D O U B T A N D S K E P T I C I S M
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, January 17, 2006
How is it possible to ascertain the verity of the Teaching? A multitude of good words may cover up something mediocre; but Truth, we know, does not fear examination. On the contrary, when observed, Truth draws nearer and shines forth. Therefore, each investigator of the Teaching may be advised, “Approach with all force; observe by thorough measures; investigate by all methods; cognize with all daring; reveal indefatigability, and be aflame with each discovery of Truth.” The Teaching cannot be fallible. It cannot deviate from the paths of usefulness and good. One should not believe only in assertions. Faith is the realization of Truth, tempered in the fire of the heart. The Teaching is infinite, otherwise the very concept of Infinity would not exist. One should strive toward Truth. Truth does not reject—it directs. In the Teaching there can be no distorted concepts. Regard the path of the Teaching as the affirmation of that which is beyond doubt. One should not approach Truth along a meandering path. One must proceed by testing each word, each statement, and each Instruction. If the Teaching is a true one, each step to it will be enlightening and broadening. Disparagement, denial, abasement are poor guides! 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.
There are two kinds of skepticism – one benevolent, as in him who seeks confirmation; the other fainthearted, as in a proprietor resisting innovations. The manifestation of the second is customary in circles of poor education. Never begin a dispute with people of this kind. Propose to them to read and to add to their education. The first kind of skeptics represent for Us an agreeable manifestation, for out of their ranks are obtained useful coworkers. Indeed, they are usually far more cultured and their former experiences are richer. Thus, they can more easily compare data of different domains of knowledge. In fact, they are already prepared for acceptance of the community, and for them comparisons will be only a removal of a temporary cataract.
As realists We know reality, and We rejoice when someone searches by the path of reality. This reality does not allow one to attach significance to ignorance. Snow carried away by the spring sun does not occupy attention, but if it creates a swamp we pitch our camp on a higher spot.
New Era Community, 217.
People often experience an unexplainable state of exultation or depression. They attribute this to their stomachs rather than to the approach of good or dark forces. Yet these manifestations occur frequently and can be intense. People often experience a touch or pricks. They ascribe such manifestations to cobwebs or dust, but it never occurs to them that the entities of the Subtle World may thus contact them. Similarly, people often hear movements and rustling, but they think of mice or centipedes in order to drive away all thought about manifestations of a distant world. The same people will complain that the Subtle World does not manifest itself. But subtle movements are not like blows of a hammer! As with everything else, the approach of the Subtle World should be acknowledged and fearlessly studied. We must not condemn that to which we did not even give attention. Yet if some people are so fortunate as to behold a Fiery Being, they will think first of all about a demon. Such is the corruption of the contemporary consciousness! Such crass ignorance is called skepticism, critical judgment, or erudition, when it would be far more accurate to call it plain stupidity.
Fiery World I, 418.
The ignorant skeptic asks, “Why make assumptions about some sort of higher worlds? I have never heard of anything of that kind.” It is fitting to answer, “Certain kinds of animals do not know about the higher worlds, nevertheless people have seen and felt the higher contacts a great number of times and can speak about their reality. If someone has never once felt the approach of the invisible world, it means that one's nerve centers have become atrophied.” This is the fitting answer to ignorant skepticism.
What kind of prayer is possible in the mouth of a denier? It is impossible even to speak about prayer in the presence of ignorance. The fruit of humiliating attempts will be very bitter. The sensitiveness of the developed consciousness will whisper when it is impossible to refer to the higher worlds.
Urusvati is familiar with the error that many of today’s philosophers make when they separate man from Cosmos. To them, a man is a thinking being without a past or a future and with no link to the Universe. This explains why such thinking cannot reach into the future and is so removed from real life.
Man should not think of himself as alone, as if lost in a desert, knowing only that there exist other creatures like him, who come from the unknown and disappear into the unknown. Why should man’s thinking be so limited? This leads to a very depressing existence!
Some abstract thinking is even more harmful than this kind of limited, materialistic philosophy, and must be changed. Materialism can lead to progress, but these abstract philosophies cannot aid man in his evolution. It is no wonder that many modern philosophers remain outside of life! Thinkers must first of all strive to understand the problems of Existence and the proper role that man plays in them. It is not useful to dismember a healthy organism. One should rejoice in every thought that is directed toward the unity of the Universe. It is regrettable that the practical scientists rarely can find unity with the philosophers. Here again we see divisiveness and errors caused by enmity.
It will be said that one cannot be a person of encyclopedic knowledge in today’s scientific world. But it is not omniscience that is the goal. A respect for knowledge is possible that will free people from skepticism and negation. In each subject there is something that deserves attention. A true thinker can recognize this spark of truth.
Supermundane III, 490.
It should be understood how, in every sense, trust increases one’s possibilities. But what kind of trust is the best? And what doubt is the worst? The inner trust that needs no words of affirmation is the best. The fleeting doubt is the worst. It is not the gnawing serpent of doubt that is most to be feared, because with just one achievement the serpent can be destroyed. But the swarm of small worms of doubt requires a lengthy cure. The strongest trust can be upset neither by thought nor word. It would be better to swallow a deadly poison than to remain in the illness of doubt. He who is shielded with trust needs no other armor.
Agni Yoga, 236.
Urusvati knows that many people will always refuse to accept the existence of Our Brotherhood. Even if they were to meet Us they would still be skeptical. There is no limit to skepticism. On the one hand, it springs from ignorance, and on the other it is based on erroneous thinking. The skeptics will never soar over an abyss. But there are those among them who are willing to accept the idea that We exist in subtle bodies.
The main thing is for people to acknowledge Our existence, and not to argue about forms. It is wrong to insist on a particular form, because co workers from the Subtle World, in many forms, are also close to Us. Thus, people who can admit at least a part of the whole are already recognizing truth. If one accepts just a part of the truth, the rest will eventually follow.
Worst of all are the dogmatic ones who demand that everything be according to their own beliefs and reject everything else. Especially in the sphere of subtle energies, all ideas must be accepted as possible. We often sorrow over those preachers who repel more people than they attract. One should observe carefully, in order to determine the degree of receptivity of the listener. Even the avid denier can quickly turn into a supporter. Furious denial is sometimes like an abscess prior to opening; but if you should meet someone who denies Our existence, I advise you not to argue. Each vegetable ripens in its own time.
The Thinker said, “It is impermissible to coerce the human consciousness. Those who are not ready must first mature.”
Supermundane III, 580.
Do understand the name of the son of fear and doubt—his name is regret. Indeed, regret after entering upon the Great Service cuts off all the effects of former labors. He who doubts binds a stone to his leg. He who is afraid constrains his breathing. But he who is regretful of his labor in behalf of the Great Service terminates the possibility of approach.
How then not to distinguish that courage which leads to attainment? How not to remember the hand that arrested the dagger of the enemy? How not to gird on the force that gave up all for the growth of the world? Understand, I shall repeat without end, so long as the bridge of the rainbow does not yet encompass all colors.
Cedars preserve a healing tar, but one may smile when the heavenly sap goes into boot grease. Hence, let us guard the principal paths by applying details to useful advantage.
New Era Community, 68.
Very often the question has arisen as to which thought is the more effective, the uttered or unuttered one. Indeed, it may seem that the application of verbal formulas might add strength. People attracted by externals imagine that a framework of words will enhance the effectiveness of the thought. This, however, is but conventionality, and words will not help the essence. The wordless thought is far more powerful, manifesting a purer degree of Fire. One can observe that an unuttered thought remains entirely free from the condition of constraint brought by language. It approaches the fiery tongue and it multiplies its own power. We send fiery thoughts; they are fierily understood. This understanding may be called straight knowledge, but its origin may be called the language of Fire. We receive, as it were, a radiogram from the Subtle World, but from its higher, fiery spheres. The Fiery World is primarily within us, if only we discern its abode! Thus, when one doubts whether communion with the Fiery World is possible, one should remember its presence everywhere. However, a current must be established through the heart and not the brain. One can find contact with the Subtle World continuously, but the Fiery World requires an especially good frame of mind. Verbal husks will alienate rather than bring us closer to the Fiery World.
Fiery World I, 354.
Doubt is the main entrance for the dark ones. When doubt begins to stir, the Fire becomes low; and the front door swings wide open for the black whisperer. One must augment harmony and find joy even in a hen laying an egg. Thus, in great and small, we outdo the enemy.
Fiery World I, 356.