Fiery World III, 559)
"Can you give a practical example?"
Gandhi had taken it into his head to leave India for a few years to study law in London and become a lawyer. His family had the greatest reservations because they thought it would be impossible for him to practise his faith, Hinduism, in the materialistic and immoral environment there. Gandhi finally took a vow not to touch wine, women or meat. Thereupon they let him go.
Similarly, you, too, can make a firm commitment to yourself to renounce everything that makes it impossible for you to practise Agni Yoga.
"A permanent, perhaps even a lifelong vow? That is pretty far-reaching! If I can't keep it, I'll only make things worse by violating the sacred pledge."
Well, then begin more simply:
Make a promise in the morning for just one day.
This is easy to keep and effectively strengthens your resolve to resist temptation. You can repeat the vow every morning (or skip it at the weekend or on holidays) and, if successful, extend it step by step.
5. No Prohibitions
Many churches rule with prohibitions. As opposed to that, Agni Yoga teaches: Prohibitions are compulsion and thus not only useless but even harmful.
Remember, We have no prohibitions. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 318 )
What is required is insight.
Any prohibition is relative and unconvincing. It is necessary to make clear harm and benefit according to their essence. Prohibition must be refuted; this is the law of striving. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 328 , 329 )
Great and wise is the one who walks the right path not upon order but following his own discernment.
It was said long ago, “Triumph over your self.” But it is equally right to say, “Assure yourself.” (Supermundane 882)
Here is an amazing instruction from the Mahatmas:
Not even the harmful should be prohibited. (Community 102)
"Why not? Surely people must be protected!?"
No. At least with adults it is much more effective if they themselves feel that one can get burnt by fire. Then next time they will be careful as a result of their own experience. As the saying goes:
From harm comes wisdom.
This, however, also applies the other way round: Without the painful experience, guided only by prohibitions, we do not become wise, but remain stupid.
"How can we lead our fellow men to the right path if we abstain from interdictions?
We do not impose prohibitions, but point to something higher, greater and more beautiful!
We open up new possibilities for people to improve their lives and point out potential for growth and for increasing their abilities.
Forbiddances are to be replaced by possibilities. (Community 207)
The good education of a true teacher directs the attention of the disciples towards a glorious ideal and kindles their enthusiasm for this high goal.
People inflamed by the fire of enthusiasm will always find a way to make their dreams come true, even without commandments or prohibitions!
Prohibitions are not needed. It is better instead to turn the attention simply to the more useful and the more attractive. That tutorage will be best which can enhance the attractiveness of the good. (Community 102)
A teacher who sits under a tree pronouncing prohibitions does not meet the need of the new world. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 114)
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea. (Saint-Exupéry)
He who strives toward something beloved does not count the steps of the ladder. Thus, it is necessary to love in order to attain. The Brotherhood teaches this means of ascent. (Brotherhood 321)
Here is an example: Instead of prohibiting material pleasures, we recommend spiritual ones, which, as it soon turns out, are not followed by remorse and prove actually much higher and more satisfying.
It is easy to say that people should not drug themselves, but they should then be offered a higher alternative. (Supermundane 500)
A prohibition is always a limitation and thus exactly the opposite of the expansion of consciousness and possibilities that Agni Yoga aims for.
A thinking that imposes prohibitions is limited. (Brotherhood 11)
On the way to the heights of consciousness, neither boundaries, nor limitations, nor prohibitions exist for the one who has ignited the light of his consciousness. (Agni Yoga 626)
A prohibition does not even promote the ascent of the disciple: If he only slavishly performs what his teacher prescribes, the karmic merit accrues predominantly to the teacher and only to a small extent to the disciple.
Practical Tip: Think positive
The Master teaches:
Knowledge will always be positive and affirmative. There is no time to concern oneself with denials and forbiddances. (AUM 265)
So do not think negative: "I don't want to ..." or "I must not ...", that only reinforces the ne-gative. Better think positive: "I want to be a king of the spirit or a good disciple of the Brotherhood; therefore, I behave according to my ideal and the sublime example of my teacher."
It is not wise to proclaim, “Tear out thy corruption.” It is better to say, “Let benevolence fill thy being.” (Agni Yoga 482)
Our goal is to become a new being that has completely discarded the desires of the lower self; to transform in such a way that there is no need any longer for prohibitions, or even an effort of will:
An elephant does not eat meat. For that, it does not require any commandments or prohibitions. That is its very nature.
In the same way, the New Man will have changed so far that he has no desire any more for physical pleasures.
A great help in the education of the body is the realisation:
Man is every moment new.
Nothing ties you to the state you are currently in. Nothing can prevent you from developing further and rising higher and higher.
Man must always be on the threshold of the future. Man is new every moment. It is not easy to know constantly and courageously that each moment renovates the worlds, but out of this source is born inexhaustible vigour. (Fiery World II, 70)
One should take as a basis the call of innovation. Realization of the newness of each hour will provide the impulse. What happiness is it to be eternally new! (Community 118)
This gives you a wonderful certainty which is full of endless possibilities:
You can start your life anew every day!
A new life can begin from each instant. (Fiery World II, 433)
From any path of evil whatsoever one can turn to good. (Fiery World II, 200)
Do not look to the past, but always strive towards the future!
See to it that with every new morning a new development begins!
One person considers each hour as the last, but another is conscious of each hour as the first and a new one. Such attitude is a fiery one. (Fiery World II, 453)
Each new day offers new possibilities for approaching the limitless growth. (Infinity I, 113)
So do not waste the priceless coming day, but begin today, not tomorrow with your renewal.
It were better, without a crooked smile, to consider what one could improve as of today, and to examine the quality of each of one’s actions. (Community 213)
"What is so bad about waiting a little longer?"
Of course, you can also begin anew tomorrow. But if you put off realisation today and continue with the old sloppiness, you cannot start tomorrow from the same position which you occupy today. Then, tomorrow you must begin your ascent from a lower point, to which you have sunk even further in the course of today’s day.
Actually, each lingering in evil carries one away from good in rapid progression. Thus, where yesterday it was possible to jump off the chariot of evil, it is already impossible to return to the same place today. Everyone must be reminded of this who thinks that it is equally possible at any time to cast off the burden of evil. (Fiery World II, 200)
The longer you wait, the longer you refuse to practise spiritual discipline, the bigger and worse the evil ulcer will become.
Man forgets that the monster he created himself will continue to grow, and that sooner or later he will have to face it and destroy it. The Guides advise him to eliminate his own spawn as soon as possible. (Supermundane 223)
You get, as the saying goes, on a slippery slope. The longer you remain there, the faster it goes downhill and the harder it becomes for you to stop, turn around and work your way back up again.
I do not say you have an easy task before you when you commence to change or kill out such tendencies, but I do say it must be done; so why not begin to do it now, instead of daily adding to their power over you by indifference? (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 48 “The Path of Light”)
Make life easier for yourself! Do not wait any longer but start immediately to put your good intentions into practice. At some time or other you will have to make the effort anyway to rid yourself of the scourge that enslaves you – so why not set to work at once instead of dragging it along with you until tomorrow or even to the next plane of existence!
You from whom indolence, wealth or carelessness has stolen the spiritual brawn, bear well in mind, you cannot regain the treasures of bravery, confidence in yourselves and industry in a moment of time, but you can begin at once to plan and carry out each detail of that plan, as well and as rapidly as power shall develop to do so, and it will develop only by use. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 206 “The great Question”)
As popular wisdom so aptly says:
Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today!
One must not delay until tomorrow the planting of a new garden; only immediately and without delay can one strengthen the nursery of consciousness. (Agni Yoga 225)
7. Use every Day
"You usually teach: We have an eternity at our disposal. And now all of a sudden every day is supposed to count?
Yes! Every hour, even every moment!
Every single moment of this life on earth has been granted to you so that you use it to develop and to become greater!
If you waste it, you reject a unique, irretrievable opportunity!
Some people think that there is enough time in Infinity, and that while on Earth they can enjoy themselves freely! Alas, once beyond the earthly boundaries, they will appreciate everything they have missed. (Supermundane 362)
Life is so short! You will not get too many more opportunities!
Do you know how many days you have left? Your life might be over tomorrow! In the World Beyond, after death, you will deeply regret every opportunity for growth that you have missed.
Try to realize unity with God, the Omnific principle of Life and Love, NOW. No need to wait until this body is dust. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “The Goal of Light”)
Therefore, make the most of every moment!
One of the most beautiful passages of Agni Yoga is:
Having Infinity before one, yet not losing an hour and valuing the use of each minute —this is Yoga wisdom! (Hierarchy 187)
An opportunity lost will not come back.
Only children can think that if today has passed, tomorrow will be better. But a courageous mind understands that success that is missed will not be repeated. (Hierarchy 406)
By rejection or careless fulfillment we often deprive ourselves of irreplaceable possibilities. And later, when it is too late, we shall moan with acute distress, “Happiness was so near, so possible!” (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 17.08.1930)
Do you remember (Broadcasting "The Mission of Man"): Before your incarnation you took over a task which concerns your personal development.
If you wish to fulfil this mission and achieve what is destined for you in this life on earth, you have no time to lose!
You may lean back in old age, when you have reached your goal in life. But who can say that of himself?
Evolution progresses forever and ever faster. Those who do not keep pace with it, who do not develop further, inevitably fall behind.
Sometimes very little is needed in order to complete the filling of the Chalice, and this little could be completed in one self-denying life. But by carelessness people postpone the achievement, and by this they throw themselves back. There exist only two possibilities: either to strive ahead or to fall back. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 03.12.1930)
If you remain behind a little more every day, at some point you will lose touch completely and exclude yourself from further evolution.
It is difficult to make up for lost time and to find the lost rhythm, which moves up and does not wait for the delaying ones. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 15.01.1931)
What is easy today is inaccessible tomorrow. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 333 )
8. Living together with Teacher and Soulmates
Nicholas Roerich "Zwenigorod"
Finally, we come to the tool which, according to my personal experience over the years, is, next to discipline, the most important and most useful, indeed the panacea in the struggle against our animal nature:
Look at the whole picture, not just at material reality!
Imagine, make yourself constantly aware, never lose sight of the fact that your true, spiritual father (your teacher), your disciples and your soulmates are constantly present in the Subtle World around you. As so vividly portrayed in Sartre's play "The Chips are down", they are very close to you and steadily watching you.
When your consciousness has expanded, you perceive the whole, not only the physical, but also the subtle reality. You gain an insight of wonderful beauty that completely transfigures your normal earthly everyday life:
Your soul really lives together with your true, spiritual brothers and sisters! (Nicholas Roerich "Zwenigorod")
And that already now, during your incarnation on earth. If only, as we have discussed several times (Broadcastings "The Path of the Interior Temple", "Exercise The Fiery Condition", "Living in the continuous Presence of the Teacher" and "Living in the Ashram of the Teacher"), you remain connected to the Higher World and participate in life there.
Just realise: Your relatives in spirit watch everything you are doing. Then you will be ashamed to get weak.
You feel how your teacher, your friends and your (spiritual) children suffer if you disappoint them!
And of course you punish yourself: With behaviour that does not belong in Heaven, you banish yourself to lower, coarser, uglier spheres and move away from your Eternal Family.
"I am under constant observation? That's a bit creepy, isn't it, like Big Brother is watching you?"
No, you should not understand the observation as a threat! It is the natural consequence of your true existence in the midst of your soulmates.
Living together with your soulmates should be more than just an idea! It is a spiritual exercise that needs to be persistently practised!
For so long until your life in the circle of your true family becomes a spiritual reality that shapes also your material existence.
Then you cannot help but adhere to the rules and habits of this supratemporal community naturally and as a matter of course. As in the case when you are a guest of Helena Roerich in the Kulu Valley, you will not even think of desecrating the solemn, sacred atmosphere of your Eternal Home by giving in to the primitive desires of your body.
We shall deal more deeply with the practice of living together with your soulmates in the Broadcastings "Participating in the Life of the Higher World" and "Living in the Ashram of the Teacher".
What we have discussed so far concerned the education of the four lower, mortal vehicles as a whole. Now let us turn to the training specifically of the physical body.
The body is only one, namely the visible half of our being. Spirit without matter is nothing. The other half, the soul, can only appear and work on earth with the help of matter.
Therefore, if you wish to realise the mantram "I reveal the Divine only ", you have to start with your body and make sure that
The Divine within you is expressed through your body.
An Agni Yogi is not hostile to the body like the fanatics, but neither does he engage in body worshipping like the bodybuilders. He is only concerned about the preservation of the tool without which the Eternal Individuality cannot do on the material plane.
So Spirit and Matter meet and unite in man, both separate and distinct, yet one entity, thus giving the spirit the vehicle it requires for manifesting in matter and gaining all knowledge of its possibilities in form. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 56 “Creation in Unity and Trinity”)
The body is our "brother donkey", as the monks affectionately call him: A good comrade and co-worker who is to be fed, exercised, strengthened and kept healthy.
The fitter your body is for activity in the world, the more effectively your soul can act through it.
A weak, sick body hinders also the indwelling spirit.
Spiritual exercises such as prayer and meditation only succeed if the body does not disturb, that means, if it is healthy and disciplined.
The preceptors will find harmony between the preeminence of the spirit and the health of the body. (Brotherhood 601)
Giotto "Baptism of Christ”
First of all, you must make a serious effort to thoroughly cleanse your vehicle.
Austerely and pure in thought commence My Work. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 113 )
Each of us is a "Pharaoh", a "House of God". Your body is the earthly dwelling, the temple of your soul.
You must keep this sanctuary clean and remove everything from it that does not belong there.
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Corinthians 3,16, 17)
Hygiene of the spirit presupposes hygiene of the body. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 238 )
To purify the body means in practice: Put off evil habits and bad qualities. We had already spoken about this topic in the Broadcasting "Self-Perfection" (Series "The 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga").
Physical substance must be lifted into the light or substance of higher mentality, where renunciation of all attachment to the lower states of substance, the Passions, will make possible the manifestation of the refined – the perfected spiritual forms of life. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 86 “Law”)
The brothers of darkness are very numerous, and no wonder, for their path is the path of gratification of the base passions. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. II, letter of 16.07.1935)
"Why is it that you are speaking at such length about the education of the body? Do you not always teach that the education of the soul is much more important?"
For a very simple reason:
Mastering your body is actually the first step on your path to becoming a Great Soul!
When the soul becomes aware of itself and of its mission on earth, the first thing it discovers is: I have a body; I must take possession of it and make it serve my higher purposes.
The brother donkey must first be broken in like a wild horse before it can be of any real use to the soul.
Amidst the daily routines of life inner chaos can be overcome and the wild beast tamed. (Supermundane 551)
The spirit employs the body and must not allow itself to be utilised by the latter.
Entities who are still earth-bound have not gained sufficient power over their lower principles to use them instead of being used by them. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 42 “Chelaship versus Mediumship”)
It is a terrible degeneracy if the servant, the mount, bolts and imposes its will on the master.
Under no circumstances must the brother donkey take the lead – unless you wish to make yourself a donkey!
The body is a good servant but a bad master.
When even a mule can draw its cart, is it possible that the human spirit is unable to compel the body to rejoice in labour? (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 7)
The body is a semi-conscious living being of its own.
It pursues its desire for food, pleasure, sloth and security and has its own whims, habits and inclinations. You must bring this independent being step by step under the control of the Eternal Individuality.
The body obeys the spirit as the slave obeys his master. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 104 )
A Master is a Master first and foremost because he masters himself!
Such an alabaster body has certainly been formed by a healthy, strong spirit. (Michelangelo "David")
Whereas in this misshapen body there surely dwells a weak spirit.
The way to master the body is: You no longer identify with it. You transfer your consciousness into your real Self. You face your transient personality from this higher standpoint. When your consciousness rests in the body, animal desires, when it is in your soul, spiritual ones arise.
Your soul takes over command and rules the body so that it only does what the soul wants.
The Eternal Individuality alone decides how much and what kind of rest, food, clothing, pleasure or distraction it allows the body. Anything too much is a violation of the primacy of the spirit, of the higher laws.
[Giving in to the lower self] is from one standpoint like the inhaling of an anesthetic. For a brief moment you yield, then find relief, because the sensibilities are numbed and the hold is loosed from the higher, inner Self. The difference lies, however, in the fact that you must wake to responsibility and greater suffering than before because you have allowed the negative pole to indulge itself in temporary release from its higher pole and guide, to ease or gratify your selfish emotional nature and feeling. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “If we knew”)
Thus, then, the spirit provides for the senses with foresight, and these may attain the satisfaction of their desires only according to its judgement. Otherwise you will not reach the mountain of the Lord, for you have received your soul, that is, your reason, in vain, if you follow only the senses like an animal, while your reason is idle and offers resistance nowhere. (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Love of God, 20)
We can also express more kindly what is meant by discipline and mastery:
You listen to the voice of your soul and carry out against all odds what it advises you to do.
Your Eternal Individuality takes your perishable personality by the hand, so to speak, like a little sibling, talks to it with love and severity and leads it on the right path. Your "little" self should learn to listen to this voice as to that of a big brother. (Titian "Tobias and the Angel")
"How does the soul speak to me?"
In your heart! If you only listen attentively, you will hear: Your soul seeks not physical but spiritual pleasures.
The desire for self-indulgence changes to spiritual satisfaction. (From the Mountain Top Vol. I, 149)
Your true, Eternal Self, has no desire for all the material things for which your body begs like a dog.
Nothing earthly can satisfy the soul that is not of this earth.
Self-perfectment is Light. Self-indulgence is darkness. (Fiery World I, 308)
Listening to the voice of the heart means vice versa: Not listening to the voice of the lower self! Through a lot of practice you have to acquire a vital skill:
Every moment distinguish clearly which of your two natures, the Divine or the poisonous snake, is about to talk to you!
Fulfilment of the body's desire leaves the soul with remorse and a painful longing for something higher.
The satisfaction derived from the gratification of personal will and desire is infinitesimal by comparison with the remorse and sorrow which will follow when the soul memory has flashed a completed scene of the results of such selfish gratification. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 146 “Soul Memory”)
Schiller tells us with eternal words: We must choose between satisfying the body and pacifying the soul:
Zwischen Sinnenglück und Seelenfrieden
bleibt dem Menschen nur die bange Wahl;
auf der Stirn des hohen Uraniden
leuchtet ihr vermählter Strahl.
Between joy of the senses and peace of mind
man is left with an anxious choice;
On the brow of the high Uranid
shines their wedded ray.
(Friedrich Schiller "The Ideal and Life")
Mastery of the body can only be achieved if you are constantly on your guard and fight off relentlessly every temptation. The school of discipline teaches you to refrain from everything that harms the body, that impairs its suitability as a tool.
The easiest way is to make a firm decision to simply stop doing certain things automatically and without thinking about it.
For example, not to eat meat or sweets, not to drink wine or not to smoke any more.
As in Heaven, so on Earth. (Fiery World II, 16)
That what does not exist in your Paradise, in your teacher's Ashram, you must not enjoy on the material plane either, if you wish to establish and spread Heaven down there as well.
"Didn't we say that establishing the Fiery State is the panacea against desires of the body?"
Yes, certainly, in the Fiery State your body has no desire. But as long as this condition has not yet become flesh and blood and your Fiery Body is not permanently established, discipline is required in addition: Often your soul has already reached the point where it has discarded its desires and, for example, no longer has an appetite for alcohol or cigarettes, and it is only habit that makes you grab at them. Then discipline is the only thing that helps.
To renounce the satisfaction of the desires and instincts of the body is the first and least of the sacrifices needed for climbing the next stage of evolution. The higher pleasures of a spiritual being, such as meditation, require giving up lower, physical enjoyments. You yourself know quite well: If you have eaten too much or too heavy food, you will no longer be able to conduct a spiritual conversation with your soulmates in the World Beyond.
"Am I no longer allowed at all to enjoy my body and, for example, eating?"
I don't want to be understood that way. We are not fanatics. Man consists of spirit and matter, of soul and body. You may enjoy the delights of both aspects of your being. Your soul only tells you, "Don't eat just because you have an appetite!" But if you have to eat, do it with pleasure.
It is crucial that the physical pleasure should not be of such an extent that it harms the balance of the two parts of your being and the development of your soul. As always, here as well applies:
It is the dose that causes the damage.
A piece of chocolate, a glass of wine or a cigarette a week will do you almost no harm at all. Your body can easily cope with that. What is dangerous is first the excess and then, from its consolidation, the habit.
"How do I recognise the right measure?"
There is a very simple criterion for this:
If the evening meditation no longer succeeds, you have enjoyed too much of material pleasures.
You see again how vital it is to fix a daily rhythm and especially an unalterable meditation time for the evening as well: If you are looking forward to meeting your teacher soon, you will automatically refrain from everything which, as you know from your own painful experience, will render the connection impossible.
I would like to make another attempt to make spiritual discipline palatable to you and to let it appear in a different light:
A spiritual being looks forward with longing to the evening meditation!
It is the crowning conclusion of the day to step before the Teacher; to leave the low earthly emanations and to return to the high vibration of the sanctuary of your Eternal Home.
First learn and practise to actually experience this supreme 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)
Once you have really experienced this happiness, you will never ever again want to miss it! Then the rules about the rhythm of the day, nutrition and everything else will lose their scare, because you realise:
These laws are nothing but necessary conditions for the highest joy!
Then you will keep them, not because they are prescribed, but because they produce happiness.
Probably the most important aspect of controlling the body is proper nutrition. Here again, body and soul pursue directly opposing interests. This is a crucial battlefield. Here it first and foremost transpires how strong your spirit really is.
You may be assured: There, where food is eaten out of desire and not out of necessity, you are still among old men! (Roberto Bompiani: “Ein römisches Gelage”)
No more holy function exists than that of supplying nourishment to the body; no more degrading process can be conceived than that of gorging the stomach for mere appetite's sake. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 59 “Transmutation”)
We had already talked about this topic in the Broadcasting "Nourishment according to Spiritual Principles".
The education of the body also includes the mastery of the sexual instinct. The Broadcasting on "Sexuality" deals with this question. Here, too, is revealed how much power your spirit has already acquired.
However, no one can completely control his atavistic, animal nature as long as he is incarnated in a physical body.
So long as man is bound by the conditions of matter, so long he will remain to a greater or lesser degree the slave of those conditions. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 82 “The Measure of Truth”)
So long as the Ego retains a body, it cannot be perfect in the sense that the Absolute is perfect. The gulf between spirit and matter is impassable; matter must be reduced to pure energy before that gulf can be crossed. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 120 “The Source of Evil”)
It is of no use, or at any rate of little value, if you suppress the craving of your body outwardly by retiring to a monastery or undergoing a fasting cure, as long as inwardly you continue to be consumed with longing for material pleasures. Ultimately, therefore, we find:
The mastery of the physical body boils down to the mastery of your thoughts and feelings!
We shall talk about this matter in more detail in the following Broadcastings of the Series "Education".
Practical Tip: Let the ideal Person act
There is another quite simple but highly efficient exercise that helps you to rule your body:
You have chosen an ideal according to which you want to form your true self, your Eternal Individuality (Broadcasting "Bring your Soul to Life"). In the Higher World, in eternity you wish to be a disciple, a teacher, a saint, a spiritual warrior, a king of the spirit or a healer. Now let this idea become material reality:
You accompany all your words and deeds with the thought that it is not your body that speaks or acts, but your soul.
There appears on the stage of the material world the ideal person which you are or at least which want to become in the Subtle World. Or better still, the holder of an office – for disciple, teacher, saint, spiritual warrior, king or healer is an office!
"How does that work?"
While your body is acting on earth, your soul in Heaven thinks at the same time:
"The disciple (or the king of the spirit) eats (that is, he feeds and waters his donkey), observing, of course, the rules about nourishment according to spiritual principles, otherwise he would not be a disciple." "The disciple is on his way to work or shopping." "The disciple causes his vehicle to earn a living by earthly labour." "The disciple is indulging in a moment of rest and relaxation." "The disciple devotes himself to a visitor who asks for his help." "The disciple notices a dispute and attempts to settle it," and so on.
You always appear with your ideal, with your office. When you have got into the habit of this practice, it will of course be utterly inconceivable to think: "The disciple of the Brotherhood (or the king of the spirit, or even the teacher) scolds, curses, screams, complains or wails, yields to the begging of the body, eats meat or more than necessary, drinks alcohol, and so on."
You feel immediately: It is not the disciple, the ideal, who lets himself go like this, but it is your perishable personality that breaks through.
By maintaining the consciousness of your Higher Self at every moment through this exercise, you automatically avoid all expressions of your lower ego.
4. Strengthening the physical Body
To walk the Spiritual Path is not to neglect the body. You should not disdain or even weaken it through asceticism.
Why suffer mortification of the flesh? Why destroy what has been bestowed upon you by the Creator? Seek new paths! (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 276 )
The education of a spiritual warrior therefore includes physical exercises. He will devote certain times during the day to them, preferably outdoors or at an open window.
The most suitable exercises, applicable to everyone, are the asanas of Hatha Yoga. They allow you a smooth, slowly progressive improvement of the essential body functions without any aids. With them, anyone can practise overcoming himself. You do not measure your progress as compared to others, but as compared to you yourself: Namely by your own status the day before or the year before.
The book "The ABC of Yoga" by K. Zebroff contains a good programme of exercises.
Many sports such as self-defence, judo, karate, archery, swimming or rowing are also good. Football, rugby or even boxing, on the other hand, are obviously too coarse for a spiritual person.
5. Refinement of the physical Body
"After all, the body is perishable! Is not every improvement I get it used to, lost with death?"
No. If you master your body to a high degree today, you will learn the same more easily in a later incarnation. Just as the bodies of plants and animals have slowly adapted to circumstances in the course of evolution, so man too can create over generations a body better suited to a spiritual life. If we change the chemism of our organism today through exercise and proper nutrition, these achievements will in time be passed on to future generations.
We are talking constantly, because it is so important, about the development, the ascent and the utilisation of the potential of the Eternal Individuality. In doing so, we must not forget:
There is also an evolution of the body.
"I don't understand. What do you mean?"
A soul incarnated in a stone is still small and brings forth a comparatively primitive, materially very dense form. The bodies of plants, animals and human beings are already more elevated structures. This development continues, of course. Why should it stop?
We understand perfectionment as the improvement of a real apparatus. Improvement of the apparatus in all its entirety is worthy of humanity. Through understanding of the physical apparatus people must strive toward improved forms. (Community 231)
We had already said (Broadcasting "The Law of Evolution"): We have just passed the low point of the cycle. In the further course of evolution, on the again ascending arc of development, the physical bodies will become ever finer and more spiritual and approach the highest, the ethereal state again, with which they had begun the cycle millions of years ago with the descending arc.
When the World will come to realize the value of the life of the heart, then will the flesh be transformed and draw near to the laws of the Subtle World. (Fiery World III, 501)
A more refined being requires a more refined body.
In the coming Sixth Race the tissues of the physical body will become more refined and rarefied and will approach the essence of the densified astral body. It is interesting to note that this process of rarefaction, or dematerialization, of the physical body is also pointed out in the most ancient Chinese Medicine. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. II, letter of 02.04.1936)
Souls greater than the human souls of today’s time, the beings of spirit of the coming 6th race will grow a higher, that is, less material vehicle than we possess nowadays. It will be finer, more spiritual and thus more similar to the conditions in the World Beyond. We must actively promote this advancement of our bodies.
The energy will then be guided and controlled by the higher or Spiritual will of man, for the perfecting of a body as much superior to the bodies of the present races of mankind as the latter are superior to those of the animal creation. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 12 “The Phenomena of Sleep and Death”)
We are really speaking of the development of a higher type of humanity, also in physical terms.
Not only the fiery, but also the physical body of the New Man, of homo immortalis, is fundamentally different from that of the present homo sapiens – just as the body of man is more developed than that of the monkeys.
The world's greatest need is a higher type of humanity. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Unity–spiritual and material”)
The outer is the reflection of the inner. If you transform your inner being, your physical shell will also transform accordingly.
In one’s future striving, special attention will have to be paid to coordinating the development of the spirit with the constitution of the body. It is difficult for the body to keep up with the spirit. The development of the spirit is reflected in the body. (Agni Yoga 383)
As your Eternal Individuality grows, becomes greater and stronger, your body must keep pace with this development in order to be able to continue to serve as a tool for such a high spirit.
The physical body must be raised by the power of evolution to the rank of the spiritual entity which inhabits that body. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Fall of the Angels”)
"What does that mean concretely and practically?"
You have to transmute your physical apparatus more and more, so that from the old Adam will eventually emerge a more suitable vehicle, better meeting the requirements of your soul.
In spiritual striving, the greatest task is the creating of men. Man’s material form does not answer the whole plan of evolution. The creation of the human form is regarded as the highest cosmic task. The forging of the spirit is so powerful that even a coarse envelope may be transformed. (Infinity I, 387)
One should understand the transmutation of the physical body also as a form of heroism. People must become accustomed to the fact that the perfecting of conditions of existence must be accelerated. (Fiery World I, 47)
"What exactly does improvement of the organism mean?"
Two things: refinement and spiritualisation. This refers above all to nutrition and habits of life.
It is our duty to refine our organism in order that it be a worthy receptacle. (Fiery World I, 483)
As an instrument the body would acquire a fullness of capacity, a totality of fitness for all uses which the inhabitant would demand of it far beyond anything now possible. Even it could become a revealing vessel of a supreme beauty and bliss, — casting the beauty of the light of the spirit suffusing and radiating from it as a lamp reflects and diffuses the luminosity of its indwelling flame. This would be the total perfection of the spiritualised body. (Sri Aurobindo “The Supramental Manifestation upon Earth”)
You cannot imagine this concretely and materially enough:
We actually have to change the physical composition, the chemistry of our bodies!
Fine, light food like rice, fruits and vegetables as well as exquisite habits will also make your body finer. Coarse food such as meat or beer and brutish habits make it more material and dense.
There exist many different means for the rarefaction of the dense body. Rarefaction of the dense physical body must also be understood from the spiritual point of view, because, while dwelling in a dense body, it is still possible not to manifest coarseness. The Agni Yogi, who has passed through fiery baptism and fiery transmutation, no longer dwells in a dense body, because when the body admits the fiery currents, its whole substance is changed. This rarefaction is the basis of this experience of a fiery transmutation of the centres. (Fiery World III, 173)
Just as meditation fails if you eat too much or too heavy food, so the development and use of your spiritual powers and your spiritual senses is impossible with a coarse way of life.
Humanity must develop more suitable bodies also in order to finally enable Higher Spirits to incarnate on earth again.
There are so few Great Souls living on earth today because our present clumsy bodies, on which they depend for their incarnation, are in many respects simply unsuitable for advanced beings.
The body of man is moulded by the collective efforts of humanity, and since humanity has remained on a low level it is understandable that high spirits find it difficult to express themselves in the unsuitable bodies. Therefore, it is important to raise the general level of humanity in order to give a possibility to high spirits to express themselves in full measure. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 11.06.1935)
Your body is also your tool for Higher Communion. Only a purified, fine, high vibrating organism is capable and worthy of establishing contact with the Supermundane World and of receiving higher vibrations or energies from there, such as for example inspiration.
In the near future, through their consciousness, people will cultivate their bodies in the receptivity of higher energies. (Fiery World II, 312)
The coarseness of our present bodies actually hinders the perception of and the connection with the Higher World and its inhabitants.
Our gross body and the insufficient refinement of our senses are the only obstacles that prevent us from realizing the presence of the teacher. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 08.11.1931)
As it is now, your body would be reduced to ashes upon contact with higher energies or high vibrating beings. That is why Jesus when in the Subtle Body after his resurrection had to warn Mary Magdalene:
Noli me tangere – Touch me not! (Veronese "Noli me tangere")
If you raise your vibration and establish and permanently maintain the Fiery State (see the Broadcasting "Exercise The Fiery Condition"), in time your body as well will transform to such an extent that it can withstand and absorb higher energies.
The power of mastery presupposes the ability of the individual to stand these higher or finer vibrations and keep at the same time a physical body in manifestation. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 39 “The Power of Thought”)
We had already talked about the densification of the astral body (Broadcasting "Bring your Soul to Life"). The refinement of the physical body is the necessary counterpart to this project: You have to do both:
On the one hand, you work from above downwards (from Heaven to earth), namely on the materialisation of the thought-form, of the subtle structure of the astral body, whereby this becomes ever more material and dense, that is more earthly.
On the other hand, you work from bottom up (from earth towards Heaven), namely on the refinement, the sublimation of the physical form of your material body, whereby this becomes ever more subtle, thus more heavenly. At some point the results of these two efforts meet in the middle and you create a higher being.