AGNI YOGA WEB TV
„THE PATH OF THE DISCIPLE“
Living in the Ashram of the Teacher
Dear Agni Yogis,
today we turn to one of the most beautiful and most important topics: Living in the Ashram of the Teacher is the synthesis of the practice of Agni Yoga:
A pure, holy, spiritual life in the midst of the storms and adversities of everyday worldly existence.
We now continue on the path we began with the Videos "How do you find your Teacher", "Become a Disciple!", "Exercise The Fiery Condition", "Living in the continuous Presence of the Teacher", "The Path of the Interior Temple" and "Participation in the Life of the Higher World". We cannot repeat all this again. The mastery of this knowledge and of these practices must be taken for granted today.
Section I: The Ashram of the Teacher
Nicholas Roerich "Glory of the Himalayas”
1. Higher Way of Life
Whether you are or want to become a professional athlete, a concert pianist or an astronaut, every vocation requires a particular way of life.
Even for breeding pigs there are required definite conditions of life. How then can a man, who decides on achieving the heroic deed of a social life, remain in the old philistine dens? (Community 179)
If you want to be a spiritual disciple, you must give up the habitual way of life of the average man.
The life of a disciple, from the moment of his acceptance, becomes entirely new. His dormant energies are awakened, and their development and transmutation are accelerated. The tension of the disciple is great. He must follow a certain regime without abandoning his regular duties. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol I, letter of 21.07.1934)
We wait for those who strive to abandon the old life. (Community 229)
The disciple asks, "What is the best way of life for a disciple?"
The ashram of his teacher. For him there is nothing greater and more beautiful than to live at the feet of a wise master.
2. The Monastery as an Archetype
Monte Cassino Monastery
The monastery is an archetype of humanity. For thousands of years, in both East and West, it has been a place of spiritual perfection. Here people practised living according to the precepts of their higher nature.
In former times, here lived those who were not content with making just beautiful words, but strived to seriously start the realisation of a higher, purer life.
We are talking about the way of life of the Egyptian and Greek mysteries, of the schools of Pythagoras, Confucius and Buddha, the Academy of Plato, the Eastern and Western monastic orders in their heyday, or the ashrams of Milarepa, Bede Griffiths and Gandhi.
In all countries, at all times and in all cultures, monasteries were centres of spirituality, bulwarks of the spirit against materialism, and sources of wisdom and spiritual guidance for entire peoples. (Chorin Monastery, Rongpu Monastery, Tiger's Nest Monastery)
We owe Western culture as we know it today to the civilising work of the Christian monks.
In the Middle Ages, monasteries were places of making land arable, of scholarship, cultivation of the arts, education of the young and selfless service to the sick and the weak. Abbots often exercised political functions in the government. The preservation of the writings of the ancient Greek and Roman authors through the turmoil of the Migration Period was above all the work of the monks.
In the midst of the bloody chaos of the fall of the Roman Empire, monasteries were oases for the preservation of civilisation and germ cells of the new, Christian culture. (Monte Cassino Monastery)
"Isn't monastery an outdated term?"
Yes, of course. Most monasteries are degenerated.
We are absolutely opposed to monasteries, as they are the antithesis of life; only seedbeds of life, communities displaying the best manifestations of labour, will find Our assistance. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 130)
What we have in mind, what they once were, and what they can become again in a new, contemporary form, is: Holy Places!
"What is such a sanctuary?"
A place where a community of spiritually elevated people is in connection with the Higher World, serves the common good with selfless work and rises to greater perfection through spiritual exercises.
3. The Path of the Interior Monastery
Who does not long for the peace and solemnity of a holy place?
We are looking with awe at the holy lives of the founders of religious orders and monasteries, the ancient monastic fathers and mothers, whether their names are Anthony, Pachomius, Basil, Benedict, Francis of Assisi or Sergius of Radonezh, Hildegard of Bingen, Teresa of Avila or Catherine of Siena. (St. Anthony, Fra Angelico "St. Benedict"; Rubens "Teresa of Avila"; St. Hildegard of Bingen; Nicholas Roerich "Francis of Assisi", "Sergius of Radonezh").
At least when you were a child you too dreamed of imitating such heroes and saints!
"How can we today, in our Western culture, under modern conditions, follow these venerable role models and rise again to such heights?"
The path of earlier epochs, the retreat into the desert, to a hermitage or a cave in the Himalayas is no longer viable.
Above all things, put away from you the false idea that such training is to be had by seeking it amidst the mountains of the Himalaya or the temples of ancient Hind or Egypt, the religious monasteries, or the countless self-announced teachers of other lands than your own.
If you believe in the laws of cause and effect, you should be able to see that you have been placed in your present environment to work out some much needed change in your own character and surroundings. When that change has been made and it has become necessary for you to seek other racial opportunities, the law will place you there.
But if you run away from present duties and necessities, you will gain nothing and only have to return to and remain in the environment you have deserted. When you are ready for a change in the right direction, if your heart is fixed on necessary training for such a field as I have suggested, the way will open for it. (Teachings of the Temple Vol II, Lesson “The seven Builders”)
It does not meet the requirements of our time to isolate oneself from the earthly conditions and to withdraw behind monastery walls.
Not hiding from life, but transforming it is required. (Supermundane 812)
The Kingdom of Christ will not be won by the disciple who betakes himself to some quiet corner for the express purpose of getting out of the strife and turmoil of the world. If it were so, evolutionary law would have placed that disciple in another world, upon some other planet in space. (Teachings of the Temple Vol II, Lesson “The World's Struggle”)
The omnipresent need downright cries out for relief. The spiritual man cannot close his ears to this call.
We serve humanity, We love humanity. Many activists remain in the earthly spheres so that they can continue working amidst all calamities. (Supermundane 420)
We certainly do not approve of those fanatics who abandon their earthly obligations and bring nothing but confusion to all around them. They talk about higher harmonies, but at the same time forget that there must be harmony between the earthly world and the Supermundane.
These fanatics consider earthly tasks to be beneath their dignity, and thus prove their ignorance. They came to Earth to fulfill some task, and should honour their obligation and love their task. With proper devotion to their earthly work, they would be able to sense the Supermundane touches. This kind of devotion is a natural link between the worlds. (Supermundane 641)
"I for one certainly don't want to give up my partner, children, job and participation in earthly development!”
You are right, for in doing so you would deprive yourself of the best opportunity to learn and perfect yourself. Everyday life is a touchstone for your progress that nothing can replace. Only here can you train, test and confirm your spiritual achievements. Only here can you find out with certainty which spiritual level you have actually attained.
So the great challenge of today’s time is:
On the one hand to work in the midst of the world, and on the other hand to lead a pure, spiritual life.
"Is that even possible?"
Yes! These two requirements are combined in the way of life of the Inner Monastery, which we had already discussed in detail in the Video "The Path of the Interior Temple".
Let the inner life of each one of you be his own sanctuary. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol I, letter of 19.10.1929)
This is a realisation of the ancient ideal which is appropriate for the present time.
Let us collect the most beautiful, heroic ideas of all times and countries, and with creative imagination let us apply their achievements in our life, taking into consideration the peculiarities of our epoch. Only such imitation will give the correct foundation for further progress. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol I, letter of 01.03.1929)
Thereby you combine the contemplative way of life of a saint with the struggle in the world for the triumph of the spirit. This will be a much greater achievement than leading a spiritual existence secluded in a monastic cell.
People should not think that they must retreat to the life of a hermit in order to properly develop their consciousness. Amidst daily life on Earth can be found beautiful striving, and such a heroic deed will be even more wonderful. (Supermundane 853)
Thus the promise becomes true that you can live in Heaven, whatever your external life situation may be.
Man should strive with all his power toward the Supermundane World. By doing this, he will develop a conscious awareness that he participates continuously in the Supermundane World. At the same time he must treasure his earthly life, must learn to rejoice at high quality in his labour, and must continue with the earthly life, as he finds new ways of perfectment in it.
One might ask how it is possible to reconcile these seemingly contradictory ways. Truly, it can be done, for man can perfect his consciousness. Those who embrace these opposites are especially useful for the perfectment of the world. They strengthen their magnetism and thus naturally attract the hearts of disciples. (Supermundane 738)
4. The Monk as an Archetype
The monk is an archetype of humanity. The monastic dimension is a necessary part of the fullness of our existence. In each one of us there is hidden, among many other things, a monk: Everyone feels within himself the longing for a higher, purer life.
Up to today, the saints, heroes of faith and spiritual leaders of all religions of all times, from Buddha, Pythagoras and Plato to Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa, have led a monastic life.
There is no higher profession than the monastic one. May God grant that we may one day put on the simple monk's robe for which my soul is longing! The mere thought of it gives me great joy. But by our own strength alone, without being called upon by God, we cannot accomplish this. (Nikolai Gogol)
"Why does Gogol call monasticism the highest rank in society?"
Because its members tread the only promising path to the salvation of the world:
The road to self-sanctification. (Andrea Sacchi "The Vision of St. Romuald")
It has always been the way of the monks not to use big words, but to offer in silence the highest commitment and to bear witness to the right path with the example of their own lives. This was and is at all times the highest path!
Intellectuals experiment with ideas, monks experiment with their lives. (Raimondo Panikkar)
And if Alyosha took the path of monastic life, it was only because at that time this path alone impressed him and seemed to guarantee him, as it were, the ideal way out for his soul, which was urging out of the darkness of worldly depravity into the light of love. (Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov)
Our time downright cries out for monastic achievements!
What we need most urgently is: Revival of spirituality, turning to the Higher, Eternal Self, obedience to God's Word or, to put it differently, to the Cosmic Order, elevation above the affairs of this world, spiritual guidance by wise teachers, and community.
"But I for one would not like to bear the name 'monk'!"
No, of course not, this term is outdated.
Today, we better say "spiritual warrior", "hero of faith", "Agni Yogi" or "spiritual disciple" in order to point to the possibility of a radical alternative to the conventional, bourgeois existence, and to the seriousness and rigour of following the Great Masters, which is so alien to the present time.
The life of the man of the future is shaped by discipline, contemplation, living in two worlds, self-improvement and selfless service.
It thus corresponds very largely to the monkish ideal. Alyosha Karamazov is the eternal monument of such a person, who appears as a saint in the midst of the most repugnant circumstances.
Monks are not special beings, they are just what all people on earth should be like. (Dostoevsky "The Brothers Karamazov") (Vasily Perov "Dostoevsky")
5. New Monasticism: Spiritual Warrior in all earthly Circumstances
"What do you mean when you speak of a "new monk"?"
A person who lives a holy life in the midst of the world.
We expect the spiritual renewal of humanity from a new kind of saint who is serious about discipleship and succession, about an earthly life oriented towards supermundane ideals.
I dream of a new St. Francis or a new St. Ignatius who teach us a new kind of Christian life that is more engaged in the world and yet at the same time more detached from it. (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, letter of 21. 06. 1921)
I believe to know that I will actually be inwardly clear and sincere only when I really begin to take the Sermon on the Mount seriously. The restoration of the Church certainly comes from a new kind of monasticism, which has in common with the old one only the uncompromising attitude of a life according to the Sermon on the Mount in following Christ. I believe it is time to muster people for this purpose. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, letter of 14. 01. 1935)
Who is inwardly equal to the robot of our time and able, as an adversary, to beat it in the spiritual battle? Salvation comes through a new, transformed monasticism! In order to recognise the unavoidable necessity of founding new religious orders, one only needs to consider the significance of the spiritual orders of knights for the Middle Ages. In the long run, modern Christianity will not be able to get by without a new transfer of the idea of the order to the present time. It needs new orders because only a new "brotherhood of those marked by pain", as Albert Schweitzer says, can give the right answer to the spiritual need of the present time. (Walter Nigg, On the Mystery of the Monks)
James Hilton's "Shangri-La", Hermann Hesse's "Glass Bead Game" and Dostoyevsky's "Brothers Karamazov" bear witness to the hope that the world can be saved by the example of a monastic elite.
"Does a holy life mean, for instance, that I should give up all possessions, take the bowl and roam the streets as a mendicant monk?"
No, of course not, that is an aberration! Property used for the common welfare is a good thing!
A modern saint participates in normal earthly life. Following the example of Helena and Nicholas Roerich, he has a wife, children and a bread-and-butter job to earn his living with his own hands. He is distinguished by one thing only:
He always reveals only his Higher, Eternal Self.
He directs his thoughts, feelings, words and deeds through his heart.
The fire of the heart constitutes the principle of the New World. (Hierarchy 375)
This is law of the heart: One should sow the good with every glance, every touch. (Heart 410)
You can realise this ideal at any time in any place, in whatever circumstances fate has placed you.
A negative example is Tolstoy: For years, until shortly before his death, he tormented himself and those around him with the question: "Must I not, in order to live up to the high moral standards I am propagating, in order to fulfil Christ's commandments, in order to lead the life of a saint and to be close to God, give up my entire enormous fortune, leave my wife and children and roam the world as a pilgrim?” Had he known the concept of the Interior Monastery, he would probably have lived a happier life. (Ilya Repin "Tolstoy")
The New Age calls for an expansion of the concept of monasticism:
The outer, physical monastery is the ideal of the mortal: He regards his existence as limited to only one earthly life. He therefore is faced with the necessity of hurriedly forcing his way into Heaven before he dies.
The Inner Monastery, on the other hand, is the concept of the immortal: He perceives ahead of him many lives with a wide variety of tasks. Of course, you cannot always incarnate only as a monk in a holy place, in this way you would not make any progress. You must also prove yourself on your eternal path as a politician, craftsman, employee, worker, judge, doctor, architect, philosopher, army commander, artist, scientist, headmaster, businessman, family father and in many other functions.
Urusvati realizes the multiformity of the Great Service, which is usually completely misunderstood, or if accepted at all, mistaken for monastic monotony. But the Great Service responds to earthly needs, and the true servant of humanity must know all conditions of life. He must appreciate the various fields of labour in order to be able to give wise encouragement. In this way Service will bring benefit everywhere. (Supermundane 111)
You can distinguish such children from an early age, children who bear their own world of spiritual manifestations. Very rarely, almost never, do they limit themselves to just one specialization. In fact, the absence of specialization is a defining characteristic. When you look through their past lives, you can see representatives of religion, royalty, science, art, and mechanics, who are waiting, well equipped for the journey ahead, and ready to leave at any hour without regrets. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 165)
A king is reborn as a shoemaker and tested whether he is able to maintain his position in the Hierarchy even in this situation. (Dürer "Charlemagne"; Max Liebermann "Shoemaker")
The events before and after flow by utterly unnoticed. Whether a life passes in a throne room, a monastic cell, or a cobbler’s corner makes no difference: the entire aura that has been accumulated accompanies this final path. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 165)
We must test ourselves in the most diverse circumstances; in this is contained the secret of the most manifold incarnations. But people cannot understand in what manner a king is transformed into a cobbler. (Brotherhood 218)
Like the philosopher sold into slavery (Brotherhood 273), you must face adverse conditions in order to atone for old karma. Even if you have already lived in a sanctuary, you will be sent back into the world for as long as it takes to further perfect yourself.
The Thinker [Plato], even when He was sold into slavery, said, “This is splendid proof of the diversity of the human path.” (Supermundane 527)
It is not foreseeable at all in which family, political, social or economic circumstances you will have to assume responsibility. All these external conditions, where and how you have to live, in poverty or wealth, in contemplative or hectic times, in work or leisure, are basically indifferent.
One should constantly exercise one’s individual subtle energies in various spheres, for this helps one to feel at home everywhere. (Supermundane 223)
The warriors of light must be present and carry out their work all over the world.
Not only in the countryside, but also in the big cities; not only among primitive peoples, but also in the materialism of affluent societies; not only in solitude, but also in family; not only in a monastery, but also in secular professional life, among the poor and the rich, the high and the low, and so on.
The Master must be able to send his disciples wherever there are tasks to be fulfilled – precisely there where conditions are worst and need is greatest.
Thus, in the ancient days, the Great Teachers sent their advanced disciples to places threatened by earthquakes. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol I, letter of 23.08.1934)
You do not have enough imagination to conceive the places, times, historical situations and even catastrophes that you will go through on your infinite path.
The quality of finding new ways is precious. Therefore, We test a disciple upon his ability to adjust himself to unusual conditions. (Infinity II, 484 )
6. Spiritual Warrior in all Worlds
Your soul must even prepare itself to be transferred to other worlds, other planets than Earth, into circumstances of such strangeness as you cannot even imagine today.
If you really take immortality and eternal life seriously, you will realise that you will not be bound for all times to the earth alone.
One should never limit one’s thinking to a single planet. (Agni Yoga 314)
At each juncture of a life-line and wave, man will find new worlds, new beings, new forms of life confronting him, forms both like and unlike his own, replicas of his own form and forms of others far beyond his present power of visioning. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “The Lamp”)
He who is not satisfied with the flow of present life thinks of the continuous flow of existences on other planets. (Agni Yoga 147)
The immortal needs an order, a framework of life, which he does not have to change constantly, which is applicable for all worlds and all times he will enter on his infinite path in countless earthly and supermundane existences.
For complete knowledge it is necessary to be in touch with various spheres. (Supermundane 220)
The Interior Monastery is a concept of life for all planes of existence.
It enables you to continue your ascent in any material or non-material world and to carry on your work as a representative of Hierarchy.
Amidst earthly conditions one must learn to find that which is applicable to all worlds. (Fiery World I, 638)
Amidst the currents of space, amidst evil will, amidst terror, the courageous heroes labour and create. The heroes know that their earthly life can end at any moment, but this knowledge does not reduce their efforts. They realize that they will continue their heroic deeds even under the harshest circumstances. Nothing can stop their will from manifesting itself in any sphere. (Supermundane 130)
"So I am a monk in all earthly functions?!"
Yes, so it is – and even in supermundane functions!
In this state of consciousness the heart receives a durable armour that will even prove useful for the Fiery World. Let us strive to have an armour that is useful everywhere. (Heart 411)
"Are there historical examples of such spiritual warriors?"
Yes, countless! The orders of the Knights Templars and Hospitallers combined a monastic way of life with sword fighting to protect the Holy Land. (Castle Krak des Chevaliers)
Also think of St. Gregory the Great, who, as Pope and statesman, lived like a monk in the most challenging times (see our Video "The Invisible Toga"). Remember St. John of Capistrano, who, as we have already related, succeeded in transforming the army camp before Belgrade into a monastery (see the Video "The Path of the Interior Temple"). Or think of St. Frances of Rome, who, as a wife with six children and social obligations, set up a cell in the attic of her stately home in order to receive her famous visions there. (Goya "Gregory the Great", Gentileschi "The Vision of Saint Francisca")
Imitating these high examples, you too can learn to wear an invisible philosopher's cloak and lead a spiritual life in the midst of your worldly tasks. All saints and heroes of faith had to bear far heavier earthly burdens than you or me.
Amidst the boundless tumult of life do We erect Our Temple. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 135 )
7. In the Ashram of the Teacher
Nicholas Roerich "Star of the Morning"
"So I will be moving into a monastery with dozens or even hundreds of spiritual disciples?"
No, that will not meet the needs of the time. We may refine the concept of the Interior Monastery: Let us better think of smaller spiritual centres.
The nucleus of any spiritual community consists of a teacher and his seven closest disciples.
The place where a spiritual disciple belongs, his Eternal Home, is the pure, holy abode of his teacher.
My House is your refuge. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 47)
The Teacher grants us permission to live in His house, feast our eyes on His things, and feed on the fruit of His garden. (Heart 281)
In contemporary terms, Agni Yoga calls this house "ashram".
We treasure Ashrams where purified Agni is gathered. Many teachings have pointed out the importance of pure places where psychic energy can be realised. References to the importance of pure places are found in the Sacred Writings. We rejoice when We notice the rise of new Ashrams, for people so seldom think of the power of their spirits! (Fiery World I, 664)
An Ashram means a sacred place, a temple, a monastery, a school of sacred wisdom. Therefore, the earthly Stronghold of the Great Brotherhood can be called an Ashram. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol II, letter of 19.03.1936)
8. Living on the Holy Mountain
Nicholas Roerich "Kanchenjunga"
Let us extend our dream by one more step: The ashram of your teacher does not stand alone and isolated in the world. It is integrated in many ways upwards and downwards, to the right and to the left. It is part of a larger spiritual community.
Let us imagine the highest place on earth like a Holy Mountain.
A mountain dotted with innumerable ashrams and temples of many greater and lesser spiritual teachers.
Crowned at the top by the highest bulwark of the Hierarchy: Shambhala. (Nicholas Roerich "Potala")
What a majestic image! At this sight you may rejoice like a child:
"How glorious is the world at the Holy Mountain!"
If you are looking for a physical role model of this Sacred Mountain, think of the monastic republic on the Greek peninsula Chalkidike: there hundreds of monks are living in dozens of smaller and larger ashrams at the foot of the holy mountain Athos.
The Holy Mountain starts on the material plane, that is where it touches ground. It has an earthly basis. Towards the top it becomes finer and finer and ultimately invisible to the physical eye.
You do not see the peak, but you know it exists! Your physical eyes see a mountain in clouds, your inner senses perceive the subtle reality beyond the clouds. (Nicholas Roerich "Kanchenjunga")
At the top, far in the distance, the Mahatmas are recognisable to you as the general is to a common soldier standing in the rear ranks.
Being a disciple in the ashram of your teacher, your earthly life takes place at the foot of the Holy Mountain! (Nicholas Roerich "Shambhala")
Lord, who may have a resting-place in your tent, who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks his way uprightly, doing righteousness, and saying what is true in his heart. (Psalms 15, 1, 2)
Section II: Living in two Worlds
We had already discussed many times (i. a. Videos "Living in Two Worlds" and "Participation in the Life of the Higher World"): You have to learn to live in two worlds.
You participate in the life of the Higher World without withdrawing from the earthly sphere.
This now becomes tangible, concrete, practical and alive by making your soul a spiritual disciple and creating a spiritual world for it where to live.
1. Create the Identity of a spiritual Disciple
Svetoslav Roerich "Sacred Words”
We remember: You create your Eternal Individuality yourself, namely with your own thoughts and feelings. (Video "Bring your Soul to Life")
Man is what he thinks. (Buddha)
Thoughts create our inner being. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol II, letter of 21.01.1936)
Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. (George Bernard Shaw „An Unsocial Socialist“)
You build and animate the avatar, the alter ego of a king of the spirit or a disciple of Brotherhood. We had talked about this practice in detail in the Videos "Bring your Soul to Life" and "Participation in the Life of the Higher World".
How do you want people to perceive and call you? Everything is possible! The most devoted disciple of Buddha? A true king? The Merry Widow? Old Teacher? But you have to earn such a title by embodying this ideal!
"Why do you so much emphasise the role of a disciple?"
Because on whatever rung of the ladder of Hierarchy you are, and whatever else you may be, you are always a disciple and you definitely have a teacher. Because even the Mahatmas are still disciples and in turn have their teachers (see the Video "The Hierarchy").
In a unitary world (physical, subtle and Fiery) you must form a unitary identity out of your three bodies (physical, subtle and Fiery) and always remain one and the same person on all three levels.
The human pyramid is a unity. Therefore, if you are not to be torn asunder, your transient personality on earth must be nothing other than your Eternal Self in Heaven.
You are – your indivisible total being of body and soul is – only then really and fully a disciple, if you appear and live as such on all planes, in all worlds, thus in particular also in the earthly sphere.
You were a disciple before you were born. You want to be a disciple again after death in the Higher World. So you must remain a disciple in the meantime on earth.
"Am I not withdrawing from life when I dream of an existence as a disciple of wisdom?"
No, your earthly and your supermundane existence are running side by side. You appear simultaneously as father of a family, baker or shoemaker, and as a master disciple.
"Does it not mean a splitting of my consciousness if I work as a shoemaker and at the same time imagine that I am a disciple?"
No, on the contrary! You are expanding your consciousness!
In every material situation you are simultaneously consciously acting on the second, the spiritual level of reality as well.
Only in this way do you realise the unity of your personality, which is, in its essence, a disciple in all worlds, at all times and on all planes of existence. Only on the material level do you temporarily hold also other offices in various incarnations.
2. Creating the World of the Soul
As a unitary creature you live in all three worlds simultaneously. This means: You have to arrange your abode not only on the material but also on the spiritual plane in a way that corresponds to the essence of your being.
"How do I build the world of my soul?"
Just like your Eternal Individuality, you also create the world in which it lives with the help of your thoughts and feelings.
We repeat (Video "The Significance of Consciousness"):
Your consciousness determines the world in which you live.
It is our own consciousness that determines the wellbeing we deserve. (Heart 572)
To transform the consciousness means to enter a special world; it means to acquire a special evaluation of all that occurs. (Fiery World I, 112)
Do you recognise the huge opportunity? By changing your consciousness you can improve the world in which you live – regardless of the external circumstances!
How do you want to make use of this invaluable opportunity? What kind of a world do you want to create? Where, in which environment do you wish to live? What does your personal paradise look like? Aim high! Reach for the stars! Recognise:
The highest imaginable – and thus the highest accessible! – world in which a soul can live which regards itself as a disciple on the path to mastery, is the ashram of its teacher.
Imagine a holy place, in nature, a temple on a mountain top, far above the lowlands of the earth!
Imagine a community of wise teachers and spiritually toiling disciples in white robes, embedded in a firm order of prayer, striving for perfection and selfless service, in an atmosphere of purity, spiritual discipline, dignity, solemnity and peace. This is what the heaven of a disciple of the spirit looks like!
"Is there a concrete example?"
Read again how Elisabeth Haich in the classic "Initiation" describes her sublime life in an Egyptian temple school among great teachers and pure, spiritual fellow disciples.
I cannot think of a higher way of life. If you are aware of one, please let me know.
"But all this is quite far removed from my normal everyday life!?"
Well, then think of Helena Roerich, who lived with her husband and two sons in the Kulu Valley such a pure life that she was able to have a spiritual discourse with the Ruler of this Earth for several hours every day and to receive from Him the thousands of pages of the books of Agni Yoga.
People dream of driving a beautiful car or owning a magnificent palace. You do not just dream. (Taj Mahal)
You are actually building the world you are longing for, and you really live in it.
And you do so with your spiritual power, only with an adjustment of your consciousness.
You may carry this inner world with you wherever you go. You never have to leave it, not even in the greatest turmoil. All the attacks of chaos are defeated by it. With some practice, the sacred peace and quietness of a temple can imbue your whole life.
Only the heart can sense the sacred stillness. An elevated sensitivity can fill the whole live of experienced people without diverting them from labour and creativity. (Supermundane 865)
Sensitive people will feel the sanctuary that surrounds you, in which you are living.
The sacred is not to be sought in a place, but in deeds and life and customs. If these are according to God’s Will and to the Commandment, you serve the word of God also when you are at home, also when you are in the market, and what do I say in the market, even when you are in the theatre, do not doubt that you are in a holy place. (Origen)
Section III: Entering the Ashram of the Teacher
You are now entering your Heaven, the world of the soul you have created. Thus, living in two worlds, your participation in the life of the Higher World, the transformation of your Eternal Individuality into a master disciple and of your environment into a sanctuary become concrete and alive.
Nicholas Roerich "And we are opening the Gates"
You remember (Video "How do you find your Teacher?"): Without a teacher there is no progress.
One cannot pass without the Teacher, one cannot advance without Him, one cannot attain without Him. (Fiery World III, 154)
Therefore, only the entry into the ashram of your teacher is the true beginning of your Spiritual Path.
Thus you create the best conditions for the growth of your pupil, your Eternal Individuality.
One cannot realize the great Teaching without the Fiery Teacher, without the striving of the spirit to the World of the Teacher. The manifestation of the Fiery Teacher is the path to the Fiery World. (Fiery World III, 154)
The present time is suffering not so much from a lack of high ideas and ideals, but from the fact that what was recognised as good, right and salutary is not being put into practice.
As long as the teacher simply instructs in the fundamentals of life he will be listened to and agreed with, but as soon as he appeals to people to actually apply his precepts, the listeners disperse. (Supermundane 415)
If you wish not to make just idle talk about Agni Yoga but to prove that you actually are a spiritual disciple, you must take up residence in the world of your teacher. (Nicholas Roerich "Stronghold in the Mountains")
This is how you make your dream of starting a new life come true.
This is the beginning of the heroism of the New Age which will truly change the world.
The commonplace life is over, and the dawn of heroic deeds has begun. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 274 )
What, then, can lift us above the chaos of mediocrity if not the wings of achievement? (Hierarchy 438)
The world will be shaken with the reality of heroism. (Community 234)
This step is no small thing, but the greatest and most difficult project a man can undertake.
You may enter for a trial period and leave the Master's ashram at any time. But at least for one day you have to make a clear decision.
You can only cross the threshold or stay outside the door – there is nothing in between.
The time of choosing has come and there is no middle course on the path to the Fiery World. (Fiery World III, 327)
2. Entry in Spirit
"I have a wife and children, my job; also I have to look after my elderly parents. How can I nevertheless enter an ashram?"
This is why we are now talking about entry in spirit, which is possible for everyone in any circumstances.
"I don’t see an incarnated teacher with a physical ashram to join either."
Then you will have to move into the ashram your teacher has in the Subtle World.
Religion says: He who goes to the fathers will dwell with them; he who goes to the angels will dwell with them; and he who goes to God will dwell with Him. It means that a person who sets himself the maximum degree of progress will arrive at the best attainment. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 225)
In the Spiritual World there are the most beautiful ashrams, because without the limitations of matter, time and space it is easier than on earth for the Guru to build his wonderful world and attract kindred spirits.
In the Subtle World there are also ashrams of the White Brotherhood. Just as on Earth, they are not numerous, for there, also, great discipline and tense labour are demanded; and where are those who are willing to give themselves to greater labour instead of the promised “rest”? (Helena Roerich Letters Vol II, letter of 19.03.1936))
There you enter. You are going to live physically in normal earthly everyday life and in spirit in the supermundane abode of your teacher.
This is an inner process which does not necessarily need to be expressed to the outside world. So at first you hardly have to change anything at all in the external circumstances of your life: You continue to live with your family, go about your work as before and remain in the habitual sphere of life.
A yogi can pass through life unnoticed. (Agni Yoga 180)
You do not need to make yourself known as a monk of an Inner Monastery to the ignorant, from whom you can expect nothing but incomprehension and hostility anyway.
In the midst of the maddened crowd, keep the fire of the spirit concealed. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 8)
Living in the ashram is a state of your consciousness.
The Supermundane is not simply a realm; it is also a level of consciousness. (Supermundane 697)
"I am sorry, but I do not understand that."
Well, you live with unaltered external conditions as if your dwelling were a temple and as if your teacher were present there. For this you "only" have to change your mental attitude!
Dostoyevsky also knew about the path of the Interior Ashram. Let us listen to what advice Father Tikhon gives to the evildoer Stavrogin in the novel "The Demons":
"No, not church penance, I have something else in mind for you! I know a starets, not here, but not far away, a hermit and shimnik [monk who has received the highest monastic consecration, the Great Shima, the so-called angelic robe], of such Christian wisdom as you and I will never be able to comprehend. He will listen to my pleas. I will tell him all about you. Go and follow him, initially for five years, or for seven, for as long as you yourself deem necessary. Make a vow to yourself and by this great sacrifice purchase all that you long for, even that which you do not expect, for you cannot yet comprehend what will be given to you."
"You are proposing that I enter that monastery as a monk?"
"You do not have to enter a monastery, you don't need to receive the tonsure, just serve him secretly, not publicly, that is possible, while doing so you can live completely in the world."
By entering the ashram you join the invisible supratemporal community of all those who are walking the Spiritual Path.
Although I am a typical loner in my daily life, my awareness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has prevented me from feelings of isolation. (Einstein)
You affirm your incorporation into the Hierarchy!
"How does the entry take place in concrete terms?"
Very simply: All you need is a quarter of an hour in the morning. Start the day a little earlier than usual. Place yourself in spirit in your Supermundane Home and at the feet of your teacher, as we discussed in more detail in the Video "Communion with the Higher World (Meditation)".
Stepping before the teacher daily is the very basis for a life in his spiritual presence. (Piero della Francesca "St. Jerome with a disciple")
The teacher accepts you as a disciple, for the moment for trial. He receives you into the community of the ashram (see the Video "Initiation to Agni Yoga").
In the course of the day, you descend into the world in order to work, to learn and to help there exclusively on Higher Orders. (Dürer "Jesus in Hell")
In the evening – as at death! – you return to your Heaven (the ashram). As at death, you give an account of what you did or did not do during the day. You repair some of the damage that your armour has suffered in the battles of the world. You consult with your Master and your fellow disciples on how you can do better tomorrow.
3. Attachment to the Ashram of the Teacher
We have already talked in detail about the concept of attachment in the Videos "Living in the continuous Presence of the Teacher" and "The Path of the Interior Temple". For our today’s topic, we specify:
You can attach any place in the material world to any place in the Spiritual World.
You connect your Eternal Home with your material place of residence and work, which thus becomes a physical branch of the Subtle Ashram of your teacher on earth.
"That is still rather unclear to me. What exactly do you mean by attachment?"
Think of the pyramid of the worlds. Imagine Heaven as a pyramid consisting only of the upper two non-material levels and open at the bottom.
Our task is: We are to add the foundation at the bottom; to dock, so to speak, the material plane to the spiritual one, and only thus to create the unity of the three worlds.
Just as a pot is open at the top and needs a lid to be complete, so the Higher World is open at the bottom and must be closed there with a suitable material base in order to make the entire world building a unit like a monolith.
It is of the utmost importance that you realise: Shambhala is not complete until it becomes a reality not only in the Higher World, but also on the earthly plane.
"And how now do I attach myself?"
You move ever closer to the subtle sanctuary in Heaven.
"Surely I can't soar into the air!?"
No, the docking is not meant physically: You set up the spiritual order that prevails in your teacher's ashram in your place of residence as well. Thus you produce a spiritual harmony regardless of the material distance.
You are now living in the same (spiritual) world as your teacher.
We can also express it in another way: You put yourself and your surroundings into the same vibration of sublimity and solemnity that reigns at the Holy Mountain.
Places of the same wavelength, spheres of the same vibration are indeed inwardly connected.
Here is a deep realisation and great wisdom:
Everything is energy and that is all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want, and you cannot help but get that reality. This is not philosophy. This is physics. (Albert Einstein)
So you create Little Shambhala on earth by producing the Shambhala vibration in the place where you live.
Finally, a third picture:
You take the ashram of your teacher as the subtle backdrop for your material life, just as you choose a wallpaper for your room.
You perceive and experience the whole reality, which consists of physical visible and spiritual invisible aspects. You are living and working on earth against the scenery of the Holy Mountain.
The world which is in contact with each spirit is an expression of his own striving. What a beautiful creative world the Agni Yogi builds around him! (Infinity II, 729, 730 [329, 330])
Your life on the material plane is beautiful when it is attached to the Fiery World.
Practical Tip: Attachment through Cooperation
Nicholas Roerich "Brahmaputra”
You should not think that a merely passive attitude is sufficient! Approaching Heaven also requires your active participation in the Great Work of the Brotherhood that is carried out there. Hardly anything contributes so much to mutual attachment as joint work on a common project.
At the foundation of Our Community is the fullness of labour. In labour lies the secret of a group of people living together. (Agni Yoga 134)
Nothing removes you more from the Higher Spheres than refusal to contribute to the work deemed vital by the Masters.
The community, being a fellowship first of all, sets as a condition for entrance two conscious decisions: labour without limit and acceptance of tasks without rejection. (Community 133)
Exercise: Connection through Dialogue
Nicholas Roerich "Warrior of Light"
As below, so above; as on earth, so in Heaven: As in everyday life, you cultivate the connection with your teacher best by regularly meeting him and having a familiar conversation with him.
In the Subtle World, a teacher and his disciples actually come together in the morning and in the evening. (Nicholas Roerich "Treasure of the Mountain")
Not your body, but your soul can join and participate in this conversation.
Those who wish to attach themselves to Our Abode must commune more often with their heart, and through it send Us at least silent calls. Sometimes these calls are referred to as “without thought,” because they are expressed in feeling rather than thought. (Supermundane 80)
4. Entry into the Area of the Ray of the Teacher
You may also understand the entry into the ashram of the teacher in this way:
You enter the area of the ray of your teacher.
I have already spoken about how the spirit understands. When the ray joins the Master with the disciple, then the main flow of understanding is transmitted by the perception of the spirit. What then guides the disciple’s conduct is neither a note nor a sign, but the spirit’s incontestable knowledge. This certain knowledge provides the swiftest channel. Precisely, not a mental decision but the knowledge of the spirit. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 102)
"I don't understand that. What is a ray?"
You can imagine the ray of the teacher as a protected channel that goes through the dark layers close to earth and connects you with Heaven. Through this channel, power, joy, light, love, comfort, hope, knowledge, guidance and help flow to you from Above.
"And how exactly do I enter the area of the ray?"
The connection is established through your love, devotion and obedience towards your teacher.
Once the energy of the heart swells up with love and devotion, a luminous spiral will whirl out into space and, naturally, will encounter the Teacher’s ray due to the law of attraction. (Heart 250)
Living in the sphere of the ray transfigures your material, everyday existence.
Heaven is open! Heaven is accessible!
You can visit your teacher at any time. His door is always open to you. But it is you who has to cross the threshold.
The ray of the teacher illuminates you. You illuminate your surroundings.
As the moon radiates the light of the sun, you radiate the light of Hierarchy to your surroundings.
However, this is a privilege you have to earn:
The divine light is bestowed upon the Universe to the extent that this is worthy of it. (Dante, Divine Comedy, Paradise, 31st canto)
Exercise: Staying in the Area of the Ray
Be vigilant and ask yourself at every moment during the day:
"Am I still under the ray?"
We protect only those upon the right path. When someone wavers in darkness, he falls out of the area of the Ray. (Hierarchy 413)
You have already made this observation: The light path which the sun casts on water always leads exactly towards you. When you move on, it moves with you.
In the same way, you must see to it that you never leave the sphere of the ray of the teacher (that is, never lack love, devotion and obedience), wherever you are standing and wherever you are going.
5. The Place
The Interior Monastery is a spiritual framework of life that needs no material place in the earthly world.
As physical basis for the sanctuary it is sufficient to use a small devotional room, a family altar, or, if there is no space even for that, a prayer rug that is rolled up in a corner during the day.
Within a small room, upon a small rug, you have shed your former scales. The wisdom thus released will receive a new skin. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 239 )
You will behave there as if your teacher were temporarily absent, as if he were working in the next room, and could enter any moment.
Let us imagine a dear one who is in an adjoining room absorbed in some important work. We are patient, knowing that we shall be together at the right time. You should have the same attitude toward Us. This attitude will broaden your consciousness and is beneficial for your inner life. (Supermundane 354)
An ashram is everywhere where the holy atmosphere of spiritual discipline, contemplation and selfless work prevails! The externals are meaningless.
The Inner Temple is one of the many thought-buildings that populate the Subtle World.
It is not a material but a Subtle Reality!
The ashram is a superstructure, a spiritual order of certain customs, laws, traditions, worldviews and beliefs that vaults over your physical abode. In any place you can proudly say:
"I am living in an ashram of the Brotherhood! But how do I erect this building?"
In the Video "Participation in the Life of the Higher World" we had already discussed in detail how you can first imagine an ideal (for example, an ashram) and then make it a living reality.
If the clarity of the Image of the Teacher brings us into closest cooperation with him, then each clear and vivid conception of an object in our third eye makes it near and attainable. One of the conditions of ancient magic was to teach the vividness of objects evoked by our inner conception. If the object is called forth with all completeness of line and colour, one can apply it to achieve the most immediate impact; one may, as it were, possess it.
Without limitations of distance, one can direct it and use its possibilities; from the most customary objects to the far-off planets one can utilize this influence. There is nothing of the supernatural in this;
in a sense, one identifies with the duplicate and creates a vital connecting thread. One can gradually develop in oneself these abilities using habitual objects, noticing thereby that when a clear image is created, a peculiar trembling vibration occurs, similar to a magnetic influence. (Hierarchy 91)
We now specify in relation to our today’s topic:
Visualise the ashram on the Holy Mountain and yourself at the feet of your teacher. (Nicholas Roerich "Pearl of Searching")
Imagine, dream, play that you are living in the community there.
Project this image, this vision into space and create a corresponding hologram, a Subtle Reality around you.
No one admits that a thinker creates something real through his thinking: He builds structures in the Subtle World. (Supermundane 363)
This is like an extension of your aura. You create the atmosphere of a sanctuary around you. Other people can sense this.
In this way your dream is densified more and more to become a material reality.
I advise him who wishes to reach Our Community to add to his knowledge. The dream to return to the mountain valley, where it is possible to increase knowledge, will constantly lead to the attainment of the goal. (Community 243)
This is a spiritual exercise which can be carried out in any place. The monk of the Inner Temple is completely independent of local circumstances. You can establish your virtual monastery anywhere.
A disciple of the Brotherhood does not care where and how he has to spend his incarnations in matter: He is continuously living in the spiritual world of the Interior Sanctuary.
Practical Tip: Develop an exact Idea of Heaven
In order to erect this subtle building, you must form a picture, an exact idea of your father's house.
You will choose a place at a high altitude, preferably in a distant country, in the Himalayas or in the Altai, where you are removed from earth and the burdens of everyday life but closer to Heaven; where from above you can observe life down in the valleys and also you yourself in the middle of it. (see the Video "Exercise Elevation") (Nicholas Roerich " Star of the Morning ")
Erect your Throne upon the highest summit. From there you will better see the anxiety of human hearts. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 274 )
Picture your new dwelling as vividly as possible and imprint it firmly in your mind so that you can really live there in spirit.
"I can't build a place for my teacher, can I? I can only just conceive creating my own Heaven with my thoughts and feelings. But how can I set up with my imagination the Heaven of others, of my teacher and my fellow disciples!?"
Who says that you alone have to create the home in the Spiritual Sphere in which your soul is to live? You can build such a world in cooperation with others. Or you can move into a dwelling others have erected and later, together with your companions, embellish and extend it further and further.
Make it absolutely clear to yourself: The place of your longing, your Eternal Home, is not far removed from you.
He who knows how to discern the presence of the Higher World in the smallest things is already on the path of ascent. Indeed, it is needful in everything to link oneself to the Higher World. Without such attachment, the path will be a long one. Amid the densest of earthly conditions it is still possible to direct oneself toward the Higher World, and this World of Beauty will be close by. (AUM 82)
It is not the external circumstances you have to change in order to get there, but “only” your consciousness!
We must be found not geographically, but first of all in spirit. The Kingdom of God is taken by force – but in spirit. (Supermundane 16)
6. Celestial Community
Nicholas Roerich "Zvenigorod"
We had said already several times (Videos "The Path of the Interior Temple" and "Participation in the Life of the Higher World"): Conceive Heaven not so much as a place, but more as a community of spiritually related beings.
It may help us to understand the Devachanic condition somewhat to consider the degree of happiness a number of people in perfect sympathy and affinity may experience when, actuated by a single high motive, they meet to lose themselves in considering the beauty, strength and joy of the ideal which has been the motive power of their gathering. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “The Plane of Devachan”)
So you are entering not only a building, but above all a community. You attach yourself to your true family by connecting with them in the morning and evening meditation and by contacting them again and again in the course of the day.
"What is so beautiful about Heaven anyway?"
Not so much the majestic world of the mountains, the building of a castle or ashram, but most of all one thing:
The communion with your soulmates. (Nicholas Roerich "Zvenigorod")
Heaven is such a pleasant place because lower consciousnesses, who make life on earth hell for you, have no access up there (see the Video "The Supermundane World"). You are alone with your own kind, with high beings, with great spirits.
Within these sacred walls,
where man loves fellow man,
no traitor can lurk,
because enemies are forgiven.
He who is not gladdened by such teachings
does not deserve to be a man. (Mozart "The Magic Flute")
Man is a community animal. He was not made to live alone.
Without a community there is no happiness and no progress for you.
"Does it necessarily have to be a physical community?"
No! You can be a Pythagorean, Platonist or Stoic, a Samurai, Shaolin or Agni Yogi under all circumstances, in any place, in any world and at any time. The code of honour that applies to all members, the common customs and submission to one and the same leadership unite much more strongly than living together physically.
You actually belong, whether you are aware of it or not, to a supratemporal community that is in existence already for thousands of years.
One can observe that there are appearing whole groups of people connected with each other from former times. (Fiery World III, 550)
There you lived before you were born. There you will go back after death. With your incarnation on the material plane you do not cease to be a member of this community. It is just that your mission demands a short physical – not spiritual! – absence. Soon you may return to your family.
No individual can be drawn into The Temple or any other organic body, who does not belong to that body by karmic right and long association in past lives. The bonds that formerly united you, the fires that welded you into that one body, were made and built many thousand years agone. The currents of thought that are constantly flowing between you, cementing and intensifying the strength of your unity, are indissolubly binding you to each other, to the Lodge, to myself. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 39 “The Power of Thought”)
This is how Mahatma Hilarion speaks to his disciples in our days:
You have been told the time when with me you were associated in the Order of the Sons of the Dragon, Children of the Glory of Ancient Egypt. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Teachings of Master Hilarion”)
You have been in the past – and may be in the future – united members of a group – united members of one family, with power sufficient to wield a world. I have told you in the past of your relationship to me. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Dissention”)
How wonderful is it be safe and sound in such an eternal community in all worlds, on all planes of existence! You can draw much strength from this awareness when you are walking the earthly path in loneliness.
Your true relatives are not your blood relatives, but your soulmates.
It is necessary to feel how there are gathered around the fiery heart those who have been drawn to it by the striving toward Fiery Service. The attraction of the magnet of the heart acts as a law; it must also be remembered that each life of the heart attracts those who reveal kinship of spirit. (Fiery World III, 102)
The way of life in accordance with a common rule separates you from other people and unites you with your supratemporal family. As Jesus said:
Who is my mother? And who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. (Matthew 12, 48-50)
Try to reawaken the memory of this community – at least of its nature, its essence, its spirit. Make yourself as clear as possible where you belong. Just as your teacher, your true spiritual father, you can also rediscover in time the brothers and sisters with whom you are spiritually related.
If the Subtle World influences are so frequent, deep and lengthy, relations should be established between co-workers of the two worlds. And so it is. In this case, the relationships are not so much a matter of blood kinship as of spiritual kinship. Often such co-workers meet also on the earthly plane; though they may be separated by differences of nationality and circumstance, yet an inner feeling will draw them together. Between them a confidence will be established very easily. (AUM 156)
These soulmates of yours are living either incarnated somewhere on earth or non-incarnated in the Subtle World. In both cases you are dependent on establishing and maintaining a spiritual connection with them.
In spirit you can always be connected with the other members of your family, no matter on which plane of existence they are at the moment and how far away they may be from you physically.
Some bemoan the need to leave the vicinity of Our Towers. They forget that spiritual contact is indestructible and that distance has no meaning. (Supermundane 141)
You know that your eternal brothers and sisters exist, that you belong to them and that you will return to them after death. You just do not see them while you are incarnated on earth.
Whether you ever reach the material centre of the Temple work and become associated with your comrades there or not; whether you are so isolated as never to meet another Temple member in your present incarnation, the fact remains that you are one of the constituent parts of a single Group Soul, else you never would have been impelled to unite yourselves with the Temple body, for you are under the guidance of that Soul. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 67 “Love of Ideals”)
In spirit you can overcome all material limitations.
Community of spirit is the highest transfiguration of life. Many of the ignorant do not wish to understand that community of spirit does not depend upon external form. It is created there where the concept of the broadening of consciousness is alive. Community of spirit is possible where there exists a living magnet. Then it is possible across all earthly boundaries to attach oneself to every cooperative or community. When a community lives in the sole service of Truth there exist no obstacles. (AUM 167, 168)
The experiment of bringing together hearts over long distances is waiting for workers to carry it out. (Heart 339)
Nicholas Roerich "Archat"
Besides your physical parents, you also have a spiritual father or mother, your teacher.
The first great reality that dawns upon the awakening consciousness of a disciple is a recognition of his kinship to – his oneness with – that Master; and having once recognized, he cannot repudiate Him; his duty, his pleasure, his very life, is bound up with that of the Master. (Teachings of the Temple Vol I, Lesson 32 “How long, o Lord”!)
Your spiritual family consists of this teacher and his disciples, who are your fellow pupils and your true brothers and sisters.
The Master is not only acting as the Father of a family, he IS that Father to the chela if both are parts of the one Group Soul. And no more than the child can supplant his own physical father by delegating the functions of a father to some other man, can the disciple, even temporarily and unconsciously, supplant the Master by delegating the functions of that Master-Father to another, by accepting the admonition, directions or advice of that other. (Teachings of the Temple Vol I, Lesson “The Relationship between Teacher and Chela”)
So the ashram of the teacher is your family home.
Was it not clear to you that my right place was in my Father's house? (Luke 2, 49)
This is how twelve-year-old Jesus spoke when his parents searched for him and finally found him in the temple. (Liebermann "Jesus in the Temple")
Just to be allowed to dwell in the aura of your Father is your highest bliss. Your love for him is the greatest incentive to submit to the rules that apply in his abode.
You long to be close to your beloved one.
For this you joyfully accept all requirements.
He who strives toward something beloved does not count the steps of the ladder. Thus, it is necessary to love in order to attain. The Brotherhood teaches this means of ascent. (Brotherhood 321)
"Why do you always speak in the masculine form "teacher"? Are there no female gurus, no priestesses and feminine teachers?"
Yes, of course there are. But consider (Video "Sexuality"): The soul, this being of the Spiritual World, has no gender. It incarnates on earth sometimes as a woman, sometimes as a man. It is a synthesis of both. So we should actually speak of your eternal "father-mother".
"Another question: Once I have learnt everything from one teacher, do I then have to look for a new, higher master later on in order to continue to ascend?"
No. Agni Yoga advises against changing the teacher. He is the next higher link in the chain of Hierarchy to which you remain attached. The proper image is: He goes on ascending and you follow him.
Rarely, it may happen that a disciple to surpass his teacher. But the normal case is: When your teacher has learned and taught you everything that can be learned on earth, he will ascend to a Higher World and you will take over his position.
We had already discussed in detail in the Video "Participation in the Life of the Higher World":
Your soul in its world is actually living together with your spiritual brothers and sisters!
And this already now, during your earthly incarnation, not only after death. If only you remain attached to the Higher World and participate in life there.
Your soul reaches up to the Higher World of the teacher while your body dwells on earth.
When your consciousness has expanded, you perceive the whole reality: Just imagine, never lose sight of the fact that your spiritual father, your soulmates and your true friends are constantly present in the Subtle Sphere of reality around you.
You are never alone!
When we search for true friends, we will find them in the Subtle World. (Heart 564)
Living in the family circle of your Eternal Home is your highest bliss, namely the happiness of your soul! This is a spiritual reality which should determine your material existence.
Your spirit is jubilant. Where does this joy come from? You know that your home is near and that the darkness does not keep you from discerning those close to your heart. (Agni Yoga 152)
Your kindred spirits see everything you do!
Then you will be ashamed of being unfaithful. You feel how they suffer when you disappoint them! And of course you punish yourself: With behaviour that does not belong in a heaven, you banish yourself to a lower, coarser, uglier sphere.
How can a man think of the refinement of forms when he never pictures them in thought, thus trying to make his surroundings worthy of Higher Beings? (Fiery World I, 645)
Always ask yourself:
"Is the teacher watching me with a joyful smile, or is he grieved on my account?"
"How should I treat the fellow human beings I meet?"
Regard all other people, even the members of your temporal family, as guests of your ashram. They come to you with their hardships and vices like the depraved brothers Karamazov to the venerable Abbot Sossima. They must abide by the rules that apply in your temple. You grant them spiritual help if possible.
9. Home of the Soul
The ashram of your teacher is your true, Supratemporal Home. This is where you belong. Here is your father's house. Here lives your eternal family. Compared to this, the material world with its changing, temporary relationships is pure illusion.
Here we have no fixed resting-place, but our search is for the one which is to come. (Hebrews 13, 14)
There is the safe harbour from which your soul begins its earthly journey and to which it returns after its dangerous wanderings through hostile realms.
Only a correct understanding of the Supermundane can bring about a solution to the confusion. During a storm one should at least know the whereabouts of the longed-for harbour. (Supermundane 688)
There you are safe and sound. To this sphere you are drawn back, just as you long for your home country when you have to live abroad for a longer time. For your soul the material plane is a foreign country, it is at home in the Supermundane World.
In the earthly body the spirit already learns to connect with the Higher World as if returning into its own wondrous native realm. Man feels an attraction even to his earthly native land which is transitory; so much the greater is his attraction to the eternal Fatherland. (AUM 82)
Your soul needs a home where it can live in harmony with its nature.
It cannot find such a place anywhere on earth, but only in the pure, spiritual atmosphere of the Supermundane Sanctuary. Here the soul can take off the mask of the worldly man and rest, but also learn, gather knowledge, form new ideas and develop higher ideals.
Knowledge of transitoriness results in a feeling of breaking away from the Earth and impels the spirit to those planes where man verily dwells in his fiery essence. (Fiery World III, 368)
You recognise like Jesus:
My kingdom is not from this world. (John 18, 36)
People are afraid to think that their true home is not on Earth, but somewhere in space. (Supermundane 171)
Listen how Helena Blavatsky speaks of her homeland with heartfelt love:
O these blessed two days! It was like in the old times when he visited me – a wooden hut of the same kind, a cottage divided into three rooms, the same yellow-skinned, noiselessly gliding chelas, the same incessant "gul-gul" sound from my boss's inextinguishable chelum pipe; the old, familiar mild voice of your K. H. (whose voice has become even milder and whose face has become even narrower and more translucent) and the same furnishings – skins, cushions stuffed with yak-tail hair, bowls for salt and tea, etc. (Letter from Helena Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett dated 09.10.1882) (Nicholas Roerich "Mountain Abode")
Steadfast love, devotion that burns unextinguished through all of life’s trials, is the best guide to the Supermundane World. Such love leads to the Homeland of the heart, where, as in one’s beloved fatherland, all is familiar, dear, beautiful. (Supermundane 769)
Exercise: Make Use of free Moments
Use every free moment (on the way to work, in the waiting room, while doing the dishes) to visit your home.
10. Your personal Paradise
Botticini "The Assumption of the Virgin"
You will only grasp the full beauty and magnificence of the ideal of living in an Interior Ashram if you realise:
Here is your personal paradise.
Here you are living as in Heaven, already now, on earth, not only after death. The monks used to say:
Live in your cell as in paradise. (Little Rule of St. Romuald) (Fra Angelico "St. Romuald")
We extend this concept:
Pitch your Inner Cell wherever you are, in every place, at every moment, and dwell there as in paradise!
You will find:
Life in Heaven is much more beautiful than all material pleasures! (Botticini "The Assumption of the Virgin")
"Where does the strong impulse come from to build a sanctuary like an Inner Temple?"
It arises from our longing for paradise (the Higher World), from which we were expelled, namely into incarnation on the material plane. (Peter Wenzel "Adam and Eve in the Earthly Paradise")
It is the memory of our life in Heaven before birth which makes us wish to create a reflection of this higher state on earth as well, in order to dwell there again already now, not only after death.
A disciple must not refuse or neglect to make a home in the environment karma has placed him in, whether it be a palace or a low-ceiled attic or a hut, however temporary his proposed stay in that environment. If he were only able to associate those images of an ideal home within the narrow confines of the room he occupied he would have created the nucleus of his ideal home.
Every such effort would place a stone or nail a plank, figuratively speaking, in the home he hoped to have one day for his own. The universal truth behind the allegory of the banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden is the truth of reincarnation, the impulse which drives the soul from Devachan – its heavenly home – into banishment, that is, into physical incarnation.
It is the incessant longing of the soul for its true home that incites every impulse toward home building. It is the soul memory of the beauty, the grandeur, the harmonious surroundings, the peace and joy radiating from each member of that heavenly home that impels the normal man and woman to unite and endeavour to reproduce some semblance of that home upon earth. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “The Homeless”)
Practical Tip: How often are you dwelling in Heaven?
Here is a decisive question:
"How often am I dwelling in Heaven?"
Three times a day during retreat or only once a week because you fail to observe the meditation times? Regularly during the day even when you are in the world?
Extending these periods is the crucial inner work you are to carry out. The great, distant goal is:
Constantly, even during ordinary earthly work, you are living in the Highest World.
At the end of each day, give yourself an account of how often and for how long you have maintained yourself on the heights.
Exercise: Heavenly Conditions for one Day
Here is an important exercise: Try to remain in the heavenly state for at least one whole day.
Choose a specific day of undisturbed tranquillity (preferably a Sunday). Concentrate solely on living in the ashram and not letting yourself be driven out of your spiritual paradise.
That is your only goal on this day!
Nothing else matters today! Observe what gets you out of this condition: Other people, the circumstances, your own bad habits?
Learn to rise again immediately when you have fallen into hell. (Bosch "Heaven and Hell")
This is the basis for the next step, which is to make sure at every hour of each normal working day that you are still living in Heaven.
"Isn't Sunday supposed to be a day of rest, not of doing hard work?
We can also express it differently: Take a break, go on holidays for a day, as far away as possible from everyday life.
But not in the Caribbean, but in a paradise for your soul.
"All this still looks quite abstract to me. I am not sure if I alone will succeed in living in an Inner Monastery."
Well, then let me invite you: Instead of spending a Sunday alone at home, visit an existing virtual temple. Take part in the life of the Tabenisi Ashram for a weekend. This is possible in spirit or via Skype or Zoom!
or write to
11. Indestructible Foundation
Unlike all material temples, the Inner Sanctuary can never be destroyed – if only you remain firm.
The tragedy of the monasteries of Tibet, the secularisation of European monasteries and countless other examples in history teach: Everything external, material must decay. (Ruins of Ganden Monastery, Tibet)
You will find a firm hold against the waves of chaos only in your heart. In the whole world there is only one safe place for building a temple: within you yourself!
Only the flame of the heart can warm when the clothes are torn apart by a whirlwind. (Supermundane 232)
Only the heart will serve as a stronghold in battle. (Heart 41)
The world of your spirit alone is insurmountable.
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)
Life shows its teeth, but the spirit is indestructible. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 129 )
The outer temple is worth nothing if an impure, worldly spirit rules its inhabitants. There are enough degenerated monasteries in which life is made hell for the spiritually minded.
True achievement is revealed when you are able to lead a holy life even in unholy circumstances.
When you carry the monastery in your heart, it does not matter whether the monastery building is extant or not. (Staretz Theophan)
Practical Tip: Never vacate the last Bastion
The Inner Monastery is the impregnable fallback position, the firmest bulwark capable of withstanding the heaviest attacks. (Castle del Monte)
You must uphold this last bastion with all your strength. Never give it up, otherwise you will be left defenceless as well as homeless.
The heart is the stronghold of the hero. (Hierarchy 436)
Create for yourself a cell in your heart and never leave it! (St. Catherine of Siena) (Beccafumi "St. Catherine of Siena")
A major German magazine once ran an article with the headline:
"Monasteries – where the soul finds peace." (Bebenhausen Monastery)
This shows: Today's man still has some remnant of knowledge about his Eternal Individuality and the place where it is at home, where it feels at ease, finds peace and can recharge its batteries.
Your soul, this spiritual being, which was banished from paradise to the hell of matter, needs a place of retreat where complete peace, tranquillity, solemnity and a sublime atmosphere prevail. It will find such a location in the Spiritual World only.
Earthly life is unbearable if you do not visit Heaven regularly!
"Outside my window children are shouting and screaming, below me tenants are playing music, beside me they are quarrelling, and upstairs they are trampling on my head. What am I to do?"
Only one thing: Put yourself mentally – inwardly – into the state of silence, rapture and exaltation that reigns in a holy place. Then you will not be affected by worldly vibrations.
The great reality must be purified once more, in order that it may become like a lodging for the traveller. If the spirit has chosen a beautiful path, then its dwelling will be beautiful. (Heart 163)
Your mantram is:
I take refuge in the teaching, in the teacher and in the community.
Like most people, you believe:
"I must first settle everything and put it in order, then peace and tranquillity will come."
This, however, is an illusion. Correct is:
Peace is within you yourself.
"I don't understand that. That's another obscure esoteric saying. Mostly there is actually no peace and no quietness within myself."
Then you have allowed yourself to lose your peace. Then your first task before you turn to the earthly worries is: At first restore your ideal state:
The peace of the soul in the midst of the storms of the world.
Only after that will everything external get right.
The ego says, "When everything becomes good, I will find peace." The spirit says, "Find your peace and everything will be all right." (Marianne Williamson)
You will find this inner peace, joy and harmony only in your true existence "above the clouds", in the ashram of your teacher.
In temptation, dejection, disgust with the world or hopelessness, there is only one panacea: Throw yourself at the feet of your teacher. In his aura you will instantly be purified and uplifted.
In Heaven, in a world of high vibration, no lower vibrations such irritability or appetite will come up.
Help yourself to relaxation, recreation or gratification not by eating, drinking, watching television or other material pleasures, but by visiting your homeland!
Everyone feels the elevating and cleansing force of a sanctuary, such as an ancient cathedral. (Ely Cathedral)
In the age of the spirit, you no longer have to go there physically in order to partake of this salutary power. In meditation you can create such a place in the Spiritual World, visit it whenever you wish, and receive the same strength.
"Isn’t this mere delusion?"
No, it is experience: The inflow of energy is real!
Section IV: Life in the Ashram
By living and working together in the ashram with your teacher, your disciples and your fellow disciples, the ideal of participating in the life of the Higher World becomes concrete, practical, real and alive.
What goes on in the physical world is insignificant. What matters is alone the eternal life in your homeland.
Your existence as a disciple on the second, higher, subtle level of reality is more than mere intellectual playfulness.
Your soul is your real Self. So its life in the ashram is your true existence!
No one lives on Earth alone. An existence in three worlds is given to us, but we must prove worthy of each of them. We wish to bind ourselves to Earth, which will perish, and forget that an everlasting existence was given to us! (Supermundane 203)
Bellini "Transfiguration of Christ”
My favourite term from Agni Yoga is "transfiguration", which means the elevation, refinement and beautification of any situation in life by spiritual power alone.
Let us not forget the symbol of transfiguration, which shows the physical existence being transformed into the subtle. (Heart 245)
To overcome inwardly the external conditions in which fate has placed you – certainly not by chance – is the first step on the Spiritual Path.
Whoever triumphs in spirit is already one of Us! (Heart 21)
To create for oneself Heaven already on earth is one of the fundamental spiritual exercises of Living Ethics.
The experiment of Agni Yoga is the transfiguration of material earthly life solely through the power of a right mental attitude.
He who thinks beautifully will not suffer! (Brotherhood 160)
Gradually one can accept many subtle manifestations as ordinary conditions of life. This also is a transfiguration of life, and it can lead to the loftiest condition without withdrawing from life. (Heart 382)
"What must I do practically to transfigure my daily life in this way?"
You take a new mental attitude towards every life situation: the standpoint of eternity:
"I am a disciple of the Brotherhood and I am living on the Holy Mountain in the ashram of my teacher."
Earthly existence can be transfigured only through the force of a clear visualization of the future life. Such visualization is like casting an anchor—the ship is then drawn towards the desired goal by a strong anchor. (Supermundane 476)
As a disciple you appear. Thus you are great, strong and beautiful. (Nicholas Roerich "Lama")
In the ashram you are dwelling. Thus the world in which you live is sublime and beautiful. (Nicholas Roerich "Tibet Himalayas")
This attitude must prove stronger than even the most terrible material conditions. With the help of this exercise you actually transform grey everyday life into the promised land of your dreams.
The temple is in spirit, the justification is in spirit, and the victory is in spirit; thus one can adorn life with a splendour that is constant and true. (Heart 80)
If you want to live in Heaven, in an ashram (even if it is only for a weekend), you must of course abide by the laws that apply there.
Especially since Heaven is created by these habits in the first place! Where there are lower, coarser customs, there is also a lower world – all the way down to hell.
Submission to the rule is the price to be paid for living in a high, beautiful, majestic world.
You are dreaming of a life in the ashram of a Great Teacher? Then you have probably already lived in such a temple in a previous existence on the material or spiritual plane. Or more modestly: You once saw such a sanctuary in whatever world and were so excited that you resolved:
"I will do whatever is necessary and required to be admitted there."
I hope you have not already forgotten this resolution.
The old slovenliness is over. In the ashram you live a purer, harder life according to higher principles. You are now under the guidance of a master who demands more of you than you have demanded of yourself so far.
The disciple must not consider his soft arm-chair higher than the throne of the Guru. (Infinity II, 427 )
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 usual pleasures come to an end.
The common highway does not lead to the Holy Mountain. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 213 )
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 that moment life has changed for you. 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, the joys of introspection. (Teachings of the Temple Vol I, Lesson 105 “My Brothers Keeper”)
"What exactly are these rules and customs I now have to follow?"
Essentially, we are talking about the 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga, on which there is a separate Series of Videos.
Your life is now governed by the threefold spiritual discipline of defending a higher consciousness, rhythm of the day and nourishment according to spiritual principles; by the three principles of life, obedience, living in two worlds and selflessness; and by the four spheres of life, communion with the Higher World (meditation), service to the common good, service to the neighbour and education or self-improvement.
You will experience: Just by placing yourself under this spiritual order, you lead a new life.
You introduce at your home the customs and laws of the Brotherhood. In this way you establish Shambhala or Heaven on earth. (Nicholas Roerich "Path to Shambhala")
What is banned from an ashram (for example, alcohol, meat, tobacco or sweets) should not be available in your world either.
These are questions of duty done or undone, of responsibilities assumed or ignored. (Teachings of the Temple Vol I, Lesson 39 “The Power of Thought”)
"Can we do without moral preaching?"
Yes, of course: It is an experience that you make often enough: If you do not adhere to these customs, for example, if you drink alcohol or eat too much, your vibration drops. You lose touch with your Heaven. You remove yourself from the blissful presence of the teacher and your soulmates. You fall into a lower sphere of the Spiritual World.
A place where one dines sumptuously and indulges in the excesses of the body is certainly not an ashram of the Brotherhood! (Thomas Couture "Les Romains de la Décadence")
"How dare you explain to us how things are in the ashrams of the Great Teachers in the Subtle World, what rules and customs are in force there? How do you know all that? Isn't that presumptuous?"
Well, the age-old Hermetic principle applies:
As below, so above; as above, so below. As on earth, so in Heaven; as in Heaven, so on earth. (Agni Yoga 4, 225; Fiery World II, 16, 30)
We may therefore safely assume: The Great Teachers, when they incarnated on earth, lived here no differently than they did in the Heaven from which they came. They have built down here the same structures as those in which they used to live up there. What we know about their earthly existence therefore also shows us how things are in their Supermundane Dwellings.
Now we are astonished to find: All the Great Masters of all times and all religions (from Buddha, Pythagoras and Plato to St. Pachomius and St. Benedict, from the medieval monastic orders to Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa) have exemplified and demanded of their disciples more or less the same way of life.
The 10 Pillars of the Practice of Agni Yoga are the contemporary expression of this supra-temporal order of life.
"Aren’t you exaggerating the importance of these outward precepts?"
No! The angel gave St. Pachomius the rule of the first Christian monastery with the words: By following this rule all flesh will be redeemed!
You can experience for yourself: By living in a pure place you yourself become pure. The assertion of higher laws actually brings about a higher civilisation.
"Once again, this is rather lofty and far removed from my normal, everyday life."
Then let us put it more simply:
Read again the beautiful novel "Enchanted April" by Elizabeth von Arnim. Witness how an atmosphere of beauty transforms, uplifts and transfigures people. The inconspicuous one becomes the boss, the hypocritical rediscovers life, the embittered blossoms and the bored finds love.
The disciple, in order to assert his Higher over his lower Self, must submit to a set of rules quite similar to the vows of a monk. In an Interior Temple, this spiritual discipline is even more important.
"Why is that so?"
Because here the external support from the physical community is lacking, in which you can hardly behave differently than everyone else around you. Alone, it is more difficult to observe the rule.
"Nevertheless, I don't particularly like the term discipline. It sounds like coercion imposed on me by some foreign authority."
How do you like the word "self-discipline"? It expresses: Self-control, mastery of your animal nature, is in your own interest – namely in that of your Eternal Divine Self.
You avoid all this poison that makes your soul small, weak and ugly and destroys the paradise in which you so much love to live.
Your life cannot succeed if you do not remain true to your mission, to your Guiding Idea!
That simply requires discipline.
The great advantage of the exercise "Living in the Ashram of the Teacher" is: We do not have to enforce with violence and prohibitions the observance of an external discipline, which many of you find so difficult. You will see: When you move in with your teacher (even if it is only virtually), you will soon notice all by yourself which of your old habits you have to give up and which new ones you must establish.
If you really want to be a chela i.e., to become the recipient of our mysteries, you have to adapt yourself to our ways, not we to yours. (Mahatma Letters, letter No. 30 of ca. 28.08.1882)
In this new environment you will naturally imitate that what the soulmates around you and especially your teacher are doing. When you are living with your family, you cannot help but follow their rules and customs as a matter of course.
For example: I have four children. With the first two, you ponder and worry a lot about how to bring them up properly. The last one, on the other hand, just goes along with the others. It is not really brought up at all: It adapts all by itself to the everyday practice that has become established within the family.
Another example: As a guest of Helena Roerich in the Kulu Valley, you would not even think of desecrating the solemn atmosphere of this sanctuary by giving in to the primitive desires of the body, by actions that are not customary there and obviously out of place. (Urusvati Institute, Kulutal)
Therefore the Teaching speaks of a spiritual discipline which is externally imperceptible.
Agni Yoga exacts an obligation to construct one’s entire life in accordance with a discipline that is externally imperceptible. (Agni Yoga 163)
Practical Tip: Learning through Imitation
We are no longer talking so much about following rules, but more about the universal principle of imitation or succession, which we had presented in the Video "The Hierarchy":
You will learn most easily and most surely to lead a holy life by imitating your Spiritual Guide in all the details of his everyday life.
In the rhythm of the day, in eating, in meditation, in spiritual exercises, in service, simply in everything.
Even in the smallest matters try to be as Christ. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 277 )
Ideally, the teacher does not educate the disciple at all: He simply lives together with him and shows him by his example alone how to walk the earthly path in dignity.
The teacher is a guiding counsellor — a friend who points out a shorter and better path. (Community 108)
"What are you talking about? I am not living with a teacher at all!?"
Remember: We are talking about a way of life "as if" your teacher were continuously present, not of a material, but of a virtual ashram! In this case, the concept of learning through imitation requires "only" one thing: Be aware of the subtle presence of your teacher at every moment!
The great art, the skill of the man of the New Era is to make a spiritual reality (such as the Interior Temple) as effective in life as a physical fact!
An ashram of the Brotherhood is first and foremost a place of education. Life there offers the best conditions for the growth of your soul.
Some may regard the time spent in an Ashram as imprisonment, but with the development of the spirit it will be the most salutary of all sojourns. (Fiery World I, 304)
You will indeed find here a school with an agenda, timetable, teachers, exercises and examinations, as well as a hard training for the few who are ready to face already today the demands of the future.
Accept harsh lessons with a smile. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 109 )
"What is the highest goal of a disciple of the Teachings of Wisdom?"
To be called, like Helena Blavatsky and a few others, to the Himalayas, to a bulwark of the Brotherhood for training and preparation for a mission. (Nicholas Roerich "Castle in Ladakh")
Sometimes the Mahatmas call their disciples into one of their Ashrams for a certain period; here They prepare their organisms for the sacred assimilation of subtle energies and give them instructions. So it was with Helena Blavatsky, who spent three years in their Ashram before giving the world “The Secret Doctrine”. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol II, letter of 07.12.1935)
You can now realise this high ideal: By entering in spirit a virtual ashram.
"What is the aim of this education?"
In an Agni Yoga Temple, there is actually bred the man of the future, the New Man of the 6th race.
The spiritual groups of today’s time present a sad sight because they do not produce real teachers and neglect the education of the newcomers.
You know that the conditions of Our Community are not easy. Many social organisms pay no attention to the inner education of their members. After acquiring Our discipline, you cannot recognize a community there where only certain external signs of it are preserved. (Community 232)
You will find the details of the training programme in the Series "Education".
You not only live, above all you work together with your supratemporal family. You realise:
A collaboration which is extended into the Highest Abodes. (Fiery World II, 126)
The ashram of the teacher is a place where selfless service is being rendered for the common good. The practical implementation, using the concept of the Agni Yoga Temple, you will find in our Video "We are building the World of the Future".
Palma i Giovanne "Descent of Christ to Hell”
We have discussed the practice of the Inner Temple already many times: In the morning, in meditation you go to your Eternal Homeland, during the day you work in the world and in the evening you return to your family.
Not unlike in a physical ashram, the teacher sends you out into the world for the day: With a task for your personal development and a mission to serve the progress of evolution. You cannot imagine this concretely enough:
You clothe yourself – in spirit! – in the white robe of a temple disciple (see the Video "The Invisible Toga"). You go into the world as an emissary of Hierarchy. (Nicholas Roerich "From Beyond")
You work down there to establish the Cosmic Order: Truth, justice, beauty and love.
Among the worldly ones you are recognisable as a spiritual person. All look up to you. All expect spiritual guidance from you.
If you truly love your family and friends, your fellow disciples, your teacher and the Mahatmas, you will want to please them and bring them joy.
"How can I achieve that?"
Mainly by reporting back to the Master in the evening (as well as after death) with the words:
In order to be able to pronounce this proud sentence, you must live up to your vocation and maintain your position during your stay on the material plane. Rather remain a disciple and (like Jesus) reap ridicule or humiliation than succeed in the worldly sense but lose your dignity as a representative of Hierarchy.
Exercise: Defending the Ashram
We are now coming to the key exercise of this Broadcasting: Creating a sacred atmosphere in the morning meditation is relatively easy. Much more difficult and more important than anything else is: When you descend into the world you have to maintain the hologram, the backdrop, the spiritual world of the ashram around you. In every situation applies:
First comes the defence of the ashram, only then the solution of everyday problems.
Your sanctuary must stand firm, no matter how horrible the circumstances are to which you were exiled. (Nicholas Roerich "Holy City")
You are defending a virtual, a spiritual temple. It is not by chance that this painting by Nicholas Roerich is entitled "Stronghold of the Spirit”.
The aura you radiate, the atmosphere you spread around you, is always that of a sanctuary – even if, like Dostoevsky's Abbot Sossima, you have to deal with the disgusting affairs of the Karamazov brothers.
You will not let anything or anyone drag you down to a lower world, not repulsive conditions and not the many hands that are greedily reaching for you. (Rubens "The Fall of the Damned", Bouts "Hell", Bosch "Hell")
"It is very difficult for me not to forget this inner work in the midst of all my everyday earthly cares, toils, distractions and demands."
Yes, this requires the highest concentration and constant vigilance. Here is your main task. You have to make a firm commitment to this objective in the morning and remember it again and again in the course of the day.
Keep the leading ideal of living in the sanctuary constantly before your eyes!
Our sojourns in the various strata are short, but on entering the Fiery World we can remain there. And when we come from there, we preserve the fiery solemnity wherever we are. (Fiery World I, 576)
This practice is closely related to the exercise "The Fiery Condition", the maintenance of the high vibration of your being. Only both together bring about the synthesis of the practice of Agni Yoga:
You keep your own and the vibration of your surroundings high.
Both practices complement each other: When your own vibration is high, you raise at the same time the vibration of your surroundings. When your own vibration is low, you can raise it by visiting, even if only in spirit, a place with a high vibration, for example your teacher's ashram.
Practical Tip: A moment of Time out
It is best to interrupt your earthly work every hour (or at least at noon) for a short moment, to close your eyes, to turn to Heaven and to mentally rebuild the world of the sanctuary around you.
Section V: Living in the Ashram as Service
"I don't quite see yet: What is the difference between a dreamer who imagines a better world as a kind of castle in the air and a spiritual disciple who lives in a virtual, thus also an imagined ashram?"
The dreamer is only dreaming. As opposed to that, we are actually working on a real improvement of everyday worldly life. We strive to establish the conditions of Heaven, where our soul lives, on earth as well.
The Teaching of how to walk on earth is revealed to those who consider heaven to be alive. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 107)
Your existence in the ashram of a teacher, even if it is only virtual, is already service to the common good.
1. Preparation for the World Government of the Mahatmas
What is the aim of Agni Yoga? To establish the rule of the spirit. This, as we discussed in the Video "We are building the World of the Future", is only conceivable as the rule of the Mahatmas on earth.
We are working towards the day when a Mahatma or his High Plenipotentiary will appear and take over the leadership of one of our communities or even, as in ancient Egypt, of an entire country.
Many are dreaming of the advent of the Avatar. But you must clearly realise: The present time does not permit the physical appearance of a Mahatma at all!
It must be understood that not a single teacher of the Brotherhood, after spending very many years in the main Stronghold, is able to live among people during the time of Armageddon. If even advanced disciples are unable to stay for long in the valleys and cannot endure certain auras, how much more difficult is it for the Teachers of the White Brotherhood! (Helena Roerich Letters Vol I/2, 149; letter of 01.08.1934)
The Greatest Individuality cannot be manifested now, in the midst of chaotic thinking and the vibrations of depraved crowds. In view of the level of contemporary humanity, the Advent in a physical form is entirely impossible. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol I/3, 75; letter of 12.04.1935)
We humans have yet to become mature enough for a member of the Brotherhood to appear in our midst and guide us.
The present race as a whole has been informed that if its units are to be individually benefited by means of the advent of an Avatar, they must make conditions of mind and body for the reception and subsequent use of the forces to be spread by that Avatar. (Teachings of the Temple Vol I, Lesson 231 “The Unknowable”)
The coming of the Avatar will sound the keynote for the new cycle. The conditions of the old cycle must practically be over before He can come in full measure. This means the stabilizing of conditions in the world, on the truth of the Middle Path before the great event occurs.
It will also mean that at last the children of Man will have to be able to establish on earth conditions that will prevent wars – a condition of Universal Peace. On this foundation and on this foundation alone can the Avatar appear. (Teachings of the Temple Vol II, Lesson “The Middle Path”)
"How can we become worthy of such a return of a Mahatma?"
The best preparation is undoubtedly:
Let us live already now as individuals and as a community as if a Great Teacher were present and guiding us.
Our mantram is:
“I will endeavour to realise the Presence of the Avatar as a living power in my life.” The earnest endeavour to realize His Presence daily will help in His Manifestation. (Teachings of the Temple Vol II, Lesson “The Avataric Mantram”)
We already now submit to the spiritual guidance of the Brotherhood. We are cultivating already now, first individually and then in small communities, a way of life so sublime (that is: so largely in accordance with the Cosmic Order) that even a Mahatma could physically live among us.
With the still nearer approach of the Avataric Light, the old order of things will crumble more and more and will disappear, to be replaced by an order of life more in accord with natural and divine law. (Teachings of the Temple VII, Lesson “The Middle Path”)
The possibility of preparing as it were, for the coming central figure of a new humanity, rests upon implicit obedience to the laws laid down, and not upon the action of any personality. We cannot form the Guardian Wall for that Great Centre, the coming Avatar, without the suitable, steadfast, coherent stones (disciples) with which to build it; and without that Wall no such Centre can maintain individual form and carry out a divine purpose while in that form, for any length of time on the physical plane. (Teachings of the Temple Vol I, Lesson 93 “The constructive Forces of the Temple of The People”)
"But aren’t we far away from that today!?"
Before we can think of physically building such a settlement of the New Era, it must first grow in our hearts.
Now you realise the paramount importance of practising the Interior Temple or the Ashram in the heart: As we had already said in the Video "We are building the World of the Future":
The Temple in the Heart of every individual human being is the foundation of the world state Temple of Humanity.
I have told some of you of the former existence of a great city whose inhabitants were far ahead of the present civilisation in art and science as well as in sociology and ethics. I have told you that the cycle of the rebuilding of that city has now returned. In no other city can the first appearance of the next Avatar on the physical plane take place.
The reappearance of the last Avatar is already an accomplished fact on the astral plane. His return to the physical plane will come to pass when a place and a people are prepared for it. But this city must first be built in the hearts of the people before it can materialise on the physical plane. (Teachings of the Temple Vol II, Footnote to Lesson “The Middle Path”)
In this case the Avatar does not necessarily have to appear physically: He can spiritually lead those far advanced disciples who are close to him, and through them a whole community.
If a man has evolved to the degree where it will be possible for him to interiorly recognize the presence of the Christos, it will be a matter of indifference to him personally whether that Avatar will appear in a physical body or not. In the process of development, he would have created within himself a psychic centre of action within which a response would be aroused by the mental stimulus of another who was attuned to the same key. Perfect devotion to, and inter-communication with, the Christos, would attune the consciousness to the key-note of the Christos. (Teachings of the Temple Vol I, Lesson 197 “The Avatar”)
2. Nucleus of the New World
Simon de Myle "Noah's Ark"
Not only the individual, but also a community, a whole nation creates for itself the world in which it lives according to the level of its collective consciousness. Everyone can study how different worldviews form different spiritual spaces in which peoples live in different ways.
The Indians are living in a spiritual framework shaped by the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita and Buddhism, we Western Europeans in a completely different one brought about by Christianity, the Enlightenment and capitalism.
This spiritual world, which first determines the daily thinking and then the daily actions of its inhabitants, must be improved if humanity is to progress.
You change the world by confronting it with a new, higher ideal. This ideal you must not only propagate, but also realise yourself in an exemplary way. Consequently, by living in an Interior Temple, you are making your contribution to the establishment of a higher spiritual order of human coexistence.
We are at the turning point of the present evolutionary cycle (see the Video "The Law of Evolution"): At the peak of the power of the material and at the nadir of the spiritual, where all the abodes of the spirit are destroyed.
Licentiousness and coarseness have now reached incredible limits. Savagery has finally broken into the cities and disrupted all the implantations of the spirit. (AUM 109)
When now the spirit is only just beginning the path of elevation and spiritualisation, we can do little more than to lay in the interior of a few people a firm, lasting foundation on which humanity can later continue to build.
The Interior Monastery is a nucleus of the New World.
Like the Holy Mountain of Shangri-La or Noah's Ark, it offers protection against the tide of materialism and gathers those who belong to the race of the future. (Simon de Myle "Noah's Ark")
In this Higher World the spiritually minded can gather again, and those troubled and weighed down with care can find salvation. Let us build such centres, the fugitives, the seeking ones and the young at heart will come! The peculiarity of the New Era is merely that the way out is not of a material, but of a spiritual nature:
The New World is within you!
The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there it is! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luk 17, 20, 21)
„I don’t understand that.“
Well, remember (Video “We are building the World of the Future”): The New World is nothing physical – it is a superstructure: a higher spiritual order of material conditions!
We go one step further: The practice of living as if you were dwelling in your teacher's ashram yields an almost material result:
Your home actually is an ashram! (Dürer: „St. Jerome in his Study“)
You produce the atmosphere, you establish the spirit of a temple and thereby you actually create a holy place. You have set up a bulwark of the New World, you contributed a stone to the building of the world state Temple of Humanity. At least here the higher culture of the future has become reality. You are in a position to proudly show humanity:
Here is the New World!
Practical Tip: First Interior Temple then outer Temple
It is essential that we first practise living in an Inner Temple before we join together in a physical community. If the individuals do not master this exercise all alone, they will not succeed as a community either in building an outer temple.
Anyone who wants to participate in the construction of the New World must first prove that he is able to live in his own home according to the laws of a sanctuary and keep his vibration high.
3. Role Model Gandhi
"Isn’t it completely out of date to live in an ashram? Is there a convincing modern role model for this way of life?"
Yes! A saint of our time was Gandhi, rightly called "Mahatma", meaning "Great Soul". Read again his biography "The Life of Mahatma Gandhi" by Louis Fischer and learn:
Gandhi founded in South Africa an ashram called "Tolstoy Farm" and in India the Sabarmati ashram in order to practise a higher way of life together with his disciples and co-workers; and this according to almost the same laws and customs as Agni Yoga suggests.
In order to abide by the rule of his ashram, Gandhi even brought with him his own yoghurt to meetings with the English Viceroy, knowing well that he would not get food suitable for a spiritual life there.
The concept of the Interior Ashram gives you the invaluable opportunity to emulate this high example in the midst of your ordinary everyday life.
4. Spreading the New World
You will strive, to the best of your abilities, to expand your inner spiritual realm to the outside world: To other people, communities, settlements and institutions, whom you will inspire by your example to also submit to the rule of the spirit. In this way, you help to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.
Such ashrams, like magnets, attract powerful hearts; they are nurseries of spirituality. Even material nature is transformed in the proximity of these towers. (Hierarchy 287)
"How do I work on this practically? How can I conquer the world?"
You vault the spiritual order of your ashram – the superstructure of the New World! – like a bell over every group of people with whom you come together.
Just as the light of a candle transfigures a place, so your aura illuminates every room you enter.
Wherever we are, wherever we go, we take our cell with us. (St. Francis of Assisi) (Nicholas Roerich “St. Francis of Assisi”)
You do your best to make sure that the Mahatmas – or at least their spirit! – reign.
Wherever you stand, you create around you a hologram of vibrations in the form of a sanctuary and keep it alive with the power of your psychic energy.
Making every place a Spiritual Temple is a much greater achievement than building a physical monastery.
This inner work, this spiritual struggle against the surrounding low vibrations is the adventure of the present time! (Archangel Michael, Castle of Schwerin)
You are building what needs to be built: The New World!
Wherein lies the success of a yogi? It is not in the attraction of crowds, not in the conversion of multitudes. But, near the works of the yogi, one can observe how others emulate him. Consciously or unconsciously, voluntarily or involuntarily, people begin to do the same thing. Even his enemies, while cursing him, are drawn in his wake.
It is as if a special atmosphere had gathered about the actions of the yogi. This is true success, when neither money nor fame, but the invisible fire kindles human hearts. Desiring to emulate him, these ignited hearts enter the yogi’s atmosphere and bear away with them some drops of the creative dew. The yogi builds that which should be built. He lays together the intended stones. (Agni Yoga 375)
"This again sounds rather abstract. Is there a practical example?"
Think of the millions of people who, centuries ago, fleeing from bondage, hardship, exploitation and oppression, emigrated from Europe to the New World, to America, and built a new existence there. Finally, the isolated efforts of many individuals have created the most powerful nation on earth. This is how the Agni Yogis of today’s time can and must proceed. ("The Departure of the Pilgrim Fathers")
Section VI: Preparation for the Hereafter
All religions and teachings of wisdom agree:
Earthly life is above all a preparation for your existence in the Higher World after death.
The earthly path is a path of preparation for Infinity. (Supermundane 371)
Whether you have already lived in a sanctuary before your birth and wish to return there after death, or whether you want to apply for admission for the first time: In both cases you must prove on earth that you are worthy of being accepted.
Practical Tip: Look to the Future
The older people get, the more they tend to look back to the past. But it is better to look ahead, into the future! Ask yourself:
"How and where do I want to live in 50 years from now after death in the Higher World?"
If your answer is: as a spiritual disciple in an ashram of the Brotherhood, you can and must prepare for this high goal from now on.
1. Build your future Abode already now
We repeat (Video "The Supermundane World"): After death, you come to that – higher or lower – layer of the World Beyond which corresponds to your being, to the state of your self-improvement, to the level of your consciousness.
Heaven is a better world because there you can no longer be harassed and tormented by consciousnesses that belong to lower levels than you.
He who leads a pure, holy life on earth enters the highest spheres of the Other World, which we call Heaven.
The one who lives an unworthy life down here and passes over soiled with gross accumulations cannot meet with a Master over there, but only with lower consciousnesses.
Someone whose god is mammon, power or violence will find himself in the Hereafter as well in those strata where homage is being paid to these idols. To that what he loves, to what he is attached to, he will continue to be chained over there too.
He, who at the close of this frail life of thine, will sound thy soul with Faith’s own plummet true, and finding naught but that which is of Earth most earthly, then must say to thee: “Go back to that thou lovest.” (From the Mountain Top Vol II, Lesson “The Power to know thy God”)
"What does this mean in practical terms?"
You yourself, by your thinking, feeling, speaking and acting, determine today which sphere of the Spiritual World you will go to after your death.
As the devachanic existence is the reproduction and idealizing of all that has appealed to us and that we have thought or done in earth life, it is very evident that every thought and act making for a home centre on earth is an addition to the devachanic home centre. (Teachings of the Temple Vol II, Lesson “The Homeless”)
It is by the power of free will that people create their existence in the Subtle World. (Supermundane 171)
You can and must actually furnish your future abode now, during your stay on earth – stone by stone, not unlike a physical house.
Help them to build a Home on that other side, that you too, may have a right to that Home when your turn shall come to pass over. Every unselfish thought and deed will set a stone in a wall, add a pillar, put on a roof, or lay a plank to help in the building. Every lifting of the heart to God will throw open a window to the rays of the sun. (From the Mountain Top Vol II, Lesson “To the Sorrowing”)
While still on Earth, people should carry themselves to where precisely they would like to continue their progress. They must concentrate their free will, so that their thought works as a messenger making provisions for their future place in the Subtle World. Let your thought fly ahead of you and prepare your next beautiful dwelling. (Supermundane 220)
"How should I proceed to build my eternal home?"
In two steps:
First step: First of all, you must form an exact idea of the sphere which you want to go to.
Heaven is the goal of your earthly journey.
If you do not know where this goal lies and what it looks like, you cannot set out on the path in any meaningful way.
People complain that the picture of the Fiery World is not clear to them. Let us not insist as to who is at fault in this. Let us propose to them that they picture the Fiery World in their own imagination. Though such visualization be a poor and hazy one, let it begin at least in some way. It thus can be utilized as a beginning, but it is bad when there is nothing upon which to build. (Fiery World II, 171)
So constantly refine the picture of your Heaven, of your teacher's ashram.
Second step: You let your imagination become reality – a reality of the Spiritual World of course, as we are talking about your otherworldly abode.
"How do I achieve that?"
Heaven is the plane on which your ideals become reality.
Every man makes his own Devachan. The results of his kindest acts, his highest and purest ideals and desires, form the basis of his realizations in the Devachanic Interludes. (Teachings of the Temple Vol II, Lesson “Reality”)
The conditions there are created by your thoughts. What you are dreaming of on earth becomes a living reality in Heaven. For over there, no resistance of matter and no ignorant or hostile people exist that could prevent the realisation of your plans.
So you create a Subtle Reality, the hologram of an ashram around you.
In this way you erect a thought-building which really exists in the World Beyond. Keep this construction alive with the help of your spiritual power, your psychic energy, so that you may move in there at death.
Thus you are living today virtually and after the transition really in this place.
They cannot even dream of the future life. Their imagination does not allow them to wish for a worthy life beyond the limits of Earth. But such dreams, intensely perceived, can be transformed into reality in the Supermundane World. There, thought creates, and already in the earthly life thought should build the castle of future heroic deeds. (Supermundane 882)
What an improvement of the old world view! What a chance!
Ideally, you enter after death a sphere in the Hereafter that is already familiar to you because you have created it yourself!
Greatly blessed is the one who enters a Subtle World already known to him. (Supermundane 391)
Then, when you die, you do not leave the world at all in which you have been living for a long time already! Before and after death, your soul dwells in one and the same sphere: in the ashram of its teacher!
With such a practice, death is no longer a transition at all!
It is within human capability to greatly facilitate entry into the Subtle World. Indeed, great is the joy when one can enter these new conditions as if into a welcoming home, to find there all those for whom one has yearned, and to sigh with relief that one more earthly journey has been fulfilled. But such a state of mind can only be the result of conscious imagination. Therefore, please understand why We direct you to everything that develops the imagination. We know how gradually this precious quality must be attained. We could not help mankind without imagination, which furthers foresight! (Supermundane 380)
2. Best Preparation: Living already on Earth as in Heaven
From what we have just said follows:
After death in the Hereafter you will come to the same sphere in which you are living today on earth!
If you live an impure and unholy life today, Heaven will not be accessible to you. The high vibrations there are unbearable for a low-tuned being.
How can an evil-minded murderer, a seducer, or an idiot experience a condition of well-being in the higher spheres, which would be unbearable for him owing to their subtle vibrations! And more than unbearable, for the very approach of a being from the higher spheres causes incredible pains to such as he; furthermore, from contact with the higher energies, he decomposes. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol II, letter of 17.10.1935)
It is therefore of no use to crave for Heaven as long as you still carry within you coarse, animal desires for things which are not available in such a high sphere, for example for alcohol, meat or tobacco. Even if you were able to somehow manage to sneak in, you would suffer (like an alcoholic in withdrawal) because there you cannot get what you are yearning for, on what you depend for your well-being.
"So what must I do to go to Heaven?"
What is required is a thorough purification of your being, of your habits. (Tintoretto "Baptism of Christ")
The preparation for contacting the higher strata first of all entails purification of one’s consciousness and development of the life of the heart. (Heart 328)
He who really comes from a Heaven will not live on earth as in a pigsty. And the one who lives here as in a pigsty, with all the filth clinging to his aura, will not be admitted by any Great Teacher into his abode over there.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart. (Psalms 24:3, 4)
Consciousnesses which are ruled by low impulses can be impelled only to the lower levels. (Fiery World III, 328)
"Don't you fear that your permanent exhortations to abstain from "carnal pleasures" like alcohol, chocolate, good food and other pleasant things, will rather frighten people off?"
Well, you have to understand: We are not talking about a "guilty conscience", but about goal-fitness, even necessity!
After death, in the World Beyond, all these physical pleasures simply do not exist.
So very soon with certainty you will have to make do without them. Therefore it is only wise to learn to renounce them. If you get used to such delights in this world and if they are the highest pleasure of your life, you will be deprived of joy in the Hereafter, because there you will no longer be able to fall back on these means. To change your habits is not possible there.
If you use on earth chocolate, alcohol or other things to get you out of a bad mood, you will not find a way out in Heaven because these material comforters are not available there.
Better get used to spiritual pleasures now, which you can enjoy in the Higher World as well.
I am not trying to exercise pressure or compulsion, on the contrary:
Create for yourself such a beautiful supermundane reality that your desire for material pleasures vanishes! (Nikolaus Roerich “Stronghold”)
"Is that practically feasible at all?"
It is not that difficult: Put yourself in the Fiery Condition (see the Video "Exercise The Fiery Condition") and create a sacred atmosphere of high vibration around you, then no desire will arise, or at least be quickly overcome.
The plants reach out toward the light. Only people dream about their stomachs when their spirits should be filled with the grandeur of the Highest. (AUM 36)
Exercise: Living in everyday Life like in Heaven
We recognise: The best preparation for Heaven is:
Live already now exactly in the same way as one lives in the world you want to go to after death!
You want to be accepted into the ashram of a Great Teacher in the Other World? That is possible. But only if you live already down here on earth in the same way as is customary over there!
The disciples asked, “Where will we be after death?” The Thinker answered, “Not as far as you think! Each of you may visit the place of his future abode already during his lifetime.” (Supermundane 193)
So the question is not, as many people childishly think:
"Will I go to Heaven after death?"
Rather, the crucial point is a quite different one:
Are you already living in Heaven, right now, here on earth?
Even if you were placed in the most terrible circumstances? Only on earth can you prove that you really already are such a high creature that you belong in the highest sphere, that this highest form of life corresponds to your nature, to your inner being!
"Living in Heaven, already now – how do you imagine that for someone who does not want to enter a teacher's ashram right away as a disciple?"
A wonderful example is the biblical story of the transfiguration of Christ (Mt 17:1-8): In the midst of earthly life, Jesus converses with Moses and Elias. This means for your everyday life: When your vibration is high and your Fiery Body is built up, when your aura radiates with purity, wisdom, power, joy, light and love, the spiritual part of your being reaches up to Heaven. Your Spiritual Father, your Supermundane friends and co-workers are close to you. Sense their presence! Talk to them! Make sure that you behave with dignity so as not to drive away your guests from the Higher Spheres! (Bellini, Bloch, Savoldo, Raphael, Titian "Transfiguration of Christ")
Only if you are living in Heaven already now can you honestly say:
I am looking forward to my death! (Johann Sebastian Bach)
Because then you know exactly what you have to expect. And you realise that life in the Higher World, where material adversities no longer exist, will of course be even more beautiful than the most heavenly earthly existence.
Practical Tip: Live in Heaven on trial
Before you finally determine the goal of your life, be sure to try it out beforehand:
Are you capable at all of living in the heaven you imagine?
Are you still dreaming, or are you really already living according to higher laws? Or do you perhaps prefer to set your sights on another, lower sphere?
3. Prepare in good Time
"Why are you talking so much about the Hereafter? I am young. That doesn't concern me in the least!"
There are three things to say to this:
First: You cannot know how long your life is going to last.
Secondly: There remains so much to do to make your existence in this world, and thus also the one in the Hereafter, worthy that you cannot start soon enough!
Thirdly: What do you want to use the rest of your life for, however much time is still given to you?
In order to gain experience and to grow, of course!
You can have the best experiences, learn the most and gain most at the feet of your teacher – so do not lose a single day!
True longevity is not calculated by the number of years, but by the progress in virtue. If the Lord God gives me one more day of life, he does it so that I may correct yesterday's mistakes: not to do so would be a sign of great ingratitude. (Matteo Ricci)
Preparation for the Hereafter should begin in good time, preferably immediately. If you wait until shortly before the transition, there will not be time enough to acquire the skills you will need over there.
One has to acquire the right of entry into the Subtle World with full consciousness, but this is impossible to attain on the eve of departure. (Heart 170)
Use every single day as a unique, non-recurring opportunity to get closer to the Highest Spheres and their sublime inhabitants!
Each day and hour man either draws nearer to or recedes from the Higher World. (AUM 119)
If you set out seriously, you will soon realise: Contrary to expectations, the main difficulties do not lie in the external circumstances, but within you yourself!
4. Community of Soulmates
Communion of Saints
We have just said: You will not so much come to a certain place but to a community of souls which are spiritually close to you, which are on the same level of consciousness as you.
Know then, my son, that even in the other life you will be counted among the number of those whose comrade in joys and sufferings you have been in this life. He will be counted among the people of the world in the other life who deals with them and their affairs in this life. (St. Anthony the Great)
You will find yourself in the Hereafter among the same souls with whom you were already spiritually connected on earth.
Did you cheer gladiator fights in the arena in ancient Rome and are you today bellowing around in football stadiums? Did you already roam the streets in the Wild West and again in this life as a member of gangster gangs? (Gérome "Pollice verso")
Then, in the Higher World as well, you will come exactly to that sphere where your kind, your cronies gather together again for such activities and continue to do mischief. Even the earthly wars will be continued over there by those who pass over full of hatred and aggression!
The Devachan of an ardent monk whose devotion is to the Saints, the Virgin Mary, the Church, and all that it signifies, will be passed in those surroundings and with those who have called out that devotion. (Teachings of the Temple Vol II, Lesson “Reality”)
"With whom do I have a real spiritual connection, a true closeness from soul to soul?"
To this sphere you belong, there your soul will go after the death of the body. What are you doing on a plane whose inhabitants, customs and laws are alien to you, among whom you do not feel comfortable at all?
The way of life of the Interior Ashram is an expression of the incarnate's membership in such a spiritual community.
Do you want to return from this life to your family as a hero or as a traitor? Only if you live down here in the same way as your soulmates do up there in the Eternal Home, you really belong to them.
Each life of the heart attracts those who reveal kinship of spirit. A life which is thus begun is extended in the supermundane spheres. (Fiery World III, 102)
If you are not faithful while in exile on earth, you will not dare to look your teacher and your fellow disciples in the face again in the Other World, and you will exclude yourself from their community!
Prove in earthly life that you are a disciple of the Brotherhood, otherwise you cannot be such a one in eternity, after death in Heaven either.
Section VII: Founding your own Ashram
Always remember: As disciple of a master, you in turn are at the same time on the descending line a teacher of smaller brothers and sisters who are below you on the ladder of Hierarchy.
You begin your "career" in the Hierarchy as a disciple. If you fulfil this office well, in time you will rise to become, for example, the novice master of your ashram.
He looks ahead, to the future. He is never satisfied with what he has achieved.
The onrushing task of world creation cries out against satisfaction. Can there be joy in completion? We gain impetus from the joy of new beginnings. (Agni Yoga 463)
So you will not want to remain permanently on the level of a disciple in your teacher's ashram. Let us also look ahead to the next step:
When you have learned enough, one day your teacher will send you out to set up your own ashram.
So that you may pass on the knowledge you have acquired and educate disciples yourself. This is how the sublime way of life of the ashram spreads among the people.
Those who receive must also give. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 66 )