F A M I L Y
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, January 8, 2008
1. Q. Then it is not true, as it is said, that no sooner does a man enter into the Theosophical Society than he begins to be gradually severed from his wife, children, and family duties?
A. It is a groundless slander, like so many others. The first of the Theosophical duties is to do one's duty by all men, and especially by those to whom one's specific responsibilities are due, because one has either voluntarily undertaken them, such as marriage ties, or because one's destiny has allied one to them; I mean those we owe to parents or next of kin.
Key To Theosophy, by H.P.B.
2. Every one of us has direct duties toward his family, but let us not exaggerate them. Often families manifest a complete disunion and mutual antagonism and are the hearths of spiritual corruption. Would it be right and sensible to waste strength and sacrifice the high ideals for an artificial maintaining of bonds which in most cases are illicit, being against the higher law? Precisely – illicit because many unions on Earth which are justified by human laws would be considered illegal from the point of view of the cosmic law. Precisely – terrible crimes, the degeneration of whole nations and a downfall in civilization result from many such wrong marriages. The question of the cosmic lawfulness of the family is very deep; it touches Be-ness itself.
Letters Of Helena Roerich I, 21 July 1934.
3. Urusvati knows how vehemently every intelligent achievement is opposed by the fury of ignorance. Truly, the brighter the light, the denser the darkness. It would be wrong to assume that the dark opposition is an illusion. On the contrary, it is a real fury that intensifies progressively and knows no constraint in its tactics.
It can often be observed that as one member of a family strives for enlightenment, the other members will aggressively mock his aspirations. Indeed, this one member needs all his courage to oppose the rude attacks of the others. It rarely happens that an entire family strives toward the Light in a united effort against darkness. Certainly, opposition to darkness develops strength, but to have to oppose one's own family is an uphill task. There is no greater tragedy than darkness in a family. This is a most urgent problem, which must be resolved, for such families breed the calamities of the next generation.
We deplore the fact that there are so many disagreements within families. Even the best warriors lose their strength due to such disharmony. Instead of goodness, blasphemy and evil talk defeat aspiration and cause waste of the precious panacea of psychic energy! People do not appreciate this gift, and it can be spilled as from a broken vessel. Wherever possible one must help families to maintain their balance.
We watch the most difficult situations and project Our help, but sometimes the discord is so great that the organism struggles against Our influence and its health is affected. In such cases, We must temporarily withdraw, for the remedy would be too strong.
The Thinker believed that all physicians should understand the Law of Equilibrium.
Supermundane II, 266.
4. There is innate talent in every child. Children can recollect experiences in the Subtle World. Adults often do not understand their children, and impose games upon them according to their own tastes instead of observing the children's natural inclinations. Children are fond of toys, not so much for the toys themselves as for the possibilities for creativity that are inherent in them. A child loves to take a toy apart so that he can put it together and use it in his own way. In this activity children are not influenced by outside impressions, and often produce things that they could not have seen at all in their present life. These creative impulses are brought from the Subtle World, and have great significance.
We encourage the revealing of such accumulations, but you can imagine how We must struggle against family prejudice! Only one family in a thousand pays attention to a child's true nature.
We devote much energy in trying to give guidance to families. We affirm full rights for women, but as soon as these rights are pronounced there is barbaric opposition. Any country that approaches the idea of equal rights will lead in the quality of work. Remember, I said that from little rays will be made a sun. It takes time to manifest quality, and co-workers will come from among the young ones.
The Thinker would often ask children what they would like to do in life. Many answered that they did not know, but others spoke of their long-standing desires. To those the Thinker would say, “What seems impossible today may become possible tomorrow.”
Supermundane II, 298.
5. Urusvati knows that every human contact affects all participants. This fact should be repeated, because most people do not understand what it means. Even enlightened people, when hearing this, tend to think that only important events are meant, and that the contacts of everyday life are not included. It should be stressed that We are speaking of all actions, whatever their importance.
One may wonder how petty household routine could have any profound significance. It truly can. Much talk is heard about those unfortunates who suffer for no apparent reason, but if we look at the very root of their daily routines, we can find many causes for their misfortunes. These causes can be direct or indirect. When a person experiences suffering caused by another, some link between them, resulting from past actions, must exist.
The simplest activities of family life can have strong effects on all. The family is often a malevolent breeding ground of hatred and animosity. Can such influences pass without effect? The influences may be unique to each particular family, where they are nurtured and strengthened. Such fetid soil produces dangerous enemies of human happiness. Let us also not forget the crowded workplaces in which an atmosphere of distrust and hatred can prevail. People must remember their duty not to pollute space. We have apparatuses that measure the pollution of space.
The world-leaders call attention to the great problems of the world, but the true source of discord is not so much in these, but in the daily life of the people.
The Thinker used to say, “It is not the archons who start wars, but those citizens who hide the wars that persist in their own homes.
Supermundane III, 596.
6. At all times, everywhere, and in all things a conscious friendly cooperation is needed. But all artificial unions never brought, or will bring, any good. In the family we already have an example of communal living. And why should we think about some sort of primitive, patriarchal community and not try first of all to fulfill our responsibilities in our own family? Among solutions of the problems of communal living, why not pay attention primarily to home life? Indeed, if people would realize the meaning of the communal principle, they would manifest more common sense upon entering into a marriage. They would understand the responsibility that they assume for the joining of often incompatible elements.
Letters Of Helena Roerich II, 10 September 1938.
7. In one of my letters I already wrote that I consider marriage a sacred concept, and also that I will never cast a stone at a woman who, because of self-sacrificing love, ignored the established conventions, providing, however, that she does not build her happiness on the misfortune of others. It seems to me that this is spoken broadly enough, and I would not want to enter into further explanations regarding all cases when it is permissible to break the conventions. After all, every sensible human being well understands the significance of the inviolability of marriage and of the harmony of the family for the growing generation and in the structure of the state. It is said in the Teaching that the family is the prototype of the state. The welfare and the well-being of the state rest upon the firm foundations of the family.
Letters Of Helena Roerich II, 1939.
8. The collapse of home and family will be, not in words and actions, but in thoughts. Silently are the foundations undermined. Without noticing it, people themselves foment dissolution. There are not many hearths around which mutual labor is performed in full understanding. But each such home is a step toward Brotherhood.
9. The true family is the prototype of communal life. It can personify cooperation and Hierarchy and all the conditions of Brotherhood. But such families are extremely rare, and therefore it is impossible to say to everyone that the family is the symbol of Brotherhood. It might be replied, “Is not the family a symbol of hostility?” So much have people become accustomed not to respect the home. Therefore, as to the question of upbringing, let us pay special attention to the life in the home. It is impossible to think about building the state without building the home.
What conception of Brotherhood can the people have who do not understand the dignity of state and home? No specific decree can restore the feeling of dignity if it has been obliterated. It is necessary to begin its implantation by education, by recognition of the value of broad knowledge and of exact scientific studies. Only thus can people again remember humaneness.
Upon the step of humaneness will the understanding of Brotherhood be established.
10. The family is indicated in all Teachings as the pillar of the entire future. Verily, in addition to all other meanings the family is the nursery of karmic ties. Thus, the Teaching would not be complete without affirming the significance of the family. The family should be regarded as the hearth of conscious understanding and cooperation. Humanity can meet upon cooperation, and this quality will bring one to the realization of Hierarchy. One should not ignore karmic laws. Though to the cross-eyed these often may not be apparent, yet to the honest observer it is proved daily how the bonds of karma act. But in reality these bonds should be wings. The law has forevisioned joy and progress, but not chains. Thus must one understand the law of life's foundation. But what, if not the heart, will remind us of the dates of karma? It is precisely the heart which will contract and quiver and open when it senses the wing of the law. Therefore, once again let us revere the heart.