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„THE  10  PILLARS  OF  THE  PRACTICE  OF  AGNI  YOGA“

 

 

10th Pillar: Self-Perfection

 

 

Dear Agni Yogis,

 

today we shall be talking about to the 10th and last of the Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga: education or self-perfection. This is one of the four spheres of life.

 

The disciple asks: “What do you mean by spheres of life?”  

 

We repeat: What is an Agni Yogi doing all day long? Four things: 1. connection with the higher world or meditation, 2. service to the common good, 3. service to the neighbour and 4. training or self-perfection (see the Broadcasting “Overview”). Our motto is:

 

Every day, we weave a new fibre into the Silvery Thread of the connection with the teacher. Every day, we contribute a stone to the building of the New World. Every day, we take another step on the Spiritual Path of ascent.

 

"That sounds like hard, arduous and unpleasant work."

 

Of course, practising Agni Yoga does not mean honey licking.

 

Self-perfectment is the most difficult heroic deed. (Fiery World I, 652)

 

Let me try to make the work on yourself more palatable for you. The key is to recognize:

 

There lies a gigantic potential hidden within you!

 

There are higher abilities, almost fantastic spiritual powers hidden within you. To name just a few: The man of the future will be able to move objects with mental force, to walk on the water and to heal spiritually like Jesus, to read thoughts and even to fly! The cosmic giant inside you is urging to reveal itself.

 

Reflect that people are fully equipped for the furthermost evolution. (Brotherhood 492)

 

If you do not take advantage of the possibilities that lie dormant within you, you are spoiling your mission.

 

Unfold what is pure, beautiful and great within you!

 

You are much greater than you think!

 

The fourth sphere of life, education or self-perfection, aims at developing this potential! Your true being, the soul demands perfection. Like all creatures, it strives to the light, to the heights.

 

It is a joyous fact that the essence of human nature strives toward perfection. An animal state is inadmissible. (Supermundane 373)

 

Perfection is the ultimate aim of the soul of man. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 230 “A Supreme Being”)

 

We had already said (Broadcasting "The Meaning of Life"): It is the very purpose of your life to grow, to become ever greater and stronger, to ascend continuously on the endless ladder of the Hierarchy.

 

Why are you living? In order to cognize and to perfect yourselves. (Community 230)

 

Eternal life means eternal growth – unlimited development to heights still unimaginable today.

 

Our mission is: The line that leads from minerals via plants and animals up to us humans we are called upon to continue further upwards and to climb step by step ever higher levels of evolution.

 

I wish to see you upon the next step. (Community 17)

 

The proud motto of the New Man is:

 

I am on the path to God!

 

Only in perfectionment of the spirit may man become like the Higher Force. (Fiery World III, 110)

 

One must assert striving to the Highest as the essence of life and assume a reverent attitude toward this salutary striving. (Hierarchy 57)

 

God's image within you shows you the way. Every imperfection that still adheres to you is a deviation from your ideal.

 

What a wonderful concept, that man has been created in the Image of God! Surely, such an exhortation is a powerful call to perfectionment of the spirit. Reminding about the Prototype of God must lead man unto New Paths. (Fiery World III, 147)

 

The disciple is not above his master; but everyone that is perfect shall be as his master. (Luke 6, 40)

 

Is this not a wonderful goal for which every effort is worthwhile?

 

When will people comprehend the wondrousness of becoming like the Highest Beings? (Agni Yoga 215)

 

The labour of endless perfectionment is ordained by Us. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 358 [362])

 

It is a true catastrophe in the spiritual sense that humanity has lost sight of its destiny to grow infinitely.

 

Indeed, for centuries the idea of perfectionment has departed from mankind. (Fiery World III, 326)

 

The refined nature does not seek personal well-being, for it strives toward perfection. (Supermundane 505)

 

The next level on this infinite path will be the man of spirit of the 6th race. You should not believe that this New Man will appear on earth by inheritance or otherwise out of the blue.

 

There is so much talk about indigo children who are born suddenly, and nobody knows why.

 

This is mysticism, and you must not fall for that. Nothing in the Universe happens by itself and without cause. It took a gigantic effort on the part of the last animals to rise from four legs to two legs and thus to become the first humans. If they had not put up with this challenge, we would not even exist today!

 

Likewise, the New Man of the 6th race will only arise if individual humans through a heroic uplift transform into immortal beings of spirit and more and more old men follow their shining example. Thus we retain:

 

It is only on the path of self-education that we can live up to our mission on earth.

 

 

Section I: Education

 

The Spiritual Path of inner growth is a path of education. Those will benefit most from the Teaching of Living Ethics who treat it as a book with lectures, exercises and instructions from the Masters to their disciples.

 

Our Teaching is not a campaigning one; it is an instructive one, intended for those who already desire to perfect themselves. (Agni Yoga 543)

 

We are, therefore, about to found a school of the Lord's service. (Rule of St. Benedict, foreword, 45)

 

You enter a school of perfection. From now on, you will happily greet each new day as a school day that offers you many opportunities for improvement and on which, if you stay on the path, you can only learn – that is ascend.

 

Each new day offers new possibilities for approaching the limitless growth. (Infinity I, 113)

 

But realizing refinement of thought, we all must command ourselves to move with evolution; then every day becomes a day of conquest. (Agni Yoga 580)

 

The superiority of the new over the old man rests on the one hand on his higher knowledge of the fundamental basics of existence and on the other hand on a better education. The main reason why today's spiritual communities tend to fail is because they neglect this holistic, theoretical and practical education. And because there are no teachers, no Masters of Life who are capable to teach and to elevate disciples.

 

 

1. Self-Education

 

Agni Yoga calls for the next level of evolution. Where do we want to start in order to reach this high goal, if not with ourselves?

 

The success of perfection begins with self-perfection. (AUM 211)

 

The time has come for people to cease lecturing and to apply themselves to strict self-betterment. (Supermundane 363)

 

It is not the world that is bad, but man. Coarseness, cruelty and selfishness are not somewhere out there "in the world", but within ourselves. Here they have to be fought, then the world will get better by itself.

 

The world will only become enlightened, harmonious, peaceful, beautiful and just if you and I, the people who control it, are enlightened, harmonious, peaceful, beautiful and just.

 

Not the World is cruel, but man. Not the World proves unjust, but man. The purification of the consciousness is the great task on the path to the Fiery World. (Fiery World III, 337)

 

"Thus, what is my contribution to improving the world?"

 

First, develop to an immortal spirit, a role model that others can imitate. The superior type of the New Man of the 6th race must and will spread – like bipeds among four-legged creatures. The old men just have to see it, then they will immediately feel the longing to climb this wonderful higher level themselves as well. And with the spread of the man of the future, the world of the future will emerge of its own accord.

 

You yourself must be the change you wish to see in the world. (Gandhi)

 

Everything – both your personal Spiritual Path and the building of the New World – starts with your starting to work on yourself!

 

Take your training or self-perfection into your own hands! Unlike the animals, we humans can reach the next level of evolution only with our own conscious cooperation.

 

Starting with self-improvement you proceed toward Infinity. (Community 121)

 

Each step of life must be considered as being indispensable for self-improvement. (Agni Yoga 36)

 

In the spiritual realm everyone is a self-made man: There is no success based on the achievements of others.

 

Self-education is a manifestation of synthesis. (Fiery World III, 75)

 

Do not expect someone else to carry you up to the top. You have to climb there yourself!

 

The average man and woman is prone to believe he has only to wait long enough to have the secrets of Occultism, pertaining to psychic and spiritual development, unveiled and to be able to avail himself of all such advantages without special effort on his part, and so he refuses to accept the statements of the older Seers regarding personal effort, or to use the only methods by which advancement in those fields is possible, as those methods have been outlined, for they invariably call for a greater amount of self-sacrifice than he feels willing to make. But this is where he makes his great mistake, for he never can attain to the understanding or use of the only powers that will differentiate him from others in the mediocre degrees of life, by means of the effort of others. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 99 “The Middle Point”)

 

Others can funnel intellectual school knowledge into you. But only you yourself can work on the elevation of your own being. The teacher can give advice, raise your consciousness and go ahead. However, you yourself must carry out these instructions, walk the indicated path and follow the example.

 

I say to you, "follow me" (for I cannot carry you), and I point you to the mile – stones along the Path which I have travelled. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 25 “Selflessness, the one Thing needful”)

 

I am unable to bring you up. You have to bring you up yourself!

 

No Saviour, no Master or Adept in the heavens above or the earth beneath can carry a man farther up the path to the gods than his own will allows. All that a Master can do is to point out the steps, endeavour to show the disciple how he can obtain the spiritual nourishment he will require on his journey, and give him a staff of knowledge to enable him to protect himself from the antagonistic forces he will inevitably meet on the way; then he must draw in and await the result. All the rest depends upon the individual man. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 231 “The Unknowable”)

 

Walking the path of self-perfection is of paramount importance at a time when not only children and dogs are badly brought up, but also adults – because they have lost the consciousness of their mission to shape themselves according to an ideal and to gradually grow greater.

 

Beware of indulging too much in high ideas: If you shy away from the tedious work of self-education, of the incarnation of your high thoughts, you will not change, you will not make progress on the Spiritual Path, and you will not advance the world either.

 

*****

 

Everyone who has just read the first pages of Agni Yoga wants to become a teacher right away.

 

"Yes, sure, me too!"

 

An excellent project! But first, educate yourself before you start instructing others! Your soul is still like a toddler or a disciple. Once you have raised it, you will be ahead of others, and only then you can be their teacher.

 

 

2. Formation of the Eternal Individuality

 

"What is the difference between worldly and spiritual education?"

 

In secular schools, body and intellect are trained, of which, however, nothing remains. The spiritual education focuses on the accumulations of your Eternal Individuality, which you will retain permanently on your infinite path far beyond the material level. At its next incarnation, your soul will bring back to earth whatever it has appropriated today.

 

We are here only for the perfectment of the spirit. (Heart 400)

 

You must, you are granted the opportunity to enrich this treasure during this lifetime; you may increase your true wealth!

 

The spirit must acknowledge that through its strivings it lives not for one life-round but for a cycle vouchsafed by Infinity. (Infinity I, 149)

 

The education we are talking about today does not concern the outside, but the inside of man. For this, completely different rules and methods apply than you were used to before.

 

Everything mechanical concerns only the outer man and cannot reorganize the inner man, and therefore is worthless. (Letters of Helena Roerich Vol. I, letter of 29.08.1934)

 

Nothing mechanical can transform the inner man, and this transformation is the chief aim of all the true Teachings. Therefore, one must always bear in mind that all the Great Teachers are concerned with the inner man, whose realm is in the sphere of motives and thoughts. (Letters of Helena Roerich Vol. I, letter of 21.07. 1934)

 

The feat of striving for perfection is an inner process.

 

The labour of an Agni Yogi is above all inner work!

 

You are educating your inner being, your true, higher, Eternal Self: So that it becomes a co-worker or a disciple of the Brotherhood, a teacher, master, king of the spirit, healer or spiritual warrior, that means a Great Soul – regardless of the external position which your transient personality occupies in the current short earthly life. This work on your consciousness is much more important than the worldly labour that you have to carry out at the same time.

 

The crowns of the Masters are in their royally beautiful radiations. (Letters of Helena Roerich Vol. I, letter of 08.11.1934)

 

Some think that chastisement of spirit and body are necessary. But We say achievement of spirit is needed. And this fiery quality is attained only through the inner Fire of the heart. (Fiery World III, 118)

 

These are the treasures in Heaven that we are to gather according to Jesus' words:

 

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. (Matthew 6, 19, 20)

 

You yourself are to get greater. Your soul is to grow, not your library, your house or your bank account.

 

As you ought to notice, Agni Yoga requires first of all a spiritual development. Without it, all other indications and secondary measures are useless. (Letters of Helena Roerich Vol. I, letter of 28.08.1931)

 

So in everything let us aspire to the inner—in other words, to the depths. (Heart 397)

 

We remember (see the Broadcasting “Bring your Soul to Life”, Series “Experiment Immortality”): You are shaping your Eternal Individuality like a work of art! The apparently somewhat boring and perhaps even repugnant concept of "education and self-perfection" means in reality something wonderful, something highly creative:

 

You are toiling every day, every moment to make this work of art – your own true self! – greater, stronger and more beautiful!

 

 

3. Exercise

 

“I am studying the books of Agni Yoga every day. What more do I have to do?"

 

Knowledge is necessary, but not enough. Moving forward on the Spiritual Path requires more than studying occult scriptures. The application in everyday life of what you read, the conversion of cognition into matter, into the flesh is our task!

 

He will understand that it is not dead scholarship that is needed, but realization and application. (Agni Yoga 527)

 

Some suppose that spirituality consists in the reading of spiritual books. There are many such readers but few who carry out. (Fiery World II, 447)

 

Especially harmful are those who read much, but assimilate nothing. (Supermundane 693)

 

No less than your body, your soul as well grows greater and stronger only through constant training, through toil, setbacks, experience, improvement and again and again toil.

 

It is essential that the Teaching be put into practice not as the whim of a single day but as an ongoing exercise, one that is free of irritation and vexation. (Heart 108)

 

The following instruction also applies to your personal development:

 

Everything is labour and experience. (Agni Yoga 225)

 

I suggest that power be understood as being gained from the accumulations of experience. We are again in the garden of life, where experience assures attainment. (Agni Yoga 160)

 

The practice of Agni Yoga mainly consists of spiritual exercises in the middle of everyday life.

 

The whole life of the disciple is nothing but spiritual exercise.

 

The entire practice we have discussed in the previous Broadcastings consists of spiritual exercises: Elevation, Transformation into an immortal spiritual Being, strengthening the soul, gaining inviolability; acquiring a firm inner bearing, the right attitude towards work and the difficulties, obstacles, needs and sufferings of everyday life; mastering moods, thoughts and feelings, keeping joy in all situations; prayer and meditation, the 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga, Living in the continuous Presence of the Teacher, the Invisible Toga, the Path of the Inner Temple, the Fiery Condition: all these are nothing else but spiritual exercises.

 

Verily, everything must be educated. (AUM 239)

 

Every new day offers you a myriad of ways to grow greater. Make use of them! That is only possible on Earth. After death you will regret every opportunity you missed!

 

The New Man differs from the old in that he regards every moment, especially a difficult one, as an opportunity to practise, to grow, to strengthen his spiritual powers and to refine his spiritual senses.

 

*****

 

Creating the New Man means developing new skills.

 

This is only possible through hard and persistent training. Like all other human abilities, athletic or musical, physical or intellectual, mastery, the superiority of the future man of spirit, thought reading, telekinesis, levitation and all other higher skills of the soul can only be achieved through practice and again and again practice.

 

As the saying goes:

 

In German: No master has fallen from heaven yet. In English: No one is born a master.

 

In order to develop on the one hand the powers and on the other hand the senses of your Eternal Individuality, the same perseverance and endurance is required that athletes and acrobats use to master their bodies and musicians their instruments.

 

Even the loftiest thinker will not deny that he is in need of exercise, just as a musician must practice constantly. (Supermundane 424)

 

Only mental exercise can produce elevated heart-knowledge. (Supermundane 852)

 

"Asceticism" means exercise; that you should not regard as deterrent but as tool for your ascent.

 

Practice takes away the difficulty and you find that what you thought was impossible is easy. (St. Bernhard von Clairvaux letter 1, 13)

 

*****

 

"Often I am so overwhelmed by worldly commitments that I cannot even think of self-perfection."

 

I am sorry, but that is completely wrong! Nobody and nothing can prevent you from working inwardly and thereby growing greater!

 

Always and in all circumstances you may practise and thereby rise.

 

Adverse external conditions and weaknesses of the body offer the best opportunities to progress in your spiritual development, as we had already discussed (Broadcasting "Rejoice at Obstacles!").

 

When a bird of paradise was asked from where its brilliant feathers came, it answered, “Many poisoned arrows glanced off me and the most virulent poison gave me the best hue.” (Agni Yoga 453)

 

 

Practical Tip

Nicholas Roerich "Brahmaputra"

 

Get into the habit of living a double life: On the material level, your body and your intellect are active in the earthly world. At the same time (!) on the inner level you make use of every opportunity, of every hour, to promote the growth of your soul, to make it greater, stronger and more beautiful.

 

Both works, the outer and the inner one, proceed hand in hand, side by side and independently of each other. That is one of the crucial aspects of the practice of Agni Yoga!

 

You are living and working consciously on both the material and the spiritual level.

 

Under the pressure of everyday, external demands we are constantly in danger of neglecting the inner work on our consciousness. Although it is the more important one: First comes the New Man, then the New World. And no external success of your perishable personality is worth being paid for by an injury to or a crash of your Eternal Individuality.

 

This is what Jesus meant with his eternal words:

 

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8, 36)

 

*****

 

"I still do not quite see how in the foreseeable future I can make real progress towards the fantastic higher skills you mentioned !?"

 

But you have unlimited time at your disposal!

 

How infinitely high will you get if you climb one rung only on the Jacob's ladder every day!

 

Each step of the ladder of the spirit must be traversed. How majestic is the Ladder to the Fiery World, which has in a year 366 steps by day and 366 by night! Every step is distinct from every other, and let each one be better than the preceding one. (Fiery World II, 280)

 

May you stand in the evening of every new day one step higher than in the morning!

 

Every day should become a stone of this building. (Supermundane 324)

 

The consolation does not lie in the fact that a failure is not possible, but in the fact that each achievement of good means the manifestation of a new progress. (Fiery World II, 233)

 

If you only grow 1 cm every day, that is 3.65 m a year and 36.5 m in 10 years!

 

*****

 

“I am unable to use my spiritual skills in everyday life. What should I do?"

 

There are not only outward but also inward actions.

 

When there is no opportunity to act externally, you are still busy with endless learning. Be grateful for this time that you can use for practising, for preparation.

 

Whether there are ways to act or whether you have to stay outside society depends on circumstances that you cannot safely influence. According to the law of correspondence, by striving for perfection, you will certainly attract external possibilities as well.

 

Activity can be of two kinds, external and internal. A person may not yet have the opportunity to begin external activity, although his inner resolve is already fixed upon seeking truth and a desire for self-perfectment. But his striving creates within him a sort of magnet, which attracts the outer possibilities. (Supermundane 283)

 

Like a "sleeper" in a hostile environment you are preparing yourself in a silent and unrecognizable manner for your mission, to which the Brotherhood will inevitably call you sooner or later – namely when the time is ripe and when you are adequately trained.

 

You must be able to live in readiness, and this quality requires considerable training. (Heart 562)

 

There are tiresome and dangerous periods of transition, which may be endured only by trust in the Guide. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 136)

 

*****

 

"Is there a program of exercises?"

 

Of course! Agni Yoga and thus our school offer a complete program for your ascent from a small to a Great Soul:

 

Participate in the "Experiment Immortality" and carry out the exercises belonging thereto: The transformation into an immortal being of spirit, the attainment of inviolability, invincibility, fearlessness, freedom, dignity and so on, as described in the Series "Experiment Immortality".

 

Set up in your life the 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga: Maintaining a higher level of consciousness, rhythm of the day and nutrition according to spiritual principles; obedience, living in two worlds and selflessness; connection with the higher world, service and training (Series “The 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga”): These are all spiritual exercises!

 

If you practise all this successfully, you will have taken already quite a big step forward in the Agni Yoga program of training and exercises. This is the basis on which we will continue to advance in the Series on “Education”.

 

The movie "The Last Samurai" starring Tom Cruise is a fine example of our path: The entire Samurai village is busy practising sword fighting every free minute. In the world of the future, the spiritual warriors in addition to their worldly work are continually practising on the inner level the strengthening of their soul.

 

 

4. Education in the Middle of Life

 

“Many travel to India and look for a guru there to find enlightenment and guidance. Is that my path too? "

 

No! A disciple of Agni Yoga should not leave his usual sphere of life.

 

Therefore, I do not advise your friend to go to India only in search of a Teacher, for he will merely waste a great amount of strength and time, which will not be justified by the results. Knowledge can be acquired in any country, just as the Teacher invariably appears when the disciple is ready. This law is immutable. (Letters of Helena Roerich Vol. II, letter of 23.10.1937)

 

Your education takes place in the middle of everyday life.

 

Trust in it: Karma has placed you exactly there where you can best learn and advance. According to the law of correspondence, life itself presents you with precisely those tasks that enable you to take the next step of progress, growth and ascent.

 

Above all things, put away from you the false idea that such training is to be had by seeking it amidst the mountains of the Himalaya or the temples of ancient Hind or Egypt, the religious monasteries, or the countless self-announced teachers of other lands than your own.

If you believe in the laws of cause and effect you should be able to see that you have been placed in your present environment to work out some much needed change in your own character and surroundings. When that change has been made and it has become necessary for you to seek other racial opportunities, the law will place you there.

But if you run away from present duties and necessities, you will gain nothing and only have to return to and remain in the environment you have deserted. When you are ready for a change in the right direction, if your heart is fixed on necessary training for such a field as I have suggested, the way will open for it. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “The Seven Builders”)

 

You can practise, acquire, test and confirm the skills of the future man of the spirit best of all in the midst of everyday life.

 

Do you wish to give proof of your best quality? Ask yourself about it. Do not wait for an opportunity, because each instant provides many opportunities to display any quality; one has but to wish to disclose it. (Brotherhood 554)

 

Life itself is the best school! The difficulties of everyday life are the best teachers!

 

Life provides man with an opportunity to test any quality whatsoever. In everyday life there can be found the possibility of application of any quality. If a man begins to insist that he has been deprived of the possibility of applying his best qualities, he will reveal his own dullness. For the long journey let us gather together as many qualities as possible. Let each of them be of the best degree! (Brotherhood 60, 61)

 

"How then do I learn when I don't go to school at all?"

 

Let us take as an example the first, fundamental quality of the New immortal Man: Inviolability: Every day you face a variety of challenges that offer you the opportunity to acquire this property through practice, to deepen it through perseverance and to test it again and again.

 

Every hour you are exposed to attacks. A small soul runs the risk of being injured. Every hour, your Eternal Individuality must assert itself as a Great inviolable Soul.

 

Moreover, you cannot set up the 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga, the first in the series of exercises, anywhere else than in everyday life.

 

*****

 

The initiation tests are no longer of an artificial nature, as was the case in the mysteries of Egypt or Greece.

 

In ancient Egypt the neophytes had to pass through fearful, artificially created, dangers and temptations, and only a very small number of them were able to stand the trial. In our days all artificial tests are abolished, and the disciple must be able to face and overcome the difficulties and obstacles of everyday life. (Letters of Helena Roerich Vol. I, letter of 12.12.1934)

 

Your progress will be tested by life itself!

 

Only in everyday earthly life, in the midst of worldly difficulties and needs, can you prove that you have actually moved forward.

 

We shall be ready to accept the Fiery Baptism in life. (Heart 210)

 

 

Practical Tip

Nicholas Roerich "Brahmaputra"

 

As a disciple, you visit your teacher's Ashram in the morning and in the evening at fixed times – not physically but in spirit (see the Broadcastings "Become a Disciple!" and "Living in the Ashram of the Teacher"). During the day you participate in normal earthly life with the aim of practising and applying what you have learned in the Temple, of trying out and using your new spiritual powers and senses.

 

You truly live a double life: partly in the Temple, partly in the middle of the world.

 

Read again the beautiful book "Initiation" by Elisabeth Haich. It vividly describes how the spiritual disciple can lead a life in the morning as an apprentice in the Temple and in the afternoon as a bearer of office in the world.

 

If you manage to defend the consciousness, the spiritual discipline, and the dignified attitude of a spiritual warrior, a disciple, or a king of the spirit on the material level, whatever happens to you, you have already reached a high level of initiation!

 

After numerous trials, you may be offered more comfortable conditions – but only in order to allow you to carry out higher tasks.

 

True achievement is not in artificially safeguarding oneself from harmful and impeding influences, but in rising above all obstacles by the power of the spirit. And only when this has been achieved has a man the right to retire into better conditions, in order not to waste the high energy on self-defence but to give it fully to the service of humanity. (Letters of Helena Roerich Vol. II, letter of 30.03.1936)

 

 

Section II: Renouncing bad Habits and bad Qualities

 

We are now coming to a crucial point: One can use many sublime, abstract and complicated words about attaining immortality and inviolability, increasing your vibration, ramping up your body of light, the New Man, the coming 6th race, reaching the next stage of evolution and even the path to God: Howsoever you twist and turn it, in the end Agni Yoga, like all other religions and teachings of wisdom, amounts to one and the same thing only :

 

You have got to become a better man!

 

"Can we do without the moralizing forefinger?"

 

If that is too sour for you, we can also put it scientifically: We want to reach a higher level of human development. We want to grow greater. We want to climb the next rung on the ladder of evolution. Fundamentally, this means nothing else than:

 

We have to cast off bad qualities and acquire better ones.

 

Or, again without morals: Leave behind what belongs to the outdated, animal stage! Acquire those new, future-orientated skills that characterize a being of spirit of the next level! A higher being has higher abilities – it is as simple as that.

 

The elimination of one of your undesirable habits will bring you more benefit than learning by heart all the existing systems of cosmogony. (Letters of Helena Roerich Vol. I, letter of 12.04.1935)

 

This is arduous work. Most shy away from it and prefer to remain non-committal and in the abstract. Thereby, however, they will not advance.

 

Still others will speak of their love for the Teaching, but will not renounce a single bad habit. (Agni Yoga 543)

 

 

1. The Importance of Habits

 

On the path of self-education, our habits are of particular importance.

 

Habits are the second nature of man.

 

We are what we repeatedly do. (Aristotle)

 

Habit is our second nature—a wise proverb indicating to what an extent habit dominates man. (Brotherhood 529)

 

Observe your everyday life: Much of what you are doing happens automatically, almost against your will, at least against your better insight, only through the power of habit.

 

"What do you mean, for example?"

 

Well, what and how much you eat, for example, is almost entirely based on habit: You eat, even though you are not really hungry at all, just because it is time to eat, and too much or too heavy because it is such served to you. Even if you have already overcome the craving for meat, alcohol, sweets or tobacco, it is always the old patterns that make you relapse: There is a biscuit on the table, or you are offered a glass of wine, and you grab it without thinking.

 

However, we can also make use of this apparent disadvantage:

 

We change our habits and thus our nature.

 

Overcoming one’s habits was called in antiquity the opening of the Supermundane Gates. (Supermundane 825)

 

As we can get used to form a habit, so we can also get used to give it up again. Education, self-perfection therefore means above all:

 

You give up something bad, which is outdated, and get used to something better which is future-orientated.

 

 

2. No old Habits on new Ways

 

Old habits are ulcers that deface the original, pure state of your soul.

 

Doesn’t a child feel ashamed after his first feeble attempt to lie? Only by habit does a child harden his heart. That is why We call habits the calluses of the soul. (Heart 367)

 

Wash away the dust of habit. (Leaves of Morya's Garden I, 257 [293])

 

We are on the way to the future, to a renewal of life. On such a path, the atavisms, the obsolete habits of our forefathers, are serious obstacles. It may have made sense for the stone age man to gorge himself in order to build up a fat reserve for periods of need; all that remains of that habit today is pure gluttony.

 

Actually, the birth of the New Man fails mainly because of our old habits! May everyone recognize and overcome those patterns of behaviour which are unsuitable for our further evolution.

 

The search for new ways is the most imperative problem. Due to the unusualness of conditions of the future, it will be impossible to proceed by the old ways. All new ones must remember this. It is the worst thing when men do not know how to escape from the old rut. It is dreadful when people approach new conditions with their old habits. Just as it is impossible to open a present-day lock with a mediaeval key, likewise it is impossible for men with old habits to unlock the door to the future. It is necessary, necessary, necessary, to find new ways! (Infinity II, 484 [84])

 

In order to develop your Eternal Individuality, you want to strengthen the powers and refine the senses of your spirit. Then remove all the many old habits that weaken your inner strength and coarsen your inner senses!

 

Your desire is to be brought to communicate with one of us directly, so as to be guided. Yet hitherto you have not found "sufficient reasons" to even give up your "modes of life" — directly hostile to such modes of communications. This is hardly reasonable. He who would lift up high the banner of mysticism and proclaim its reign near at hand, must give the example to others. He must be the first to change his modes of life. (Mahatma Letter No.2 of 19.10.1880)

 

Those who want to grow greater despise what makes them small!

 

Customs make one customary. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 310 [314])

 

 

3. Casting off bad Habits

Michelangelo "The rebellious Slave"

 

Obsolete habits are a burden. They make us inflexible. They are real fetters. They prevent us from advancing into the future, which means moving forward to something new.

 

A free man is not chained by habits. He will know how to adapt himself to any conditions. (Supermundane 825)

 

We are actually slaves of our habits!

 

My habits have brought me to lack of will. (Supermundane 411)

 

Man carries within himself an inclination toward a most abhorrent slavery. Man is full of enslaving petty habits. Let us weigh which of our habits weaken our free will. (Supermundane 832)

 

It is a true liberation to shake off this yoke!

 

Urusvati knows the true meaning of self-enslavement. People love to talk about freedom from slavery. They care about other people, but forget about their own need for liberation. What is the slavery of every day, of every hour? Man has bound himself with petty habits. Can a yogi bow before the petty demons of daily routine? Can a traveller in the Supermundane World proceed freely under a load of petty, prickly habits? Man so fears to disturb the smallest particle of his daily routine that he does not sense how to approach the renewing of life. It is impossible to realize freedom, when slavery rules. Before thinking of the freedom of others, liberate yourself! (Supermundane 902)

 

"How can I free myself?"

 

Urusvati knows the true meaning of self-liberation. Fear, irritation, lies, envy, slander and all other enemies of man must be banished, but without the free will it is impossible to conquer them. It is sometimes said that vices must be outlived, but in trying to prolong this transitory state people use this as an excuse to procrastinate. Therefore it is best to replace the idea of outliving one’s faults with a command to liberate oneself. Verily, a firm will can, like a sword, cut away bad habits. (Supermundane 890)

 

Your strength can only grow, it will be easier for you to ascend if you cast off unnecessary ballast.

 

Just as when the branches of a tree are hewn down the trunk gains strengths, so does the abandoning of habits purify the spirit. (Leaves of Morya's Garden I, 232 [266])

 

The habits of the body obstruct the development of the spirit.

 

"What do you mean by that?"

 

You remember the cycle of involution and evolution. After passing the lowest point, we are today on the ascending arc of the spiritualization of matter. It is not preaching morality, but an experience you will make yourself: The pleasures and the sluggishness of the body are diametrically opposed to the elevation, the upswing of the spirit – because they are not directed towards spiritualization, but towards carnalization.

 

The difficulties of the path are caused by the habits of the body. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 247 [283]).

 

 

 

Practical Tip

Nicholas Roerich "Brahmaputra"

 

The abstract concept of the evolution of the spirit becomes concrete when you listen to the voice of the soul, of the divine within you, and carry out what it tells you to do. In this one exercise, we may summarize the entire Agni Yoga training program.

 

The result of this practice will be:

 

You reveal only the Divine.

 

"How do I perceive what the Divine wishes to tell me?"

 

By listening to the voice of your heart! With its help the divine speaks to you. This most important organ of your Eternal Individuality warns you unfailingly against any unworthy deed.

 

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)

 

Self-perfection means above all education of the heart!

 

We shall talk about this in more detail in the Series on "Education”.

 

*****

 

Let us not hover in higher spheres beyond the clouds! It is precisely the seemingly harmless everyday habits that we must begin to overcome.

 

Because of the deadening influence of daily routine, how many priests have lost that which they had accumulated! Daily routine is the great testing stone. It opens the Gates of Eternity. (Fiery World I, 407)

 

Self-betterment must begin with the eradication of small, but harmful, habits. We particularly stress the importance of daily habits. People believe they must overcome the main obstacles at once, only to find that such drastic measures are beyond their capacity. One may also often observe instances when people imagine that they have rid themselves of their major sins, yet remain burdened with little ugly habits. A tree bent by the weight of ugly fruit, developed over ages, is a sad sight indeed. (Supermundane 370)

 

Let us never remain in the abstract. We are talking about the everyday little things.

 

A great deal must be removed from the path. It is necessary to examine everything ingrained. In this, one should begin checking the most trivial matters. Have you slept too long? How have you spoken with those around you? Have you deferred an urgent task? Have you forgotten solicitude about the Common Good? Thus question yourself without hypocrisy. (Community 213)

 

It is best to begin with small habits. Through realization of true values routine habits will be rendered insignificant. The best liberation comes through a comparison of insignificance with greatness. The chief enemies of cooperation will be the small habits of selfishness. (Brotherhood 529, 530)

 

Starting with the little habits of everyday life is per se not such a difficult task – if only you form the will to take up the fight and to end it victorious.

 

If someone were to collect in a single book all the forms of behaviour harmful to perfectment, he could easily ascertain how simple it is to overcome them. He could see from what small actions this evil accumulates. Is it difficult to give up trivial habits in one’s daily life? Is it difficult to suppress the small destructive acts that poison the body? (Heart 367)

 

Test yourself and others. Test for fear, for irritation, and for laziness—and for all failings that cause the litmus paper to blush with shame. (Agni Yoga 651)

 

And yet the small habits present us with great challenges:

 

Bear in mind that it is not easy to rid oneself of petty habits. Among them there are always some of which one is not even aware, and which only a keen-eyed observer can discern. Yet, the uncovering of such hidden habits often leads to complete transformation. Remember the ancient saying, “If you seize the lesser devil by the tail, he will lead you to his superior.” (Supermundane 370)

 

The trials on the path of ascent relate primarily to habits.

 

One can suppress habits, but it is not easy to eradicate them. It is Our custom to test those who are approaching the Brotherhood on liberation from habits. Such testings must be unexpected. (Brotherhood 529)

 

 

4. Casting off bad Qualities

 

Not the death of Christ on the cross, the grace of God or a bath in the Ganges, but the Spiritual Path will redeem us from evil. There is so much talk about making the world a better place. However, there is only one way to remove the scourges of humanity such as fear, strife, restlessness, lovelessness, greed, violence and selfishness:

 

Every single human being has to drive them out of himself!

 

Each and every one of us must become fearless, peaceful, calm, loving and selfless.

 

*****

 

The very essence of the practice of Agni Yoga, perhaps the most important among the thousands of instructions of the Mahatmas, is one simple exercise:

 

Identify your three worst qualities and get rid of them.

 

Purify your thoughts, and after determining your three worst traits, sacrifice them to be burned away in fiery striving. (Agni Yoga 185)

 

You have to reach down to the fundamentals of human character, select from these fundamentals those you would cultivate and those you would suppress, and then consciously set about doing so, before you can rise above your present mental and physical environment. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 149 “Self-Examination”)

 

This simple rule is actually a gigantic training program that can be continued infinitely in all worlds and in all incarnations. The Mahatmas themselves as well and the many creatures standing even higher, continue like we do to work on this task.

 

Penetrate deep into your innermost, determine your worst faults, choose one of them, and try with all your might to get rid of it by replacing it with its opposite. After getting rid of one vice, start to work upon another, and so on. It is not at all easy, but then nothing easy is fitting upon the royal path which leads to the Fiery World. (Letters of Helena Roerich Vol. I, letter of 29.08.1934)

 

This exercise is universal. You can practise it anytime, anywhere, even in the worst of circumstances.

 

Let no one say it is too difficult. Others have already discarded the properties from which you still suffer. So you can achieve that too.

 

Let us recall the qualities absolutely inadmissible in the community: ignorance, fear, falsehood, hypocrisy, cupidity, usurpation, drunkenness, smoking, and obscenity. Someone may say, “Do you wish to collect angels? The requirements are too high.” We shall reply, “All these requirements are frightening only for the philistine, who hides his wealth under his threshold. In the Himalayas, We have long ago found people to whom the above stipulations are no bugbear.” (Community 178)

 

Again we are speaking of the struggle between your lower, transient and your higher, Eternal Self. Much of you is still animalistic and has to be overcome if you want to reach the level of the man of spirit on which you express your divine part to a higher degree.

 

Strive by self-examination to look yourself honestly and fairly in the face, to recognize the qualities which belong to your lower selves and gain control of them. Of course, it is a long task – but you have Eternity to accomplish it in, so do not let that deter you from making a beginning, lest even Eternity be too short. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 186 “Egoism versus Egotism”)

 

Let me reveal the secret of success:

 

 

Practical Tip

Nicholas Roerich "Brahmaputra"

 

"Why do I keep failing, for example with the proverbial New Year's resolutions?"

 

There are two reasons for this: first, you do not have a plan, and second you are aiming too high.

 

First, you have to set up a program of exercises, and second, you should undertake to something only that you can easily implement.

 

First, proceed in a targeted and systematic way, as on a mountain tour! Make a concrete plan of ascent according to which you will practise and work. Write down the characteristics you want to get rid of first!

 

Let each one designate for himself a path of progression leading toward one of the higher worlds. (Infinity I, 75)

 

Check your progress every day!

 

Decide to take a specific step in the morning and give an account to yourself in the evening of how far you have succeeded – and do better next day if you were unsuccessful.

 

Thereby you use every day for ascent.

 

You will not wish to find yourself at the end of a day – or worse at the end of your life! – on the same level as at the beginning!

 

It is regrettable if the spirit who has lived through his cycle of life arrives at the same point from which he started. (Infinity I, 63)

 

On the contrary, the work of art that you chisel out of the raw material of your own soul should look a little greater, stronger and more beautiful in the evening than in the morning.

 

Second, you can make the difficult path to the heights easier – again as on a mountain tour – by dividing it into small steps, each of which is easy for you to master: You may make a firm commitment in the morning, you may promise yourself:

 

Today, I shall drink only two glasses of wine instead of three; or eat only half the amount of sweets; or smoke five cigarettes less. This is possible! If you stick to this, you will stand one step higher in the evening.

 

Next day – or maybe a little later, when what you have achieved is consolidated – you take the next step, which again will be small, but together with the steps of the days to come will safely lead to success. You are in no hurry! You have an eternity at your disposal! The secret of success is:

 

Many small but safe steps!

 

One small step a day, 365 small steps a year and so forth over countless incarnations! In this way you will climb inexorably the highest heights!

 

 

5. Acquire good Properties

Nicholas Roerich "Lama"

 

We prefer to formulate our goal positively: If the Teaching advises to get rid of bad qualities, this means practically: acquire the corresponding good ones: replace impatience with patience, irritability with serenity, fear with fearlessness, doubt with steadfastness, and so on.

 

"Can you substantiate this a little bit more? After all, everyone wants to become a better man somehow."

 

Yes, we must never lose sight of the great goal of our efforts: the next stage of evolution, the New immortal Man! The properties we have to acquire are therefore above all those that mark a being of spirit: invulnerability, fearlessness, freedom and joy (see in detail the Broadcasting “The Secret of Immortality Part III”).

 

Also think of the ascent on the ladder of the Hierarchy. You remember (Broadcasting "The Hierarchy"): The three basic characteristics of a Hierarch are purity, wisdom and power. You should start with developing them.

 

*****

 

In the Series on “Education”, we will talk in more detail about the many other attributes that are necessary or useful to acquire, such as imagination, discernment and sensitivity.

 

In general, we may say: Ask yourself: What skills does a master have (or, to start more modestly: a co-worker or a disciple), and which of them are you still lacking?

 

Your education must have a goal!

 

Imagine an ideal (co-worker, disciple, king of the spirit, healer, spiritual warrior, teacher, Agni Yoga master) and shape yourself according to this picture!

 

 

Section III: No Service without Self-perfection

 

1. Only the New Man will build the New World

 

We are now coming to another crucial point: The pursuit of self-perfection is so important above all for one reason:

 

Only the New Man can create the New World.

 

That is why all of our work for a better world has to start with ourselves.

 

"Why? Can't we just introduce a new system like the one you described in the Broadcastings on the New World? People will adapt!"

 

No! As there can be no state with monkeys and no democracy with savages, we cannot create a New World with the old, unspiritual man. In principle, good and valuable systems such as socialism or communism have failed because today's selfish man is not yet ripe for them spiritually, according to his inner nature, to his level of development.

 

Man must first improve himself before he can think of improving the world.

 

A new banner requires new people. (Leaves of Morya's Garden I, 375 [440])

 

Humanity needs to purify its existence, so reconstruction must begin from the hearth, from everyday life. The life principle will undergo a worldwide reformation following the personal channel. (Heart 173)

 

Those who have not proven that they can cure themselves and bring their own lives under the rule of the spirit must not dream of healing the world and conquering it for the spirit.

 

It is only by changing ourselves that can we change the world!

 

Only the healing of the inner life will help to elevate the life of society. (Supermundane 548)

 

Nothing changes until you change yourself. And then all of a sudden everything changes.

 

If more and more people reveal more and more the divine within them, the outward earthly life will finally come naturally and by itself in accordance with the Higher Will, the Cosmic Order. This is the only way to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.

 

First of all, it must be understood that man makes healthy not only himself but also all his surroundings. (Brotherhood 211)

 

The evolutionary goal is: To develop homo immortalis, the immortal man of spirit, from homo sapiens, which is still close to the animals. Compared with that, the external task of creating the New World is of subordinate importance:

 

If the New Man spreads, the New World will emerge by itself from communities of these New Men.

 

The outward conditions are always a reflection of the inner development. New forms of society would quickly lose their strength and wither away to empty shells if there are no New Men to fill them with new life.

 

To seek to achieve political reforms before we have effected a reform in human nature, is like putting new wine into old bottles. (H. Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy)

 

 

2. Suitability for Service

 

Today’s time suffers from too many uncalled for, self-appointed, unsuitable and themselves “helpless” helpers who cannot even cope with their own lives.

 

First comes being, then comes action. Only if you yourself are pure and holy will your works be pure and holy.

 

It is not deeds that sanctify a man; it is his high nature which elevates everything he does.

 

Do you wish to be a healer? First of all ask yourself if you have sufficient strength to issue it for help to your fellow-man. Indeed, ask yourself, Can I give without regret for myself? (Brotherhood 553)

 

Good will alone is not enough. The many well-intentioned people who are only "good" but do not have the knowledge and skills to effectively help others are causing the greatest damage.

 

Love without wisdom is simply a candidacy for the lunatic asylum. (Letters of Helena Roerich Vol. II, letter of 31.07. 1937)

 

"That sounds very rigorous, though!"

 

And yet there is a wealth of evidence for this: The “dear relatives” who, in the best of intentions, shower our children with sweets, thereby definitely harm them and counteract our education.

 

The psychologist who purports to “help” a 60-year-old patient by putting all the blame for his botched life on the allegedly deficient education by his parents – instead of making him understand that at his age it is high time to finally take over himself the responsibility for his own life.

 

Or the Church that "helps" by assuring that Jesus' death on the cross, a bath in the Ganges or an absolution by the confessor will wash away all our sins – and thus prevent people from starting the fight against the evil within themselves.

 

All this everyday madness is hardly diminished by love or good will.

 

Let us listen to a conversation from Henry James' novel "Washington Square":

 

“Do you think it is better to be clever than to be good?” “Good for what?” asked the Doctor. “You are good for nothing unless you are clever.” (John Singer Sargent "Henry James")

 

You must know before you are able. You must be able before you can manifest anything. (Leaves of Morya's Garden I, 198 [224])

 

If you are not even able to put your own life in order, you cannot establish a higher order in the world either.

 

It is too early to concern oneself with the downfall of the planet when one has not yet recognized one’s own downfall. One should first cure one’s own wounds, then walk with those who labour. (Agni Yoga 191)

 

"Lo, here, and lo, there", cry the would – be prophets, themselves powerless to find the safe path for their own feet to traverse, to say nothing of rightly guiding others. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 138 “The eternal Tragedy”)

 

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Matthew 7, 4 ff)

 

The spiritual warrior must be properly trained before he can be sent to battle. The higher he has ascended, the more powerfully can he fight for the good in the world.

 

In order to give one’s soul one should cultivate, expand, and refine it, then it can be given for the salvation of one’s neighbour. (Hierarchy 340)

 

The relentless law of the material level is:

 

A fighter for the cause of the spirit must be stronger, smarter and braver than his opponents, otherwise he will fail.

 

Each one who wishes to serve with Us knows that he will have to endure the assaults of darkness. (Supermundane 14)

 

You can only help another soul if you stand spiritually above it.

 

None may come to the rescue other than by holding more securely, more erect upon his own point, and thus generating increased strength to all others in similar situation. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “The Crystal Path”)

 

When thou hast cleansed thine own heart that the light of the sun of divine love may shine clearly through its meshes, then shalt thou see clearly to cleanse thy brother's heart. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 102 “The Light from the Lodge”)

 

If you wish to become a co-worker of the Brotherhood, you need to acquire the necessary skills!

 

My warriors, I can assemble you according to usefulness and devotion. (Hierarchy 118)

 

It is not enough to say, “I have come and I wish to serve,” for readiness to serve obliges the disciple to acquire discipline of spirit. It is insufficient to say that all indications of the Teaching have been accepted, for only in life is it possible to manifest acceptance of the Indications. If the earthly plane imposes hard and fast rules, the world of the spirit demands the manifestation of striving in life towards acceptance of the Covenant of Hierarchy. One must merit the realization of the Call. (Fiery World III, 127)

 

The highest Lords are entitled to make the highest demands on their representatives on earth.

 

Our condition for the co-workers is a complete desire to apply in life Our fundamentals, not in theory but in practice. (Community 65)

 

Where there is fear, where there is self-pity, where there is conceit, where there is passivity, where there is avoidance of self-sacrifice, where there is lack of co-measurement, where there is irresponsibility, can there be service to evolution? (Agni Yoga 591)

 

If the Masters pass on an order which they themselves have received from their own superiors, they must be absolutely sure to be able to completely rely on the co-worker.

 

It is a great happiness for Us when We can have the complete confidence in someone that We have in Ourselves. (Heart 16)

 

My work allows no weakness. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 64 [69]

 

 

3. Tasks according to Suitability

 

On the spiritual level, the law of correspondence determines which tasks are conferred to you. It may take years, perhaps even several lifetimes, until after a multitude of trials you will be found fit and worthy of performing assignments of the Hierarchy.

 

One can cite many examples from history of people who carried Our missions. We are accustomed to taking responsibility for the chosen ones. Each member of Our Community suggests a person who has been tested and assumes the responsibility for him. We need these lengthy testings that last even for several lives. We must be certain that the essence of the mission will be fulfilled. (Supermundane 59)

 

The more difficult the task, the more capable must be the person to whom it is entrusted.

 

Each task requires a force of the same nature. (Hierarchy 130)

 

Each task of a servant of humanity reflects the quality of his spirit. (Fiery World III, 71)

 

"In my life I am dealing with minor trifles only. I am ready to do greater things! How do I get more responsibility?"

 

Carry out what has been allocated to you by Karma, however small it may seem, to the satisfaction of the Higher Powers, and more difficult duties will be imposed on you. Your tasks will only grow if you yourself get greater. Under an excessive load you would collapse.

 

I would be glad to summon you nearer—provide the opportunity! (Community 197)

 

Desire power ardently, and the power must desire ye. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “True Humility”)

 

The Cosmic Powers must by law use every tool that proves suitable.

 

They would violate the principle of goal-fitness and reduce their own possibilities if they allowed qualified forces to remain unemployed.

 

Goalfitness and gratitude are among the most essential foundations of the Brotherhood. It is unreasonable to think that the Brotherhood would accept someone’s services and later discard him as one would a worn-out garment. If the co-worker proves to be helpful and does not commit betrayal, he certainly will not be rejected. (Supermundane 227)

 

As rapidly as any unit of a given mass reaches a point of development where it has become a recognized instrument, capable of directing lesser units to the advantage of the whole mass, the central nucleus, in accordance with the higher law which governs the whole mass, must avail itself of the services of that instrument, and must do its utmost to advance and emplace that instrument where it can do the most good for the greatest number. Not to do so would be to jeopardise and eventually to destroy the whole mass of which it is a constituent part, for evolution is conducted on strictly mathematical principles. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 68 “The Power of the Central Cell”)

 

Make yourself irreplaceable! Then you cannot be ignored!

 

Contemplate each approach to Us. Become irreplaceable! (Agni Yoga 102)

 

How to select co-workers? Only by their irreplaceability. (Agni Yoga 331)

 

This is what the Mahatmas said about Helena Roerich:

 

It was necessary for you to remain because this century is in need of your attainment. No one could replace you. (Infinity I, 74)

 

Finally, there is not only self-perfection for service, but also self-perfection through service

 

Putting on the earthly envelope man has to create good, thus perfecting himself. (Brotherhood 261)

 

 

Section IV: Self-Education as Service

 

“We are constantly talking about my personal growth only. And yet the saying goes: 'The good man thinks of himself last.' How is that to be reconciled?”

 

If you set about getting greater and develop the potential stored within you, this is not selfishness, but the fulfillment of your mission, service to the advancing evolution of the spirit.

 

Your personal growth also contributes to the realization of the common good.

 

Spiritual ascent is the only way to individual attainment and to attainment of the Common Good. (Fiery World III, 247)

 

Only growth of the individual spirit can fill the treasury of the General Welfare. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 356 [360])

 

Self-perfection is not selfishness.

 

The process of self-perfection was not regarded as egoistic. Improvement has the General Welfare as its goal, and by its nature cannot be a personal acquisition. (AUM 254)

 

We are not striving for mastership in order to take any personal advantage of it. We do not expect anything for ourselves.

 

The broadening of consciousness cannot be considered a personal gain, for in every such purification is contained the General Good. (Supermundane 33)

 

A yogi knows that self-perfectment is needed not only for him but also for the common good. How can we explain to people that they live for the success of evolution? How can we protect space from pollution? (Supermundane 896)

 

Self-perfection is service!

 

"How so? I don't understand yet! "

 

We said at the beginning: Only when egotism and rudeness disappear from the individual human beings they will also disappear from the world. You start the introduction of the new order with yourself. You present your fellow human beings with a shining example of the path to the future. By advancing yourself, you encourage imitation. Your fire ignites others, your light drives away the darkness.

 

Sincere striving for self-perfection is not egoism, but has universal significance. The thought about improvement does not concern oneself alone. Such thought carries within itself the flame needed for kindling many hearts. (Fiery World I, 81)

 

Each hard fought vantage ground he wins gives footing to another who hard beset doth follow. (From the Mountain Top I, Lesson “The Homage of the Heart”)

 

By elevating yourself, you also help your fellow human beings to move forward: Rupert Sheldrake's research on morphogenetic fields ("A new Science of Life") proves: If you appropriate something, later other people will learn the same thing more easily and more safely.

 

Each advance made in the cosmic scale by a human being advances all who follow the former on the same scale. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 85 “Will and Law”)

 

Today's humans are looking for the road to the 6th race, the next stage of evolution. They long for trailblazers to walk ahead of them and to clear a new path through the thicket of the intricate conditions of the old world. The achievement of the individual makes it easier for mankind as a whole to advance, because they can follow him on a track that has already been prepared.

 

Attain and conquer. You do not conquer for yourself; your victory is important for the General Good. (Agni Yoga 616)

 

A high consciousness through his presence alone exercises an uplifting, healing and rescuing effect on his surroundings.

 

The greatest benefit that we can contribute consists in the broadening of consciousness, and the improvement and enrichment of our thinking, together with the purification of the heart, in order to strengthen our emanations; and by thus raising our vibrations, we restore the health of all that surrounds us. (Letters of Helena Roerich Vol. II, letter of 25.10.1936)

 

Attain peace of mind, and thousands around you will be saved. (St. Seraphim of Sarov)

 

A high spirit radiates light and transforms the darkness he encounters everywhere. This is already a great service.

 

A great spirit absorbs a huge quantity of evil and transmutes it, but even for such a spirit it is not easy to take on the poison of the world. You know how difficult it is to transmute evil from every part of the world! You know the price paid for an outflow of heart energy. (Heart 499)

 

Thus, self-education is never in vain. Even one single light gives humanity a glimmer of hope.

 

A selfless, flaming heart is a special joy for the Higher World. Such hearts blaze forth like torches, shining above all the pressures of the world. (Heart 174)

 

If need be, one alone must keep the banner flying and prevent the fire of the spirit from extinguishing. There always must be at least one Guardian of the Light (Infinity II, 371).