The Invisible Toga


Dear Agni Yogis,


summarizing our previous Broadcastings of the Series "Experiment Immortality" and "Spiritual Exercises", we may say: The essence of the practice of Agni Yoga consists of two steps:


First step: In the morning in meditation you transform into a being of higher vibration, into the new, immortal man of spirit. You assume your Eternal Identity, for example disciple of the Brotherhood, king of the spirit, healer or spiritual warrior.


The second step is: In the course of the earthly day, you will do everything to convert this spiritual reality into a material fact. You have to defend in all circumstances your position in the Subtle World, the rung on the ladder of the Hierarchy which you have climbed in the morning.


The exercise we are presenting today serves to help you with this. In short, here is what it is all about: Every time you leave your room, you put on in thought a dignified subtle robe:


An Invisible Toga. (Emperor Augustus)


Then you appear in the world as if you were really physically wearing such a dress. This concept will make it easier for you to behave properly according to your ideal.



1. Gregory the Great


This practice goes back to a narrative about the Saint Pope Gregory the Great (about 540 - 604).


He is one of the great spiritual heroes of Christendom and all times. He came from the age-old patrician family of the Anicii and made it as far as the prefect (head of the city) of Rome. Later, he converted the palace of his ancestors on the Caelius, one of the seven hills of Rome, into a monastery (the Monastery of St. Andrew, which is still in existence today) and joined it as a simple monk. He left the office of the abbot to someone else.

However, he could not hide his noble birth, his comprehensive education, his rank and his inner highness. It was said of him: Even dressed in the simplest monk’s habit, he nevertheless wore the "Invisible Toga" of a Roman senator.

Accordingly, he was later recalled from the monastery and elected pope. In the time of the invasions of the Germanic tribes, when the government of Rome almost collapsed, he was not only the spiritual but also the secular leader of the city. (“Gregory the Great“ by Goya, Andrea Sacci, Stephan Kessler, Carlo Saraceni, Michael Pacher)


The disciple asks: "What does this story want to tell us?"


You have to educate your inner being, your Eternal Individuality, so that it becomes an immortal, a king of the spirit or a disciple of the Brotherhood. This is possible in all circumstances.


This true, inner nature radiates from you, howsoever you look like outwardly.


It is recognizable when you are a king by your very nature, even if in this incarnation you appear "only" as a shoemaker. On the other hand, when your true self is merely a primitive barbarian, you cannot hide that fact either, not even when you happen to sit physically on a throne.


The growth of dimensions proceeds from within, and the spirit may bedeck itself with all the crowns of human glory and still remain a beggar. (Fiery World III, 56)


Furthermore, the story about Gregory the Great teaches us: Whatever your position in earthly life, even if it is only a shoemaker, and whatever garment you wear physically – you may always be dressed in the dignity of a Roman Senator or a disciple of the Mahatmas.



2. Put on the Invisible Toga


"How exactly is this exercise being carried out?"


Whenever you leave your room, in addition to your material clothes, you put on in spirit that "Invisible Toga" which belongs to your Eternal Individuality.


If you want to be a king in the world, you dress in the ermine coat, as a king of the spirit in the philosopher’s robe. (Rigaud "King Louis XIV", Nicholas Roerich "Guru")


In the monastic orders, there is the ceremony of dressing the novice in the habit. According to legend, some saints were given the cowl by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself.


From now on, you will perform this solemn ritual every morning. Give room to your phantasy! Imagine:


The father bestows on his son, the coming king, the dress of a crown prince. The disciple takes from the hand of his teacher the white robe of the wise men. (Pesne "Frederick the Great as Crown Prince", Nicholas Roerich "Burning of the Darkness)


Look in the spiritual mirror, and you will see: Such attire clothes you well! You may wear it proudly and joyfully – even if it is only in thought.




We are talking about a virtual robe that anyone can put on anywhere at any time. Thus, you may walk on this earth dressed royally, even if externally you should be wrapped in rags.


A white garment is ready for all. Learn to keep about you a radiant garment. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 132, 134)


In the evening while undressing, you give an account to yourself: Did you pay honour to the frock during the day?



3. Official Dress


Internally equipped with this badge of your high dignity you step out into the world. The others cannot see it, but it shapes your aura, and so they will sense the high position you have taken over.




This is like putting on a uniform: On the one hand, you make yourself aware inwardly, and on the other hand, you express to the outside: You are no longer a private person, but the holder of an office.


In German, instead of “you are holding an office” we say:


You are clothing an office.


This means two things: First, your body is only the clothing for your position in the Higher World, which is much more important than your perishable personality. Secondly, you should wrap yourself exactly in that garment which corresponds to your spiritual position.


It is said aptly: You are "in office and dignity". The dignity you have taken over should be reflected by the dress you wear.


"This is a little bit abstract. Can you explain that more vividly? "


Think of a doctor: He wears a white coat over his jeans in order to signify: Now I am on duty. I put the personal aside. As long as I wear the work dress, I have in mind nothing else than the health of my fellow men. When the physician leaves his practice in the evening and returns to his private home, he puts off his white coat. (Max Liebermann "Dr. Ferdinand Sauerbruch")


Every job requires a certain dress! Forester, soldier, chimney sweeper, policeman, firefighter, judge, priest, monk. (Hugo Mühlig "Forester with Hound", Hugo Vogel "Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff", El Greco "St. Jerome as Cardinal", Caspar David Friedrich "Monk at the Seaside")


Likewise, your position in the Hierarchy – whether in an Ashram of the Brotherhood you are employed as a porter, cook, gardener, novice, cellarer, or abbot – requires appropriate clothing – if not otherwise possible, at least in spirit.




By putting on the Toga in the morning, you confirm the assumption of your Cosmic Office. That is a great responsibility, no matter how high or low your task may be. You will be tested by life itself in the course of the day, whether you are worthy to wear such an attire.



4. Religious Habit


At all times, in all religions and in all cultures, members of spiritual communities or religious orders wore a special habit.


When you regard yourself as one of several disciples of a spiritual teacher, you too are a member of a like congregation. One day the teacher will grant you the special habit of this community as a token of your membership.




You must wear this robe with pride and dignity. Unless you are physically embodied as a monk (and that will be the case in very few incarnations only), you usually have no choice but to don a virtual dress.


St. Louis King of France, who longed for retiring from the world and leading a monastic life, but could not be allowed to leave the highly important task of great responsibility assigned to him, entered the Order of the Franciscans in spirit and wore, visible for no one, a monks' cowl under the royal mantle. (El Greco "King Louis IX of France")


You do the same thing when you dress in the Invisible Toga.


The habit reminds you to follow the rule of your Order, the Law of the Disciple (see the Broadcasting "Become a Disciple! of the Series "The Path of the Disciple") and the 10 Pillars of the practice of Agni Yoga – especially when you are not staying at home, in the circle of your classmates at the feet of the teacher, but in a hostile world.



5. How does the Toga look like?


"How am I to imagine this Invisible Toga?"


Choose the subtle garb you wish to don carefully. Look at every detail!


Create a beautiful robe which suits you well and which emphasizes the essence of your being. The clothes you wear – not just the physical, but the spiritual ones as well – are part of your personality!


Popular wisdom quite rightly says:


Clothes make the man.


This also applies to the dress of your soul. You will see:


In a choice costume, you become a completely different person!


Your garb should be worthy and reflect your high position. (Hans Looschen "Emperor Otto I", Swetoslaw Roerich "Nicholas Roerich as Dalai Lama")



On the other hand, it must be practically suited for a spiritual fighter.


We like simple and comfortable garments that do not impede Our work. (Supermundane, 62)


Maybe you imagine a cape like that of a knight, which you can throw off at any time. Here are some examples:







Your Toga should carry the sign "Community of Maitreya" at the place of the heart.


When choosing your supermundane clothes, also think of your great role model, your spiritual father:


At all times the great spiritual teachers have also been recognized by their special garments – already on earth, and of course all the more in the Higher World. (Raphael "The School of Athens [Plato and Aristotle]". Nicholas Roerich "St. Sergius of Radonezh, Vivekanda, Starez Theophan, St. Benedict, Gandhi)


Likewise, you too must be recognizable to all the world as the disciple of a sage or the crown prince of a king.



6. Purpose of the Exercise

Arnold Böcklin „Holy Grove“


"What is the purpose of this exercise?"


The idea alone of being dressed in a noble gown will induce you to behave worthily.


As a king wears his crown or an officer his uniform with pride and dignity, so the Invisible Toga compels you to maintain in all, even the worst conditions the attitude that corresponds to your ideal.


In solemn clothes, coarse, impure thoughts, words or deeds are forbidden by themselves.


During the Mystery rites the priestesses were so deeply enwrapped in an almost invisible veil that they ceased to hear and to see, as if the thread of existence had been severed. It was a kind of purification, in an atmosphere full of turmoil. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 230)


The world rightly expects something special from you when you appear in official dress. You will not want to disappoint this expectation.


Like a uniform, the Toga gives you strength, fortifies the consciousness of your high position and removes the personal aspects from your life. (Augustus)


In the hectic hustle and bustle of everyday life, you tend too easily to forget the essential: The subtle reality, your true Eternal Identity and your mission on earth. Your virtual tunic reminds you of that. It helps you to put into practice that to which you are committed above all else:


To remain true to your ideal!


Or, scientifically speaking: To assert the higher reality, your existence as an immortal, disciple or king of the spirit, in the face of material life.


You will find out: It is a pleasure and an honour to be able to appear in a majestic garment. (Uta von Naumburg)  


An exquisite robe elevates you.


We have already remarked this when viewing the painting of Nicholas Roerich as Dalai Lama. This is true as well even if the clothes are worn "only" in spirit.


It is up to you alone how you present yourself to the outside world. Rejoice in yourself! Do you not prefer to look great, strong and beautiful rather than small, weak and ugly?


Gottfried Keller's novel "Clothes make the Man" tells the story of the simple tailor apprentice Wenzel Strapinski, who, despite his great poverty, comes along dressed in exquisite attire. In a foreign city, because of his distinguished appearance, he is considered a count, which allows him to marry a rich heiress and eventually to gain prosperity and reputation.


"What does that story teach us?"


You too can make it as far as a count, or even a king, if only you appear like one on the stage of the word – and that includes: if you are dressed accordingly. Your outward appearance, the way you present yourself, contributes decisively to your success among your fellow human beings. And this is true not only on the material level, but in the Spiritual World as well.




Once again, we realize: It actually does not matter whether you are wearing a Toga physically or whether you just imagine that you are. The result is the same:


You are compelled to behave worthy of your clothes.


Both the physical and the virtual dress is a help to remind you of your true, inner greatness; it is a stepladder to a royal appearance.




Just do not think that the Invisible Toga is merely an illusion, a phantasy. When you consolidate it in your thinking, it becomes a spiritual, a subtle reality which is no less real and effective than a material one.


Although the dress is not visible, its spiritual existence will be felt by anyone you encounter.


Agni Yoga says:


Saturating space with intensified thought, we clothe aspects of our striving with a particular figure. Thus, out of elemental matter we create the desired image. This creation remains near the place where it was created, fortified by our thoughts. The eye of a child or a refined consciousness can perceive this formation. (Agni Yoga 633)


However, do not deceive yourself: The outward costume alone is only a lie, hypocrisy, if it does not reflect an inner greatness. The essential therefore is to educate your soul and to let it grow (see the Broadcasting "Bring your Soul to Life").


Only then will the Invisible Toga correspond to your true nature. And then your radiance clothes you in a beautiful robe of light anyway.



7. Priest’s Frock

Nicholas Roerich „And we bring the Light“


"Can you give an example from today’s time?"


I still remember the time when priests, monks and nuns appeared in public in their clerical garments. In some southern European countries, you can still see the popes in their official attire on the street. Unfortunately, this beautiful custom has largely been abolished in our regions.




The black frock makes it clear to everyone: One has a clergyman before oneself who leads a life according to higher principles; whom you must not offer any alcohol, meat, cigarettes or sweets; to whom you may turn for spiritual guidance or counsel; in whose presence you have to pull yourself together and behave appropriately.


The costume helps its wearer not to forget himself and always, especially in public, to act as a worthy representative of his office. So dressed, he will not say or do anything that undermines the confidence in his high position. In addition, the cloak has a wholesome and uplifting effect on the environment as well. (Arnold Böcklin "Holy Grove")


We do not want to make a fool of ourselves and as westerners go public with a turban and caftan in a western city.


Nevertheless, I am waiting with longing for the time when it will again be common practice to take to the streets in the white coat of the philosopher. (Emperor Antonius Pius)


As long as that is not possible, the few spiritually minded ones cannot help but create a choice garb in their imagination and appear on the stage of the world with the corresponding dignity.


You are the first New Man and the only man of spirit in your town. This must also be recognizable from your subtle clothes.


"Could you give an example for such a situation?"


It is known that Mahatma Kuthumi studied at the University of Leipzig for some time in the 1870s. He will not have distinguished himself outwardly from all the other students.


Recall that a Saint revered by you could not be distinguished outwardly by the eye of the newcomers. (Fiery World II, 377)


Outwardly Our messengers do not differ from the crowd. (Supermundane 694)


But you can imagine that Mahatma Kuthumi walked the streets of Leipzig with the same highness and dignity as if he had worn the white cloak of the Brotherhood.


Similarly, when you are wearing the Invisible Toga, you express a higher reality: You are the incarnation of a disciple!



8. Garment of the Soul

Nicholas Roerich „From Beyond“


By putting on the Invisible Toga, you are dressing your true Supratemporal Individuality (disciple, king, healer, spiritual warrior) that you have adopted in addition to your perishable worldly personality (shoemaker, father of a family, nurse).


The Invisible Toga is the dress of your soul, the subtle garment of your Eternal Individuality.


We had already said (Broadcasting "Preparation for Death in Dignity " of the Series "Aspects of the Practice of Agni Yoga"): Even after death in the Subtle World, you have to put on some dress. It is best to consider already now, how your eternal costume should look like over there, so that you will not belong to those who wander around in chaotic tatters in the Hereafter.


You remember how someone who had just entered the Subtle World was helpless and could not even fashion a garment for himself because he had lost the clarity of his thinking. (Supermundane, 223)


As your body, your soul should not enter the public unclothed either.


People feel a need to create a garment for themselves immediately, but their undisciplined imagination can visualize only scraps of their attire. (Supermundane, 62)


Like everything else in the Subtle World, your clothes as well are created by your own thoughts. Take advantage of the immeasurable possibilities that are offered over there! Let your imagination run free! Think of, and thereby create a beautiful robe!


Everything is possible!


The extent of your imagination is the only limit which is set for you: Only that what you cannot imagine you will not be able to create either.


You can and must learn this thought creation already now, during earthly life. Once arrived in the Higher World, it will be too late.


Is it possible that people do not think it behooves them to secure an attire of Light for the solemn Abode in the Fiery World? (Fiery World I, 529)


You should know: What is your Eternal Individuality in the Subtle World, or what is it to become? A king of the spirit? A disciple? A healer? A spiritual warrior? Accordingly, you have to appear, and that also means: to be dressed over there.


When in her subtle body, Urusvati [Helena Roerich] usually appears in a purple Grecian garment. (Supermundane, 62)


We had already said (Broadcasting "Bring your Soul to Life"): The pyramid of man is a unit consisting of physical, subtle and fiery body, which we must not separate while staying on the material level. This means: On earth you carry your eternal, subtle attire in addition to the physical, worldly clothes.


You lead a double life: Materially you are dressed like a shoemaker and spiritually like a king.




As with your worldly, so with the garment of your soul you must pay attention to purity.


The white robe of an emissary of the Brotherhood must not reveal any stains. (Nicholas Roerich "From Beyond")


You must not besmirch your Subtle Tunic with dirty thoughts, feelings, words or deeds.


The chasubles of the new spiritual instructors must be truly stainless. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 12.09.1934)


Ultimately, your robe of light is your aura. When we say: Dress yourself in an "Invisible Toga", we mean: Make sure that you are surrounded by a high, beautiful radiance. May these emanations shine through your physical shell in such a way that they are almost visible. May they be so strong that no one dares to behave unworthily in your presence.



9. The Invisible Crown


We can modify the exercise a little bit and say: Put upon your head the Invisible Crown of a king of the spirit!


Make sure that this crown never falls into the dirt. At least, get up right away once you have crashed.


More about this we shall discuss in the Broadcasting "King of the Spirit" (Series “Aspects of the Practice of Agni Yoga”).


Hold fast thy Crown lest it be taken from thee in the fire; the Crown which thou hast won by unselfish service, by endurance, by loyalty and sacrifice. When the candidate gains the height of Universal Love and Service then comes the test as to his ability to hold that point.

A rain of destructive fire descends upon him, and many hands of avarice, envy, jealousy, ambition and selfishness stretch out to take that Crown. The mass of people do not want anyone to go beyond their level. Therefore the one who attains is a shining target for these forces.

Thou canst hold fast that Crown by a pure unselfish heart, for thou art one with the Masters of Love, Wisdom and Compassion in the Great Work of helping humanity to higher levels of consciousness. (From the Mountain Top Vol. II, Lesson “Hold fast Thy Crown”)


When you regard yourself as a spiritual disciple, the practice runs: Put the ring on the finger, which the Mahatmas sometimes bestow on an accepted disciple. Like a physical wedding ring as a token of faithfulness to your partner, you may wear this virtual ring to remind you of the devotion to your teacher.




Crown and ring give authority and dignity to your appearance, even if you create them "only" as a subtle reality.



10. The spiritual Armour


Another variant of our exercise runs: Imagine dressing in the morning in a spiritual armour from which all attacks are to bounce off during the day.


As a samurai or a knight wears his armour to protect himself against physical attacks. (Titian "Emperor Karl V")


How does the Bible say so beautifully:


Put on the whole armour of God. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6, 11 ff)


"What does this spiritual armour consist of?"


I will safeguard you with a helmet of faith, an armour of devotion, and a shield of victory. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 263 [299])


My spirit is arrayed in the armour of fearlessness. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 263 [266]


By night cover yourself with Our Name. By day gird yourself in the armour of devotion. (Agni Yoga 102)


Of course, we are talking not about physical, but spiritual protection against hostile energies; about the protective net that you create around you with the help of your psychic energy, as we had discussed in the Broadcasting on "Psychic Energy" (Series “Introduction to Agni Yoga”).


Some light-minded people think that a mechanical utterance of the Highest Names will protect them immediately from dark assaults. However, it is not mechanics but the pure fire of the heart that creates a firm shield. (Supermundane, 26)


"How do I forge this armour?"


The spiritual armour, like any other reality of the Subtle World, is created by your own thoughts.


The path to Yoga is open only to the one who has encircled himself with purity of thinking, which produces an invincible aura. (Agni Yoga 182)


Here as well, the consciousness of your immortality is crucial. When you overcome the fear of death, you are invulnerable and invincible, and no attack can do you any harm. (See the Broadcasting “Exercise Invulnerability” of the Series “Spiritual Exercises of Agni Yoga”)


Though the wayfarer will be exposed to many terrors, he will know that his essence is inviolable. With this firm armour the hero proceeds in his earthly life. (Supermundane, 840)



11. The Invisible Pearl


Finally, let us discuss one last modification:


There is a traditional exercise, also recommended by physiotherapists, to improve both your physical and your mental stance:


Imagine: You are wearing a precious, golden pearl diadem around your neck which you wish to bring to the eyes of the world. To achieve that, you straighten up your upper body, chest out, stomach in, chin up, shoulders apart and backwards. Some examples you see here:






(Swetoslaw Roerich "Helena Roerich", Sophia Schliemann with the treasure of Troy, Maria Callas, Audrey Hepburn)


Try it out! If you practice this, you will soon notice:


All of a sudden, you present yourself in a completely different way!


You straighten yourself up, both physically and spiritually. The thought alone, the very idea of wearing a pearl around your neck makes you behave quite differently – free, confident, beautiful and superior.


Like an army commander displaying his medals, you proudly show what you own, what you are! (Emperor Wilhelm II)


Ye are the light of the world. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick. Let your light so shine before men. (Matthew 5, 14-16)


Of course, your outward appearance is but a reflection of your inner being. However, the reverse is true as well: A good physical attitude also strengthens your spirit.


You must avoid at all costs a depressed – physical or mental – position, which ultimately leads to the disease Ankylosing spondylitis.


This exercise, which has nothing esoteric about it, but is derived from classical medicine, proves the benefit of the Agni Yoga practice, which we are emphasizing again and again:


The image, the ideal that you animate, shape, nourish, and let grow is a spiritual reality with tangible effects on the material level as well.


As you gradually make the attitude "The Invisible Pearl" a favourite habit, you strengthen and elevate not only your physical, but also your true, eternal being.


A physical position leads to a superior spiritual attitude!


You little man grow to become a hero, a king of the spirit, the disciple of Master or a spiritual warrior.