R E N U N C I A T I O N
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, December 18, 2007
1. Each organism is moved by a particular energy, but it is necessary to establish the precise direction of the basic aspiration. Once the disciples asked the Blessed One how to understand the fulfillment of the commandment of renunciation of property. After one disciple had abandoned all things, the Teacher continued to reproach him in the matter of possessions. Another remained surrounded by things yet did not draw reproval. The feeling of ownership is measured not by things but by thoughts. Thus, the community must be accepted by the consciousness. One may have objects and yet not be an owner. The Teacher sends the wish that evolution grow lawfully. The Teacher can distinguish those who have liberated their consciousness. Thus said the Blessed One; and He asked in general not to think about ownership of property, for renunciation is a cleansing of thought. For only through purified channels can basic striving make its way.
2. The World is moulded in beautiful Principles. The expression about the renunciation of the World is correct. One cannot renounce the heavenly beauty. The whole world has been given to man. Therefore it would be far truer to speak about the discovery of the meaning of things. When the manifestation of renunciation arises, it concerns the most perverted concepts, the most harmful actions, but it is inadmissible to misuse a beautiful concept, the World, to describe a generalization of these abominations of ignorance. Worldly matters do not have to be unworthy and shameful. Great consciousnesses have taken great pains over the World. It is unfitting to attribute to them the distortions of ignorance?
Fiery World II, 121.
3. One of the great concepts, often incorrectly interpreted, is precisely the great concept of humility. It has been interpreted as non-resistance to evil; it has been interpreted as good-heartedness, as compassion, but very few accepted it as self-denial. For only self-denial and self-sacrifice can give understanding of humility. Truly, We see the giants of spirit and the heroes who devote themselves fully to the humble tasks for the good of humanity. We know of great experiments being humbly carried out in the earthly laboratories for the benefit of humanity. We know the great fiery experiments of those who dedicate their lives wholly and humbly to the benefit of mankind. We know manifestations on the path to the Fiery World which inspire all surroundings. Truly manifold is humility manifested through self-sacrifice and self-renunciation. Heroism is a manifestation of various aspects of humility. Thus the records of space are filled with great deeds of humility. Invaluable are these fiery flights of the spirit. Thus, verily, the heroes of humility drain the cup of poison for the good of mankind.
Fiery World III, 24.
4. The heart of a hero knows self-sacrifice in the name of Common Good. It knows self-renunciation and Great Service. The path of the hero is not always strewn with wreaths of human gratitude. The path of the hero proceeds by thorny ways. Therefore, one should always revere the path of self-renunciation, because each advancement upon the face of the Earth which affirms heroism of the spirit guarantees a new beginning. How many heroes of the spirit could have been seen upon mankind's path as torchbearers? But these fires of the spirit are unnoticeable to the eye of ignorance. Thus, on the path to the Fiery World one should revere the heroes of everyday life who saturate life with an achievement in each hour. The community of labor should cultivate these heroes, because the pillars of a nation stand erect only on the qualities of heroism of the spirit and the heart. He who knows the heroism of self-renunciation will not be a chance hero of an hour—the records of space will mark forever the labors of the hero of the spirit.
Fiery World III, 43.
5. The strongest index of achievement is self-renunciation. Indeed, it is necessary to understand this cosmic concept in all its beauty. Not only on the field of battle is the spirit adorned with the power of selflessness. To traverse the path of life impetuously, to cross all lives as upon a wire, to pass over all abysses in song, is possible only for the selfless spirit. All structures which follow the cosmic designation are erected in fiery striving. Let us look at the life of a hero of the spirit. From early years the spirit knows the Highest Guide. The manifestation of a sacred Guardian is its life's destiny. Physical and spiritual pre-eminence do not cloud the consciousness. Self-education is a manifestation of the synthesis. The realization of one's own superiority has given the spirit firmness and tolerance toward society. All manifested talents have been displayed in inspiration, to the wealthy and the poor, to the seekers and the enlightened ones. The hero of the spirit has known a Higher Protector, therefore he has given strength to others. The Higher Law has directed him to the rudder, and visibly or invisibly he has become a fiery hero. Thus has proceeded the mighty “Lion of the Desert.” Thus has been strengthened the great law of self-renunciation. Striving toward the higher powerful cooperation has given a direct contact with the cosmic forces and with the Highest Fiery Brotherhood. This direct link has been given only through a Higher Designation. When amidst the jungles of life the spirit knows the direction, then truly the worlds resound. On the path to the Fiery World let us manifest understanding of true selflessness.
Fiery World III, 75.
6. Cosmic right reveals the Feminine Principle as a manifested power. Cosmic Right reveals the greatness of the Feminine Principle, which manifests self-renunciation, and before which verily the great Arhats bow themselves. Verily, We reverence the great Feminine Principle. Verily, We reverence the giving Principle which bestows the life of Beauty and of the Heart.
Fiery World III, 194.
7. Only a clear realization of the Subtle World enables people to recognize earthly property without hypocritical renunciations. Man will understand what property belongs to him, and earthly things will find their due place in the long human existence. The essence is not in renunciation, but in realization of the especially Beautiful.
8. Self-renunciation is nothing else but inspiration; faint-heartedness cannot be inspiration.
9. Imagination is insufficiently developed in people. They are unable to imagine causes and effects. They do not know how to picture to themselves the most beautiful possibilities. They have not been taught imagination and inspiration. The best strivings have been scoffed at, and people have been persuaded not to think. But those who know not how to think have no imagination. Loss of imagination is renunciation of joy.
10. Complete devotion, complete heroism, fill the spirit with adamant self-denial. The wings of self-renunciation will carry us to the Brotherhood.
Supermundane I, 219.
11. Urusvati knows the true meaning of self-forgetfulness. People are usually afraid of such concepts as self-forgetfulness and self-denial. They associate them with poverty and rags. But those who work and create know that when striving for higher quality, they forget themselves. A natural renunciation of self-centeredness has taken place. They have liberated themselves from their personality. In the same way one can see that in the Supermundane World man forgets about self, and rises toward beautiful achievements. This step of ascent is mastered without forcing. Let man sense these wings during his earthly labor. We affirm creative activity as the best means of ascent. People do not often understand the great beauty of self-renunciation. They prefer the self-absorption of earthly life. They do not know how easily a pit of refuse can be transformed into the beginning of a beautiful garden, and make a mistake in thinking that such a transformation is not possible for them. Everyone can be a valiant conqueror of precious realms of thought. The Thinker said, “At least think, and you will thus acquire wings of self-forgetfulness.”
Supermundane IV, 892.
12. When facing difficult tasks, the only way to approach dangers fearlessly is through self-renunciation. Then the dangers crumble as if under a hero’s sword.
Supermundane IV, 895.
13. Thus, if we study the lives of the Great Teachers of humanity, we shall discover that none of them shut themselves off from life, but poured all their forces, spiritual and physical, into the service of the General Good. Thus, in everything let us follow these great examples in a lofty attainment of self-renunciation. The crown of self-renunciation is glorious?
Letters of Helena Roerich II, 24 September 1935.
14. Every warrior of Light courageously accepts the accelerated payment of old accounts. The sufferings of those who have entered the Path of Light are transformed into wonderful flowers of the spirit. Certainly it is not easy to achieve spiritual liberation from earthly attachments. But when ahead of us lies the great goal of Service, and when the heart is aflame with devotion to the Great Teacher, then the most burdensome is transmuted into the joy of self-renunciation.
Letters of Helena Roerich II, 18 February 1936.
15. “Who hath said that one must renounce madly? Madness doth so remain.” Is it not madness of hypocrisy to give away everything and then to expect help from others? And if help is refused, to become full of hate, as usually happens. Unfortunately, a certain type of living is often performed with the secret hope of receiving in return a hundredfold the amount given. But it is forgotten that only those receive a hundredfold who think least of all about receiving anything. Thus, he who does not understand the great law of balance, or co-measurement and goal-fitness cannot become a true follower of the Teaching of Light.
Letters of Helena Roerich II, pp 85-86.
16. When you come – come as if forever. When you depart – depart as if forever. When you come, possess everything because you have renounced everything. When you depart, leave everything because all has been assimilated. Affirm renunciation amid goods and chattels. Affirm possession in the midst of the desert. If you perceive a thirst for things, quench it.
Verbal renunciation is like the gesture of a monkey. Ask your interlocutor how he thinks about the community. Affirm your understanding from this thinking. A word contains a thousand thoughts. It is too crude to attribute to a word a precise expressiveness. Only comparison of concepts can determine the quality of thinking. Ask him what is for him most unacceptable. By what is he most attracted? Ask more than once, as otherwise the most important will be forgotten. People have not been accustomed to define clearly the unacceptable. Decrepit man does not agree, but fears to account for it to himself. A child is attracted to something but does not know how to reflect about the basic cause. The new age is in need of responsible clarity. How indispensable it is to force people to think about the causes of non-acceptance? Revelation of the causes is half-way to acceptance.
I have, because I have renounced.
17. Love for beautiful things without possessiveness is one of the purest and most uplifting of feelings. Without love, nothing can be created and improved. Thus, let people learn to love without the sense of possessiveness. Let them admire beautiful creations without the conventional concept of ownership.
Letters Of Helena Roerich II, p 234.