I N D I V I D U A L I T Y
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, October 21, 2008
1. Individuality and egoism are like birth and death. The building of individuality manifests the conception of a New World, whereas egoism can mirror itself in the dead volcanoes of the moon. Not only does egoism deaden itself, it strikes the surroundings with sterility, whereas individuality kindles fires in all adjacent camps. Cooperation is the crown of individuality, but the scourge of egoism is like the sting of a scorpion. Can one rely upon egoism? No more than upon a viper! But true individuality contains in itself the foundation of universal justice. We must gather individualities; for a new diamond is in need of cutting, but egoism must pass through many incarnations. Indeed, this law may also be changed by the fire of the heart. Therefore, we can advise those adhering to egoism to be kindled by the proximity of a fiery heart.
2. Urusvati knows that the unique and unrepeatable nature of events in the universe is characteristic of its special beauty. Even the simplest shepherd can see the individuality of each animal in his herd, but city dwellers too easily lose the ability to recognize what is individual. Generalizations are applied in addressing all issues, and recognition of the great generosity of nature is lost.
Because they cannot discern the multiformity in nature, people ask Us for instructions that can be applied to all. We can offer instructions in a general way, but beyond that, details for each individual are needed.
Supermundane III, 577.
3. Wise rulers have always understood that the individuality of a person must be carefully protected. An experienced schoolteacher can sense how the individuality of the pupils should be safeguarded. Only the ignorant can suppose that everyone can be cut to the same pattern. Such ignorance acts against the cosmic laws, and people exhibiting it can never be considered scientists, for every true researcher must possess a broad and open mind. We must often repeat these basic ideas, because most people, hypnotized by dead terminology, do not wish to open their eyes to the most simple manifestations of nature. It would seem that the individuality of all that exists would strike joy in people, for it is precisely this that gives everyone a special place in the universe and opens the way to new achievements. This infinite wealth will lead the science of the future toward new discoveries that today would seem like impossible fairy tales.
People often say that for cooperation between individuals, similarity of character is needed, but they should speak not of similarity, but of harmony. Only the harmony of energies can be useful. Harmony is not repetition, it produces a chord. May this chord be strong and sonorous. It is hard to imagine a symphony built of monotonous octaves. People should love polyphony; the richer it is the more human hearts it will touch and call to action. Thus we will be open to the rich multiformity of perceptions. Nature must not be dealt with as if impoverished.
The Thinker said, Nature is inexhaustible.
Supermundane IV, 740.
4. Urusvati knows that the main cause of discord lies in the individuality of consciousnesses. There are no two grains of sand alike, there are no consciousnesses alike. Such richness of nature could have accelerated evolution, but out of it much evil has been born. It should be remembered that such evil is harmful, not only in the earthly life, but also in the Supermundane World.
Each person can assist in the lessening of evil. For this one must firmly remember about the individuality of consciousnesses, and must not coerce the consciousness of one’s fellow man. He can increase friendship and cooperation, but only if he allows for differences of consciousness. Out of such understanding is compassion born. A wise man will show compassion to his neighbor in a way that will not be seen as condescending.
Supermundane IV, 795.
5. All your motives should be checked by your heart. Your heart is the only judge, accumulator and guardian of the acquired precious energies. The structure of these acquired and accumulated energies is our individuality and destiny. The law of correspondence is a basic cosmic law. Therefore, each acquired energy will attract an identical energy from space and also will evoke a corresponding reaction from the people one contacts. Here is an explanation of sympathies and antipathies, and also the reason why one person can find contact with many people while another, in spite of all his efforts, creates only antagonism. But, as all possibilities come from people, the significance of the quality of energies we accumulate is quite clear.
Letters Of Helena Roerich I, 3 December 1930.
6. It is most essential to learn to discriminate between these entirely opposite conceptions: selfishness and individuality. Selfishness is the most terrible scourge of humanity, the source of destruction, and, first of all, self-destruction. Selfishness is a dead separatism. The old truth about the unity of Cosmos and its humanity being an integral whole is very poorly realized, but it should finally reach the consciousness of the people. What would happen if someone tried to separate or isolate one organ of the body from the whole organism? Individuality is a life-holding receptacle. Individuality is beauty, is the crown of man, the synthesis of all his accumulations. But how can he accumulate if he separates himself from all other life-holders? Individuality is as honey, gathered by the man-bee from the best flowers, and of different meadows. But what kind of honey can a person gather who locks himself in the darkness of selfishness?
Letters Of Helena Roerich I, 27 January 1933.
7. You protest against my affirmation of the significance of personality. But how can we ignore personality, when precisely it builds individuality? I assert that it is very useful to express one’s personality as intensely as possible, but not in its negative aspects. Certainly, the true conception of personality and individuality is possible only to a matured consciousness. But in a small consciousness this conception can take the following complacent, hypocritical, conceited form: "My individuality is so great that it can hardly be expressed through my present personality, inherited from my physical forebears. Therefore, I would rather concentrate on my real individuality, regardless of my present outward semblance." We used to encounter such "profound" declarations. These ignorant and destructive notions make the conceited hypocrite gloat over his illusory former achievements. No, we must each strive to make our present personality more beautiful than the preceding one. We must think about the beauty of our present life and look upon it as the cutting of the finest diamond for the necklace of life wrought by our spirit. Hence, let everyone affirm his personality, as how else can he express his individuality?
Letters Of Helena Roerich I, 8 March 1935.
8. Now, regarding the same Letter, Reply No. 7, in which it is said that "During earthly life ... the whole individuality is centered in the three middle or 3rd, 4th, and 5th principles," pay attention to the following lines: "Mr. Hume has perfectly defined the difference between personality and individuality. The former [personality, or 3rd, 4th and 5th principles] hardly survives the latter [individuality, the incarnating Ego], to run successfully....[let us say, more simply, in its further ascent] has to assimilate...the seventh [principle] and then blend the three (fourth, fifth and seventh) into one the sixth." (The Mahatma Letters, pp. 77-78, Letter XIII. ) Thus if immortality, or to be more precise, continuous consciousness on all planes of being can be achieved only through a lengthy process of nurturing the seed of the spirit by the higher energies, it becomes clear that if this nurture of the seed ceases, the thread of consciousness is interrupted, and one may say that this is the annihilation of the personality, and a relative annihilation of the individuality. Furthermore, we must bear in mind that people tend to think that something is annihilated in each transformation.
Letters Of Helena Roerich II, 31 August 1936.
9. Do not think that many understand the beautiful consonance of labor. Moreover, not many understand the distinction between joint and individual labor; for most it is merely a contradiction, whereas it is but evolution. People must not lose individuality, yet in a chorus each voice contributes to the common success; and with this realization one must keep in mind the fundamentals of Brotherhood.
10. For the demonstration of concepts let us represent them graphically. Let us imagine unity in the aspect of a beautiful and stable dome. Let the threads of the elevation extend upward and be joined together as the facets of the dome. No one could suspect that unity could infringe upon individuality. With the ancient builders each column, each step was individual, yet nonetheless they went to make up the general harmony of the structure. The vault was held up, not by ornaments, but by correct internal cohesion thus unity can be expected where that inner cohesion which rises to the Summit is understood. Let us not weary of collecting the best images around the concept of unity. Unity is so very necessary, and it is so often impaired even among those who already know about Brotherhood.
11. The chemism of each microcosm is a special one, just as every small particle of Macrocosm is individual. This does not contradict the essence of universal laws. They embrace all possible conditions and find in the unrepeatable individuality of all Be-ness a furnace of new combinations of energies. Energies, universal and individual, cannot be renewed without individual interactions. Thus it can be understood that the Unity pointed out so long ago is a system based on a multitude of individualities.
Supermundane IV, 740.
12. In all things the fundamentals of individuality must be recognized, especially at present. People try to equalize and generalize everything, but nature reveals individuality in every phenomenon. When one understands the generosity of this principle, the evolutionary process in nature, in which the value of individuality can be seen in everything, comes easily to mind.
Even those who rebel against the usual human categories must accept the law of individuality. There is no phenomenon on Earth in which a vivid individuality is not revealed. For example, We have spoken before about ectoplasm, which is inherent in everyone, but every manifestation of ectoplasm is individual. The same principles may be said to apply in the liberating of the subtle body. The usual forcible methods only create obstacles, for such prescriptions do not consider the individuality. Thus do We value each person’s unique approach to things.
The Thinker used to say, Every man has his own inimitable way.
Supermundane II, 444.