Mastery of Thoughts



Dear Agni Yogis,


following the education of the physical body, we shall be talking today about the mastery of thoughts. The subsequent Broadcastings will then deal with the education of the bodies of feelings and of instincts, and finally with that of the Eternal Individuality.


If your physical body, the brother donkey, is allowed to treat its master, the soul, any way it likes, the latter can never develop, and its true concerns will always be suppressed. The same is true if the body of thoughts rules your Higher Self.



1. The Epoch of Thought


Every epoch has its defining characteristic. For the New Age it is thought, this mediator between the physical and the subtle realm.


Each era has its own call. The power of thought will be the evocative principle of the New World. (Agni Yoga 101)


The present century is the century of thought. (Supermundane 99) 


A new development, the progress of evolution is always based on new ideas and ideals, that is, on thoughts.


Thought is the mover of evolution. (Infinity II, 795 [395]) 


Whoever wishes to take part in the evolution of the world must understand the significance of thought. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 331 [335])


Without a new thinking, nothing will change!


If you think the way you always thought, you will act the way you always acted. If you act the way you always acted, you will get what you always got. (Albert Einstein)



2. School of Thought


The education for mastery is above all a school of thought.


In its essence the Brotherhood is a school of thinking. (Brotherhood 379)


The training of the faculty of thinking is at the foundation of Our Inner Life. (Supermundane 542) 


We can and must practise right thinking like any other skill.


It is not so easy to learn to think. (Agni Yoga 345)


We constantly perform exercises for clarity of thought, for thinking requires practice. Even the loftiest thinker will not deny that he too must exercise this capacity, just as a musician must practise constantly. (Supermundane 424)



3. Body of Thoughts


It is undeniable that our thoughts have a certain life of their own: They come and go as they please; they try to lead us here or there; they influence, they torment and they delight us.


It is therefore helpful to assume the existence of a separate body of thoughts, which acts in the sphere of thought, in the Subtle World, just as the physical body on the material plane.


The disciple asks, "How am I to understand this? Do thoughts form a body?"


No, but you can regard that what thinks within you as a living being in its own right. You must learn to master, purify and refine its stirrings in exactly the same way as those of the physical body.


The body of thoughts must become as willing and suitable a tool of the Higher Self as the physical body.


On the plane of thought, too, the spirit has to subdue the lower nature. Here is a crucial realisation:


It is not you – your true, Eternal Being – who thinks, but your Subtle Body.


Your Higher Self will place itself just as much above the intellect, with its many thoughts that never come to rest, as above the body.


Your soul must steer the body of thoughts as one of the four mortal bodies, just like the charioteer controls one of the four steeds of his quadriga.



Section I: Nature, Significance and Power of Thoughts


1. Thoughts as indestructible living Beings


We repeat (Broadcasting "The Supermundane World"): Thoughts are physical forms. They consist of particularly fine matter, comparable to gas or smoke. They are measurable, weighable and under certain circumstances even visible, photographable and audible.


One of the simplest experiments will be the weighing of an individual under the impact of his different thoughts. A sensitive scale and sharpness of thought will provide clear contrasts. (Agni Yoga 599). 


It is known that some people can hear thoughts. (Supermundane 204)


They leave behind physically perceptible traces. One day there will be devices that can capture and record thoughts.


Even the passing shadow of a person leaves behind an ineradicable trace. How, then, to describe the impact of thoughts and words! The light-mindedness of humanity is astonishing, for with its every step it leaves behind the most frightening deposits. (Heart 160) 


Thoughts are living beings of the spiritual plane. 


They do not pass away but continue to live indestructibly and eternally in space. Hence our great responsibility not to give birth to bad thoughts: They cannot be undone.


Thought is an independent creation, a newborn entity of the spiritual plane. It is a creature with all the signs of a self-sufficient existence. As a being of the spiritual plane, thought cannot be annihilated. (Hierarchy 211) 


Like all living beings, they grow. Thoughts are born, they develop, spread and fight each other. We nourish them, they nourish each other, and they nourish us.


Thoughts, as living matter, can nourish each other and grow. (Agni Yoga 80) 



2. The Power of Thoughts


People pay far too little attention to the power and effects of thoughts.


The significance of thought is most powerful! (Infinity II, 748 [348]).


"What does this power consist of?"


Thoughts, ideas, change, conquer and rule the world.


When it was declared [by Plato] that ideas rule the world, the power of thought was affirmed. (Supermundane 255) 


Rulership is not in crowns nor in crowds, but is in the cosmic expanse of ideas. (Community 84) 


Thought affects people and other living beings such as animals and flowers.


One should remember that no thought can remain without consequences. It may affect a person who is far away. (Hierarchy 215)


Thoughts form stratifications on objects and shape the aura or atmosphere of a place.


How often have I stated that the accumulations of thought are far more virulent than poisons! Just as fire deposits a patina upon a vessel, so is the fire of thought irremovable when it saturates the surface of an object. (Fiery World I, 367) 


Urusvati knows how firmly human thoughts are accumulated on objects. Verily, man himself creates good and bad things and places. Many leaders chose new locations so as to avoid the bad accumulations of previous dwellings. (Supermundane 294) 


The experiments of the Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto prove the impact of thoughts on water:


Positive thoughts create beautiful, harmonious, negative thoughts create ugly, inharmonious water crystals. 


The quality of the bread we bake or of an object we manufacture depends largely on the thoughts with which we are at work.


Not rare are objects made in an hour of hatred, fatigue, terror, or despair; they will carry these sendings with them into the world. (Fiery World I, 367)


In the Broadcasting "Communion with the Higher World (Meditation)", we had already spoken about the healing power of help through thoughts. It works on a worldwide scale!


A person, with each elevation of the spirit, is of substantial aid to others. But a person falling in spirit may thereby even kill someone. One can cite numerous examples, such as how one who became insane in Asia was the cause of the death of another in Europe, or how one who rose in spirit in America healed another in Egypt. (Agni Yoga 168)


There is, however, also mental murder! 


A great number of murders take place at long distances from thoughts. (AUM 141) 


One may be horrified by the countless mental crimes which have not been legislated against, and yet they are destroying the lives of people and the life of the whole planet. (Brotherhood 248) 


Let men ponder upon the poison of sendings! It is time to pay attention to the amount of sicknesses generated by thoughts. (Hier 132)


A thought works like a magnet, it attracts that what corresponds to its nature.


Thought attracts positive currents like a magnet and repels negative ones like a shield. (Fiery World I, 344) 


A pure thought purifies the aura and emanates a radiant light. Purity of thought is the best defence against the dark entities that cling to every dark thought. Every thought is in a way a magnet that attracts whatever is similar to it. Each good thought begets goodness, and each dark thought is a cradle of evil. (Supermundane 350)


It causes to flourish in our surroundings those forces which are present in ourselves:


In any object there are to be found side by side perfect parts and chaotic particles. It is possible to call to action either the perfect or the chaotic portions of each thing. When a man thinks about the inconvenience of an object it actually becomes inconvenient. When a man thinks about a beautiful object its perfect particles begin to act. The object is, as it were, animated through human thought. Man has but to realize this natural force to apply it beneficially in all circumstances of life. (Fiery World II, 147) 


The main thing, however, is: Thought creates the person you are and the world in which you live! We will now talk about these two points in more detail.



Section II: Thoughts create the Person you are


We had already said (Broadcastings "The Significance of Consciousness", "The Secret of Immortality"): The consciousness determines the identity of a human being:


Man is what he thinks. (Buddha)


He who thinks like a chicken, a king or an immortal, is a chicken, a king or an immortal.


In meditation in the morning, you actually are a New Man of the 6th race, a higher species, a high vibrating being. Whether you can maintain this elevated state during the day depends on the mastery of your thoughts. If you think right – if your soul thinks – your vibration remains high.


Whoever thinks beautifully will not suffer. (Brotherhood 160)


All your thoughts weave your true Eternal Self.


Our inner being is created by our thoughts. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. II, letter of 21.01.1936)


If you wish to become a Great Soul, be sure to express only uplifting, elevating thoughts – whatever the circumstances in which you find yourself.


Beware of negative thoughts. They will turn against you and will burden you like an abominable leprosy. But good thoughts rise upward and will lift you with them. (Supermundane 160) 


You shape your Fiery Body, your Body of Light, your radiations by uplifting your thoughts!  


What you think, you are. What you are, you radiate. What you radiate, you attract.


Precisely, thought and inner motives weave our aura, this magnetic field which either attracts or repels possibilities. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. II, letter of 24.09.1935)


If, whatever happens, you think in a positive, beautiful and great way, you are a beautiful, great creature in all circumstances. If, on the other hand, you think negative, ugly and small, your true, inner being is ugly and small as well, even if it dwells in a beautiful body and lives in a palace.


The happiness of your life depends on the nature of your thoughts. Our life is the product of our thoughts. (Marcus Aurelius)


Right thinking is the basis for your entire future development.


All the exercises that we have already discussed and will discuss in the future ultimately come down to the mastery of your thoughts: elevation, attaining immortality, transferring the consciousness into the Eternal Individuality, strengthening the soul, transformation into a being of spirit, attaining invulnerability, bringing the soul to life, creating the Fiery State, joy over obstacles, transforming suffering into joy, living in the continuous presence of the Teacher, the path of the Inner Temple, participation in the life of the Higher World, and many others.


The qualities that make the New Man, such as invulnerability, fearlessness, freedom, dignity, firmness, serenity, vitality and joy of being are all attained through the control of thought! Every single thought builds, enlarges and beautifies or destroys the artwork of your Eternal Individuality.


Each thought is either a stone in the construction or poison in the heart. (AUM 303)




You alone are responsible for the quality of your thoughts, no one and nothing else.


You must not excuse yourself by saying that it is adverse circumstances or the selfishness, malice or stupidity of your fellow men that trigger negative thoughts within you, for by harbouring them you only harm your own Higher Self!


Precisely in the earthly chaos, you have to assert the true being that you want to be, and appear everywhere, at all times and under all circumstances, as a disciple of the Brotherhood or a king of the spirit. For this you must above all think like such a person.




We are the masters and rulers of our Karma! Not because we can control circumstances, but because we can control our thoughts.


Individual karma is always the basic one. And firstly, it is formed by the inclinations, thoughts and motives of man—actions are secondary factors. The Buddhists say, “Karma is thought.” (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 05.05.1934)


"Are not words and deeds much more important?"


No, because their value depends entirely on your thoughts! A hypocritical good word or an outwardly good deed may have base motives, and these alone are relevant for Karma.


Everywhere it is said that thought and action are identical in terms of their significance. This is easy to establish. Compare how a thought about murder affects the spectrum of the aura, and how an actual murder does so—the results will be identical. It is difficult for people to grasp the fact that the thought has the same effect as the deed. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 331 [335])




The Mantram  


I reveal the Divine only!


you realise primarily through your Eternal Individuality’s determining your thoughts. You think what it wants you to think. It takes constant, prolonged training to reveal only those thoughts that express the Divine within you.



Section III: Thoughts create the World in which you live


The goal of Agni Yoga is a New Construction. Every single thought builds, enlarges and embellishes or destroys the artwork of the New World. This applies to both the inner and the outer world in which you live.



1. Thoughts form the inner World


Because these statements are of paramount importance, we quote again Schopenhauer and the Teaching:


In the same environment everyone lives in a different world.


Each spirit creates his own world, and the beauty or ugliness of the created world depends upon the quality of his consciousness. (Infinity II, 719 [319])


We had already said many times (Broadcastings "The Significance of Consciousness" and "The Path of the Inner Temple"): What is important is not the material but the spiritual world in which you live:


The subtle scenery behind the stage on which your material existence takes place; the Heaven to which you are attached while you are working on earth. 


That is where your true existence takes place!


This sphere – like the entire Subtle World! – is created by your own thoughts! If you think whatever happens in a positive, beautiful and great way, you live in a beautiful world in all circumstances. If, on the other hand, you think negative, ugly and small, your real existence is a hell – even if physically there is a paradise around you.


By a single word have evil empires been created. (Leaves of Morya's Garden I, 374 [439]) 



2. Human Thoughts create Sickness and Health of the Earth


Moreover, human thoughts are also responsible for the fate of the outer, material world. They are a spatial force and either purify or pollute our environment.


Like a grey swarm infecting the air, fragments of alien thoughts rush about and gradually encumber space. (Community 45) 


Man, remember that you have been designated a guardian of space. You can restore health to it or can defile it. With your every breath you send either restoration of health or destruction into space. (Supermundane 764)


With their thinking people poison their surroundings and transform them into chaos. (Fiery World II, 266) 


The aura of the Earth as a whole is created not only by the words and deeds, but above all by the thoughts of humanity. 


Under the law of correspondence, this aura, according to its nature, attracts either good or bad currents, beings and possibilities.


It is necessary to create a better atmosphere in our daily life by the purifying of thought. In such a way we shall attract better possibilities. Thought is a magnet, and each dark thought creates a stratum of heavy fluids which are attracted and gathered by similar consciousnesses. Will we not be foolish in breeding such dark thoughts? (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 17.08.1930) 


Unfortunately, humanity as a whole harbours predominantly negative, harmful thoughts instead of useful ones.


It is possible to verify the sum total of all the thoughts simultaneously flying through the world. It is instructive to learn what humanity is thinking of each minute. The result will be utterly unexpected. It is possible to divide thoughts into a few categories, and one will find that only a very small number is directed to the Common Good. Such calculations result in the most frightening conclusions. (AUM 549)


This creates a bad, downright polluted aura or atmosphere around the earth.


Therefore there is no way by which one can escape responsibility. Even the smallest thought enters into the megaphone of space and attracts to itself the same kind of locust, causing the smoky atmosphere of the planet. Thought can purify by destroying the microbes of disintegration, but it can likewise attract unbridled elements. (Hierarchy 173) 


The composition of the earthly atmosphere is saturated by all the emanations arising from all the actions, thoughts and vices of humanity. The atmosphere becomes a reflection of what is taking place on Earth. The equilibrium of the World can only then ensue when humanity shall manifest higher radiations, because all the spheres surrounding the planet are infected by the emanations from earthly actions. (Fiery World III, 343) 


Our thoughts are actually making the earth sick!


The consequences of this garbage of thought cause the illness of the planet. (Fiery World I, 428)


The condition of the planet is becoming worse because of the consciousness of humanity. (Fiery World III, 367) 


Malice and hatred are enveloping Earth with a ruinous shroud. Do not think that these reminders are simply abstract moral precepts. The planet is ill, and people add to its destruction. (Supermundane 845)


Because the aura of the earth is brown, no higher rays or energies can get through down to us.


The strata above the earth are so filled with the display of lustfulness that rays piercing these strata must be increased three-fold. (Fiery World III, 326)  


Spatial currents, beneficial in their essence, can become destructive when they contact the foul atmosphere of Earth. Often the most beneficial chemical compounds can be made into virulent poisons by the addition of a single ingredient. The same takes place when spatial currents are affected by the brown gases of Earth.

The planet itself is not to blame for these harmful fumes. It is the king of the planet, man, who produces the poisons. No emanations are as powerful as those of man, who is capable both of healing and poisoning everything around him. It is not so much the infectious sickness of people that poison the atmosphere, but their irritation, anger, and malice. (Supermundane 413)


This disturbs or even blocks the connection with higher, purer spheres.


The centre of all manifestations is mankind. Vibrations are so disharmonious that it is difficult to establish a connection with the Higher Worlds. Therefore the lower strata can admit the infiltration of low vibrations, while higher radiations do not reach the Earth. (Fiery World III, 331)


"Is not the destruction of the environment the main reason for the dire condition of the earth?"


No, in fact, mental pollution is far worse than any physical soiling!


For the sake of Cosmos, man must not think hideously. (AUM 439) 


A small thought—unrealized, erratic, and unstable—will not give a creative impulse, and can even inflict harm. Insignificant thoughts form, as it were, ugly conglomerates and pollute space. We call them spatial slime. Much energy is wasted in transmuting these stillborn monsters.

One can imagine how greatly spatial production could be increased were it not for these progenies of men. The average result of civilization is complete degeneration in quality of thought. Not rare are the instances of the harm of petty thoughts! (Fiery World I, 549) 


Precisely this thought pollution is responsible for epidemics, diseases, climate changes, deserts, droughts and even earthquakes!


Man has created and is creating his own environment in a much more specific way than is generally understood. He is responsible, for all the pestilence, famine and plague which devastate the earth. He has made his world what it is by the exercise of the all-powerful energies of Will, Desire and Mind, and he alone can change it. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 174 “Peace on Earth”) 


Certainly, much can be improved in the human consciousness if we know that even earthquakes are called forth by the spirit of humanity. (Hierarchy 165)


A strong spirit can save a whole area from earthquake. Thus, in the ancient days, the Great Teachers sent their advanced disciples to places threatened by earthquakes. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. II, letter of 16.07.1935)  


"I am sorry, but I can't believe that! This is superstition from the darkest Middle Ages! How can mere thoughts have such far-reaching material consequences?"


To understand this, you should regard the earth as a whole as a living organism.


The planet is a living organism. Everything related to the planet is coordinated as the organs of a single body, therefore it is impossible to regard each being as an isolated individual. All beings belong to one organization, and they must regard themselves as responsible members of a community. (AUM 163) 


True, a planet is a living organism, for in the Cosmos not a single atom is devoid of life, consciousness, or spirit, and in the ancient philosophical writings one encounters the comparison of Earth with a huge animal, having its own peculiar life and, therefore, its own consciousness, or revelation of spirit. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. II, letter of 19.03.1936)


Then you will recognise the scientific fact that, as with the human body, so also with the earth, the spiritual causes of diseases are of much greater importance than the physical ones.


Would a year of famine, of drought, of disease not be the result of mass degeneration of thought? (Agni Yoga 22) 


Without a doubt, there is a disturbance of climatic conditions. Isn’t humanity’s spirit responsible for this dangerous manifestation? (Heart 464) 


But the salvation of the planet as well is in our hands!  


Good thoughts will be the best purifier of one’s surroundings. (Brotherhood 195) 


Rendering the planet healthful rests in the hands of all humanity. First of all, it must be understood that man makes healthy not only himself but also all his surroundings. (Brotherhood 211)


Discipline of thought will inevitably lead up to the highest fiery spheres. Instead of becoming a source of infection man can become a purifier of space. (Fiery World I, 549) 



Section IV: Control of Thoughts


1. Responsibility for Thoughts


In view of their enormous importance, we realise the great responsibility for our thoughts.


Since thought is energy and does not decompose, then how responsible is mankind for its every thought! (AUM 549)


I remind you of how great is the common responsibility before Light if each thought can either obscure or purify space. (Hierarchy 173) 


Energy of such power, influence and effects you must not send out into space unchecked!


Space realises its tensions which conform to the actions and thoughts produced on the Earth. The more responsible is humanity for all its monstrosities, for the Subtle World is thus held back in its development, just as is the whole chain of evolution on the Earth. (Fiery World III, 240)


From this responsibility follows the absolute necessity to control your thoughts. 


You must become and remain master of your thoughts.



2. Purification of Thoughts

Tintoretto "Baptism of Christ”  


Mastery means above all purification of thoughts. Just as with the physical body, for the education of the body of thoughts as well a thorough cleansing is of the utmost importance.


We rejoice at diversity of thinking, but each thought must be pure as a diamond. (Agni Yoga 345) 


Tell all who hope to be with Us that they should keep watch on their thoughts. A heroic deed is born of pure thoughts. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 298 [302]) 


"What exactly does purification mean?"


As unusual as it may sound, it is about thinking right and overcoming wrong thinking. You can and must practise this!


"What are wrong thoughts? Are there any such thoughts at all?"


Wrong thoughts are bad, negative, harmful, useless or unwanted ones; those of destructing and causing damage; all forms of selfishness from petty egotism to greed and violence; doubt, fear, belittlement, denial, weakness, ignorance, lack of joy, unkindness, impatience and so on: all thoughts that are not in accordance with the soul, with the Divine within you.


Right thoughts are those of vitality, joy of being, creative construction, love, confidence, trust, firmness, unselfishness, patience and serenity.



3. Observation of Thoughts

Nikolaus Roerich "Tsong kha-pa"


The first step towards mastering thoughts is to continually observe and monitor their ever-changing activity. If you want to direct your thoughts, you must first look at them objectively from above, from the standpoint of your Eternal Individuality.


Regard thought as a real force in life, then gain firm control over the flow of thought. (Agni Yoga 101) 


Take care about your thinking! (Community 101) 


Then you should examine every thought for its value.


One must keep watch over one’s thoughts, in order to send those of the best quality. (Fiery World II, 240) 


How carefully must the disciples examine the quality of their thoughts! Has not the worm of egoism, or conceit, or the manifestation of self-love hidden somewhere? The ability to admit this honestly is something that each spirit must develop within himself. (Hierarchy 44) 


Finally, you can detect and reject unwanted thoughts.


May everyone observe himself in order to naturally purify his thinking. A man is capable to notice a confusion of thought; then he should give himself an account of which thought he needs most. It is not easy to detect the little worms at the bottom of consciousness. But if a man takes the trouble, he can begin to expel unnecessary impulses little by little. (Supermundane 733)


While observing you learn to distinguish: Which are your own inner thoughts, and which are sent to you from outside?


One should learn to discriminate as to which thought is manifested from without, and which has been conceived within. (Brotherhood 381) 



4. Do not think small, think big


The next step is:


Get into the habit of thinking only great, good and important thoughts!


At times people are ready to recognize the power of thought, but they do not apply this recognition to themselves. They dream about great thoughts but will not put the small ones in order. They will ask how to set thought into motion. One has to start by disciplining the smallest thoughts; only when that is done can one create a thought that moves mountains. By following this advice about putting small thoughts in order, one begins to bring health to the heart. One must help the heart by putting thoughts in order. (Heart 495)


Can one imagine people as thinking only of that which is useful? Of course one can; harmful and undisciplined thoughts are primarily useless. One can accustom oneself to useful thoughts, and such an exercise will be the best preparation for the Fiery World. The habit of harbouring good thoughts is not attained quickly. (Fiery World I, 307)  


Vain thoughts assail and torment you like a swarm of annoying insects.


They weaken your spiritual power, your psychic energy.


When we speak of psychic energy, we must first of all remember the causes and effects of our small daily thoughts. These worms weaken the higher energy. A disorderly heap of garbage will obstruct any construction. Our enemies are the small, annoying flies. (Agni Yoga 629) 


They prevent great deeds.


People should understand what a petty thought is. Like an insect it undermines all of the strongest intentions. The most persevering character weakens from the pricks and stings of small thoughts. When the time comes for action, people cover themselves with a cloud made from fragments of small thoughts. The noblest decisions are blotted out beneath a layer of shameful thoughts. The main thing that hinders a heroic deed is not so much doubt as the shapeless thoughts born of old habits. (Heart 523) 


Trivial thoughts stand in the way of the realisation of your ideals.


Disorderly thoughts are like lice and fleas, for they harm the subtle substance. They often carry deadly poison. Precisely the smallest thoughts are madness and therefore the main obstacle in bringing the subtle and dense worlds together. (Heart 495) 


You must not under any circumstances give insignificant, petty thoughts the same space as great ideas!


When you observe nagging thoughts, you may notice that usually they are of the most everyday nature. In spite of their small significance, they attempt to contend with the greatest ideas. One should carefully cleanse the brain of these unbidden guests. (Fiery World II, 100) 


Great deeds result from great thoughts!


He who can observe small thoughts will be able to make great decisions. The quality and sequence of small thoughts lay the road for great actions. (Agni Yoga 629) 


If your thoughts dwell predominantly on small things, you yourself will sink into insignificance.


To direct the spirit, it is necessary to banish unnecessary thoughts. (Leaves of Morya's Garden I, 18 [19])


"What are great thoughts?"


Occupy your thoughts with the highest, not with the everyday matters, or you yourself will become commonplace! Think of the eternal, the soul, not of the transient, the body; of the high, the Hierarchy, not of the low, chaos; of the beautiful, not of the ugly; of the creative, not of the destructive; of the ideal, not of the dreary earthy reality.


The main thing is that petty thoughts which cut through the basis of thinking should not rise up. These small flies are difficult to exterminate; they also give a grey colour to the radiation. Man assumes that no one and nothing interferes with his thoughts, yet at the same time his consciousness is full of tiny tadpoles, and his thinking turns into a quagmire. (Brotherhood 393) 



5. Expel negative Thoughts


You can command yourself:


I do not want to think like that!


(for example, bad about a fellow man), or:


I do not want to think about this topic now!


(for example, about a distressing problem).


Just as you say to another person: "Leave me alone, I don't want to talk about this now", so your soul can force the transient personality not to pursue a certain thought.


You have to scare away bad thoughts like a flock of black ravens.


Drive out small thoughts, they are stifling to us. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 206) 


Pure thoughts carry one as wings; dark thoughts screen the horizon like flocks of black ravens. The spirit must realize this. The spirit must pronounce condemnation of its dark thoughts. Only a pure striving thought will bring success. (Infinity II, 749 [349]) 


You need not let unwanted thoughts or moods arise in the first place, you can nip them in the bud or chase them away immediately.


It is more difficult to arrest a thought than to generate it. A great deal of suspicion, a great deal of envy, a great deal of revenge can be stopped through liberation from intrusive thoughts. (Fiery World II, 380)


The main thing is to destroy the germs of base thoughts, which are more infectious than any disease. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 157) 


Some people are so stubborn that they are outright obsessed with certain thoughts or feelings, for example of sadness or revenge. They got stuck in them and cannot get rid of them. Thus they torture themselves.


They have made themselves slaves to their own evil thoughts! (Michelangelo “Slave in Chains”)


A yogi knows how much his every thought has power over him. (Agni Yoga 173) 


Usually, people are enslaved by their thoughts. (Fiery World II, 227) 


You can end this unworthy slavery only by consciously freeing yourself from these possessors and mercilessly chasing them away with all your might.


This relates both to your own thoughts as well as to those that are sent, inspired or imposed from outside.


Much harm results from these fleas of thought, which unexpectedly jump at and bite people. (Supermundane 46) 


It is not easy to free oneself from thoughts flying in from without, and it is difficult to cast off sad and burdensome reflections. Nothing so impedes advancement as grievous immobile thoughts. Most often such heavy thoughts are sent from without, and many eyes watch with malice, awaiting the suppression of energy. Learn to expel this obvious burden immediately. Thus, let us be doubly vigilant in mastering thought. (Fiery World II, 227) 



Exercise: Solemnity

Nicholas Roerich “Warrior of Light”


Always maintain a solemn state of mind. Move and think slowly, calmly, prudently and with full awareness of your dignity.


As if you were strolling in white robes in a sacred grove. (Arnold Böcklin "Sacred Grove")


Solemnity must be cultivated. The ability to direct one’s feeling upward will bestow solemnity and a fiery current. (Fiery World II, 325)


In this way you reliably ward off unwanted thoughts.


The co-workers need to preserve a sense of solemnity, for this feeling will not permit petty irritations and decay. (Heart 435)


Solemnity is indeed a cleanser for body and spirit!


It must be realized what purification is vouchsafed at being filled with health-giving solemnity. (Brotherhood 295)



6. Thinking based on the Cosmic Order


Wrong thoughts usually arise from ignorance.


You lay the foundation for positive and right thinking by expanding your consciousness and increasing your knowledge:


You must know the fundamental laws of existence, of the beautiful and just Cosmic Order, such as in particular: Karma and rebirth, evolution and Hierarchy, immortality of the soul and uninterrupted continuation of life, the meaning of life, the meaning of suffering and the benefits of obstacles.


Let us look at some examples:


"I am afraid of death" is wrong thinking. Correct is:


"I am looking forward to my death. " (Johann Sebastian Bach)  


For this you must know that your true being is immortal, that it lives on in a wonderful Higher World and will one day return to earth in a young, beautiful body.




"I am hungry", this is how your transient being thinks. 


Your Eternal Individuality thinks: "My tool, the brother donkey, announces the need for fuel. I decide if, when, what and how much it gets."




The ignorant thinks, "I am wounded." 


The immortal thinks, "I am invulnerable. My vehicle, which in any case becomes more and more useless as I grow older, seems to have been damaged once more. I am no more affected by that than a rider is by injury to his donkey."




Wrong thinking is, "I hate you”, or “I despise you." Better is, "I love you, even though you are my enemy, because I perceive the hidden beauty of your soul."




The impatient thinks, "But now I really can't wait any longer!"  


Correct, however, is: "As an immortal being, I have unlimited time at my disposal." For a soul living eternally, composure is the only appropriate state of mind.




The wrong attitude is: "I feel violated and so I am suffering." (Van Gogh "Old Man in Sorrow")


On the basis of the Cosmic Order, you think: "I am inviolable and, as a being of spirit from a Higher World, unaffected by all the suffering that is simply inevitable on the material plane."


The very feeling of violation is the best proof that the bitter experience is still necessary for you to perfect yourself, to progress on the Spiritual Path and to attain inviolability.


Most suffering is caused by our fellow men. There are countless examples: Why are people to whom we have given so much, or children whom we have brought up and supported with so much love, effort and sacrifice, so ungrateful? Why do they treat us so badly?


The proper way of thinking is: Look lovingly at these tormentors as your little, slightly retarded brothers and sisters who do not know what they are doing. Keep your distance from them, however, do not harbour hatred or resentment, but forgive them.


In the Broadcasting "Exercise Invulnerability" you find many more examples of how injuries, humiliations, failures and more can be overcome through right thinking.




In irritation you think, "I am annoyed by an obstacle or a difficulty." 


As opposed to that, your Higher Self thinks, "I love obstacles because they give me opportunities for ascent and allow me to grow greater."




A weak spirit fears trials, but a strong one rejoices in them because now it can prove its progress and show what it has learned.




For proper thinking based upon the Cosmic Order it is of great importance to know the Law of Karma.


"How do you mean that?"


Well, if you know this law, you think quite differently from the old man, for example:


If you are deceived, think:


Your deception is really useful to me. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 123). 


If someone steals from you, think:


I guess the time has come for me to receive something new, but actually it would be better for you not to touch my things. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 123) 


From the point of view of Karma, it is better to pay than to receive. 


It is better to be the pursued than the pursuer. (Brotherhood 340) 


If you are sold into slavery, think like Plato:


Thanks! Evidently I can pay back some old debts. (Brotherhood 273) 


It is not the circumstances that create your Karma, but the thoughts they trigger within you.


How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours. 




However, there are also events you have nothing to do with. Think of the fate of Job, who became the victim of a kind of bet between God and the devil (see the book "Job" in the Bible). Or of moods triggered by heavy cosmic currents. Then a prayer of St. Francis of Assisi will bring you to the right thinking:


Lord, give me the strength to change the things I can change; the serenity to endure the things I cannot change; and the wisdom to distinguish between the two. (Nicholas Roerich „Francis of Assisi“)



Practical tip: Research of Causes


In many cases, for example if you have a tendency to irritation or depression, you have to research the causes of such negative thoughts in order to get rid of them. Mostly, the reason is egotism or unkindness.


Of course, at the moment of the mood you do not have the opportunity to investigate the causes. However, when calmness returns, you can think about this weakness, prepare yourself for the next attack which will inevitably come, and supply yourself with thoughts to the contrary.



7. Replace negative Thoughts with positive ones


It is a great art and wisdom to always perceive the positive, the promising, the future-oriented in all things.


Do not allow a negative, gloomy thought to arise in the first place, replace it immediately with a positive one.


Chase away every impure thought; replace it with a thought of benevolence. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 17.08.1930)


All you have to do is change the direction of your thinking: Do not continue and deepen the old thought, but immediately begin a new, better one.


You can dispel darkness and gloom by changing the direction of thoughts. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 177)


Replace the images of strawberry punch or young women in your mind with the picture of your teacher's ashram. (Nicholas Roerich "Star of the Morning ")


"That sounds easy, but I find it very difficult! Are there any tools to help me?"


Practically the most important advice of Agni Yoga on our topic is:


One should build up a stock of good thoughts; only they will make possible an easy ascent to the Heights. (Supermundane 808)


If ever you are in need, go to that pantry room and draw on what you have accumulated in good times.


These uplifting thoughts can and must be so strong that they overcome those which drag you down.


Let us look at some examples of thoughts you may put in your storeroom:




Direct your thinking to the future instead of to the past.


Not only, but especially older people tend to cling to the past because they no longer pursue a goal and see no future ahead of them but death. They torment themselves with thoughts of past insults, misfortune or injustice, of mistakes they themselves or others made decades ago. How often are you brooding still today, when it is long too late:


“What better thing should I have said at that time? Shouldn't I have behaved differently?”  


People are grieving over an unhappy love long past, divorce, death, bad upbringing by their parents, and so on. When such thoughts assail you, only one thing helps:


Let go! Draw a radical line under the past! Build a new world of thoughts and strive towards the future!


Hasten to purify the spirit by broad creative thoughts about the wonderful future. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 17.08.1939)


Ask yourself, even if you are already 70 years old:


Where do I want to be in 50 years from now, then of course in the World Beyond? What do I have to do today to reach this goal? How can I change my earthly life so that already now it comes as close as possible to the paradise I am dreaming of? (Rembrandt "Old Man ")


Stop wishing for a better past! Rather take care of a better future!




Others are worrying already today about future events, which may or may not ever happen: They rack their brains about what they might do in case that this or that misfortune should befall them.


An old woman agonises over how she will cope if her even older husband dies. Then she dies first, and all her worries were in vain. An employee expects only the worst from his new boss, even though he doesn't even know him, and then he turns out to be extremely pleasant. (Grant Wood "American Gothic") 


Such an almost morbid tendency to pessimism, to expect only the worst from the future and from any change at all, assails each of us from time to time. You must postpone such thoughts until they actually have to be dealt with. The worries of today’s day are well enough for you, as the Bible says:


Have no care for tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6, 34)




You need a guiding thought for your life in general and for the work of each day in particular.


Continuous thought about what one reveres most is the surest way. One must first of all concentrate upon what one has chosen as the guiding concept. (Supermundane 451)


It defines the direction, the path and the goal of your life and of each individual day as well. You enforce it against all other thoughts. Anything that contradicts it is discarded.


"Can you give an example of such a guiding thought?"


You are walking the path of the Great Soul. May every step bring you closer to your goal.


When action premises a great goal, each step must conform to the destination. (Fiery World III, 313) 


You are doing the work and fulfilling the tasks of a Great Soul. May each of your acts contribute a stone to the building of the New World.


With such a great purpose in mind, negative thoughts have no chance of survival.




"What other thoughts are there that move mountains?”


One of the most important and uplifting is:


You can do anything! Everything is possible! (Community 102; Heart 250; Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 175 [199], 275 [328]; Community 36; Agni Yoga 364; Infinity I, 100; Brotherhood, 93)


Nurture this thought, "My Higher Self is great and strong. In eternity I can accomplish anything I set my mind to."




And yet another useful thought for your storeroom: Harken to the wise counsel of Solomon:


This too shall pass! (Fiery World I, 371) 


Keep in mind: That what is currently afflicting you, similar things and much worse, you have already experienced – and survived – a thousand times over in the course of your eternal existence. You cannot turn off the storms of life. You can only remain calm yourself. The storms will pass.


Our thoughts are like the weather – they just pass through. (Pema Chödrön)




However, when you encounter evil, you must not give in, but take up the fight.


The thought of battle is also a positive thought! (Luca Giordano "Archangel Michael")


If you are attacked, you should not offer the spectacle of a helpless sheep (Community 186) but defend yourself. In this way you will work your way out of misfortune.




Finally, it helps to take up some work. There is always something to do. Activity frees you from bad thoughts.



Exercise: Turn Suffering into Joy


The best and most important example of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones is:


Turn suffering into joy!


Keeping joy in all circumstances is the panacea for bad thoughts and the synthesis of all efforts to control thoughts. If you react joyfully to whatever happens, wrong thinking will not arise in the first place.


We have already discussed several times how you can achieve this feat. Watch again the Broadcastings "The Secret of Immortality", "The Significance of Consciousness", "The Meaning of Suffering" and "Joy at Obstacles". You will find: This difficult but salutary exercise, this wonderful transformation, ultimately succeeds through your changing your thinking.




Once you have allowed a negative thought to come up and be sent out into the world, you cannot eliminate it again. You may, however, immediately set against it and make follow behind it an even stronger positive thought in order to neutralise the effect of the negative one as far as possible.


As an entity of the spiritual plane, thought cannot be annihilated. It can be opposed by a similar entity of greater potentiality. (Hierarchy 211) 



Exercise: Spend one day without negative Thoughts


Practise staying without negative thoughts for a longer time and eventually for a whole day. You will see how difficult that is!


It is a good exercise to occasionally spend a day without disparaging. (Fiery World I, 538) 


We can put it even better: Practise thinking positive only and keeping joy for a whole day.


It is necessary to devote a certain time to the mastering of thought. (Agni Yoga 345) 



8. Direct your Thoughts through the Heart


We had already spoken many times about the basic exercise of transferring your consciousness into your Eternal Individuality (Broadcastings "The Secret of Immortality", "Transformation into a spiritual Being", "1st Pillar: Defence of the Higher Consciousness" and "Exercise Invulnerability"). From this higher standpoint you must also observe, admit, nurture and carry on your thoughts, or reject and discontinue them.


Let your soul think!


Think in a way that is in accordance with your Higher Self. The Eternal Individuality, the Divine within you must express itself, especially through your thoughts!


Crucial for the mastery of thoughts is, here as everywhere else: Listen to your soul! If it says: "I don't want to think like that", don't do it either.


Before you allow a thought to come up, consult your soul. (Nicholas Roerich „Higher than Mountains“)


“How do I know what my Eternal Individuality wants and what it does not want?”


The answer is:


Your soul speaks to you through your heart!


The heart is the most important organ of your Eternal Individuality. It reliably warns you of everything that goes against your true nature. It infallibly tells you which thoughts are in harmony with your Higher Self and which are not, which are right and which are wrong.


Direct every thought through the heart!


Purify it in the fire of the heart!


Even in thinking, one should form the habit of directing thought, so to speak, through the fire of the heart. One can feel in this action a moment of bliss, as it were, evoking the warmth of the heart. The feeling of warmth or heaviness or tremor will confirm the participation of the heart’s energy. (Fiery World I, 633) 


It is even more difficult to attain thought of high quality. A person will often mentally repeat to himself, “I will think purely.” But his being is accustomed to egoistic thinking, and a most undesirable form of thought results. It is necessary to exercise thought, not mentally, but with the fire of the spirit, until all ambiguity of thought disappears. (Agni Yoga 345)




Accustom yourself to harken to the voice of your heart! Carry out without fail what it tells you to do, regardless of the material consequences! To suppress or disregard it is a grave offence against your true Self!


Who is unaware of the warnings the heart gives every time an unworthy act is about to be performed? Such actions of the heart transmit the best calls, but often people force the heart to be silent. This is a grave crime. (Heart 367)


Your heart warns you before against and complains after every unworthy deed.


Often a thought escapes you before you have consulted your Higher Self. But your heart always speaks up afterwards and points out your mistake. In former times, this was called "bad conscience".


Listen at least to this remorse! Make a firm resolution not to repeat the same mistake at the next opportunity – which must inevitably come!



Practical tip: Pause


Live more slowly! Pause! Do not blurt out with a thought straight away.


Give your soul time to observe what is going on around you! Make a habit of always consulting your heart before you allow your transient personality to generate a thought!


Take twice as much time and ponder three times before you give birth to a negative thought of blame, condemnation, denial or dejection!



9. Banish distracting thoughts


Another important exercise is to dispel distracting thoughts.


You learn to focus on one single thought and to eliminate all others.


Once you have mastered this game, you can like Napoleon open and close the drawers of your brain at will.


When you are at an important work, only that one drawer may be open, all others, especially those with personal thoughts, must remain firmly closed.


If it is difficult sometimes to concentrate thought, also it is not easy sometimes to get rid of thought. However, this quality also must be attained. One must know how to set aside, as it were, a useless intrusive thought. To this end one may perform little exercises, forcing oneself to consciously turn off a thought, as if massaging the brain. (Fiery World II, 99) 



Example Meditation

Emil Nolde "Moonlight Night”


The most important area of application for this exercise is meditation. Is really only the drawer of devotion open? Are all others firmly closed? You must not let yourself be distracted by worldly thoughts.


"Often I do not even succeed in concentrating completely on the Master in the few seconds it takes to say the words "Morya Maitreya" seven times in spirit. Even in that very short time, inappropriate, earthly, personal thoughts keep interfering and distracting me."


Yes, we all feel the same way in the beginning. This shows how extremely important, but also how difficult it is to master one’s thoughts, and how necessary constant training is.


You can and must learn and practise to completely switch off all your thoughts of earthly matters and worries for a certain time, otherwise no Higher Communion will be possible.



Practical Tip: Visualisation


Closing your eyes alone is of no use, because the distraction comes from within you.


People break up their impulses by a multitude of petty thoughts. Some have tried blindfolding themselves and stopping up the ears and nose in order not to be diverted by external sensations. But is the distraction an external one? It actually lies in an undisciplined consciousness. (Brotherhood 586) 


What helps, however, is visualisation, which we have already talked about in the Broadcasting "Participation in the Life of the Higher World": Put the image of your teacher before your eyes. Step in front of him in spirit. Then his presence arises as a spiritual reality in which no idle thoughts can come up.


Incidentally, it is the purpose of the much-maligned portraits of saints to facilitate concentration.



10. Think briefly, clearly, concentrated and purposefully


Mastery of thought has another aspect besides cultivating positive and rejecting negative thinking:


You must also learn to improve the quality of your thoughts.


Think briefly, clearly, concentrated and purposefully!


Most people are hardly able to think clearly. Consequently, they cannot express themselves plainly and comprehensibly and thus will certainly not be able to act powerfully and purposefully.


Learn to think beautifully and briefly. (Community 101)


How repulsive are those who cannot get to the point even of a simple story or a small concern but lose themselves in a multitude of trivialities that have nothing to do with the matter at hand and are of no interest to anyone.


I understand how difficult it is to capture the fleas of thought. That is why I repeat: Ventilate the folds of your brain so that the tiny jumpers will have no chance to lodge their progeny there. The legacy of shaggy thinking engenders small bugs and cuts short the best paths. If the vermin of the body cause a person to be shunned, how much more repulsive must be the vermin of the spirit! We need to avoid muddled thoughts. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 298 [302]) 


Someone wants to tell you about the touching misfortune of a relative unknown to you, and instead of getting to the point, he first tells you where that person lives, how old he is, how many children he has and what his wife is like – in other words, things that have nothing whatsoever to do with the matter and are of not of the least interest to you. 


Such a person is also not in a position to solve any problems whatsoever, because he does not recognise the core, the essence of the question at all.


Often people do not notice that many thoughts rage simultaneously within them. As they swarm about like flies, it is impossible to discern which thought has the most significance. Future apparatuses will demonstrate the harm of such confused thinking. (Supermundane 733)


What a chaos such people will cause after their death in the World Beyond, where the whole reality is created by their thoughts! Therefore, mastery of thought is an indispensable preparation for a meaningful life in the Higher World.



Practical Tip: Regular Thought Control


In the evening you should give yourself an account of what you have thought during the day.


How beautiful it would be if everyone, on completing his day, would ask himself about the quality of his thought during those hours! Worthless thoughts could be eradicated as soon as they arise. (Heart 16) 


Going even further, carry out an inspection of your thoughts at each new part of the day, at each change of work, before leaving home and on your return. Make sure: Was it right what I thought before? What do I want and need to think about in the next part of the day?


Elevate your thoughts again! Rekindle the fire of enthusiasm!



11. Fiery Condition


Without coercion and discipline, you can control your thoughts by creating a sublime state of mind of a high vibration (see the Broadcasting " Exercise the Fiery Condition"). In the Fiery Condition you are not susceptible to low vibrations and therefore not to wrong thinking either.


According to the law of correspondence, you attract what is in accordance with your mood, with the state of your being; this also applies to thoughts.


Is it not true that when we are in an elevated mood, good, high thoughts flow to us?


Have you ever had bad thoughts in meditation or while you were moved by the music of the great masters or by the solemnity of a cathedral? Do not desires, cravings, envy, ambition, depression and selfishness remain silent? (Herbert von Karajan)


You can gradually get rid of low thoughts altogether by learning to keep your mind constantly – even after meditation, the end of the concert or leaving the church – in a Fiery State of calmness, sublimity and solemnity


Not for a single hour should one extinguish within oneself the flame of lofty thinking. The highest sage loses his power if he ceases to think about the future Abode. It is beautiful if someone is able to always preserve lofty thinking within himself. (Supermundane 651) 



Section V: Calling forth and turning off Thoughts at Will


Since times immemorial, the education program of a spiritual disciple included the practice of evoking and suppressing thoughts at will. Thereby you free yourself finally and completely from the patronisation by intrusive thoughts.


In the school of thinking you learn to generate thoughts or feelings such as joy, sadness, fear, courage and the like from within yourself and to silence them again, independent of the external circumstances.


Elisabeth Haich describes these exercises vividly in the esoteric classic "Initiation". She learned in the Egyptian temple school to experience the most diverse states of mind for no external reason at all, for example:


We begin to immerse into the deepest dejection, then we experience slowly increasing indifference, then we go higher and higher until we have reached the utmost happiness and finally the highest feeling of bliss.

Further, we must experience opposite mental states one after the other without transition. For example: greatest sadness and without transition greatest cheerfulness; or: fear – and then switch in a flash to self-confident courage.

The point of this exercise is that we are not at the mercy of external events or our moods, but able to determine our mental state ourselves and thus maintain our mental balance under all circumstances.

People believe that there must always be a reason to be happy or cheerful. These exercises give us the conviction that every state of consciousness comes from ourselves and always arises from within. One person can laugh, another cry, and a third remain completely indifferent in the face of the same event.

As a final result, the disciple must attain the ability to unshakably maintain a perfect state of mental peace under all circumstances and never to fall out of it again. (Chapter "Preparatory Years") (Stepan Vladislavovich Bakalovich "Egyptian Priest Reading a Papyrus")  


This practice shows how relative and insignificant your thoughts are!


They are triggered in ever new forms by the constantly changing outward conditions of life. You can and must learn to live in your own thought-world in all circumstances.


Through long tests the great saints learned to call forth a thought and then to free themselves from it. (Fiery World II, 382) 




Likewise, you can learn to direct your thoughts in such a way that you do not see or hear something unwanted, even though it catches your eyes or rings in your ears.


One more significant experiment: Learn to see without looking and to hear without listening. That is, you must be able to aim your vision into the spiritual realms to a degree that, in spite of open eyes, you will not see that which is before you, and in spite of open ears, you will not hear evident noise. (Hierarchy 68) 


By a quite ordinary command of the heart one can force oneself to not hear or see. In that way a person can learn to pass by the very horrors of the lower spheres. (Heart 559) 


"Impossible! I can't avoid hearing a loud sound near me! How am I supposed to ignore the noise that prevents me from falling asleep?”


This is not that unusual though. You have already experienced yourself: When you are absorbed in intensive work, you do not notice at all of what is going on around you, and you do not hear the ringing of the telephone or of the doorbell.


You can actually “think away” all possible sensory perceptions!


This proves how your thoughts control your organism.


Under the influence of thought it is possible not to hear even nearby music—thus is demonstrated the power of thought over the physical organism. (Brotherhood 309) 




It is something else and even more difficult not to think about a certain subject at all.


For example, if you are afraid of spiders when going to the cellar, you have to practise not thinking about spiders at that very moment. Otherwise you will attract them or see spiders in every corner, which someone else who does not have this particular fear and whose mind is somewhere else will not even notice. 


Or when you are lying awake for a long time and fear that you might not be able to fall asleep at all, you must learn not to think of the desire to fall asleep, otherwise sleep will certainly not come.


The solution can only be to think of something else: When you go to the cellar, think of the delicious apples you wish to bring up from there, then the thought of spiders will not arise.


If you cannot fall asleep, transfer yourself in spirit to the Higher World, to your Heaven, to the ashram of your teacher and take part in life there, then you will imperceptibly move into the realm of dreams automatically.


It is still more difficult to command oneself not to think. The ability to control thinking depends upon continual exercise. Each day one can force oneself not to think of some definite thing. But one should beware of self-delusion lest the command not to think contain a thought within itself. To completely suspend a thought and a preconception is already a great mental discipline. (AUM 404) 



Section VI: Mental Control of Desires


The most important application of thought mastery relates to the desires of the body. They are ultimately created by your thoughts and feelings, by the images and fancies in your mind. If you want to get rid of them, you have to expel them from there.




It is not the highest attainment to retreat to a place like a monastery where you have no possibility to satisfy your cravings for e.g. tobacco, alcohol or women. External measures such as a simple life are almost worthless if your thoughts continue to pursue desires.


Of course you have now more chances before you than my zoophagous friend Mr. Sinnett, who were he even to give up feeding on animals would still feel a craving for such a food, a craving over which he would have no control and, — the impediment would be the same in that case. (Mahatma Letters 11 of 30.06.1882) 


The decisive and only valuable achievement is inner liberation!


We have read about great saints who scorned earthly luxury and freed themselves of earthly accumulations; but, first of all, they had to conquer their own thoughts. (Fiery World II, 382)


Abstinence is more difficult in thought than in action. (Fiery World III, 582) 


You have truly overcome your desires only if in everyday life, in the midst of smokers and drinkers, they no longer have any attraction for you. 


One cannot judge the character of an anchorite or an ascetic unless one knows the level and quality of that person’s thought. (Heart 50)


You overcome bad habits, bad qualities and base desires by purifying your thoughts.


Renunciation is a cleansing of thought. (Community 85) 


At first, of course, you can practise, as we have just discussed, to simply eliminate the thought of a desire with willpower.


In the long run, however, it will only help to eradicate the evil at its root. As long as there is still desire within you, it will break out again and again. This means: You must hunt down the dragon of desire that continues to lurk within you.


By an effort of the will man can reject a thought, but this does not mean that he can free his consciousness from the roots of that thought. One may assume that his thinking has changed, but the smallest reminder will prove that the viper continues to live in the depths, ready to reawaken. One can observe the fleeting circumstances that may revive a thought that was assumed to have been driven away long ago. (Supermundane 579) 


"How do I achieve all this practically?"


Ask yourself: Which of the two aspects of your being is expressing the desire? Your transient personality or your Eternal Individuality? The animal or the divine within you? Your spiritual or your physical Self?


When your body desires something your soul does not want, you must relentlessly assert the primacy of the spirit.


If you reliably do this again and again, as soon as a desire arises, it will disappear completely over time: This is how you starve the dragon within you.


Once you have recognized that your motives are questionable, as they are in most cases, reach down into the desire back of the motive, and if that desire be selfish, crude or ill formed, speak to it with all the concentrated will power at your command, and say, "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 often enough and with sufficient intensity you will one day find that particular desire shrivelling up, going out, and know yourself free from it, with a higher desire in its place. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 149 “Self-Examination”) 


This does not mean that you no longer have wishes. They just cease to enslave you.


Then what does it mean to say that a yogi is free of wishes? Let us take the precise meaning of the words: a yogi has freed himself, not from the possibility to wish but from the yoke of wishes. He feels free because he is not a slave to wishes. On the path of goal-fitness, a yogi relinquishes wishes in an appropriate manner in the name of the most essential.

Pay attention to those who stand at the Wailing Wall. What arrested their way? The most minute, almost indistinguishable wish burdened them and obscured their vision. How monotonous has their world become! Their wishes, like parasites, sucked out their energy. Wish can be worms and chains, or sparks and wings. The liberated one soars in realization. The one enslaved wails in despair. (Agni Yoga 259)



Section VII: In Temptation


The ability to control your thoughts is developed and tested nowhere else than in everyday life. Every single day offers you many opportunities to prove your progress: Constantly, several times a day, you fall into temptation.


"What do you mean by temptation? That what the Church calls 'sin'?"


No. We are now talking about desires or moods of your transient personality which you know perfectly well to be wrong, which you actually do not want, and which nevertheless manage to overpower you again and again:


You feel the desire for alcohol, cigarettes, chocolate or sexuality. You become aggressive, irritated or depressed. (van Gogh "Mourning Old Man")  


Now it comes to a battle of giants within you yourself:


To a battle of thoughts.


Your thoughts are always inclined to give in to a mood or to argue with your Higher Self and find reasons why that what is forbidden and actually not even wanted might be permitted or even be a pleasure "just this one time". The soul must defend itself against these arguments of the intellect.


You have to put on an armour made of thoughts.


"How can I arm myself?"


We repeat: You can perform the ritual "Initiation to Agni Yoga". You can, as we have just discussed, dispel the negative thoughts. You can, as we also said, build up a stock of thoughts to deal with temptations.



Practical Tip: Quotations from the Teaching on Index Cards


Compile a collection of particularly beautiful and helpful quotations from the Teaching. Write them down on index cards that you always carry with you. Whenever black thoughts assail you, take out and read some of them to get up again.  


The Teaching should be read under different conditions, yet the effect will not be always identical. At a time of consternation the Teaching will bring tranquillity, at a time of affliction—consolation, at a time of doubt—affirmation. (Fiery World II, 285) 


We shall now discuss the most important thoughts that you can use in an emergency to ward off temptations.



1. Obedience, spiritual Discipline


Basically, it is quite easy to overcome temptations: You "only" have to be obedient to what has been ordered by the teacher who knows better than you.


You "only" have to stick to the rules and customs that apply in the Supratemporal Community to which you belong and to which you wish to return at the latest after your death. Everything that is not available in your Heaven (for example alcohol, nicotine, chocolate, meat) you should not enjoy in your earthly life either.


You "only" have to keep the vow you made in the morning.


You "only" have to transfer your consciousness into your Eternal Individuality, harken to the voice of your heart and carry out what it tells you to do. Your soul as a being of spirit does not want all that what your perishable personality begs for like a dog, and is not affected by its caprices.


What could be more destructive than failure to carry out commands that the heart gives. (Heart 486) 


You must "only" remain true to yourself. The great secret of the Spiritual Path and of any higher way of life is this:


Remain relentlessly yourself!


Loyalty, steadfastness, and unshakeable determination build a stronghold against doubt, wavering, and treason. (Supermundane 858) 


Only those who have proved faithful to themselves and to Truth through everything, will be allowed further intercourse with Us. (Mahatma Letters No. 44 of February 1882)


This of course means your Higher Self, your true identity as a disciple of the Brotherhood or a king of the spirit.


Until man can learn to be true to his Higher Self, true to his plighted words, true to his obligations he can make no great advance on the ladder of life, no matter what else he may do on other lines to effect such advance, for the foundation stone underneath that ladder is Loyalty and without Loyalty life has no meaning. Only thus can he win the right to the title of Warrior of Light. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 146 “Soul Memory”)


Crashes, mistakes happen again and again, that is human. The essential thing is that you first identify and then do not repeat them.



2. Take Refuge in the Higher World


When tempted, take refuge in the pure, holy, solemn atmosphere of the Inner Monastery! Restore the consciousness of your true existence, of your participation in the life at the foot of the Holy Mountain. In a world of such a high vibration, the attack vanishes at once.


When our consciousness is completely transported into the domain where there is no fear and depression, then we are invulnerable to any filth. (Fiery World II, 72)


All that you seek, for which your transient personality craves: oblivion, distraction, rest, relaxation and enjoyment, you attain much better, more safely and without regret in meditation than through primitive material aids.




Stepping before the Teacher is a true panacea against all kinds of temptations! Under his eyes, at his feet, in his real presence, you are completely immune, here there can be no unworthy behaviour. (Emmanuel Lambardos "Saint John the Evangelist and Prochoros")


Thoughts about the Beautiful lead to the Teacher. Even in the most difficult hours, thoughts about the Beautiful will create the best bridge to the Brotherhood. Thoughts should be directed to the Beautiful, as a salutary medicine. People do not understand what a powerful remedy has been given to them. They prefer to complain, feel discontent, and weep, not understanding that such ways only limit the best possibilities. (Supermundane 135) 




Do not always think of yourself only, but also of the Supermundane Community to which you belong: You love your teacher, your disciples, fellow disciples and friends, you do not want to disappoint them!


Old governesses used to say to children who had done something wrong, “Now your angel is weeping,” and this warning reached to the very depths of the children’s hearts. Truly, each unkind action causes someone to suffer. (Supermundane 431) 


"Will my family turn away from me if I become weak?"


I would not put it that way. You yourself are moving away from them! You leave your Heaven.



Exercise: Take Refuge in the Teaching, in the Teacher and in the Community


Therefore, we introduce a new exercise: Step before the teacher not only in the morning, at noon and in the evening, but always when dark thoughts befall you. Your mantram is:


I take refuge in the Teaching, in the teacher and in the community.


Man must know how to control his thoughts. Even when burdened by problems, he can allow himself a moment of rest and aspire towards beautiful dreams. (Supermundane 647)  



3. Pursue a Goal


In practical everyday life, the most important thought for overcoming temptations is:


Set yourself a long-term goal, so great and so glorious that you will gladly forego a small, temporary pleasure for it, and in view of which moods vanish into thin air!


Without an ideal to pursue, your life is meaningless and you are disoriented in the face of moods.


Love, the fire of enthusiasm for the ideal, gives you the strength to overcome temptations.


When it burns, you need nothing else and want nothing else.


How insignificant are the desires and whims that beset you compared to the beauty and sublimity of your ideal!


When you consider this relationship, you feel how foolish it would be to gamble away something so great for something so small.




"What kind of goal could that be?"


That is for each one to find out himself. The most important goal of an Agni Yogi is the New Construction:


You want to grow greater. You wish to progress on the Spiritual Path, the Path to God. You want to develop more and more the potential that lies dormant within you. You wish to become a New Man, an immortal spirit being of the sixth race.


You want to approach the Holy Mountain of Shambhala.  


You want to be a disciple of the Brotherhood. You wish to prove worthy of your teacher and bring him joy. After your death, you want to return to the Supratemporal Community to which you belong and would not like to find the gates closed. If you give in, you are no longer a disciple and cease to be a member.


How hideous is the husk of petty carnal desires, from which it is so easy to free oneself—one has only to think of the Hierarchy of Light. (Heart 274)


You want to contribute to the establishment of the New World, of a higher culture, of the rule of the Mahatmas.




Devote yourself to such a high goal with all the fibres of your being! Then you will say to yourself:


I want that goal, therefore I also want the means!


We greatly appreciate the ability to continue to strive toward the chosen goal whatever the difficulties. But first one must have a goal and realize that without it there can be no advance.  (Supermundane 174)


Every tennis professional and every concert pianist will tell you:


Reaching the goal has a price.


The higher the goal you set for yourself, the greater the price you will have to pay.


"What is that price?"


To renounce everything that makes it difficult or impossible to achieve your goal.


So when tempted, ask yourself a simple question:


"Does what my transient personality torments me with bring me closer to the goal I have firmly set for myself, or does it move me away from it? I love my ideal! I want to reach it at all costs! Is it then sensible and goal-fitting to act in this way?"


Helena Blavatsky explains this using the example of the temptations of food:


Eat only when you are hungry and drink when you are thirsty, and never otherwise. If some particular preparation attracts your palate, do not allow yourself to be seduced into taking it simply to gratify that craving. Remember that the pleasure you derive from it had no existence some seconds before, and that it will cease to exist some seconds afterwards; that it is a transitory pleasure, that that which is a pleasure now will turn into pain if you take it in large quantities; that while there is another object that can give you eternal bliss, this centering your affections on a transient thing is sheer folly; that you are neither the body nor the senses, and therefore the pleasure and the pains which these endure can never affect you really, and so on. Practise the same train of reasoning in the case of every other temptation, and, though you will often fail, yet you will achieve a surer success. (Helena Blavatsky, Some Practical Suggestions for Daily Life, No. 1) 



Practical Tip: Cost-Benefit Calculation


You make yourself aware of the damage you will suffer if you give in to temptation.


You will move away from your goals. Above all, you will become smaller. You think of the remorse that will inevitably follow because you have been unfaithful to yourself and to your guiding ideal.


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”)


You make yourself aware of the benefits you will reap if you overcome temptation.


It is precisely through this victory that you get one step closer to your goal! Above all, you grow greater.


Decidedly, every disequilibrium must be eliminated in a natural way. No passionate imbalance can be arrested by command or by compulsion. One must recognize the usefulness, then comes true evolution. But without realization it is impossible to overcome the lower earthly passions. (AUM 291)


Therefore, we should not speak of renunciation at all when you reject a cigarette, a glass of wine, meat, a piece of chocolate or a mood:


In fact, abstinence is a gain for you!



Exercise: Rejoice in Temptations as Opportunities


We observe: If you stand firm in temptation, you take a step forward. If you give in, you fall behind.


Thus, temptation is not a misfortune that you have to cry or feel sorry about, but on the contrary a good fortune: namely an opportunity to grow, to advance towards your goal!


If it were not for the many temptations, obstacles and difficulties on your path, you would have no possibility at all to realise your ideal! Therefore, the attitude of an Agni Yogi is:


I rejoice in temptations! (Nicholas Roerich “Krishna”)


I muster all my strength and go joyfully into battle in order to pass it victoriously! I will overcome and thus take not only myself but also humanity as a whole a step forward!




This is easy to say, but difficult to realise. It requires constant spiritual practice in everyday life to acquire and safely maintain such an attitude.