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„THE  10  PILLARS  OF  THE  PRACTICE  OF  AGNI  YOGA“

 

 

6th Pillar: Selflessness

 

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

I am glad to welcome you to a new Broadcast!

 

In our Series on the 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga we are speaking today, after "Obedience" and "Living in Two Worlds", about the third of the three principles of life, namely selflessness.

 

If we want to construct the New World, this feature of the New Man is crucial:

 

The scourges of today’s time which make life on this wonderful planet almost unbearable, are: selfishness, greed, the chase for money, power and pleasure, the struggle of everyone against everyone. If you think deeper, you will find: The cause of almost all evil is the selfishness of the old man. We must overcome this vice if we want to fundamentally change the circumstances on earth.

 

The New World is conceivable as a community only. For a community, the selfishness of the old man is outright destructive.

 

 

1. No Material Needs of a Spiritual Being

 

Let us repeat what we have discussed already several times: The new, immortal man is not a material but a spiritual being. You, your real self, are a non-material soul, not a physical body.

 

Your soul needs no material food, no water, no clothes, no housing, no car, no money, no crude oil, etc. - neither for its survival nor for its wellbeing.

 

Your eternal individuality finds no satisfaction in material pleasures.

 

Therefore, once you have transformed into a spiritual being, you can act truly selflessly: You have no interest in all that, what the old men are struggling for.

 

 

2. No „Struggle for Existence“

Picture: Lex Drewinski „Homo homini lupus est“

 

The Western concept of a "struggle for existence" is devoid of any sense for an immortal soul: Its existence is neither endangered by physical attacks nor by material needs.

 

How are we to deal with that curse known as the "struggle for life", which is the real and most prolific parent of most woes and sorrows and of all the crimes? Why has that struggle become the almost universal scheme of the universe? We answer, because no religion with the exception of Buddhism has hitherto taught a practical contempt for this earthly life, while each of them, always with that one solitary exception, has through its hells and damnations inculcated the greatest dread of death.

Therefore do we find that struggle for life raging most fiercely in Christian countries, most prevalent in Europe and America. It weakens in the Pagan lands and is nearly unknown among Buddhist populations.

In China during famine and where the masses are most ignorant of their own or any religion, it was remarked that those mothers who devoured their children belonged to localities where there were the most of Christian missionaries to be found. Where there were none and the Bonzes alone had the field the population died with the utmost indifference. (Mahatma Letters, Letter No. 25, ca. 1881, so called „Letter of the Mahachohan“)

 

A spiritual being will not fight with others for material resources: By selfish actions, by injuring or even killing others it would only harm itself. In the rare case that there is really not enough to survive for everyone - that means, for all bodies! -, the immortal willingly renounces in favour of the others - for damage inflicted to his soul is much worse than even the death of his body.

 

The duration of a single earthly life is irrelevant in view of the eternal existence of the soul. For your higher self it is better to live shortly and rightly than long and wrongly.

 

I am very fond of the words of the remarkable Tibetan sage, Milarepa, who practiced great austerities. When people begged him to have pity on himself and stop leading such a hard life, he said: „As all of us are subject to death, I prefer to die in pursuit of a beautiful goal.“ Verily, if even one hundred people could realize the wisdom of this formula and would apply it in life, the world could be transformed in the shortest time. (Letters of Helena Roerich Vol. II, letter of 01.10.1935)

 

The immortal forms a consciousness of the unity of all life: From plants and animals up to man, all creatures are animated with the same divine spark. This intimate connection rules out the option to cause damage to others for one’s own (supposed) benefit.

 

 

3. The Law of Sacrifice

 

In the material world, among animals and the old men, the law of the jungle governs: The stronger eats or subjugates the weaker and thereby becomes even stronger and more powerful.

 

In the spiritual world - and thus for spiritual beings - the law of sacrifice applies: It is of the utmost importance that you realize: Your soul actually grows when you give, and becomes smaller, when you take!

 

It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20, 35)

 

The more anyone renounces, the more he receives. (Community 49)

 

On the spiritual plane - and thus for your eternal being - is true: He who sacrifices himself, is great; he who thinks selfishly of himself, is small.

 

The dwarfs of selfishness attempted to suppress the Giants of the Common Good. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 320 [324; Part Three V 3])

 

It is far greater to give than to receive. (Teachings of the Temple, Vol. III, Lesson “What is Religion?”)

 

The soul of Count Stauffenberg who tried to kill Hitler has grown by his sacrifice; compared to that, the loss of his body, perishable anyway, is insignificant.

 

This applies to all the small matters of everyday life as well: Every woman and every man who sacrifice time and strength for their children or otherwise for selfless service to the common good, do not lose anything thereby; on the contrary, they gain spiritual stature. They bring their true, eternal being to expression, whereby this increases in power and strength.

 

Look at all the heroes of human history: They are so great because they dedicated themselves entirely to their mission with complete disregard of their personal interests.

 

You know that feeling yourself: Your higher self actually longs to devote itself completely to the service of a great work. You remain dissatisfied if you cannot find a possibility to apply your forces to such a cause.

 

The proof of the awakening of love in the human Soul is the awakening of an overwhelming desire to give itself and all it possesses for the best good of all. Paradoxical as it seems, and difficult to comprehend, renunciation is equivalent to possession. (Teachings of the Temple, Vol. I, Lesson 46 “Loves Apotheosis”)

 

Therefore, unselfishness is the natural attitude of an immortal. Selfishness is contrary to his nature.

 

 

4. Selfishness as Obstacle

 

The thought of yourself cannot show you the way. The concept of the New World is no longer to enforce your own selfish interests, but to cooperate with others in order to realize on earth higher principles such as truth, justice, beauty and love.

 

No one can be guided by the personal, but, by comparing the values as to the Common Good, it is possible to choose the quickest path. (Community 161)

 

Selfishness obstructs the progress of evolution, which is directed towards the common good and the uplifting of mankind as a whole.

 

Indeed, it must be understood that each personal feeling undermines the roots of the great construction. Thus, so much of the wondrous is destroyed by humanity, because Leadership was rejected. (Hierarchy 447)

 

Anything personal prevents the fulfillment of the Higher Will: How can you be a tool of the divine spirit, while you are still pursuing your own purposes?

 

Every unselfish desire is a reflection of a similar desire in the Mind of God. If the unselfish aspect of a desire is changed and becomes clouded by the personality, the plan in the Mind of God is not carried out. (Teachings of the Temple, Vol. I, Lesson 216 “The Witness of God”)

 

Each selfish striving stands between you and the powers of the Hierarchy with their cosmic goals.

 

But, in any case, he is not wise who dreams about his own separate will. He who is concerned about his individual will, without the communion with the Higher Worlds, is not on the true path. (FW II, 112)

 

We must actually say:

 

Every personal desire is harmful. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 205 [Part Two VII 16])

 

A stubborn man is as useless for the Mahatmas as a stubborn donkey is for us.

 

Let us not take obstinacy along with us. There is no more intolerable burden than stubbornness. People do not even choose a headstrong horse; they will not even take an obstinate dog on a journey. (Brotherhood 19)

 

Selflessness does not mean that you should defer your own interests in order to be harnessed to the cart of the (selfish) purposes of others. It means that you enforce the Will of God and serve the elevation of all mankind.

 

Service is not in furthering ordinary wellbeing but in bringing benefit to humanity. (Brotherhood 102)

 

 

5. Selfishness Cause for Suffering and Need

 

Each day provides us with a multitude of examples of how the omnipresent selfishness of the old man destroys our planet, undermines the foundations of our communities from the family to the nation, deprives our work of its meaning and makes a hell of our daily life.

 

Just two examples: Poverty and unemployment are not inevitable natural disasters, which by force majeure haunt innocent people like a plague. They are the results of our own selfishness:

 

There is work in abundance. If we divide the urgent tasks fairly among ourselves, there will be more than enough work to do for all of us.

 

The planet is rich enough. If we divide the proceeds of our common work fairly among ourselves, there will be more than enough wealth for all of us.

 

For the details, please refer to the Video "Tabenisi - World without Poverty and Unemployment", to be found at

 

www.tabenisi.de.

 

 

6. Selfishness harmful to the Community

 

We shall discuss in later Broadcasts in detail: The basis for the construction of the New World is the principle of community. Not as single lonesome warriors, each struggling for himself, but only as a community can we fulfill the tasks of the age and reach the next stage of evolution.

 

Communities can only function if each member defers his own interests and gives precedence to the common good. An immortal, acting selflessly in accordance with his inner nature, will always endeavour to contribute more to the community than to take out of it. Only thus the community will prosper.

 

The crude "I" has already been replaced by the creative "We". (Community 211)

 

Today's reverse position will sooner or later lead to the collapse of the system. For a community, egoism is downright destructive.

 

Let us take as one example of many the health care system: As long as everyone is trying to contribute as little insurance premiums as possible, but at the same time uncompromisingly requires the best health care in the world; as long as the claims or withdrawals of the individuals are higher than their contributions or deposits - it is impossible to sustainably finance the system.

 

Only when we give up our selfish attitude, change our old nature and set our pride in requiring in no case more of our fellow human beings than we contribute ourselves, only then can the community flourish.

 

 

7. Overcoming the Personal

 

The New Man requires nothing for himself. He serves in an impersonal way higher interests than those of his small, mortal ego. Of him is true what was said about St. Bernhard of Clairvaux:

 

He had nothing to lose, because he had left everything. He had nothing to gain, because nothing tempted him. The only thing he wanted was the realization of the Divine Will. (E. von Schmidt-Pauli)

 

He works for the common good, for the progress of evolution, for the establishment of the rule of the spirit and for the enforcement of truth, justice, beauty and love on earth.

 

The epoch of trading for personal purposes has passed. The petty plunderers shall cease to exist. It is better to think about the welfare of the people. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 262 [Part Three I 5])

 

In this, he finds true satisfaction. Thus he approaches the higher levels of Hierarchy.

 

If renouncement of the personal brings one near to Us, then abstinence from action for the Common Good removes one immeasurably from Us. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 337 [341; Part Three V 20])

 

The immortal dedicates his person completely to the service of his master. Through him acts the spirit of Hierarchy.

 

Personal desires are transformed into the all-guiding Universal Will. That is how cooperation with the far-off worlds develops. (Heart 68)

 

He who does not give up the personal obstructs his path of ascent.

 

A man who places not the good of mankind above his own good is not worthy of becoming our chela [disciple]. (Mahatma Letters, letter No. 38 of December 1881 [the remark of Sinnett on the letter “received February 1882” is probably erroneous])

 

 

8. Liberation

 

For the old man, to give up all personal desires looks like a nonsensical, self-tormenting imposition. In truth, however, this is not a painful renunciation but a goal-fitted act of liberation from trivial, inferior and superfluous matters, which opens up new and higher possibilities.

 

Sacrifice is power. Power is possibility. Consequently every sacrifice is first of all a possibility. It is time to cast aside the hypocrisy that sacrifice is deprivation. We do not accept deprivations, but We give possibilities. In Our Treasury there is a large collection of sacrifices, and each one was useful to the one who made it. We dislike to speak about sacrifices, because a sacrifice is the most profitable undertaking. A real industrialist of life considers each expenditure only as a guarantee for successful business. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 183 [Part Two VI 15])

 

The more you turn away from personal wishes, the freer you become: He who seeks nothing for himself becomes independent of the material conditions. The disciple realizes that earthly pleasures are not to be had without regrets and do not satisfy the soul. He notices how he is being enslaved by the desires of his lower self. A load drops off him when he finally finds the possibility to get rid of these bonds and to serve in an impersonal way a higher purpose.

 

 

9. Test

 

Overcoming the personal is one of the most difficult exercises in a time which presents the satisfaction of real, imaginary or needs awakened by seduction as the highest goal, almost as the meaning of life.

 

The most difficult yet indispensable discipline is comprised in actions for the good of the world. It is not easy to watch oneself in order to reject egoistic thoughts and actions. (Fiery World I, 443)

 

Among the aspirants to the Higher Path, this practice separates the chaff from the wheat.

 

If one were to expound the conditions and aims of Yoga, the number of applicants would not be great. For them the renunciation of selfhood would be dreadful. (Hierarchy 451)

 

Many fail in this test, because they are unable to detach themselves from their transitory lower self.

 

The love of achievement is not severe for those aflame in heart, but it frightens those who love their weaknesses and who waver while embracing their own illusionary "I". (Hierarchy 281)

 

 

10. Safeguarding the Individuality

Painting: Svetoslav Roerich “Nicholas Roerich”

 

Overcoming the personal does not mean abandoning the individual. The individuality remains intact and finds its true realization in the service of a great work. Individuality has nothing to do with selfishness.

 

You first of all have to retain your personality while liberating yourself from egoism. This antithesis will strike many people as absurd; for them, egoism and personality are the very same thing. The concept of a powerful personality devoted to the Common Good is something that surpasses the imagination of most people. (Heart 55)

 

Consider the great figures of history, those men and women who stand before us as shining examples, the saints, sages and spiritual leaders: They dedicated themselves entirely selflessly to their life's mission - and yet remained great individuals.

 

You observed how the personal disappeared from daily life with the growth of psychic energy. (AY 641)

 

It is actually true: The higher someone has risen, the more impersonal is his life.

 

In great undertakings the work stands upon the work, and not upon a personality. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 183 [Part Two VI 15])

 

Then, the person disappears completely behind the work.

 

The more impersonal, unselfish your kindly acts are, the purer, the more potent, the greater the results will be. Those results will be of lasting benefit for the whole race instead of for your personal self alone. (Teachings of the Temple, Vol II, Lesson “The Power of Little Things”)

 

Thus it was said about the great Nicholas Roerich:

 

The Guru has not a single personal thought. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 17.12.1930)

 

His life is the life of complete renunciation; he lives for the great service to humanity. Nothing belongs to him and he himself belongs not to himself. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 17.02.1934)

 

 

11. Simplicity

 

You have to submit your daily life to a rigorous examination. You must remove from it everything, which does not serve the salvation of your soul, or the common good, and for which you do not bear indissoluble responsibility.

 

A great deal must be removed from the path. It is necessary to examine everything which has taken root. (Community 213)

 

When you make the first steps on the spiritual path, you will soon discover: Without a radical simplification of your life you will not be able to spare the space and time needed for the spheres of action of a disciple, namely contemplation, service and training.

 

Much must be sacrificed so as not to lose the right direction. (Supermundane 666)

 

How many times you are unable, at the end of a restless day, to give yourself an answer to the pressing question: What actually did I labour for - something that was worth it?

 

You are oppressed by the feeling that the really important, the essential is not expressed in your life. You suspect that it will gradually die out in your heart as well, if you continue to live as before. So get rid of all these unnecessary goods and aspirations which suffocate the divine fire.

 

Traveller, you must give away all possessions that impede you. And the more you give, the lighter your path. For he who goes without loads, attains the heights more easily. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 276 [330])

 

Let us live simply and goal-fittingly: So that the few needs of our body are met and that we can satisfy the demands of our soul. Such a life will be worthy of an immortal man. Everything great is a simple.

 

Only goal-fitting simplification can bring dignity to life. (Agni Yoga 427)

 

The mortals struggle with one another in order to grab as much as possible for themselves. Immortals, on the contrary, are competing to make do with as little as possible.

 

Let him who hath need of less thank God, but let him who hath need of more, humble himself for his infirmity. (Rule of St. Benedict 34, 3, 4)

Painting: Fra Angelico, St. Benedict, Convent of San Marco, Florence

 

 

12. Abandon Comfort, Prosperity and Security

 

The New Man sets the highest simplicity against the destructive excesses of a materialistic society. The conventional bourgeois life with its pursuit of material matters, security and the utmost comfort is inappropriate for a spiritual warrior. It makes him sluggish and immobile, and extinguishes the fire.

 

Verily, material prosperity and ease are our most dangerous enemies. Nothing extinguishes the inner fire so quickly as security for the morrow. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I1, letter of 24.09.1935)

 

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

 

Practiced selflessness means giving up comfort, prosperity and security. They only serve the desires of the lower self. For our eternal individuality, they are without importance. The time and energy we have to spend on the acquisition and defence of these volatile goods, we lack for the essential - the spiritual striving.

 

He who does not relinquish his own comfort does not know how to serve Hierarchy. (Hierarchy 295)

 

Prosperity is the cemetery of the spirit.

 

Heavy is the karma of those who cannot forego earthly comfort, for it is said: “Comfort is the cemetery of the spirit.” Earthly comfort shuts out spiritual hearing. Therefore none of those who know will apply the standards of earthly comfort. (Hierarchy 391)

 

Verily, investigate the history of humanity, and you will be convinced that nothing great was ever created in comfort. (Hierarchy 185)

 

The spirit cannot realize itself amidst conditions of well-being or abundance. (FW III, 37)

 

Luxury is synonymous with degeneration and abandoning the striving for new, higher shores.

 

Humanity must abandon luxury. Luxury is not beauty, not spirituality, not perfectionment, not construction, not blessing, not compassion. Luxury is destruction of resources and possibilities. Luxury is dissolution. A harmonious cooperation must be found in order to rid the world of the plague of luxury. Luxury has been always a sign of decay and eclipse of the spirit. (Fiery World II, 335)

 

Luxury effeminates, as history shows.

 

Hothouse conditions are not suitable for evolution. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 339 [343; Part Three VI 2])

 

Luxury leads to corruption and decay. History is full of examples of this. (Supermundane 622)

 

Material security is an illusion. A firm foundation you will find in the spiritual spheres only.

 

Dead are those who presume that by means of earthly Maya they can create strongholds. It is as unwise as children dreaming to build a fortress out of mud! Only the world of the spirit is truly strong, for it is indestructible and invincible. (Hierarchy 146)

 

 

13. Property contrary to Human Nature

 

A life in the spirit of immortality rejects the concept of personal property within the meaning of the civil law, the idea of a control over things with which we may proceed for egoistic purposes at will. This view is as unsuitable, unspiritual and outdated as the assumption to be entitled to deal with people - slaves - at will.

 

If we do not destroy within ourselves the sense of ownership in all aspects, we cannot easily reach the next step. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 24.06.1930)

 

In truth, personal property is incompatible with the mission of man: The treasures of this planet belong to all its inhabitants and serve to further the progress of all humanity.

 

The most important thing is to carry out rationally an educational program on the debasing significance of possession. It is not important that someone remain in his own armchair, but it is important that youth realize the absurdity of having its own chair. It is necessary that this consciousness be manifested not as a denial but as a free conquest. When, liberated from craftiness, people will learn of the impracticality of personal ownership, then a collective of co-workers will grow up. (Community 251)

 

Property is a selfish concept that does not correspond to the higher, by its very essence selfless nature of man.

 

How strictly must be collected biological details, in order to demonstrate the illegality and the futility of possession. The laws of the properties of matter testify that possession does not conform to the nature of man. (Community 252)

 

To a large extent, fear is the driving force behind the insane accumulation of goods, the excessive precaution and protection: Fear of the future and of the void that might remain if we detach ourselves from the conventional contents of life.

 

The germ of proprietorship is fear, the feeling that one must be attached to the Earth at least by something! As if a miserable hovel could be an adequate anchor for the spirit! Therefore, let us abolish fear. With it will depart property ownership and boredom. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 323 [327; Part Three V 6])

 

How could an immortal on his eternal path cling to temporal possessions, which he will lose at the latest at death? They mean nothing to his true, higher self.

 

He who feels the grandeur of Infinity will certainly understand the entire inappropriateness of illusory possession on so transitory a place as Earth. (Fiery World I, 635)

 

The man who has realized the essence of all things is not in need of them. (Community 246)

 

So, as it stands today, you do not own the things, but the things own you.

 

Those who have realized the nature of things are not attached to them, but those who distort it are slaves to them. (Agni Yoga 286)

 

The real wealth of a disciple are the accumulations of his consciousness, his spiritual possessions.

 

A yogi's responsibility is to his spiritual accumulations, for they are his only treasure. (Agni Yoga 223)

 

One should be affirmed upon the realization that earthly possession does not exist. Only when our consciousness remains our sole possession do we feel the freedom of ascent. (Fiery World II, 177)

 

 

14. Do not Discard Anything Existing

 

Agni Yoga does not claim that the material things as such are evil. Nobody is asking you to give up all your possessions. The advice of Jesus to the rich young man to give his belongings to the poor and follow Him (Matthew 19, 21), is not being properly understood:

 

No one becomes pure and holy by this alone, that he surrenders his possessions.

 

One may wear bast shoes and still not be simple. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 132 [Part Two IV 5)

 

Whoever clings to the goods, so that they prevent him from leading a spiritual life, must give them up in order to free himself. He, on the other hand, who possesses as if he owned nothing, can follow Christ with all his wealth.

 

When Jesus saw a right attitude toward earthly treasures, He did not indicate a need to renounce them. He advised giving up possessions only when they were dragging down the spiritually weak ones. (Supermundane, 162)

 

Hostility to earthly objects is the wrong way: They exist, they are a gift from God, they were manufactured with great effort, craftsmanship and diligence.

 

Time was when We said: "Give up everything." Now We go further and say: "Take everything but do not consider it your own." Simple reasoning will show how impossible it is to take earthly things along with one. But they have been created with the participation of the spirit; hence, one should not despise them. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 141 [Part Two IV 14)

 

We must not despise anything existing.

 

Nothing that exists can be rejected. (Agni Yoga 351)

 

Would it not also be hypocritical to disapprove of things which in fact we need for our very survival?

 

Is it not the madness of hypocrisy to give away everything and then to expect help from others? (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. II, letter of 07.12.1935)

 

The point is not how much you have, but how you use that what you have.

 

Not asceticism, but a wise use of things was ordered. (Agni Yoga 247)

 

 

15. Transfiguration of Ownership: Trust

 

A new formula is required instead of property. It is not the external circumstances, but the mental attitude that counts.

 

Let us care for and honour the earthly things, whether they belong to us or to someone else. Let us use them according to their destination: Not for ourselves, but for the construction of the New World, for the common good, for the progress of evolution. They do not belong to us, but were given to us from Above for this higher purpose.

 

So let us once again invoke the Teacher and in thought pass this cumbersome load on to Him. He will be able to transfer our mental gift still higher. That is how we can solve the problem of possession. Thus, the very designation disappears, and we remain the custodians of the property of the Hierarchy. (Heart 281)

 

We are trustees! All our belongings were entrusted to us by the Hierarchy. We are accountable Above for their proper utilization according to their purpose. We have to be ready to give them up at any time. In this way, we remove the personal involvement and deal with them only upon higher orders.

 

He who is the best manager, who proves that he can selflessly use the things in the right way, in favour of the common good - he will be installed by the community to possess them.

 

It is good to understand that the possession of objects should be devoid of a feeling of property ownership. It is good to possess things in order to take care of them, and even to surround them with a benevolent aura, with the thought of passing them on to others. The manifestation of a creative hand dwells in a house whose occupants are without attachment to property, and that which was improved will carry joy further. The sign of the bestowing hand will be preserved continuously, and therein lies the justification of objects. Through this understanding is solved the most difficult problem.

Possession devoid of the sense of ownership will open the path to all without conventional inheritance. Who can improve, shall possess. This concerns lands, forests and waters. All technical achievements and various types of inventions are subject to the same principle. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 92 [Part Two I 9])

 

With this mental attitude we may own property with dignity and happiness. Poverty and simplicity become an inner attitude of the New Man which can exist even among large, entrusted possessions.

 

In this sense, it is even desirable that spiritual people own houses, factories and the like: This ensures that these goods are being used in accordance with the Higher Will, so that, for example, fair rents and working conditions are established.

 

 

16. Transfiguration of Life

Picture: C. H. Bloch „The Transfiguration of Christ“

 

We see from the example of ownership, how the coarse earthly conditions can be transfigured, raised to a higher level, and approximated to the Subtle World: Solely by changing our thinking. The decisive improvement does not take place in the external conditions, but in our consciousness, in the attitude that we are taking towards the outside world.

 

People do not know how to deal with possessions because they do not wish to understand the meaning of the mental transfiguration of the earthly plane into the Subtle. (Heart 281)

 

In the outside world, nothing changes. The owner remains the owner. Nevertheless, the rich man lives from one moment to the other in a different world and his life gains a sense when he no longer considers himself as the owner, but as a trustee of his treasures and makes use of them according to higher order and with a higher goal.

 

 

17. Detachment from Possessions

 

The goal of the spiritual disciple will be, however, to detach himself more and more from worldly possessions in order to become free for the purely spiritual service. The maintenance and care for earthly property can be a burden and take such a claim on us that no room is left for higher striving.

 

Avarice holds one back to the lower spheres. (Brotherhood 114)

 

So we shall keep in our possession only those few things that we absolutely need for our work. Everything else is an unnecessary burden on the steep path of ascent.

 

As there is not enough room for all on a summit, whoever ascends it will likewise discover that the ascent cannot take place with a heavy load. Furthermore, there is no place on the peak for anything superfluous. The slopes are steep, and one should remember also that only the foot of the Mountain is broad. At the base there is room for worldly things, but the Summit is sharp-pointed and too small for all human possessions. (Fiery World III, 19)

 

The gradual detachment from possessions is not fanatical asceticism or obscure radicalism, but the consistent observance of the law of goal-fittedness - if you judge from the higher, spiritual point of view.

 

Buddha always advised the possession of as few objects as possible in order not to devote too much time to them. (Helena Roerich, Foundations of Buddhism)

 

The higher you climb, the less you will need.

 

The less one needs, the more one approaches the Gods who do not need anything. (Socrates)

 

 

18. Reduce Work for Money

 

The holy within us that strives for realization is being killed every day. A major reason for this is the work for money.

 

Herein is contained the tragedy of our times. We find time without limit for all kinds of petty activities, but we do not find an hour for the most vital. (Agni Yoga 451)

 

In our time, the professional work has reached a level that robs us of almost any possibility of repose, contemplation, connection with the Supreme and selfless service. We have become the slaves of a ruthless business world.

 

Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. (1 Corinthians 7, 23)

 

Let no earthly honor, no personal selfishness, no host of Hell trample you underneath the feet of your soul's oppressors. (Teachings of the Temple, Vol. II, Lesson “Sealed and unsealed Eyes”)

 

You must be careful that you do not pollute the majesty of your soul by participating in unworthy proceedings, namely the selfish profiteering of others.

 

Spirit, why then is thy fear so great before the derision of thy brothers? Why, in servility to the 'petty people', dost thou conceal the sacred seed bestowed upon thee? (Infinity I, 36)

 

The tremendous amount of the current professional work is no longer justified by the little which we really need. The new, immortal man will live more modestly and do less paid work. True service is free. God’s service is rendered for God's reward.

 

In the New World we need simple food, shelter and clothing, nothing more. There, we shall certainly not aim, as today, at a prosperity according to the world’s highest standard.

 

In the future, people must be free from the need to devote attention to their physical needs. The principle of living in a community requires for each co-worker the provision of reasonable comfort, which will safeguard strength and labor. Can a yogi without penalty waste his time and energy? (Agni Yoga 189)

 

An immortal does not make the mistake to regard paid work as the purpose of his life. He withdraws step by step from the excessive demands of a materialistic world and earns his livelihood, if possible, with part-time work.

 

He who is unable to escape the oppressive rhythm of the business world still clings too much to the earthly matters or is caught up in selfishness, vanity, greed, lust for power or fear of the future.

 

 

 

 

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