F A N A T I C I S M A N D T O L E R A N C E
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, October 27, 2009
1. Three centuries after the departure of the Blessed One, His disciples were already infected with religious strife. After only a century, Christianity manifested extreme intolerance. The last utterances of Mohammed were immediately followed by fanaticism. Religious controversies always destroy the sense of the true Teaching; therefore We now call for special tolerance and We reject controversies.
One may ask how to guard the Teaching, yet not respond to false accusations. The best defense is to strengthen one's labor in a non-hostile way. One can disarm hostile accusers by strengthening one's reserves. You know that We do not avoid enemies, but one should not waste one’s strength on them.
When you are with Us, surrounded by Our blue sparks, all is attainable. But Our Rays must not be violated. There is a special time when unity of your power with Ours is needed to traverse the abyss.
Agni Yoga, 469
2. Fanaticism is inadmissible. It contains neither devotion, nor love, nor magnanimity, but is only a reversion to the animal state. Fanaticism begets treason, hostility, and cruelty. The fanatic does not reach the Fiery World, because love is the key to it. Fanaticism is like a neglected ailment, if not immediately attended to it becomes incurable. Such a consciousness must encounter great shocks in order to understand true devotion. By repulsion alone one cannot acquire the quality of the magnet. Therefore, I am so concerned that you should not lose a single opportunity for manifesting friendliness. The best fuel should be preserved for the fire of the heart. The store of friendliness generates true compassion, which is directly opposed to the cruelty of fanaticism. Fanaticism knows only the egoism which presumptuously says, “All or nothing.” and since all is impossible, there remains nothing. Therefore, take notice of even the slightest signs of fanaticism. Cure them with the greatest patience as you would a contagious disease. It is precisely fanaticism which has shaken the most beautiful Teachings and corroded the seeds of love. One should carefully prepare everything that can facilitate the access of Agni to one's heart.
Fiery World I, 661
3. Fanaticism pertains to the most violent manifestations of cruelty. Other manifestations in the Cosmos which appear so destructive cannot be compared to fanaticism, for this feeling destroys the heart, it destroys all exalted feelings. Verily, Satan himself saturates the world with fanaticism. Truly, the crimes of destroyers do not compare with the frightful blasphemies of fanatics. The actions of fanatics contribute to the dissolution of each higher Teaching; for the Karma of these godless ones, under the mask of faith, affirms the most horrible destruction. The conditions of life reveal the process through which such Karma creates. Truly, these fanaticisms cause streams of blood to flow. The construction of the New World requires regeneration of the consciousness.
Fiery World III, 330
4. Urusvati knows that fanaticism is a very dangerous psychic condition. A fanatic deprives himself of flexibility. He cannot perfect himself or succeed. A fanatic is as if dead. Fanaticism can be contagious, for weak people fear any kind of advancement; their dark existence rests upon a foundation of dogma.
Regrettably, fanaticism tends to form around any teaching and does not permit the deepening of its foundations. Let us not enumerate the Great Teachings that have suffered because of the savagery of fanaticism. History offers many such dark examples.
But how does one battle fanaticism? It should be understood that any dispute with fanatics will only increase their stubbornness, because they believe that it is precisely they who are the true guardians of the pure teaching. A fanatic responds angrily to any challenging question. A fanatic can only grow more stubborn, and insists that the teaching that he adheres to cannot change. He does not acknowledge that learning is a living process. There can be no stagnation in Eternity; all is in motion, in the striving toward perfection.
Remember that it is impossible to dispute with a corpse. Let the corpse’s putrefaction be a transformation into a new existence. Thus, do not dispute with fanatics, pass by the putrescent, and hasten toward victorious knowledge.
The increase in the number of fanatics can be stopped by a manifestation on a cosmic scale. Whether such a shock would occur in the earthly or Supermundane World is of no importance, but in any case, fanaticism is unfit for the Supermundane World.
The Thinker said, “Fanatic, how will you cross the boundary into the Supermundane?”
Supermundane IV, 791
5 . Remember the militant fanaticism of the Moslems. Let us not forget that in India the Buddhists were persecuted and then destroyed by the Brahmins. Even today, fights involving bloodshed between Moslems and Hindus are not so rare. Likewise, in some Chinese provinces Buddhist lamas have been (and still are) cruelly persecuted.
And you have to admit that the Inquisition is the most hideous blot in the annals of Christendom. The Inquisition was certainly not established just for the persecution of witches and sorcerers (mostly mediums and heretics) but for the annihilation of all differently minded people, all personal enemies of the representatives of the church, the latter having decided to obtain absolute power. First of all, among the enemies of the church were the most enlightened workers for the General Good and the true followers of the Testaments of Christ. And the easiest way to destroy the enemy was by accusing him of being in league with the devil. The so-called "Guardians of the purity of Christian Principles" attempted to instil this devilish psychology into the consciousness of the masses by all possible means. Small wonder that in those days the visions of the nuns and monks bore the stamp of Satanic influence and were full of devilish images and all sorts of ugly temptations.
Letters Of Helena Roerich I, 12 September 1934
6. "The canon, 'By thy God' is the higher,..." This means that this canon is higher (wiser) than the affirmation "By my God." In the first statement there is tolerance and understanding, whereas in the second is hidden the embryo of exclusion and fanaticism.
Letters Of Helena Roerich II, Letter 29, 1937. 5
7. Let Us explain how to understand tolerance. When we speak about a higher tolerance, We mean that Hierarchy can show leniency because the heart of the Hierarch is all-containing; it feels everything and knows all impulses and intentions, and weighs all the good and the bad. In His leniency the Higher Spirit descends into the sphere of the consciousness of the disciple, and by His indulgence and tolerance uplifts the disciple. But not thus must the co-worker accept the indications about tolerance. For the disciple who is intolerant toward his surroundings, the needed quality cannot be called leniency. When the development of this wonderful quality, tolerance, is indicated to him, it means that first of all he must exclude censure. The indication about tolerance does not mean to have always command over one's fellow-worker; it does not mean that the spirit is on such a level that it can condemn those who surround him. The indication about tolerance first of all must awaken in the disciple the understanding of the fact that the spirit must be freed from egoism, because selfhood carries the most frightful monstrosities. Hence, only the spirit of a disciple freed from selfhood can manifest leniency. On the path to the Fiery World one should understand the true significance of tolerance.
Fiery World III, 54
8. Urusvati knows that tolerance is totally misunderstood. It is often seen either as condescension or as overindulgence of others. Since both of these are considered to be wrong, it is clear that the very idea of tolerance is not perceived in a proper way. But We see it as one of the basic qualities of humaneness. In human relations it must be reciprocal. All earthly life should be based on tolerance and compassion. Sometimes people manifest these benevolent attitudes consciously, but more often their tolerance and compassion are simply the result of an inherent goodness, and they themselves do not always recognize the value of these acts of kindness…
Supermundane III, 553
9. Urusvati knows that religious strife is the cruelest of all. One should not interfere in religious disputes. People should not devour one another in the name of their Merciful God, and should work only to create good.
The Teaching is good only when it is in worthy hands. This can be said about all human institutions. It was observed long ago that the quality of life depends on the integrity of the leaders. Great tolerance is needed, so as not to intrude upon the beliefs of others.
With great care one can introduce knowledge about all creeds into education, but it must be taught wisely. We have spoken about the harm that is caused by coercing. Remember, coercion is the poisoning of consciousness. Everyone must be free to express his own beliefs, but it is difficult to do this without succumbing to the temptation to convert others. Let each state his beliefs simply as a means of self-expression, without creating the impression of a desire to influence others. Only a refined consciousness will indicate the beautiful line that leads one to freely chosen service. People are afraid of this word, service, because it implies obligation. But one should accept courageously all that is connected with duty for the sake of the General Good.
The Thinker commented, “Do you hear how noisy those people are in the public square? Once again they depose the old gods in order to populate their Olympus with new ones.”
Supermundane III, 564
10. Urusvati knows that patience is the parent of tolerance. Intolerance is the offspring of ignorance. Nothing obstructs achievement as much as does intolerance. One must become attuned to an attitude of tolerance from one’s earliest years. And compassion is akin to it. Tolerance is the best way. Those who argue should not be dismissed if their words contain just one particle of truth. This particle could serve as a bridge for unity. But patience is needed to discover such particles of truth.
When in the Subtle World one can observe that it is precisely tolerance that leads to the attaining of higher vibrations. Consciousness will indicate where the like-minded ones are. They may be different in their looks and ways of expression, but their vibrations will be similar. Only real tolerance will make it possible to come close to them.
Let the Teaching of the Supermundane World indicate all the qualities needed for this achievement. A common moral basis is needed, and also an understanding of the mutual benefit, when thinking about the Supermundane existence.
The Thinker instructed His disciples first of all to demonstrate a beautiful tolerance.
Supermundane IV, 752