S E R E N I T Y
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, November 10, 2009
1. One can see what unworthy methods are combined with prayer! Frenzies can be of no assistance toward the link with the Higher World. Eye-witnesses of higher visions affirm that they cannot even remain firm on their feet because of the powerful vibrations. Moreover, visions are preceded by a special serenity of the spirit. Can spinning and whirling possibly be the threshold of a beautiful vision? Man, by his own will, cannot compel a manifestation of the Higher World. It is possible to attract the Subtle World, but the grandeur of the Higher World transcends all earthly nature. For years hermits await the Higher Word. Even great Spiritual Toilers could withstand a manifestation of the Higher World only once without shock to their health. However, the Higher World knows when and what is possible.
2. Now I shall discuss your fourth meditation, "The quality of Air and the serenity of Spirit." In this meditation I cannot agree with the phrase "first we must prepare the temple and then educate the soul." The spirit builds its temple, it is not vice versa. Of course, the psychic and the physical are closely linked, and to be perfect it should be completely balanced; however, without the body we can exist but without the spirit we are absolutely dead. I quote from the Teaching: "Rightly has it been said that the spirit can live without a body because a deformed body can contain a luminous soul, but a body cannot, in spite of all external perfections, contain a spirit which does not conform to the accumulations of the past…. It follows from what is said that we should concentrate more on the development of the spirit, and should cultivate the physical body only as much as our common sense demands. And the famous saying, "a healthy spirit exists only in a healthy body," I would use vice versa -- "a healthy body belongs to a healthy spirit." If we start only with strengthening of the body, we may never advance. I encourage all co-workers to learn how to meditate.
Letters Of Helena Roerich I, 26 April, 1934
3. The Advice is given: "During such discordance of the nerves with the bloodstream, one should maintain a special calmness and not overburden the stomach, as these congestions may be so strong and painful that they may even cause fainting." Indeed, when the higher centers begin to work, a reverse of polarity often occurs and is frequently revealed in such fiery manifestations. But one should not direct this wave downwards toward the lower centers. Try to preserve serenity, and particularly avoid any kind of irritability. Valerian is excellent, and in some cases one should take it twice or thrice daily, but of course not so strong.
Letters Of Helena Roerich I, 5 March, 1935
4. Urusvati knows how physical and psychic phenomena are intimately linked. For example, because of extreme physical exertion a person may see sparks of light that are similar to psychic phenomena. Therefore We advise calm and concentration of the mind in order to prevent sudden physical shocks. Thought should be directed to Us, but in a state of mental equilibrium. We even advise a partial realization of the Infinite, for nothing contributes so much to one's balance as the sense of Infinity. There are many different methods of acquiring calm, but awareness of the Infinite is the most effective.
Uttering the name of the Guru also creates a strong bond, but this, too, must be done with serenity, for any excessive exertion will invariably produce a disturbed atmosphere. Realize, however, that calmness is not inertia; on the contrary, just as in the state of Nirvana, it is full of inner vibration. Many will not understand this and will see only contradiction. They will argue, “How can calmness be filled with vibrations, and how can a calm invocation of the Guru's name be so effective? How can a calm prayer be more effective than a cry of despair?”
It is hard to express certain ideas in words. It is hard to explain the difference between the power of calmness and the oppressive force of aggression. Only those who have trod many earthly paths will understand the value of calmness, particularly during the days of Armageddon. Calm reigns in Our Abode, where even the slightest imbalance can cause a great calamity. Calmness should be cultivated everywhere in the world.
Urusvati quite correctly stresses the building of character in the young. Indeed, it is more important than a strictly intellectual education, for only the building of good character can lay the foundations of calmness and productive labor in life.
The Thinker warned His disciples, saying, “Preserve calmness, or you will fall into the inferno of hell.”
Supermundane II, 367
5. The best panacea against such poisonous arrows is devotion to the Foundations of the Teaching, love of Hierarchy and complete serenity. We must accustom ourselves to the idea that we are dwelling in a poisoned atmosphere, in which numerous poisonous arrows are flying about, and that only our heartfelt bond with the Forces of Light helps us to preserve our protective net. But if we ever doubt the power of the Hierarchy, or if we allow faint-heartedness in the face of the enemy, we paralyze immediately our emanations and thus destroy the protective net woven out of them.
Letters Of Helena Roerich I, 24 June, 1935
6. There is far more joy in giving than in receiving. During these days of incredible world tension, when the spatial currents are so mixed and are refracted against chaotic whirls, one cannot demand serenity from those who surround us. We must be lenient to others and avoid agitating, or rather irritating questions…. I am always glad to give spiritual support, but I avoid giving written instructions to people with already molded characters. People nowadays have become particularly sensitive and, therefore, not only the least disapproval of their conduct or actions but even giving simple advice (unless it corresponds with their desires) evokes offense…. So few are ready to understand that for this opening of their centers there is needed primarily an inner purification and an achievement of the heart. Moreover, ordinary mediumistic manifestations are often mistaken for the opening of the centers…. Human conceit is the most terrible and the most common obstacle to spiritual progress. One must know how to fight this foe unremittingly. Humility is ordained to us and is expressed first of all by self-renunciation, or rejection of egoism.
Letters of Helena Roerich II, 1 October, 1937
7. Is not the serenity that is derived from harmonious sounds within the grasp of all? But someone first had to discover ways of attaining peace through music. While many songs were sung in ancient times, it was considered necessary to point out their ability to evoke peace of mind. In this way a new harmony was introduced into the world.
In the same way, the command to use every possible resource for keeping the peace stands for all time to come.... One should always question whether all peaceful measures have been applied, but without causing the loss of human dignity. One should understand both the mundane and the supermundane measures; only through harmony and dignity can the beauty of peace be realized. Disregard of human dignity can only result in ugliness….
The Thinker contributed greatly, daring to imagine a government of peace. What if people call such daring a dream? We know that dreams pave the road to Eternity!
Supermundane II, 320
8. It is necessary to strengthen each other. An entire science can be founded to elucidate the reaction of energies. Psychic energy itself, inherent in every man, is in need of hygiene. One need not assume in this anything supernatural; the new life will cognize substance in all infinitude. Therefore it is necessary to unite, affirming communal life on a world basis with lucidity and serenity.
9. Urusvati knows that calmness is required for higher communion. The stirring of water may be necessary for some experiments, but should you wish to study the depths of a well, you must have a calm surface and clear water.
People are often confused as to whether calmness is possible when the world is in such commotion. But We have in mind a calmness of consciousness which, if attained, becomes inviolable. Then, although one may express indignation through the outer centers, or in words, the consciousness will remain serene. Such a state is not easily attained, and will not come from mechanical methods. One can extinguish outer flames by means of rhythm, but the steadfast consciousness is born of the link with the Highest.
Every spark of consciousness must be safeguarded, for violent whirlwinds rage around it. Tempters will come that cannot even be imagined by the human mind. They cannot tolerate the serene consciousness, for every broadened consciousness is for them an obstacle on their gloomy way. But we should not regret that the broadened consciousness is a target for dark beings; we should rather rejoice that these beings of gloom will stumble against the clear consciousness.
One who has experienced the serenity of a broadened consciousness can imagine cosmic storms, but knows that they cannot upset the equilibrium of the Universe. These words should be a reminder of Our calmness, which is based upon long experience, and in which collaboration plays an important part. It reinforces every advance.
Do you hear Me? I am speaking of collaboration! Every transgression against it serves darkness. Hear Me! All cooperation with darkness serves destruction. Remember Our Towers, where the Hearth of Collaboration shines.
The Thinker said, “Each of you is surrounded by universal collaboration.”
Supermundane II, 447
10. The Teaching says that on the border of sleep we enter the worlds above the Earth. And this should come about quite naturally. We only have to train ourselves to be on guard, to be attentive, and the Subtle Worlds will open to us and, at the right moment, we will hear and see as is necessary. When I wanted to hasten my own experiment, which was practised under the supervision of the Teacher, I used to ask, "What am I to do? Which regime is best for the purpose?" etc. I always received the same reply: "Just be serene." In this serenity and balance lies the whole secret of achievement. And now, in the days of the terrific battle between the Forces of Light and the dark ones, we always hear the same thing: "Be careful, guard your health; this is the most important."
Letters Of Helena Roerich I, 10 May, 1933