AGNI YOGA WEB TV
„THE PATH OF THE DISCIPLE“
BROADCASTING 2: Become a Disciple!
Dedicated to the past, present and future disciples of Agni Yoga
Dear Agni Yogis,
in the last Broadcasting ("How do you find your teacher?") we had emphasized: You cannot practice Agni Yoga without following a teacher. What is the inevitable consequence of this? If you wish not just to praise Agni Yoga, but to actually apply it in everyday life, you have to become a disciple!
Nevertheless, there is hardly any Agni Yogi today who regards himself as a disciple. Here in the West a whole culture is lacking, and we will have to rebuild it.
The disciple asks: "I came to become a disciple of Agni Yoga. What do I have to do?"
(Gudrun Stiasny „The Wanderer through the Circle of Stars“)
Section I: Select your Eternal Identity: Spiritual Disciple
Nicholas Roerich „Glory of the Himalayas“
We had already said: Your spiritual being is still an infant for the time being. You have to form your soul yourself, otherwise it will remain shapeless.
Like a sculptor, like Michelangelo his David from a marble block, you have to create from the unformed raw material of your soul a work of art: your true, eternal self.
You have to form an ideal pattern, and then mould the soul substance by or into that ideal. (Teachings of the Temple Vol II, Lesson “The seven Builders”)
Today we shall be talking about one of the countless identities which you may choose for your Higher Self. What we are saying also applies to all other roles that you might select. We now let the choice of one of the ideals become concrete according to which you may shape your Eternal Individuality.
1. Become a Spiritual Disciple
Nicholas Roerich “Pearl of Searching“
The beginner who ventures to take his first, awkward steps on the path of the soul, should seek his place preferably on the lower levels: the immortal is first and foremost a disciple. His path is self-education to mastership.
You are well advised to submit to the guidance of an experienced teacher who has already climbed such heights that he can help you up.
Knowing the foundations of Our Teaching it is necessary to prove to be disciples creating in full co-measurement and immutability. The Teacher says, “Now you yourselves display the effect of My indications.” (Community 17)
The first position which you deserve is that of a novice of the temple who seeks admission to the Order of the Hierarchy, who first has to prove himself and has yet to learn and practice the elementary basic customs of the spiritual path.
"Thus, the first ideal, the first image of myself that I put before me and strive for is: I want to be a disciple who is worthy of his teacher."
Yes, that is the best choice! Being a disciple is an identity to which you can live up in all places, at all times and in all circumstances, before and after death, in all material and spiritual worlds.
In any phase of your eternal journey, in the other world and on earth, you can appear as a disciple of the spirit, no matter in what perishable personality your soul is just being clothed.
Everyone can be a disciple by his nature, regardless of the external conditions. Whether you can sustain this new role on the stage of material earthly life depends solely upon the power of your spirit.
When you think like the disciple of a great teacher and meet every situation with an attitude by which you give joy to your teacher, you are a disciple, how ever you fare otherwise.
You take a new position and gain a new self-confidence. Your profession is now that of a friar, a servant of God, even if you continue to perform in this world functions such as father of a family, baker or banker
Realize: Important is your position, your office in eternity, in the world of the soul. On Earth, your transient personality may be a king or a shoemaker – if only your Eternal Individuality is a disciple!
"But that is a huge transformation of my life!"
Yes, a radical change of your Western thinking. Which adult person wishes to become a disciple again? Who is prepared to unconditionally obey a teacher? Who in the West really follows a greater one on the arduous road to the heights?
Usually people do not like to be called disciples, but We retain this honorable name even for Ourselves. Every Teacher also remains a disciple, and in this idea lies co-measurement of the highest degree. (Supermundane 47)
To become a disciple and a co-worker of the Brotherhood: This is the highest position accessible to us today.
People do not desire to constantly learn, and the venerable title “disciple” seems shameful to them. (Supermundane 600)
Unfortunately, our materialistic culture ignores that it is the ultimate fulfillment to attach yourself to a greater one and to submit unconditionally and unreservedly to his spiritual guidance.
One should follow the Hierarch in full trust, just as the Hierarch follows his own Hierarch. This path of devotion should be loved. One must cling to it whole-heartedly, so that any other mode of thought becomes impossible. Verily, by such devotion worlds are built. One should even learn to live like the heroes. (Fiery World I, 614)
Of course, you can only be a disciple if you have a teacher.
"Who is my teacher?"
We had already talked about how to find your teacher in the last Broadcasting ("How do you find your teacher"). If you do not know his name yet, you may confidently address him as "father".
2. Picture of a Disciple
"Can we look more closely at the image – the ideal – of a disciple? Tell me a little more: What makes a disciple? "
A disciple adores his teacher.
The disciple chooses his own Teacher. He reveres Him as one of the Highest Beings. He trusts Him and brings Him his best thoughts. He cherishes the Name of the Teacher and inscribes It upon the sword of his word. He shows diligence in labor and flexibility in achievement. He welcomes trials as he welcomes the dawn, his hope directed to the unlocking of the next gate. (Agni Yoga 103)
I recall a Hindu boy who had found his Teacher. We asked him, “Is it possible that the sun would seem dark to you if you saw it without the Teacher?” The boy smiled. “The sun would remain as the sun, but in the presence of the Teacher twelve suns would shine to me.” The sun of the wisdom of India shines, because on the shore of a river there sits a boy who knows his Teacher. (Agni Yoga 84)
The connection is created through love. You are a disciple – a spiritual son! – only if you love your teacher like a father.
Whoever turns to the Teacher should fill his heart with love since reverence and respect without love cannot be true. The true disciple is the one who loves his Teacher. All conversion is based either on love or fear, but fear is not appropriate where there is striving to Light. Without the protection of love one cannot withstand the attacks of the chaotic forces. (Supermundane 159)
In return for unrestricted devotion, you receive protection and guidance on your spiritual path.
Your support is the Teacher. Your shield is devotion to the Teacher. (Agni Yoga 205)
He will err less who follows the silver thread stretched from his heart to the heart of the Teacher. (Hierarchy 445)
Is there not within you, too, the deep longing to go through life as trusting as a child at the hand of a powerful leader? (Titian "Tobias and the Angel")
Of the best that has been said about the relationship between teacher and disciple is Dostoyevsky's description of a Staretz in his book “The Brothers Karamazov”. Here are just some of many wonderful phrases:
What actually is a Staretz? The Staretz takes your soul, your will into his soul and into his will. If you choose a Staretz, you renounce your own will and hand it over to the Staretz, in complete obedience, with complete self-sacrifice. This test, this dreadful school of life, takes the one who has chosen them voluntarily upon himself, in the hope that after a long trial he will overcome himself and gain such a control over himself, that he finally through lifelong obedience achieves full freedom, that is, liberation from his own ego, and thus escapes the fate of those who have vegetated their whole lives and cannot find themselves. Here an unswerving bond is being forged between the binding one and the bound one. (Dostoyevsky, Die Brüder Karamasow)
"Do I not have to acquire certain qualities?"
You hit the core! Of course, being a disciple means above all: exhibiting the qualities of a disciple. Think for yourself: What attributes must the disciple of a great Master have? Then set off for acquiring them.
Thus does the disciple approach the Teacher: open, ready to shed the old-world tatters, striving toward the new consciousness, eager for knowledge, fearless, truthful, devoted, keenly vigilant, industrious, knowing goal-fitness, and sensitive. He will find the path of trust. Maya will no longer tempt him. For him, life will be adorned and the ability strengthened. (Agni Yoga 125)
The one all-important task that has been set the Initiate or his representative is the development of the power of endurance and stability in his disciples. If he individually had not already won that power, he could not have attained to his position. So it is not for his own benefit, not to serve some personal purpose that he is constantly inciting his disciples to meet their tests perfectly and to cultivate by all possible means those qualities in their nature. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Divine Indifference”)
Most probably, your teacher is not physically incarnated near you today. Therefore, you have to be able to establish a spiritual connection and lead a conversation with him in your heart. For that, you have to refine your inner senses and make them much more receptive than they are today.
The sensitiveness of sensations unites the Teacher with the disciple. Thus, sensitiveness is a chief quality of the disciple. (U II, 765 )
If you are strong, brave, loyal and obedient enough to keep en-rapport with your teachers, the deep truths concerning these mysteries will be opened to you and opened rightly. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 109 „Chemical and alchemical Affinity”)
The most important aspect of your new life is your training, your progress on the spiritual path. You are actually going back to school! The teacher takes over your education.
Essentially, this training is about purifying and refining you, expanding your consciousness, gaining higher knowledge, strengthening your spiritual power, your psychic energy, and developing your heart-knowledge.
To the earnest disciple his Teacher takes the place of father and mother; whereas they give him his body and its faculties, its life and causal form, the Teacher shows him how to develop the inner faculties for the acquisition of Eternal Wisdom. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. III, Lesson “What is a "Lodge Agent"?”)
Only by implementing your teacher's instructions can you advance. To all those who think they can ascend alone, let us say clearly: Without higher guidance, you will not progress on the path of your personal development at all, or at any rate so agonizingly slowly only that you will stay behind the ever advancing stream of evolution.
How shall we broaden our consciousness and uplift the spirit if we do not accept the Hand of a Hierarch? Only by the force of devotion to the Teacher can a refinement of consciousness be achieved. (Hierarchy 128)
The education also aims at making you suitable for higher levels of the Hierarchy and to prepare you for greater tasks. One day, you will have to shoulder more responsibility and to take over the office of those who are teaching you today.
You should not think that such a training is easy.
Accept the harsh lessons with a smile. (Leaves of Morya's Garden I, 109 )
Such training as is requisite for any possible success in the area of occultism demands far more sacrifice, time and effort than the average student would give to it. (Teachings of the Temple Vol I, Lesson 231 “The Unknowable”)
As in every school there are exams. You are under constant observation by your teacher.
A yogi is tested continually by his Teacher. In the same way, a yogi tests those who come to him. (Agni Yoga 192)
You may be sure that you will never stand on that firing line without being tried to the utmost as to your ability to hold your position until your cause is won or lost. It is in this wise the soldiers of that great army of purified souls which we term the Great White Lodge are tried. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Unity–Spiritual and Material”)
The Teacher can instruct only within the boundaries of what is permitted. He uplifts the disciple, cleansing him of outworn habits. He warns him against all kinds of treason, superstition, and hypocrisy. He tests the disciple, openly and in secret. (Agni Yoga 103)
We shall talk about the details of this education in the Broadcasting "Self-Perfection" (Series "The 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga") and in the Series "Education" and "Spiritual Exercises of Agni Yoga".
Coat of Arms of the Prince of Wales
"What do I have to do on earth?"
In addition to education, the service to the common good fills the life of a spiritual disciple. Your task is to cooperate with your teacher in his work, in the Great Plan of Evolution on this planet, and to contribute your stone to the New Creation every day.
One must acknowledge the goal and devote oneself to the plan of the Teacher. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 205)
It is truly happiness to build the works of the Teacher. (Agni Yoga 368)
When the disciple acts on earth in the spirit of his Master, the Hierarchy can use him as a tool and work through him down here.
Humanity must learn to act independently and to embody all the thoughts affirmed by the Teacher. Thus the Cosmic Mind achieves evolution. Thus humanity must learn to construct by a higher way. (Hierarchy 30)
Each action must be coordinated with the thoughts of the Teacher; such help is true collaboration. (Supermundane 4)
We are talking about the details of this work in the Broadcasting "Service to the Common Good" (Series "The 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga") and in the Series "The New World". Without active service you cannot be a disciple.
5. Become the personal Disciple of a Mahatma
Nicholas Roerich „Burning of Darkness“
The highest goal on the "career ladder" you can aim at in the foreseeable future is to be accepted, like Helena Blavatsky, Francia La Due, Helena Roerich and others, as personal disciple of one of the Mahatmas, to be called to one of their Ashrams in the Himalaya for training, to actually participate in the life of the Brotherhood and to become one of them.
I am referring to the pledged disciples of the Great White Lodge, to those who have demanded opportunity to try for the greatest prize human life can offer. To such a one there is one straight path. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Divine Indifference”)
From that period until the disciple has passed beyond the necessity for oral or written instruction, there is a change in the method of instruction; the disciple passes more immediately under the personal direction of the Master – the Father – of that division of the Group Soul to which he karmically belongs. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 232 “The Relationship between Teacher and Chela”)
However, until you can make such a request, you still have to go a very long way through many incarnations. The ideal that a disciple has in view is:
To arrive at a stage of development which permits of his having special or personal direction by a member of the Supreme Lodge. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 6 “Illusions and Ideals”)
Section II: Shape your Eternal Individuality into a Disciple
"I have chosen my ideal. The picture of a disciple of a Master stands before my eyes. How can I shape my Eternal Individuality according to this pattern? "
1. Spiritual Disciple: A State of the Consciousness
Man is what he thinks. (Buddha)
You are a disciple when you always and under all circumstances think like a disciple. Every thought and every feeling weaves on your Subtle Individuality. With every thought, every feeling, every word and every deed, you either strengthen or weaken the identity "disciple".
Being a spiritual disciple is a state of the consciousness, a mental attitude.
2. Mould your Consciousness during Meditation
Nicholas Roerich „River in the Himalayas - Santana“
“What does that mean practically?”
We come back to a practice that we have applied many times already, for example in the exercises "Elevation", "Transformation into a spiritual Being" and "Invulnerability":
During the three meditation times in the morning, at noon, and in the evening, you establish the state of the consciousness “spiritual disciple”.
One of the duties devolving upon the accepted personal high Chela of the Great White Lodge is the formation of such an ideal in his mentality (generally built on the concept of his Master), and using some moments of his hours of meditation to plant the seeds – the first causes – of that which will eventually be his permanent Self. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Karma”)
In the morning you join the Hierarchy and step in spirit before your teacher. You promise to continue to be, in the course of the earthly day, a good disciple at whom he may rejoice. You form the firm determination not to allow anything or anyone to drag you out of this high state of consciousness, to always maintain the attitude of a disciple and not to besmirch the connection to the higher spheres.
In the evening you return – in spirit – to the Ashram and step again before the presence of the teacher. Now it transpires: Did you fulfill your orders? Have you been obedient? Did you follow the rule of the disciple?
"That is like at death!"
Yes! At the latest after death you will have to face your teacher in the Other World anyway. Then there will not take place an Ultimate Judgment, but for you the question will arise:
Can you look into his eyes gladly and proudly as someone who has learned his lesson and accomplished his mission? Or do you have to lower your eyes and be ashamed because you have indulged in a life of pleasures, wasted the opportunities of the incarnation and betrayed your own ideal as well as the great cause?
The best will be of course: Submit to this test not only at the end of your life, but already in the evening of every day! Then, during the many remaining days of your earthly life, you still have the opportunity to correct mistakes in time before death.
At the end of your life, and at the end of each day, looking back, you must be able to say, "I have lived as the disciple of a Master." You must be in a position to knock on the door of his Ashram in the Subtle World and say with a clear conscience:
"Father, your faithful disciple is at the gates. I ask for admission." (Nicholas Roerich "Star of the Morning)
On the tombstone of Alfred Heydok can be read: "He was a disciple of Nicholas Roerich". Live in such a way that your epitaph as well may call you a disciple. This is the highest honour posterity can bestow on you.
3. Defend your new Identity in everyday Life
In the course of the earthly day, your task is: You must defend the high state of consciousness acquired in meditation at all costs. You must not think, feel, speak, or do anything which is unworthy of a spiritual disciple.
Learn to be worthy of the Teacher. (Supermundane 784)
The invisible, spiritual truth of being a disciple must be stronger than the visible, material reality around you!
You are a disciple only when you manage to appear on the material level, in all external circumstances, with a corresponding attitude. It is absolutely crucial to preserve this dignity. Everything else in the world that used to look so important to you is from now on, though not meaningless, but of secondary importance only.
This is easy to say, but difficult to realize, for the physical spheres, with all their temptations and habits exercise a great power over us.
Create your ideal, the higher the better. Concentrate your energies upon the working out of that ideal; then work as though every hour held all your hope, your only opportunity. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. III, Lesson “One Pointer”)
As long as you are staying at the feet of the teacher (even if "only" in spirit), it is relatively easy to preserve the identity of a disciple. But how does it look like in the world?
"Being honest, I have to admit: Under the spell of the habits of my old life, it sometimes seems impossible, even ridiculous to me, to behave like a disciple of the temple."
This is what we all experience! As soon as you are expelled from your paradise and return to the world, to everyday life, difficulties begin to arise: The spiritual path is beyond the scope of your previous life. In your environment you encounter incomprehension. As the disciple of a Master, you are a stranger among the unspiritual people around you. The world is too far removed from your ideal. You begin to harbour doubts about the purpose and the benefit of your decision.
On returning to the lower physical world, man forgets his higher essence as though it were a dream. A bridge must be found to prevent the loss of consciousness and to become enriched by the Higher World. (Hierarchy 397)
Now starts the fight! On the material level as well, you have to hold and defend against all attacks the position you took in the morning in the world of the soul.
There is a place, an opportunity, and a certain goal for every faithful disciple in The Temple of the People. Having won it, he must be prepared to hold it at all costs, and the costs are generally heavy. (Teachings of the Temple Vol I, Lesson 93 “The constructive Forces of the Temple of the People”)
I would that every pilgrim of life, that every chela started on the path marked out for him, might see and seize his chance, the chance which comes but once in any single life, to take and hold a point of vantage such as I have limned. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 105 “My Brother’s Keeper”)
Deviation from that path means the displacing from his position on the narrow line and the moving back to the one formerly in his rear. It means that the one who has held that position was not strong enough, had not gained sufficient amount of that power of endurance, stability, self-control; fidelity, and guardianship to hold his own indefinitely, even though he had won it. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Divine Indifference”)
You must not adapt to the unspiritual habits of the "normal people" around you. From a disciple, a member of the Hierarchy, more is required. His life is governed by higher laws.
The ancient Romans used to say: "Quod licet bovi non licet Iovi": "Cattle may do what Gods may not." (In the original, the saying goes: “Gods may do what cattle may not.” It makes sense in both ways.) Turned into the esoteric, that means:
A disciple of the Brotherhood is denied much of that what others may allow themselves.
At least at the three meditation times in the morning, at noon and in the evening, you are in the state of mind of a spiritual disciple.
In the meantime you must not fall too deep and have to get up immediately after each crash.
You are now the bearer of a high dignity. As a sign of that, clothe your spiritual being with an "Invisible Toga," with the white robe of a disciple of the Masters of Wisdom! (We shall talk about this exercise later in a separate Broadcasting.)
Adorn your head with the invisible crown of a king of the spirit!
Inwardly equipped with these two badges of your new position you step out into the world. The others cannot see them, but they form your aura, and thereby one will sense what a high office you are now holding.
Hold fast thy Crown lest it be taken from thee in the fire; the Crown which thou hast won by unselfish service, by endurance, by loyalty and sacrifice. When the candidate gains the height of Universal Love and Service then comes the test as to his ability to hold that point.
A rain of destructive fire descends upon him, and many hands of avarice, envy, jealousy, ambition and selfishness stretch out to take that Crown. The mass of people do not want anyone to go beyond their level. Therefore the one who attains is a shining target for these forces.
Thou canst hold fast that Crown by a pure unselfish heart, for thou art one with the Masters of Love, Wisdom and Compassion in the Great Work of helping humanity to higher levels of consciousness. (From the Mountain Top Vol. II, Lesson “Hold fast Thy Crown”)
Thus, what should be your dominant, your guiding thought in the world?
"I want to return to the Ashram in the evening."
That is it! Just imagine, you might not be admitted or the teacher might not receive you because you have besmirched your dignity, did not fulfill the assignments entrusted to you, or gave up your position!
"What a bitter disappointment that would be!"
Therefore, throughout the day, keep an eye on the goal of your journey, the Ashram on top of the mountain, and behave in such a way that you may return to your heaven in the evening. (Albrecht Dürer "Knight, Death and Devil")
Man should remember that his true Stronghold is not on Earth, and that all his earthly labors should be performed for return to the Supermundane Stronghold. (Supermundane 803)
Section III: Daily Practice
“Are there no changes in my outward life?"
But of course. You have to start building up a personal relationship with your teacher.
1. Stepping forward to the presence of the Teacher
Nicholas Roerich „Ecstasy - The one who steps forward“
The first step on the path of the disciple and the key to ascent is to regularly step before the presence of the teacher. Here, Agni Yoga introduces a new, important term (which unfortunately is often translated incorrectly).
Stepping before the Master can be experienced only by the heart. Nothing external replaces the filling of the heart with the Master. Stepping before God, stepping before the Judge, stepping before the Master, is one single concept. Therefore, on the path to the Fiery World let us remember how vital is stepping before the Master. (Fiery World III, 138).
You cannot be a disciple if you do not go to school and meet your teacher there regularly.
Imagine, your teacher lived physically incarnated within walking distance in your neighbourhood. As you are his disciple, it would be your natural desire to visit him as often as possible. You do love him after all! You long for his presence, for his words and instructions, for the sacred atmosphere of his abode! You would most like to live with him in his house!
"I cannot and do not want to leave my partner and children. I am busy with working for a living. When then should I go to school for a teacher?"
That is the cross of existence, which is spared no one, and certainly not a disciple of the temple. Usually, you will have to find time for encounters with the teacher in the morning before and in the evening after work, briefly at lunchtime, and otherwise on public holidays or during vacation.
You step before the teacher because he alone knows the plan for your personal education, your personal service to the common good, your personal mission on earth, your place in the Hierarchy, and for the solving of your Karma.
Only from him can you learn what you need to do on each new day in order to take another step on your spiritual path and to contribute another stone to building the New World.
Without guidance by the teacher, there is no progress on the spiritual path and no New Creation.
2. Stepping before the Teacher in Spirit
"What am I to do when no teacher can be found in the neighbourhood?"
Unfortunately, you cannot expect your teacher, or any true spiritual leader at all, to live near you, or even to be incarnated anywhere on earth at this time. That is why you must learn to connect in spirit with your teacher.
This is one of the great improvements that Agni Yoga brings to humanity: You can spare yourself the journey to India. Instead you can learn to lead like Helena Roerich in New York (!) a real conversation with a being from the Supermundane World, with your non-incarnated teacher, in a purely spiritual way.
The Teacher watches the progress of the yogi. The sign of his progress will be the ability to hear the voice of the invisible Teacher. (Agni Yoga 174, 181, 185)
"How am I to conduct such an occult conversation?"
In the morning of each day, two urgent questions arise: First: What should you do, what mission do you have to fulfill on earth today? And second: What do you have to learn, which step on the spiritual path may you take today?
Ask these two questions when you step in front of the teacher. Hearken to your inner self, may be the answer is already there, or gradually emerging.
The more faithfully you dedicate yourself to this practice, the more distinctly you will hear the voice of silence within you, which is the voice of your teacher. Believe me, with time you will experience: The instructions become more and more clear, the spiritual conversation becomes more and more real, and your teacher reveals himself step by step!
How this works in detail is described in our Broadcasting on "Meditation" (Series "The 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga").
You should not visit the teacher alone according to your mood, but daily or weekly at certain fixed times, and thus establish a wholesome rhythm.
As below, so above: The teacher as well must adjust himself to you: If you invoke him on some days urgently several times, and then do not let anything be heard from you for months, you cannot expect a natural connection to arise.
4. Purification of everyday Life
Giotto „Baptism of Christ”
"I am practicing diligently, but often there is no conversation and I do not receive any message or inspiration."
That does not matter. When the time is right, the connection will form. You will see: Stepping before the teacher regularly alone exerts a purifying effect on your entire existence:
Necessarily, your everyday life becomes, in a sense, a preparation for the lesson at the teacher's feet: You will have to get rid of one or the other bad habit without the teacher speaking a single word to you.
"What do you mean by that?"
Well, you probably will not want to step before one of the Masters of the earth burdened by an over-full stomach or stinking of garlic, alcohol, cigarettes or sweat? And do you think it would be promising to turn to a great sage to receive spiritual instruction when you are not even able during that one hour to control your thoughts and turn them off from your worldly projects, pleasures, worries, needs and difficulties?
Thus, stepping before the teacher necessarily requires a certain amount of purification.
Until a neophyte reaches the point where he can set his lower self a prisoner in the dock before his Judge – his Higher Self, and answer each question put by the Prosecutor as well as by his Advocate specifically and truthfully, regardless of the countless excuses and explanations evoked by his passions, pride and selfishness, there is no possible chance for overcoming his limitations and reaching a point where it is possible for him to consciously reach to a Master. For until he is fully aware of the conditions to be met, the weapons he has the right to use, and the character and possibilities of the enemies he has to overcome, as well as willing to accept the estimate of the Master as to the possibilities for profiting by the personal supervision of that Master, the latter would be wasting his time and effort. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Attainment”)
On the other hand, the hour at the feet of the teacher, even without that anything special happens, brings about an elevation of your being, as in the case of physically visiting a concert hall or a church.
This experience radiates back to your everyday life: You realize what sanctity is possible in spite of everything in this hopeless world. You will make an effort to bring with you as much as possible of this sublime mood into your everyday life and to keep it there for as long as possible. You will endeavour to adapt your earthly existence and that of your environment, as far as possible, to this example of a higher life.
Section IV: Stages of Discipleship
"I got used to stepping before the teacher regularly. What are the next stages on my path? "
You can and must stabilize, solidify and deepen the relationship with your teacher so that the "Silvery Thread" of the connection forms itself.
1. Application for Acceptance as Disciple on Probation
The next step is: You formally apply to be accepted as the personal disciple of a teacher.
"I already have a teacher, my spiritual father! I am securely tied to the next higher link in the chain of Hierarchy. Why an application? "
Of course, true. Everyone has a father. However, between teacher and disciple in the esoteric sense there is a much closer, more formal relationship: You enter a school where you receive instruction according to a precise plan at certain times. You take over obligations for service. You promise unrestricted obedience.
Such a firm, eternal bond does not come about by itself. It requires a well-considered application on your part and after careful examination its acceptance by the teacher.
2. Examine yourself
Applying for acceptance as a disciple is a great step indeed. Read again the Mahatma Letters: There is shown how most applications must be rejected for lack of suitability of the candidate.
The individuals capable of training for such fields are rare indeed. Overcome by sex impulse, lacking in the broad humanitarian principles, enfeebled in constitution by hereditary taints or, worst of all, tied hand and foot by the power of suggestion as to the necessity for money, it is evident there can be but comparatively few in this age, as in past ages, who are even in position to enter the lists for individual training. (Teachings of the Temple Vol II, Lesson “The seven Builders”)
Twenty-one years ago there were but three disciples out of forty-nine, located at different points of the western globe, who were strongly enough fortified exteriorly and interiorly to bear the effects of the action of the opposing forces of the age. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 85 “Will and Law”)
The highest path imposes the highest demands, which are not easy to fulfill. The reward is great, thus the price can only be high.
The most difficult offers the best access. (Fiery World II, 324)
Therefore, you have to examine yourself thoroughly: Are you ready for this position? Are you able to muster the strength and the will to meet the requirements?
Better examine yourself before the teacher examines you!
Better stay away now than become unfaithful later.
Better to not approach in the first place than to manifest apostasy! (Heart 59)
"With regard to what shall I examine myself?"
Your self-examination must relate to one thing above all else: Are you able, in the midst of your everyday earthly existence, to live up to the law of the disciple, which we shall discuss in a moment?
There are certain inviolable rules to be obeyed, certain unalterable conditions to be fulfilled before it is even possible for you to take the first step on the "Secret Path" – the Path of Power.
Create a mental mirror in which, by the aid of your Higher Self, you proceed to hold your personal self before the mirror;
and with an earnest petition for enlightenment, question that mirror as to what are the probabilities of your being able to live up to those rules and fulfil the conditions. Ask that mirrored form what is the extent of its will-power, its power of endurance, its ability for sacrifice, such sacrifice as is demanded of the true Neophyte?
In nine hundred and ninety-nine instances out of one thousand the answer will be: "I have neither power nor ability commensurate with the demand." Bear carefully in mind that not one of the rules given for your guidance is unnecessary; not one of the directions is superfluous; not one of the sacrifices demanded is useless. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 148 “A Letter from the Master”)
Thus, it will be wise to first set up a probationary period for yourself, during which you try to live according to the basic rules which we have called "The 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga". Only when you have successfully passed this test, you should apply.
"And then I will be accepted?"
Not necessarily. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. There are many other points which the teacher has to consider: Above all, it depends upon your Karma, the breadth of your consciousness, and the progress of your spiritual development, whether you can be admitted as the disciple of a great Master.
In the question of the acceptance of a disciple, his karma plays the main role. A person burdened with karma cannot hope to become a close disciple. Only those whose earthly karma is almost completed can be accepted among the closest disciples. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 29.08.1934)
3. Acceptance as Disciple on Probation
Andrea Sacchi „The Vision of St. Romuald“
Do not be too hasty in choosing disciples. Apply three tests to the approaching ones, so that they may reveal themselves unsuspectingly. Let the first test be the affirmation of the General Good; let the second be the defence of the Name of the Teacher; let the third be the demonstration of independence of action. (Agni Yoga 217)
When you are ready, the teacher will accept you as his personal disciple – at first, of course, for trial only. The regular probationary period is seven years.
Some people think that it is possible to change Teachers without danger, but they forget the three year and the seven-year period, through which the bond is woven. (Fiery World III, 538)
"That is quite a long time, though."
Remember: Your position as a disciple is not limited to your current, short earthly life. It basically extends over an infinite period of time, over many existences, both on the material level and after the death of your body in the Supermundane World. As a preliminary stage for such an eternal connection, seven years of examination are not too long.
It is up to the teacher alone to extend or to shorten the trial period.
With the acceptance as a disciple on probation, your life changes completely. The spiritual reality: "I am the disciple of a Master" must henceforth characterize and mould your entire material existence. Let us listen to the eternal words of Mahatma Hilarion:
To the Disciple of the Master Soul of the Universe: From the moment your feet shall cross the sill of the high-barred gate which now divides the things of the spirit and the things of the flesh; from the moment when you bid adieu to the long loved, long followed friends and companions of the past, and gird yourself afresh for service – from that moment life has changed for you.
From that moment your viewpoint of life has changed; you are no longer owner of yourself; you have no longer a right to claim for yourself the easy things, the delights, of that part of life's path you are leaving; you have only the right of renunciation and the joy of introspection. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 105 “My Brother’s Keeper”)
The goal of your life is now: Already during this earthly incarnation you want the trial period to be lifted and you to be definitively accepted as a personal disciple once and for all. Everything else must subordinate itself to or serve this great project.
An example is Milarepa, who set out to attain Buddhahood in one lifetime, and actually reached this much higher goal. (Nicholas Roerich "Milarepa") (See the book worth reading by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, Tibet's Great Yogi Milarepa, 2nd ed. London 1958)
Little changes in your outward life. You continue to fulfil your worldly obligations. But you have created a new spiritual framework for your material existence. The stage set, the scenery, the subtle world, the spiritual background before which your earthly everyday life takes place, has changed.
4. Entering the Ashram of the Teacher
Nicholas Roerich „Star of the Morning“
We now come to the decisive step that really makes you a disciple:
A disciple in the esoteric sense is a member of a community consisting of the teacher and his classmates.
To be accepted as a disciple thus means at the same time to be received into this community. From today on you form a spiritual family. The teacher is your spiritual father, his other disciples, your classmates are your spiritual brothers and sisters.
"My new family – what a strange idea!"
Not at all. That is how it was at all times: If you wanted to become a disciple of Plato, you had to enter the Academy; a novice of the Egyptian mysteries had to be admitted to the temple, a disciple of St. Benedict or St. Francis of Assisi to his monastery, a disciple of Buddha or Gandhi to his Ashram, and a follower of Jesus to the circle of his disciples.
"And how is it today? There are no Ashrams of the Brotherhood on Earth at the moment!"
Today it is no different. Though in most cases the admission takes place no longer physically but in spirit. You become the monk of an Inner Monastery. You build the temple within your own heart.
"Entering a community in spirit? That seems difficult to realize. "
There is no other way. Remember, we are talking about the supratemporal community you want to belong to. Its members are not all incarnated on earth at the same time anyway, and certainly not in the same place as you. Therefore, you can connect with them in spirit only.
If you want to become a disciple, even if on probation only, you must enter the Ashram of your teacher. (Nicholas Roerich "Star of the Morning")
Only with this admission, your position as a disciple of a Master and your setting off for the spiritual path turn from a non-binding, abstract reverie from a Sunday sermon to a concrete reality.
You now participate in all, even the smallest details of your teacher's life, and in the healthy habits of your new family. Only then you are integrated into the Hierarchy, which is after all a community! This completely changes your life.
We have to see clearly: Most esoteric disciples make progress in theory only, but not in practice, because they shy away from the decisive venture: entering the Ashram of the Teacher.
How this entry is going on and how your life there looks like, we shall discuss in detail in the Broadcasting "Living in the Ashram of the Teacher".
5. New Name
In order to make your new identity an outward reality, you should choose a new name for yourself.
"But I already have a name. Why is that not enough? "
Your previous, bourgeois name Paul Smith or Barbara Miller refers to your transient personality which will cease to exist in a few years' time. Your true spiritual self, your Eternal Individuality, must be given a different name in order to make conspicuous to the outside world as well: You are now a different creature than before.
At all times, the reception into a monastic order or another spiritual community was considered a second birth. Therefore, the novice received a new esoteric name as a sign of his new position and dignity.
The Roerich family and their closest co-workers in New York were also each given esoteric names of their own by the Mahatmas:
Photography of 07.12.1924, sitting from left: Esther Lichtmann - Enta; Sinaida Lichtmann (born Shafran, married again Fosdick) - Radna; Nikolaus Roerich - Fujama; Nettie Horch - Poruma; Frances Grant - Modra; standing from left: Louis Horch - Logwan; Sofie Shafran - Smotrjatschaja; Swetoslaw Roerich - Ljumou; Maurice Lichtmann - Nuzija or Awirach; Tatjana Grebentschikowa - Naru and Georgij Grebentschikow - Taruchan. Not present: Helena Roerich - Urusvati und Jurij Roerich - Udraja.
Section V: The Law of the Disciple
At all times spiritual discipline was part of the higher path: In the Buddha's school, among the disciples of Jesus, the Pythagoreans, Essenes, and Sufis, and likewise in the Middle Age orders of the Cistercians, of St. John, or the Knights Templar.
Discipline is the beginning of everything. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 250 )
People do not realize the foundation of the Teaching of Buddha. The foundation is discipline. Spiritually and bodily the monk of the community was striving to hold on to the path. In the first years he was under a heavy obedience. He was forbidden to crucify himself with ascetic practices, but he was enjoined to conduct the battle under the sole command of the spirit. Thus austerely did Buddha instruct His disciples. Verily, they knew joy only in spiritual battle; that is why the thorns of the path are spoken of.
Only when the will of the spiritual warrior had become leonine, and the silver bridle of the spirit gleamed upon the feelings of the disciple, only then did the Master lift the veil slightly and assign a task. And then gradually the disciple was initiated into the mysteries of knowledge. (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, 251 )
The path of the Teaching is the same now as it was then. For coming closer and for the highest confidence, the very same foundations are necessary: reverence for the Hierarchy and discipline of spirit. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 11.02.1929)
This discipline is not an end in itself. It does not aim at enslaving you either. Rather, it is a necessary means to achieve the highest goal: It is only discipline that makes a spiritual life of your soul and an inner development possible. Following the rule promotes the growth of the divine within us; every offence stains and weakens it.
If you want to reach the goal, you need to apply the necessary means.
Most candidates fail already because of these external requirements.
1. Submission to the Law of the Disciple
With your acceptance as a disciple, even if it is for trial only, the law of the disciple applies to you immediately.
If a man is content to continue life on such terms as worldly conditions offer, he is dependent upon worldly opinions, but if he continues in discipleship he must be content to obey the laws of discipleship. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 115 “The Law of Primogeniture”)
The old casualness is over. You are now part of a higher order than the ordinary man.
If you are satisfied to evolve with the masses, well and good; if you would pass beyond the masses, you must be subject to higher laws than those which govern material substance. (Teachings of the Temple Vol I, Lesson 21 “Prayer”)
The law of the disciple consists of age-old habits that were essentially the same in all cultures and all religions.
There are certain strict and inviolable rules for developing a disciple into an Initiate, and each of these rules is simple in construction of form, and as old as the stars and planets of the solar system. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 48 “The Path of Light”)
These collected experiences transmitted from Above serve only one purpose: your sanctification!
The rule of the first Christian order, the so-called "Rule of the Angel," was given to St. Pachomius by an angel with the words: "By following these habits, all flesh will be saved."
Your testing and examination in the next few years will essentially be about whether you are capable of living according to this higher law.
We may yet walk along the arduous path together, as you, you alone, have to weave your destiny. We may yet meet: but if at all, it has to be along and on — those adamantine rocks with which our occult rules surround us — never outside them. No, never can we pursue our further journey — if hand in hand — along that highway, crowded thoroughfare, which encircles them, and on which Spiritualists and mystics, prophets and seers elbow each other nowadays. The motley crowd of candidates may shout for the Sesam to open: it never will, so long as they keep outside those rules. Those laws are the outcome of ages of wisdom. Nevertheless, were one but to obediently follow them, they could be made to gradually yield to one's desire and give to him all he asks of them. The passions, the affections are not to be indulged in by him, who seeks to know; for they wear out the earthly body with their own secret power. (Mahatma Letters, letter No. 48 of 03.03.1882)
A complete change of your previous way of life is required if you want to go through the education of the disciple of a great Master.
No student of occult philosophy has ever succeeded in developing his psychic powers without leading the life prescribed for such students. The rules laid down by the ancient teachers of Occult Science are inflexible; and it is not left to the discretion of any teacher either to enforce them or not to enforce them according to the nature of the existing circumstances. If you find it impracticable to change the present mode of your life, you cannot but wait for practical instruction until you are in a position to make such sacrifices as Occult Science demands; and for the present you must be satisfied with such theoretical instruction as it may be possible to give you. (Mahatma Letters, letter No. 131 of 26.06.1882)
The requirements are so high also because the Mahatmas must prevent the misuse of knowledge or of forces by unsuitable or even malicious applicants.
The Occult Science is not one, in which secrets can be communicated of a sudden, by a written or even verbal communication. If so, all the "Brothers" should have to do, would be to publish a Hand-Book of the art which might be taught in schools as grammar is.
Till the Neophyte attains to the condition necessary for that degree of Illumination to which, and for which, he is entitled and fitted, most if not all of the Secrets are incommunicable. The receptivity must be equal to the desire to instruct. The illumination must come from within.
Till then, no hocus pocus of incantations, or mummery of appliances, no metaphysical lectures or discussions, no self-imposed penance can give it. All these are but means to an end, and all we can do is to direct the use of such means as have been empirically found by the experience of ages to conduce to the required object.
And this was and has been no secret for thousands of years. Fasting, meditation, chastity of thought, word, and deed; silence for certain periods of time to enable nature herself to speak to him who comes to her for information; government of the animal passions and impulses;
utter unselfishness of intention, the use of certain incense and fumigations for physiological purposes, have been published as the means since the days of Plato and Iamblichus in the West, and since the far earlier times of our Indian Rishis. (Mahatma Letters, letter No. 49 of 05.08.1881)
Today, as at all times, the highest path of a disciple of wisdom is reserved to only a few.
Many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22, 14)
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. Such a way of life, with the assumption of all the burdens of surrounding imperfections, will not be pleasant to many. (Hierarchy 451).
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7, 13, 14)
Submission to the law of the disciple is the first criterion for separating the wheat from the chaff.
The higher law, the sacred law, is not for many. (Infinity I, 83)
The higher paths lead to the summit. The common highway does not lead to the Holy Mountain. (Leaves of Morya's Garden I, 141 , 213 )
Real teachers always make a strict selection and accept only a small number of disciples.
On the spiritual level, quality matters more than quantity.
With a few faithful followers the teacher achieves more than with many lukewarm ones.
If you individually had held each incoming disciple to as strict account for the breaking of the rules of discipleship as you are sometimes held by those who imagine that you have broken your obligations in some respect, you might not have had more than a dozen loyal disciples left today, but that dozen would be so fitted by interior and exterior development as to have been able to hold any position in the Temple work satisfactorily to us. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Divine Indifference”)
2. Submission to the Rule of the Ashram
When you are accepted as a disciple, even if it is for trial only, you will be admitted at the same time to the Ashram of your teacher. As a member of this community, you must submit to the rule that governs here.
Every community needs a firm, hierarchical order to which everyone has to adapt. This is where most of the esoteric projects of our days fail.
Precisely outlined are the statutes of the Community of Knowledge. (Agni Yoga 93)
Obviously, anyone who is unable or unwilling to abide by the rule of the Ashram (not only in the Ashram itself, but also during the time he is sent out into the world) cannot permanently live in this community which has placed itself under this law.
Prove your willingness to serve God by serving the God in each other. Prove your ability for discipleship by obeying the laws of discipleship. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Your Choice”)
"Culture is the rule of a religious order" says Ludwig Wittgenstein.
He wants to say: If a community wishes to build a higher culture – the New World –, it has to submit to higher laws than those that apply to the majority of the people continuing to live under the old order.
Thus, let us apply the higher laws to the earthly plan. (Hierarchy 291)
"Does anything else apply when I have been a disciple for many incarnations already than when I yet want to become a disciple?"
No. In both instances, you have to live by the rule: In the one case, in order to confirm your position as a disciple, in the other case in order to reach it yet.
Tintoretto „Baptism of Christ“
A disciple on probation arrives in the Ashram completely filthy. In a spiritual sense, he is actually stained by his previous worldly habits. His gross radiations stink and pollute the pure air in this sacred place. Therefore, first of all, a thorough purification is required.
The very first necessity for securing reliable and efficient instruction is such a purification of mind and body as but few among the races of earth are willing to submit to in this day and age. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 117 “The Circuit of the Soul”)
This cleansing is being effected in a natural way by your participating in the purer life in the Ashram. Just staying at a sacred place, living together with spiritually superior beings, stepping regularly before the teacher, and following the principles that apply here bring about a purification – even though you do not do anything more than sharing the life of your family.
At all times the secret of the monasteries was:
Living in a holy place sanctifies. (Nicholas Roerich "Star of the Morning")
You will learn that by joining the community in spirit and living in an “Inner Temple”, the “Ashram in the Heart”, you can achieve the same purification as if you were physically visiting a sanctuary.
In the presence of the teacher – regardless of whether it be physical or in spirit! – there can be no gross, unworthy behaviour, no doubt and no depression. (See the Broadcasting “Living in continuous Presence of the teacher”)
Can I lie before the Master? Can I conceal anything from the Master? Can I contemplate treason in the presence of the Master Himself? (Fiery World II, 118)
4. The 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga
"What exactly do the law of the disciple and the rule of the Ashram pronounce?"
Specifically, this means: The 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga from now on form the spiritual framework within which your earthly life takes place. Let us briefly review what the individual pillars mean precisely to a disciple:
1st pillar: The consciousness of the high dignity of being the disciple of a Master is the basis of your existence. It is formed in the Ashram at the feet of the teacher. You must preserve and defend it when descending down to earthly life. You learn to appear on the material level with the attitude of a spiritual disciple.
2nd pillar: You keep the rules as to the rhythm of the day automatically by your living in the Ashram: You meet the teacher in the morning, at noon and in the evening. At fixed times, you participate in meditation, study, education and service.
3rd pillar: You follow the rules regarding nutrition automatically as well: As long as you are living here, you have no choice but to make do with the kind and the (small) amount of food that are customary in a temple. Certain things such as meat, alcohol, cigarettes or chocolate are simply not available here.
4th pillar: Most people do not want to hear about obedience. Our Broadcastings on this topic receive only little attention.
However, you have to show perfect obedience to your teacher. His effort is in vain, and he will not keep you as a disciple, unless you do what he tells you to do.
It makes no sense for you either to apply for acceptance as a disciple if you are not willing to follow the instructions of your teacher.
Obedience is the key to the integration into the Cosmic Order, the basis of the succession after a great spirit, and the first step towards a real cooperation with the Higher Powers.
Finally, no community, not even the Ashram of a teacher, can exist without that the hierarchical principle takes effect.
5th pillar: You realize the ideal of living in two worlds easily when you first visit the Ashram in spirit in the morning, then descend to the world during the day with tasks and assignments and finally return to the sanctuary in the evening.
6th. pillar: You naturally practice selflessness through your living in the community. Your more experienced classmates will see to it that your egotism is driven out!
In a temple, you will have to give up most of the selfish pleasures of your old life. From now on, your delights are meditation, spiritual ascent and service.
7th pillar: The higher connection, the conversation with your teacher becomes a self-evident part of your new life: You meet him in the morning, at noon and in the evening.
Meditation, especially in the evening, is indeed a touchstone for compliance with the other habits: Violations of the rules regarding rhythm of the day or nutrition render the higher communion impossible.
You will soon find out yourself: If you take a meal in the evening, eat a lot and heavily, and maybe even enjoy a glass of wine, you are of course not a bad man. A connection with the higher world, a spiritual conversation with a non-incarnated teacher, however, is not possible in this state!
Again, you must plan the day by looking back from its end and avoid anything that impedes your highest joy, the dialogue with your father in the evening.
8th, 9th and 10th pillar: Service and education are the essential components of your new life as a disciple. Every day, you receive an assignment for selfless service to the common good and a task for your personal spiritual ascent.
Of course, you have to adhere to these rules not only in the Ashram, but also when you are staying on the material plane. You see, entering the Ashram of your teacher completely changes your life.
5. No Compulsion
Duccio di Buoninsegna „Maestà - The twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple”
"Discipline, law of the disciple, rule of the Ashram: That sounds a bit like constriction and oppression to me."
That is completely wrong! You must not under any circumstances perceive the subjection to spiritual discipline as compulsion! Then, entering the Ashram would be worthless. If you experience the customs of the higher culture that prevails here as a burden, you do not belong here by your very nature.
You are living in the house of your father, your true, spiritual, eternal "Father in Heaven." Like the twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple you should say:
Was it not clear to you that my right place was in my Father's house? (Luke 2, 49)
There, where your beloved father dwells, you want to live, too. It is your highest bliss to be close to him and to share in the sanctity of his abode – which is created precisely by the rule! If it does not fill you with joy and enthusiasm to live here, you are out of place here, then your heaven is somewhere else.
Finally, it is impossible to walk the Higher Path otherwise than with joy!
One does not go far by growling. (Fiery World I, 524)
Austere is the path of approach to Brotherhood. Earthly joys leave us. But much higher and deeper joys come to take their place; however one must learn to grow up to them, to the joy of the nearness of the White Brotherhood, the joy of the possibility of cooperation with Them, the joy of constant broadening and deepening of the understanding of life and active cosmic laws. Likewise there is no small joy from contacts with the harmonious hearts of the closest friends and co-workers. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. II, letter of 19.07.1937)
6. A Week with Helena Roerich in the Kulu Valley
"This is still very abstract and quite far removed from my everyday life. Could you not give us a practical example from today’s time?"
Let us take a look at Helena Roerich. She spent the last approximately 20 years of her life away from the world in the Himalayas, in the Kulu Valley near the Mahatmas.
From there she guided the co-workers and Agni Yoga groups in America and Europe by letter. Even the receipt of such a letter from her hand was a privilege to be envied.
Even greater was the honour to visit Helena Roerich for a few weeks or even months in the Kulu Valley. It was only granted to the very few who were ready for it. Again, there were some little jealousies: Who is closest to her? Who is allowed to see her when, how often and how long? Why is he allowed to go, but not me?
Now imagine: You are invited to spend some time with this great teacher. Will not these be the most beautiful and most important days of your life?
You will quite naturally and as a matter of course adapt to the customs of this place: You will get up early in the morning together with Helena Roerich, do some physical exercises with her, invoke the Brotherhood, meditate and read the Teaching.
You will quite naturally and as a matter of course imitate her outward life in all its details, for example as far as food and the rhythm of the day are concerned. This is brought about necessarily alone by living together with her.
You will be proud and happy to be able to participate in her Great Work, to take upon you some of her tasks, and to be entrusted with certain assignments, for example writing letters or making translations.
You will actually be eager to receive instructions on how to perfect yourself and about the next steps on your personal spiritual path. In her presence, under her supervision (which comes naturally from living together) you will diligently practice the exercises she imposes on you – because you feel how you are growing thereby a little bit every day.
Rough, unworthy behaviour (irritability, negligence, impurity, anger, insults, roaring or even aggressiveness) prohibit themselves in her presence. Thus, you are raised solely by being allowed to live together with her in the sublime atmosphere of her world where certain things are simply inadmissible. (Svetoslav Roerich "Helena Roerich")
In the Kulu Valley, this sacred place, there are no tobacco, alcohol, meat or chocolate, no restaurants, easy-going girls and no football matches.
Thus, if you have not given up the desire for these or similar pleasures yet, you will have to leave her abode (actually, because you will be ashamed, secretly through the back door!) and walk a few miles to the next village. You then have to flee the sanctuary and give up the proximity to the teacher.
But do you really think you could approach Helena Roerich on your return, smelling of beer or cigarettes, with an aura saturated with worldly desires? That is simply unthinkable!
If you have retained at least a spark of sensitivity, you will not dare to pollute her and her abode in this way. And she would not allow that either – though not in order to discipline or to punish you, but to protect herself and the holy place!
By accepting a disciple, the Teacher includes him in his consciousness and establishes with him an invisible but active bond. From that very moment, the Teacher knows at any instant what is happening to his disciple. He can even know his fleeting thoughts, and can direct him accordingly. Therefore, it must be understood how hard, how unbearable for the High Consciousness of the Teacher would be any disharmonious vibrations caused by unpurified thoughts of the disciple, how inadmissible under such a close, sacred bond with the Teacher would be any still-not-outlived lust. Every disharmonious vibration cuts into the current of this bond, and if repeated can break it altogether. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 29.08.1934) (Svetoslav Roerich „Helena Roerich“)
You see: There is no compulsion! Rather, living together with a high spirit by its very nature gives rise to certain unalterable necessities.
If you wish to stay in this heaven, you cannot help but abstain from everything that renders impossible the community with the high beings living here.
Nobody is disciplining you! Nobody punishes you! You yourself destroy your own happiness should you be so much a slave to your desires that they force you to leave your heaven!
"Now I understand the concept of entering the Ashram of the teacher in spirit: I live the way I would live if in actual fact I would dwell in community with my teacher. His physical presence is not required for that. "
At the latest after death, you will really be able to live together with Helena Roerich or another great teacher in his Ashram in the Subtle World. But only if you prepare during your current earthly life for this lofty goal in such a way that you are in fact mature enough to be admitted. Undoubtedly, the best preparation is to practice already on earth to live in this heaven.
How this can be achieved we shall discuss in the Broadcasting "Living in the Ashram of the Teacher".