T H E F O R G I V E R A N D T H E F O R G I V E N
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, December 8, 2009
1. One must forgive people their failure to understand
Good people are often guilty of faulty judgment.
It is essential to be lenient with beginners’ mistakes.
The Call, 414
2. Man prays for forgiveness, yet fails to alter his manner of living. Man bewails his misfortune, but does not abandon a single habit which brought him into his state of sorrow. Just praying for forgiveness has no meaning if it is not accompanied by reformation of life. It is not sorrow but hypocrisy when the Higher Wisdom is burdened by self-pity.
3. Let us not condemn lack of knowledge, but let us sternly condemn deliberate ignorance. It must be understood where the boundary between insufficient knowledge and determined ignorance lies. One is curable, but the other is often irreparable. The one who denies knowledge is always self-conceited and pompous. Thus, by one’s everyday behavior can one’s essence be recognized.
The Thinker said, “We may forgive lack of knowledge, but intentional ignorance is unfit for cooperation.”
Supermundane IV, 726
4. But until man comprehends all the grandeur of his origin, that his being is an immortal part of the Divine Ego and is eternally changing its forms, and until man realizes his responsibility and that there is no one who can forgive his sins or reward him for his merits, that he himself is the creator of causes and effects, that he is the sower and the reaper of everything created by him--until he realizes all this, he will remain the disseminator and propagator of the insanity, criminality and corruption which threaten our planet with dreadful destruction.
Letters Of Helena Roerich I, 12 September, 1934
5. Many of the most beautiful concepts have been perverted. All-forgiveness resounds beautifully, but people have contrived to make it into the monstrous form, “The Higher forces forgive all,” thus making all crimes permissible. However, the matter lies not in forgiveness, which is quite possible, but in outliving that which has been committed. Just is the law of spatial healing. An inflicted wound requires medical treatment. Self-cure requires time, because the torn tissue must be mended. The best consonance of Aum can contribute to the healing of the tissue. But all the consonances of color and aroma can be of help, only if psychic energy admits such cooperation.
6. Changes in language are welcome to Us. Through such changes, inflexibility of expression and, more important, of meaning, is avoided. The ages pile up habits and lead to petrifaction of thinking. But cataclysms and disruptions of governments bring unexpected ideas and new words. Old expressions lose their relevance and fall away, taking with them the antiquated customs.…
The spirit striving to the future will not burden itself with the tatters of the past. It seeks ways of expressing newly-encountered concepts, and tears down the barrier of words. One would sooner forgive a failed effort than accept the encrusted, habit-formed greeting of a wizened grandfather. It is through motion that we extend the horizon of ideas to which we were attached by the circumstance of birth.
Agni Yoga, 247
7. Around the concept of forgiveness there is a great lack of understanding. One who has forgiven someone assumes that he has accomplished something out of the ordinary, whereas he has merely preserved his own karma from complications. The forgiven one thinks that all has been ended, but, of course, karma remains ahead of him. True, the forgiving one did not intervene in the karma of the forgiven one and thus has not made it more burdensome, but the very law of karma remains with both participants. The Lords of Karma can alter this to a certain extent if the fire of purification flashes out brightly, but such a flame cannot easily be set alight.
8. If this law of Karma, “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,” is inevitable and exact justice, it by no means follows that we ourselves, personally, should attempt to fulfil it in this way. If we do so, we shall never emerge from the magic circle of karma. Indeed, we must forgive our personal enemies, as who knows but that the blow one receives is a return blow, well-deserved under the law of Karma? By returning such a blow with another and with a feeling of revenge in our heart, we do not outlive this karma, but we continue and even intensify it in the worst way for ourselves. Moreover, by forgiving our enemies we decrease the amount of evil in space and become immune against many blows. Similarly, let us understand the words “Love thine enemies....” However, with all this, we must resist evil, if we do not want to be entirely overwhelmed by it.
Letters of Helena Roerich I, 26 May, 1934
9. “Indeed, strictly speaking, even the Greatest Spirit is unable to forgive sins that have been committed, as it would contradict the law of Karma. He could ease Karma to a certain extent, but that is all. If man is the only creator and recorder of each of his motives, thoughts and deeds, who then can alter anything at all in his being, and therefore in his destiny, without his direct will? The High Spirit can do no more than help us in our efforts to reform our inner beings. Precisely, cooperation is necessary in everything.” In concluding my letter I would like to ask you to remind from time to time all those who have approached the Teaching that tests, as you know, are inevitable. Verily, the disciples must find the strength of spirit to vanquish the enemies, who of course, dwell first of all in ourselves in the form of all sorts of passions and habits not outlived. Often, under the pressure of outer circumstances and conditions, these rise in our heart and poison our consciousness.
Letters of Helena Roerich II, 11 June, 1937
10. Forgiveness is a primary quality of the true Teacher. He can be indignant but will never send consciously a deadly arrow. Only the Great Teacher, the Lord of Karma, has the right to send consciously a fatal Ray…. The best panacea against such poisonous arrows is devotion to the Foundations of the Teaching, love of Hierarchy and complete serenity.
Letters of Helena Roerich I, 24 June, 1935
11. Children in school should be taught to be responsible for every motive, every thought, every deed. They should be given also a clear idea of the meaning and significance of their existence. From this will come the understanding of the necessity to fulfil the obligations of life. Such concepts should be laid into the foundation of the upbringing of the young generation. From this, it should be clear that no one can forgive or redeem the sins of another, but that he certainly can help him, at a specific time, to open his heart toward his higher Ego, thus awakening within himself latent divine forces. In turn, these divine forces will benefit the aura of the one who has helped, and he will become a participant in the good results caused by his helpful awakening of the divine forces in another. Cooperation always, everywhere and in everything.
Letters of Helena Roerich I, 9 July, 1935
12. Someone will say, “But blessed are the obstacles, so why should a happy man avoid difficulties?” We must not forget that he who walks in harmony with evolution meets with many obstacles, but his attitude toward them is different. He does not fall into despair, but joyously overcomes the waves of chaos. Let us not think that the path of happiness is easy, it can be more difficult than a life of stagnation….
Every seven years man should examine his activity by comparing it with world events. One can rejoice if one’s path is shown to be true and straight. But great envy will follow such a happy traveler. The cunning and the bigoted do not forgive success, but a co-worker of evolution understands the inevitable intrigues woven by the ignorant. He knows that ignorance does not follow the path of evolution. Yet, ignorance senses that its path is crooked and unfit.
The Thinker taught that people should learn how to examine and assess their path.
Supermundane IV, 790
13. There is no salvation surer than that through devotion. One can forgive much where there is unswerving devotion. The man who is devoted in heart can be relied upon. It is cause for rejoicing when Hierarchy is upheld by devotion. At present it is especially needed. If yesterday's confusion seemed enormous, what can one say of tomorrow's?
Fiery World I, 605
14. Much can be forgiven him who even in darkness has preserved the concept of the Teacher. The Teacher uplifts the dignity of the spirit…. We do not see the end of the chain of Teachers, and the consciousness imbued with the Teacher elevates the attainment of the disciple as a precious, all-penetrating aroma. The bond of the disciple with the Teacher forms a link of protection in the uniting chain. Within this defense deserts bloom.