C O N T A I N M E N T
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, January 11, 2005
Like an all-containing flame, the Heart of Cosmos is all-encompassing. How wondrous is this all-inclusiveness! From the small to the great, everything is refracted in this manifested crystal. Since all the cosmic possibilities provide a direction for each manifested scroll, since each beginning has its propelling currents, since one must realize the magnitude of the Cosmos, let us gather all power of the spirit that we may embrace it. There is no deviation, no renunciation, no repulsion, no negation, there is only containment. The Teacher manifests the significance of the concept of containment. Infinity I, 18.
The law of containment is affirmed by all beginnings. When the cosmic creativeness is brought into strain by aspirations, the law of containment brings forth manifold formulae. In cosmic creativeness the treasury contains all manifestations of energies. In spiritual creativeness the Chalice becomes filled with the very same energies. Hence, the treasury of the spirit has to contain all energies. Thus, the law of containment governs the essential creative impulse. From the Chalice issue all creative laws and in the Chalice are gathered all cosmic manifestations. Therefore, the enrichment of the Chalice affords realization of all cosmic plans. The foundations are gathered in the Chalice, and each energy can be a creator. Thus, creativeness is molded by the law of containment. Infinity II, 192.
I have a great request to make of you, to check and test the consciousness of those approaching the Teaching of Living Ethics with regard to their containment of opposites. As a rule, such containment is acquired with difficulty. And for many it becomes an unconquerable stumbling block. The Lord Buddha insisted first of all on such containment, and if he noticed that a disciple could not master this foundation which supports the entire structure, cosmic, as well as mundane–that of daily life–he did not admit such a disciple to further learning. People of small consciousness cannot at all understand that all their life they just adapt themselves to the containment of counterpositions more or less successfully for themselves or beneficently for the General Good. But if you point this out to them, they will vehemently deny it and become indignant. Containment of a pair of opposites takes on in their consciousness a mask of hypocrisy, yet even in the Teaching they find contradictions and, at best, inconsistencies. They read the Teaching with a dead spirit and accept each affirmation only in one exclusive application. The complex pattern of life is not assimilated by, and escapes from a limited consciousness. Letters Of Helena Roerich II, 29 April 1938.
The suffering of privations is unknown to Us, for containment excludes privation. Our Teaching represents the world as rich, joyous and attractive. Nowhere are fetters and floggings indicated. Like a ship filled with treasures does the indicated community rush along. Realization of the innumerable properties of matter brightly illuminates all. The matter of yesterday is clothed in a radiant fabric of energy, which is not in need of a new name but which penetrates all space and palpitates with the rainbow of human rejoicing. New Era Community, 263.
True, it is necessary to understand the universality of the energy, otherwise the ignorant will attribute it to man only. Again belittlement may take place.
Containment must be stretched so greatly as to sense the Cosmic Breathing both below and above. Aum, 479.
Endeavor by all means to extend good will and containment. Not one affirmation of science may be found which you cannot accept; in such a manner the advantage will be on your side. You will have no grounds for irritation, because you admit any scientific consideration whatever. Sometimes you will regret a form of expression, but the essence will find a place in your consciousness. Such admittance will create a distinct advantage. Aum, 488.
People know about the electric eel, but the same discharges in a man seem to them something phenomenal, so extremely difficult is it for the consciousness to absorb the fact that man contains within himself absolutely everything. Such qualities in man ought to stimulate especial cautiousness in him, but this universal containment in man has not been recognized. The words Macrocosm and microcosm are repeated senselessly, without any inner realization. Aum, 558.
The knowledge of how to reflect in one’s creation the entire scale of subtlest feelings, images, and thoughts is a great containment. Therefore, let us not limit the creators, let them pour out their song in all the multiformity of the sounds and visions revealed to them. Letters Of Helena Roerich II, 10 September 1938.
Achievement is not renunciation; it is containment and movement. Thus, when I say, “he who has renounced,” it should be understood as, “he who has contained.” It is impossible to present the substance of renunciation, because beside it nestles prohibition. But containment emphasizes conscious understanding.
And how did the Great Mother renounce the worlds? In that She contained the greatness of the structure of the future, and henceforth nothing could hinder the growth of the spirit.
Loyalty is a quality of the spirit of high tension, and the evincing of containment makes true achievement a joyous acquisition. Thus can the achievement be developed, for a luminous attainment brings forward a following one. Illumination, III:III:2.
When a traveler stands on a summit, does he not feel that his body is being raised as if he were a unifier of worlds? Indeed, not breaking away from the Earth, but containment of the capacity for unifying is what makes man a creator. New Era Community, 215.
As the words imply, the evolutionary spiral expands and the involutionary spiral contracts. The very same may be observed not only in personal aspects but also in ideas. It is very instructive to discern how ideas are generated and how they complete their circle. Often they seem to disappear completely, but if they are of an evolutionary nature they appear again in an expanded form. For evolutionary thinking, one should study the spiral of the root of an idea. The task of the gradual containment of an idea can afford a progression toward a higher understanding. One may take for instance the idea of religions and examine it spirally; precisely, not comparatively, but evolutionally, spirally. Thus one can see the one root. Likewise one can study how the ideas of religions expanded through evolution. Thus, the prognosis of the future will not be diminished. Positive signs must be gathered. Hierarchy, 356.
More than once you will hear from a speaker the conceited remark that the only correct Teaching is the one known to him. It is then good to remind the conceited one about the grandeur of Infinity, of the millions of years of life on Earth, of the Billions of worlds—let him meditate upon the vastness of Truth and the soundness of its fitting recognition. One could agree with the method of skepticism if only something would result from it. As a rule it corrodes the creative principle. An indefatigable spirit is needed to advance along a constant progression. Only such an expansion and containment will bring real tolerance toward anything that is futile, this is learned through relativism. Thus, say to him who has doubts about the Teaching, “Test it, be aflame in your heart, and broaden your spirit!” Fiery World I, 433.
Someone will say “Is vigilance, or co-measurement, or mobility, or devotion difficult? Here, I feel that I can contain all these conditions; will you not take me on the distant journey into the Community?” But has this hasty traveler thought about a certain requisite in the qualities mentioned by him? Steadfastness was forgotten. Little fires flickering only for an instant contain all the qualities of flame, but darkness engulfs them as swiftly as a brazier does a snowflake. One cannot trust an isolated moment of containment; only steadfastness, tempered by toil and by obstacles, results in a trustworthy containment. New Era Community, 153.
I shall specify the qualities distinctive in those seeking the Common Good. First—constancy of striving. Second—ability of containment, for poor is he who denies but the seeker of truth is worthy to work for General Good. Third—ability to labor, because the majority do not know the value of time. Fourth—the desire to help, without prejudices and without usurpation. Fifth—renouncement of personal property and the acceptance for safekeeping of the fruit of the creativeness of others. Sixth—expulsion of fear. Seventh—display of vigilance amidst darkness. Illumination, III:IV:6.
Destroy the worthless wherever it be concealed. Uncover ignorance under any mask whatever. The world is divided according to the quality of consciousness, and the degree of ignorance is the measuring rod. Indeed, you know that ignorance is not cured by leafing through books, but by the synthesis of containment. New Era Community, 193.
Urusvati knows that the far-reaching embrace of the consciousness, or containment, must be clearly understood. Many think that containment means the acceptance of opposing arguments, but in fact containment is the understanding of true motives. One can understand with compassion the motives that guide one’s interlocutor, but it is impermissible to immediately give up one’s own long-established and carefully-considered principles.
Containment has much in common with compassion. A compassionate person can clearly see how others err and act against themselves. But how careful one must be in trying to influence them! One should remember the ancient saying, “One does not argue about taste.” There may be karmic reasons for one’s tastes and inclinations, but often they can be traced to cultural conditioning. It is not possible to quickly help someone to eliminate such ingrained tendencies. Nor is it easy to persuade someone to question his own tastes when they differ from those of people around him, especially if his tastes cause no harm. The disharmony can be pointed out, but not everyone is capable of recognizing it.
Do not think that I am speaking about those strong habits that dominate people. Right now I refer to inclinations that are much deeper than habits.
The Thinker instructed, “If you learn to open your heart so that it can embrace another’s pain, you will then be able to find the needed words of comfort.” Supermundane III, 502.