AGNI YOGA WEB TV
„INTRODUCTION TO AGNI YOGA“
The Subtle Constitution of Man
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me warmly welcome you to Broadcasting 11 of our Series "Introduction to Agni Yoga".
Today, we shall be treating the so-called "occult anatomy" – that means, those parts of the human nature that are not visible. Even the Bible knows that there is a subtle body besides the physical one:
There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (1. Corinthians 15, 40, 44)
A striking symbol of our higher, subtle constitution are the Russian dolls, called Matruschkas: Like with human beings, at first sight, you perceive the outer shell only. But if you investigate deeper, you discover that there are other bodies concealed below the surface.
Theosophy in particular has made of this area a confusing science with often contradictory concepts and a variety of technical terms such as Kama-Manas, Kama-Rupa, Pranic Body, Linga Sharira, etc. Sometimes it is not quite clear whether those who use these terms really know what they are talking about.
We adhere to the beautiful words of Helena Roerich:
The elimination of one of your undesirable habits will bring you more benefit than learning by heart all the existing systems of cosmogony. (Helena Roerich, letter of 12.04.1935)
Therefore, we shall restrict ourselves to the teaching of those practical principles that you need to know for the better management of your daily life.
1. Twofold and threefold Classification
Let us first repeat briefly what we have learned in prior Broadcastings:
The basic classification is twofold: Man has a visible, tangible and an invisible, spiritual nature.
The next differentiation is threefold: Man consists of the transitory physical body, of the immortal individuality - the soul - and of the non-individual spirit, the divine spark that animates all matter.
The soul uses the physical body as a tool in order to appear on the lowest, the earthly plane. Today we will see that there are other bodies which the soul requires in order to be able to act, after the death of the physical body, in higher, more spiritual worlds.
Spirit without matter is nothing. Therefore, our eternal, spiritual being demands for each higher and lower sphere it wishes to enter, a suitable vehicle of its own, well adapted to the respective surroundings.
2. The seven Principles of Man
To understand the occult constitution of man, we must return to the cycles of involution and evolution, which we have already discussed in Broadcasting 4 "The Law of Evolution".
Do you remember this drawing?
We had shown that our soul goes through seven cycles: Starting as a stone, proceeding further as a plant and an animal, today, through the fourth cycle, as a human being, and later through three more cycles.
At the beginning, the spirit produced a rather primitive physical shell - a stone. This body was refined more and more in the course of further evolution. It has today achieved the form of the human body – which is rather far advanced, compared to a mineral.
In the II. cycle the monad, incarnated as a plant, develops, beyond the mere physical body, a simple emotional life. A mineral has virtually no feelings, at the level of the plants they begin to stir. They continue to develop further up to the present, rather differentiated human emotions. We can say: In the II. cycle, the soul forms a body of feelings.
In the III., the animal cycle, physical body and body of feelings have reached an even higher level. Here, the monad produces, as a next step, the instinct, the first primitive form of knowledge. An animal already "knows" a lot, for example how to build a nest or to protect itself from enemies. We can say that a body of instincts is being formed.
Here is the seat of the animal passions. Those are not bad in themselves, but very well have their evolutionary justification: On the level of the mobile animals, they were necessary, unlike with the immobile plants, to ensure reproduction and survival.
Every diamond, every crystal, every plant and star has its own individual soul, besides man and animal, and there is a hierarchy of souls from the lowest forms of matter up to the World Soul. (Mahatma Letter No. 9 of 08.07.1881)
In today's IV., the human cycle, physical body, body of feelings and body of instincts have developed still further. Now, as the next step, is added the intellect: The soul brings forth a body of thoughts.
We have before us the V. cycle, in which we shall train a principle called Manas. This stands for wisdom and knowledge in the form of heart-knowledge that goes beyond the intellectual reason.
The VI. cycle is about the principle of Buddhi (shortly defined with love and intuition). The last, the VII. cycle deals with Atma (the divine will, the pure spirituality). However, those are so far away from us that we cannot yet form an accurate image of them.
3. The seven Bodies of Man
Therefore, we can speak of a sevenfold constitution of man: As within the Matruschka, under the visible outer shell of our physical body, there are hidden six further, more subtle bodies.
The three bodies of feelings, of instincts and of thoughts form, together with the physical body, the so-called "lower tetrad". These bodies are all mortal. They will be dissolved one day just like the physical body and will have to be rebuilt upon later incarnations.
The three bodies of feelings, of instincts and of thoughts are called by Agni Yoga collectively the “subtle body" - also because it is almost impossible to separate clearly between feelings, instincts and thoughts.
The so-called "higher triad" (Manas, Buddhi, Atma), however, are immortal bodies. They are in Agni Yoga also referred to collectively as the “fiery body." According to the occidental, Christian terminology, this is the soul, our eternal individuality.
4. Mastery of the subtle Body
All this turn from grey theory into living practice, once you realize: Your true, eternal individuality, the soul, must learn to control and to guide your bodies of feelings, of instincts and of thoughts, and to use them as tools in the same way as the physical body. We shall go into the details in later Broadcastings, but we can say at this point already:
You should not identify yourself neither with your physical body, nor with your feelings, your instincts or your thoughts. Your consciousness must rest above each of these bodies in your higher self. From there you have to guide the work of these vehicles. In particular, you have to control from there which feelings, instincts and thoughts you allow to express themselves and which not.
It is not you - your true, eternal Ego – that feels, senses a passion, or thinks: It is your lower, perishable self, your subtle body that stirs there. You are neither your physical body nor your subtle body. You are a spiritual being, an immortal soul. This, your true Self, must decide how far you want to pursue the aspirations of your perishable nature.
All Teachings repeat about the burden of the flesh in order to direct attention to the superiority of the spirit. (Heart 72)
We stand today, as discussed in Broadcasting 4, in the fifth race of the 4th round of the IV. cycle. In the last, the fourth race, on the continent of Atlantis, the development of the intellect, of the body of thoughts, has reached its peak. Today, in the fifth race, we must already begin to develop the fifth principle, Manas (wisdom), i.e. the first particle of our immortal being.
This is consistent with the earlier (Broadcasting 4) mentioned finding that the potential of our physical body is somewhat exhausted and that now the development of our spiritual being is part of the curriculum. This is further consistent with the fact that we have left the deepest point of the overall cycle behind us, thus have completed the involution of spirit into matter, and are now at the beginning of the evolution of the spirit.
5. The Bodies in the Higher Worlds
We had already said in the last Broadcasting: The Supermundane world, which the soul enters after the death of the physical body, consists of many different levels or layers that are more and more spiritual and finer with increasing altitude.
Agni Yoga speaks first in general of the "Subtle World." This is - as the physical level, the earth - perishable. Here, the soul appears with the three invisible shells of the transient "lower tetrad", with the subtle body.
Above the Subtle World, there is the so-called "Fiery World", the highest, imperishable world of pure spirit. Until there, only those beings can penetrate, who have sufficiently developed the three immortal bodies of the "higher triad", the fiery body, the soul.
The goal of life is to find oneself in the fiery world with all the acquisitions of consciousness. (Fiery World I, 195)
Furthermore, Agni Yoga speaks of the "astral world". These are the lower layers of the Subtle World near to the earth. We had already said in the last Broadcasting that the circumstances there are even more terrible than on earth. Those souls get there whose subtle bodies are still at a low, animal level, which are still subject to earthly desires and passions.
Such lower subtle bodies are also called “astral bodies”. They drive around in the vicinity of the earth and of the objects of their desires. They try to make use of unprotected incarnated human beings, in order to continue to indulge in their desire - as far as this is possible for a being which is not physically incarnated.
The spirit attached to Earth clothes itself in the astral body, which creates for him the illusion of Earth here in the hearth of cravings and remorse. But the spirit which speeds out, in upward striving only, can avoid the astral plane, because the astral body is but superfluous rubbish. (BGM II, 99 [Part Two II 3])
As also discussed earlier, the soul enters, after the death of the body, that sphere of the spiritual world which corresponds to the level of its development. In relation to the bodies, this means: To a higher level of the Subtle World, only that soul can advance that has formed already on earth a fine, pure, spiritualized subtle body.
You have to imagine it like this: A little developed subtle body has a lower vibration. It is unable to exist on a higher, more spiritual level with higher vibrations; it would not endure the spiritual fire there; it would burn up.
Touch me not! (John 20, 17)
This is how Jesus warned Mary Magdalene when he met her in his subtle body after his death: She would have been reduced to ashes if she had touched a being with a higher vibration.
6. Reincarnation from the Higher Worlds
After the death of the physical body, it goes upwards: The spiritually prepared soul aspires to fly through the astral world as quickly as possible and to reach the higher layers of "heaven".
At reincarnation, it goes the other way round: The soul, out of the plane to which it belongs, out of its true home, must descend downwards.
The lower souls incarnate from the world near the earth, the astral world, and have only a short way to go. In contrast, the higher souls incarnate from higher layers of the Subtle World - a few even from the Fiery World. They must, on their way back to earth, pass through hostile lower spheres, alien to their nature.
This descent at birth is in fact more arduous and unpleasant than the ascent after death! Let us listen to a passage from the Agni Yoga:
It is difficult to turn from Earth to the Fiery World. But it is equally difficult to approach the earthly spheres from the Subtle World. Such plunges may be compared to the work of divers. As the diver must wear a heavy diver's suit in order to resist the pressure of the ocean, so he who approaches Earth must also sheathe himself in a dense body.
The state of the newborn babe is wisely designed, because it can thus gradually assume the burdens of Earth. More than one period of seven years is necessary to master the earthly existence. Therefore one should carefully protect the children. (Fiery World I, 338)
Some actually remember the journey to the earth before their birth: The soul flies downwards in a sort of transparent well, through terrible, dark spheres. There live horrible creatures that try to approach us, to cling to us and to obstruct our way. The soul is indeed protected against being touched by the well, but it is nevertheless shaken by the horrific conditions through which it must pass.
As at the ascent, the spiritual soul will also in descent strive to cross the astral world as quickly as possible.
7. Properties of the subtle Body
When the physical body dies, the other bodies (insofar as they are already formed, that means, in case of man, definitely the bodies of feelings, of instincts and of thoughts) remain intact. They - the subtle body - are the vehicle which allows the soul to act in the next world.
The subtle body is also made of matter, but of the finer matter of the Upper World - of a substance with a higher vibration. The Subtle World is the world of thoughts and feelings. The subtle body, therefore, is a form that is made up of the matter of the Subtle World: of thoughts and feelings. It has, like any substance, a - however minimal - weight.
The subtle body is slightly larger than the physical body. We can feel it being constricted by the physical body, for example, when returning from sleep as if in too narrow a house.
In the late hours of the night we soar into space, and when we return our earthly sheath seems too tight for us. (Supermundane 191)
The subtle body perishes when the soul, in in a kind of "second death", leaves the Subtle World and crosses over into the even higher Fiery World.
8. Workings of the subtle Body
The subtle body is working in the higher world in the same way as the physical body on earth, and is performing spiritual tasks there.
Also during sleep or in meditation, you are moving with the help of your subtle body in the Supermundane World.
One can speak of the subtle body moving out of the physical body. Thus, the well-known phenomenon comes about that you see from above yourself - that is, your physical body - remain behind beneath you.
The subtle body carries out real flights in the Subtle World, with hardly any earthly time going by. It puts itself, using the power of thought, instantly, beyond the limits of time and space, to every conceivable location.
However, your consciousness must already be significantly developed if you want to do meaningful work in the invisible world. Here, too, we see: We must learn to consciously guide the subtle body in the Upper World, to use it there for the fulfillment of tasks in the same way as the physical body on earth. As long as we dream chaotically - that is, roaming aimlessly about up there -, we have not yet mastered this vehicle.
You can send a servant to the market and let him buy needed goods. In exactly the same way you can send a servant - the subtle body – for the needed spiritual food, for the needed thoughts. And when the order is irrevocable, it will be executed immediately. All shells must subordinate themselves to the ruler inside, but you have to teach them this, as you teach a hand to write, the feet to walk and the eyes to read. All skills are the result of the willful submission of one or the other companion under the command of the will. In the same way, the consciousness is being taught or trained in the sphere of the ability and skill to make use of the shells, with whom it makes its appearance. (Facets of Agni Yoga 1954, 68)
Some people remember vaguely on waking up the work they have done during the night in their subtle body. A high consciousness will also during this time take part in the Great Work of the Hierarchy. There are those who do at night even more work than during the day!
Urusvati [Helena Roerich], in her subtle body, continuously participates in Our help to humanity. Through their flights in the subtle body Our co-workers render so much help to people that no records are sufficient to contain it. (Supermundane 18)
9. Development of the subtle Body
The subtle body must be nourished, maintained, cared for, cleaned, trained, developed and strengthened in the same way as the physical body. In the Subtle World, the world of thoughts and feelings, it is not the material forces, but the thoughts that act. Thus, the subtle body, like any other form of the Subtle World, is a mere thought-construction. It is formed by our own thoughts, feelings, ideas, ideals, aspirations, wishes, desires and strivings.
The subtle body is nurtured by good deeds. It gains strength from all that is lofty; that is why good thoughts and deeds are so important. Similarly, art brings moments of highest joy and thus provides the most nourishing sustenance to the subtle body. (Supermundane 557)
Nevertheless, it is a relatively consolidated structure, because for eons we are weaving on him in every moment: We create this higher body ourselves with every single one of our thoughts and feelings.
Consciousness nurtures the growth of the subtle body. Even the slightest sensation contributes to the texture of the subtle body. (Agni Yoga 225)
The accumulations of these efforts, gathering around our eternal individuality, are, as we have seen, not lost with death; we take them with us to the Subtle World. If we keep our spiritual forces clean, we shape for ourselves a beautiful subtle body. Earthly desires, however, uglify the subtle body like ulcers; although they are related to the physical body, we do not get rid of them by its death.
Ecstasy of spirit and joy of the heart yield those energies which nourish the subtle body. It must be understood that imperil and gross earthly desires produce their ugly ulcers, which the spirit must heal in the subtle body. Ulcers of the spirit are carried over into the Subtle World if they are not gotten rid of on Earth. Liberation from the physical vehicle does not mean deliverance from spiritual ulcers. (Fiery World III, 103)
This again shows the need to control our thoughts and feelings, especially to purify them and to think and feel only big, beautifully and selflessly. We shall speak about this in detail in a later Broadcasting.
10. The Aura – the Emanation of Man
There is a part of the subtle body that you can easily identify: the aura. Do you not sense the emanation, the impression of the essence of a person that surrounds him? Each of you have already felt the influence of personality on people in a room, on the surroundings and the circumstances, even on an entire nation.
We had spoken in Broadcasting 2 of the Series "Experiment Immortality" about the signs from which you can recognize that man is endowed, in addition to the physical body, with a spiritual nature - his soul. The aura is further evidence for the real existence of our non-material being.
How does the aura look like?
The most usual, the narrow aura, which emanates from the entire body, extends outward about two inches. In accordance with the degree of spirituality, it begins to expand from the upper nerve centers. Starting from the solar plexus, it afterwards rises toward the brain centers, forming the so-called solar aura. Finally, the radiation of the lower extremities vanishes and a surrounding ring is being formed. The solar aura may be of ten or fifteen inches, and of course its dimensions may increase. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 119 [Part Two III 12])
No one can hide his emanations. In the aura, there is reflected our entire character, all our thoughts, feelings, wishes and aspirations. So the aura of a leader is quite different from that of a babbler:
Make an effort to compare the physical radiations of a babbler and a leader for the General Good. How scintillating is the radiation of the leader, what direct arrows spurt from his shoulders, and what purple waves flow outward in defense and engender new might! But the radiation of a babbler is furrowed with zigzags, the ends of which turn inwards. (Community 151)
On the aura of a person is based his attraction, his magnetism and his power. According to the law of correspondence (see Broadcasting 9), a positive aura will attract and effect positive results, a negative aura bad ones.
Precisely, thought and inner motives weave our aura, which is a magnetic field that either attracts or repels possibilities. (Helena Roerich, letter of 24.09.1935)
With people of a high spirituality, the radiation is so strong that it is almost visible. The aura is the scientific explanation of the gloriole of the saints.
Such a beautiful aura we can create by the power of our spirit, through selfless striving for purity, spirituality and refinement.
A good aura is also important because we literally see things in our own light, namely physically through our own aura. So, our nature actually colours our view of the world. The purer and clearer the aura, the more clearly we can perceive the unvarnished truth.
11. Capture the Essence of a Person by its Aura
You can significantly increase your ability to judge other people by developing the sensitivity to capture the essence of a person "at first sight" by his aura. From his emanations, you can read his character as from an open book.
You are desperately dependent upon ascertaining the intentions, the reliability and the suitability of the people with whom you have to do. If you make a mistake in them, this will have dire consequences. Let us learn how to judge them based on their emanations.
When you hire servants, you either test them by designating a task, or you trust them after looking into their eyes. Thus, too, the heart can flash out convincingly in a glance. Thus, at each possibility, advise the way of the radiance of the eyes. (Fiery World II, 142)
Analysing the aura is a good example for the new divine science: You can sense without doubt embarrassment, fear, excitement, hatred or doubts harboured and thus emanated by a person; but not with the five senses of the physical body, and not with the intellect either, but only with the higher senses of the subtle body, especially with the heart.
12. Material Reality of the Aura
The emanations of the aura are - such as X-rays - a physical reality. The aura proves clearly to any fine feeling the unity of the worlds and the influence of the spiritual on the physical sphere: The aura is formed by purely spiritual forces and yet it is a manifestation of the material world; intentions and thoughts change the physical substance of the aura.
So there is no impediment to move the aura out of the realm of the miraculous and the fairy tale and to explore it with scientific methods. It consists of the colours of the Subtle World. It is a usually not visible, but nonetheless noticeable part of the Higher World. It is - though extremely fine - substance.
To some extent, the aura is visible: In particular from the eyes of an interlocutor, we can read many things: Love, hatred, fear, malice, insecurity, honesty or dishonesty, a disease or the rays of the fire of enthusiasm. The eyes are the windows of the heart!
Human radiations can be seen by the naked eye. We can cite many cases in which people emitted radiation when in a transport of exaltation. Often the hand that is writing about a lofty subject radiates a light that can be seen against a white sheet of paper. People can sometimes notice an unusual light in the eyes of one who is in a state of so-called elation. The eyes shine not from any outside source but from an inner fire.
One must be trained for this perceptive ability, for then the power of observation will develop and many phenomena will be more frequently seen. The teacher should continue to remind the pupil about the vast numbers of natural phenomena that have remained unknown due to ignorance. (Supermundane 429)
One day, we will be able to photograph these rays. This will be a serious blow to the hypocrites, because the film will relentlessly reveal their true nature.
When it becomes possible to see the emanations of the human body, you will discern with clarity the hideousness of duplicity, when the face shows benevolence but the thoughts are sharpening knives. (Agni Yoga 341)
13. Aura of Objects and Places
Not only human beings - everything that exists has an aura: Even seemingly inanimate objects and places - because the spirit dwells in all of them.
The radiation of sounds and colours, of minerals, paintings and cathedrals is not to be overlooked. They create a whole world of their own.
Objects are charged by the emanations of those people who have created or used them. So you should pay attention to the manufacturer of the food that you eat; and to the manufacturer or the previous owner of the furniture with which you equip your rooms.
Many objects carry upon them accumulations of influences. Not rare are the objects made in an hour of hatred, fatigue, terror, or despair; they will carry these sendings with them into the world. They will act in accordance with the message with which they have been suffused. These accumulations of thought are far more virulent than poisons! (Fiery World I, 367)
Likewise, places are saturated with the energies of the people - and other creatures! - who inhabit them.
Often the aura of places, where occur irritations or creative actions is saturated with corresponding crystals. Space is saturated according to the quality of the energy. (Fiery World III, 404)
You must learn to sense: Do you step into a pure house, filled with benevolence and joy? Or into an unhealthy one, where once a murder was committed or where people live or lived in misfortune, discord or impurity?
Is it possible to keep on killing, cursing and raging without spatial stratifications resulting? All is precipitated solidly and heavily, creating above the site of an event a shroud similar to harmful gases. (Community 195)
Of course, the earth as a whole, too, has an aura that is composed of the emanations of all that which exists on it. Man, as the being dominating this planet, exercises a particularly strong influence on the aura of the earth.
One can imagine how the aura of the earth looks like today - populated by a humanity whose selfish, evil emanations far outweigh the noble ones. You can imagine what kind of destiny such an aura will attract.
14. The Centers of higher Consciousness ("Chakras")
The centers, chakras, or fiery wheels are a vast field of knowledge which we can handle here only in the simplest basic terms.
The centers are the organs of our subtle body with whom it "hears", "sees" and recognizes.
For a Westerner, the nature of the centers is best unveiled by referring him to his heart: The physical organ pumps blood through the veins. But in addition to this, there is also a subtle organ, the seat of love and of heart-knowledge: Not the intellect, or the eye, or our material Ego loves, but the soul with the help of the heart-chakra.
15. The seven main Centers
The most important center is the heart, of which we have already spoken in Broadcasting 3. Agni Yoga is the Yoga of the heart! People today must above all raise the culture of the heart in order to develop the qualities that are essential for the New Era: Expansion of consciousness, ability to distinguish, higher knowledge, capability to sense the spiritual, intangible reality, heart-knowledge, intuition, communication with the Upper Worlds, and conversation with the invisible teacher.
Without the development and refinement of the heart there is no progress. The representatives of the new race will be known by the refinement of the heart – this key to all achievements. (Helena Roerich, letter of 10.10.1934)
In addition we mention six more main centers: The bell-center (Brahmarandhra), the third eye, the center of the larynx, the chalice-center, the solar plexus and Kundalini.
The crown or bell-center is located at the vertex of the head. With its help, we receive the streams, thoughts, ideas and inspirations of the higher spheres, as well as messages of the higher powers. This chakra is used for communication with the Supermundane World.
The third eye is sitting on the forehead between the eyebrows. It is the center of higher perception: Of clairvoyance, of the knowledge of future events, of seeing through solid objects. It sees the things of the spiritual world that remain hidden to the physical eye.
The next chakra is the center of the larynx, which sits near the thyroid gland and contains the intellectual and analytical skills. It is the center of synthesis. It enables us to understand the true meaning of spoken words and foreign languages.
The man with open centers does not judge by words; he understands all the inner meaning of speech. (FW I, 660)
Of the utmost importance is the chalice-center, just opposite to the heart on the right hand side of the chest. Here, all the accumulations from previous incarnations and from the life in the higher worlds are stored. In every life, on every level, we continue to fill the chalice with new experiences. None of its contents is lost, because our chalice remains one and the same for our entire everlasting way. With the opening of this center, immeasurable treasures of knowledge, wisdom and experience can be lifted from our own interior.
A genius like Mozart can only be explained by the skills he has accumulated in his chalice over many incarnations.
Untold treasures are accumulated in the Chalice. The Chalice is one, for all incarnations. The peculiarities of the brain are a matter of heredity, but the properties of the Chalice are the result of one's own actions. (AY 627)
There is no forgetting - both the sinking of knowledge and its re-emergence from the chalice have good reasons. Most people hardly cope with their contemporary fate; they would not endure to learn about all the - often terrible – experiences they have made in previous incarnations.
The solar plexus is the center that feeds the entire human organism with life energy. It absorbs the cosmic energies and passes them on to the other centers.
Finally, Kundalini is the root at the end of the spine. This is the center of will-power and self-control. It opens as the first and gives the impulse for the development of the other centers. With its awakening, the spiritual path begins. It is important to direct the forces emanating from Kundalini not into low, physical, but into high, spiritual channels.
16. The Opening of the Centers
Like the subtle body as a whole, so the centers must be developed as well. With most people, they are still in a dormant state. The progress of mankind depends on the opening and transformation of the centers.
The opening of the centers can only be achieved by a refinement and spiritualization of our entire being. A rough lifestyle blocks the awakening of the centers. With the appropriate spiritual development they will open by themselves.
One should not try to open the centers by mechanical or artificial methods. Also, make sure to develop not just one or two centers, but all of them equally. Because of the great dangers involved, the assistance of a teacher is highly recommended.
In general, without the help of the Teacher the correct opening of the centers is quite impossible. Of course, I mean the Highest Teacher, as only such a Teacher is able to know the true condition of the organism in all its envelopes. Only He can regulate the blood pressure, which becomes so dangerous during the opening of the centers, to say nothing of their fiery transmutation. (Helena Roerich, letter of 12.04.1935)
The opening of the centers may be accompanied by physical pain, the so-called sacred pains.
Concluding this Broadcasting, let us repeat the essential:
Man has a spiritual being in addition to his material nature. This, his eternal individuality, must be nurtured, maintained, cleaned, healed, trained and strengthened in the same way as the physical body.
Our future does not lie in the yet further perfection of our physical body; it lies in the growth of our spiritual being, in the development of our spiritual skills.