WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
(All selections copyright Agni Yoga Society)
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, December 21, 2010
(Originally presented by H. Dagia, December 16, 1971)
The question of this talk comes not from teachers and artists, physicians and scientists, lawyers and judges, architects and sculptors, poets and musicians and singers alone. The question is the question of one on the Path and, therefore, differs from that of others, in that it embodies a cry of distress over the confusion at crossroads, of not getting a meaningful response, or of not arriving at a definite decision; it echoes the painful state of mind of the aspirant, pining in the dark night for a way out to light, and more light. It is a question to be faced squarely one day by the disciple, and there will be no solace for his soul till the answer and its implication are well realized.
There can be no straight reply useful for all. “To each one is entrusted the finding of the path to the higher sphere… Only by one’s own hand, only by one’s own will, only by one’s own striving, only by one’s own work can the spirit become a conscious co-worker of the Infinite.” (Infinity I, 33) “Therefore, let each spirit find his own path… When the spirit knows its destination and strives towards it, in spite of all evidence, a great chain is being affirmed.”
Infinity I, 194
The most pregnant answer is still contained in that famous esoteric tenet of the Ancient Wisdom: Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. However, asking and seeking and knocking involve an enormous amount of work on the part of a disciple and that precisely is what has been propounded at a very great length in the Agni Yoga books. Let us look into that.
“The true striving toward realization of the supreme possibilities should fill the greater part of human life as the most essential and engrossing occupation.” (Agni Yoga, 158) “Hence, the more vividly the striving is expressed and the more clearly the realization is formulated, the more powerfully does the striving create. Men do not know how to wish. Men do not know the measures leading to creativity. Men do not direct their desires toward achievement. Whereas, each aspiring thought can liberate the spirit from cosmic dross.” (Infinity II, 396) And, since the energies only take form when they come in contact with the human consciousness, “the most fundamental condition (for arousing and attracting the energies) is labor, labor in thought as well as physical labor. By this act are gathered the energies from space. But one must understand labor as the natural saturation of life. Thus, each labor is a bliss, but the sophistry of inaction is the most harmful in the cosmic sense. To love the endlessness of labor is already a significant level of initiation; it prepares one for victory over time... A complaint against labor can only come from slaves of the body.” (Heart, 79) And we are told, “Labor may be of four kinds--toil with repulsion, which leads to decomposition; unconscious toil, which does not strengthen the spirit; toil devoted and loving, which yields a good harvest; and finally, toil which is not only conscious but also consecrated under the Light of Hierarchy.”
Fiery World II, 118
Thus, the labor that Agni Yoga speaks of is not selfish, servile, and circumscribed labor, but individual, alert, sacrificial labor, carried on from that in one’s everyday life up to that for the uplift of humanity. It is set down as the only foundation of life, as the process of perfecting. It includes attention to the rhythm, the quality, the continuity of labor itself. It extends to creation of new combinations and construction of new steps. And lastly, it is inseparably related to human consciousness and psychic energy.
But “if we forget for what we labor, boredom will cover us with a shroud of decay…” (Agni Yoga, 467) “If (man’s) striving is not in attunement with the Universe, for betterment, for unity, for the affirmation of the General Good, then the chain of his actions is unworthy.” (Infinity I, 198) The Agni Yoga Teaching, therefore, goes into details.
Great stress is laid on study and observation, on action and application, on experience and experiment—all with the future in view, all without expectation of a reward. Not rest, not satisfaction, not even inspiration, but struggle, battle, and overcoming the obstacles with creative patience and cheerfulness—such is the life of a disciple according to the Agni Yoga Teaching. Thus will one’s energy and consciousness and perfection grow. And thus will humanity also be benefited ultimately. To facilitate all that, we are enjoined again and again to cultivate certain specific qualities and to avoid certain other qualities. All the Agni Yoga books deal with this. But once more the question creeps in: All this for what, pray?
“In spiritual striving, the greatest task is the creating of men. Man's material form does not answer the whole plan of evolution. The creation of the human form is regarded as the highest cosmic task. When the whole of mankind comprehends that tension of the creativeness of spirit must be expressed, the planet will advance. Only the acceptance of the manifestations of spirit as the basis can propel the entire stream of humanity into the direction of Light.” (Infinity I, 387) “One more task for Us is the molding of the human spirit, finding helpful rays for humanity which will shape and develop beautiful abilities of the spirit.” (Infinity I, 89) Says Agni Yoga: Don’t be horrified, don’t be surprised, don’t reject, don’t complain, but set the direction in which the mind of man is to be propelled, teach every living being to aspire, transform his consciousness so that he may enter a special world, acquire a special evaluation of all that occurs, and walk forward without glancing back.
Therefore, “We summon to knowledge, for only knowledge can assist in absorbing the complex of apparent contradictions… Know, know, know, otherwise the little house of decrepit prejudices will not crumble away.” (Community, 248) “After the general school education, the people of the West usually forsake knowledge, or else they draw out from knowledge a tenuous thread of specialization, instead of weaving a net to hold all the knowledge. When We say, ‘Know,’ We are insisting upon a many-sided survey and mastery of possibilities.” (Community, 243) “You may ask, ‘How many fields of knowledge must one conquer to avoid stagnation?’ Of course it would not burden one's thinking to master three—the ethics of the fundamentals of existence, the subject of past lives, and observation of the visible aspects of nature. This not too burdensome triad could purify one's consciousness.”
More, “The search for new ways is the most imperative problem. Due to the unusualness of conditions of the future, it will be impossible to proceed by the old ways. All new ones must remember this. It is the worst thing when men do not know how to escape from the old rut… To all We shall say, ‘It is necessary, necessary, necessary, to find new ways!’” (Infinity II, 84) “The limits of knowledge are expanding. New interrelations are being created between the branches of science. Much which once appeared separate is now proved to issue from a single root. A need for new cooperative combinations is evident. It is imperative to study former subdivisions, replacing them with more goal-fitted ones. Such a need exists in all the domains of life—from philosophy and creed to the most practical sciences.”
Oh, yes, we know so well that people don’t hear, don’t change that easily. And yet the work of man must go on. “Let us not grieve if a response does not always come.” (Aum, 106) “One should not be distressed because certain needed institutions may not find recognition at once. Let thought continue to work. People do not keep pace with the flight of thought, yet none the less thought leads the world.” (Aum, 316) “Often it is not given to one to see the fruits of his work, but one must know that each drop of labor is already an indisputable acquisition. Such knowledge will permit prolongation of the work in the Subtle World also. Is it not all the same, if the task is fulfilled mentally and is impressed in thought-forms? The only condition is that the work be useful. It is not up to us to judge where labor is of the greatest usefulness; it has its own spiral.”
This then is what is to be done: Keep the search on, consciously, creatively, courageously, sincerely, silently—and joyously.