O B E D I E N C E
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, January 5, 2010
1. Whither to direct one's courage? Whither to direct the will? Whither to direct oneself? To the same spirit-fire. We shall find strength and not become exhausted, because on our path we gather the words of knowledge. Let us recall the known saints of various lands. By what marks are they distinguished? By showing humility or obedience to their rulers, by taking vows of silence, or by obeisance? If so, they would be unworthy of the name. When We regard saints, We see among them warriors, highwaymen, condemners of kings, builders, and leaders of people. By the fire of the spirit is their level of ascent recognized. Laws inscribed by people cannot extinguish this fire. Therefore, let us be careful about judging the approaching ones. Like fragments of heavenly bodies, diamond-bearing, those approaching from afar may carry within themselves signs incomprehensible to others.
Agni Yoga, 319
2. The thought of obedience to a Teacher is foreign to humanity. But how can a spirit not succeed when the Teacher is the Leading Beacon? How can the disciple lose his fire when the Teacher is the kindler of all fires? How can the Shield of the Teacher be an obstacle to the disciple when it is the Teacher who impels his fiery striving? In the consciousness of humanity lives a germinal desire to strive for a common work that leads all forward, in unity. But humanity must learn independent action, and must implement the affirmed thoughts of the Teacher. Thus does human evolution achieve harmony with Cosmic Reason. Humanity must learn to create by the higher way.
Truly, emulation of the Teacher is the taking of the Image of the Teacher into one's heart.
Agni Yoga, 653
3. Wondrous is the thought of a Brotherhood on Earth. Each discipline of the spirit produces striving. Only the will can give discipline to the spirit, but when thought roams about in obvious egoism, then, verily, there is no channel for a correct and vital action. Thus, each applied thought will afford growth to the spirit. Thus, each applied thought of the Tara and the Guru will afford an expansion of consciousness. Thus, only the Chain of Hierarchy will afford the possibility of ascent. Complete obedience leads to true creativeness, for when obedience guides the action, power increases, and the pledge strains all forces.
4. Let us ponder to what extent obedience is merely a cooperation. The collaboration which is extended into the Highest Abodes is not a burden. To be sure, fanatics will suspect pride in such infinite striving, but the fanatic's head, in any position, touches the same great Infinity. Thus one may advise fanatics to beware of superstition. Therefore let us not be confused by such voices, and let us be strengthened upon the concept of Hierarchy as the most vital Principle.
Fiery World II, 126
5. Therefore, let us not delay the transmutation of our consciousness. Let us remember the leading Hierarch, and let us honor the nearest, the earthly Guru. “The earthly Guru is given for reverence, for progress, for unity, for construction.” By neglecting the Guru, by depreciating the Guru, one neglects and demeans the Great Teacher who confirmed the Guru because the Guru is the representative of the Great Teacher. Let us remember how the Lords of Light hold sacred the Sacrament of Hierarchy. The Hierarch carries the Synthesis of the Chalice and, therefore, He holds both obedience and command. The one who does not know the art of obeying will not attain the art of commanding. Beautiful are these two concepts. Conscious subordination approaches command. After the firm realization of Hierarchy, we shall with all our heart begin a deeper understanding of the Teaching of Life. It hurts the heart to feel how little understood are those treasures which the Teacher bestows so generously. On these treasures will be founded the new race.
Letters of Helena Roerich I, 19 October, 1929
6. Certainly, initiative should be encouraged, in principle. But bear in mind that initiative is often confused with manifestations of selfhood. Besides, without evidencing austere discipline of the spirit, initiative will result in wavering and spasmodic attempts which lead nowhere. For everything that is spasmodic is doomed to destruction, since it is impossible to build on convulsions. Not in vain was discipline or obedience placed at the basis of all ancient Teachings. And in the Teaching that is given to us the necessity of such discipline is stressed a great deal. What is Hierarchy if not discipline? In all ancient religions and philosophical schools there existed a general teaching and also the teaching for the devotees. And precisely in this teaching for the devotees discipline of spirit was taught, and obedience was the first step toward it. Every leader must first of all learn to obey, otherwise how will he know what is a command and what is fulfillment?
Letters of Helena Roerich II, 1937. Letter 29
7. By applying the gifts of indications and possibilities bestowed by the Generous Hand of the Teacher, we can build a great deal, elevating ourselves in the eyes of the world and in this life, completing the good karma by obedience to the guiding indications. But what will be put into our real treasury if we do not transmute our inner motives and feelings into the highest strivings? In spite of all our work in the direction pointed out by the Great Teacher, the Tower will remain inaccessible. All this sounds so complicated and difficult; and, at the same time, all is so easy and simple. If the heart burns with love and enthusiasm for the Teacher and for the beauty and breadth of the Teaching of Life, these sparks could so easily be fanned into the flame of unquenchable striving which carries us above all and everything. Strive, my friends! Is it so difficult if you have before you the Image of Beauty? Is it not the highest joy to bring every bit of yourself to the service of the General Good? The achievements are so beautiful, and there are no limits to them! But all the possibility, all the joy of it, is only in ourselves. No one can take more than he can contain—otherwise destruction will follow. The laws of Cosmos are exact and immutable.
Letters of Helena Roerich I, 11 February, 1929
8. You must remember that the Guru has not a single personal thought; absolutely everything is directed and given to the service of the General Good. Therefore, the one who alters the indication, or allows himself to doubt, should lay the blame on himself. All that is done in a halfway manner will bring halfway results. We know that a full dose of a salutary medicine brings life, while but one-half gives only temporary relief which may end in death. Hence, let us accept completely the precious indications, in order not to lose a single bit of life-giving energy. Complete obedience to the indications and the precise execution of them gives health and leads to great victory, to great Light. In ancient times obedience was a step toward the next ordainment. The one who was unable to realize entirely the discipline of obedience could never reach the higher degrees. Only the one who knew how to obey and to execute could take great responsibility and understand all the immutableness of the order.… The idea of obedience to the Teacher seems to be alien to people. But how can the spirit lose when the Teacher is the Leading Light? How can the disciple lose his fire when the Teacher lights all fires? How can the Shield of the Teacher hold back the pupil if he is already inspired by his Teacher? How little does humanity desire to strive toward mutually beneficial work! But humanity must learn to act interdependently and to materialize all the thoughts affirmed by the Teacher. Thus, the Cosmic Mind fulfils evolution. Thus, humanity must learn to construct by higher measures. Verily, by following the Teacher you assimilate His Image.
Letters of Helena Roerich I, 17 December, 1930
9. And so, after understanding and accepting with our heart the significance of the great liberating and crowning sacrifice, let us strive to develop in ourselves love, devotion, gratitude and obedience to Hierarchy. Let us be ready to take any burden, remembering that the heavier the burden the shorter will be our path. Truly speaking, from love and devotion issue all the other qualities which help our advancement.
Letters of Helena Roerich I, 15 January, 1931
10. Yes, nothing provokes so much indignation in the average intellectual as the concept of Hierarchy. They are all so afraid to accept the Higher authority, and at the same time they are influenced every moment by the judgments and decisions of nonentities. This severance from the Higher and submission to the lower, in other words, equation with the lower, is the menace of our time, and it is leading toward the deterioration of our planet and its possible premature destruction. If all those who feel indignant about the Hierarchic principle could but realize what discipline of obedience reigns among the Hierarchy of Light, and what a schooling in obedience their close disciples have to go through! And this obedience is demanded not in order to control the disciple in the interest of the Teachers. It is only required of the disciples in order to enable them to enter the first steps leading toward the understanding and acceptance of the Cosmic Will. Discipline is the beginning of all knowledge and power.
Letters of Helena Roerich I, 10 October, 1934
11. The redemption of personal sins is performed by the soul, the bearer of Christ, almost without cessation during the earthly lives of the individual Ego. When the strivings of the souls directed toward obedience to the Divine Law overcome the desires of the body to impede the Divine Law for the sake of self-indulgence, a complete change, or transmutation, takes place in the lower nature. The process of vanquishing and transmutation culminates in the fusing of the individual souls with the Higher Soul.
Letters of Helena Roerich II, 8 June, 1936
12. Yes, you may consider one more historical cycle ended. A river does not flow backward. The new coming cycle will certainly be more beautiful, for all the celestial signs in their combinations affirm a great Renewal and Beneficence. Let the heart tell you whence comes this Beneficence. Watch attentively all signs, and you will see how many events are now taking place, and the heart can rejoice at the swiftness of events. There is no power that can stop the Wheel of Karma. All the calamities which have overtaken this or that country were not accidental; therefore, there is no place of either malice or self-pity. But let us watch with cognizance and apply all our efforts for the broadening of consciousness and understanding of events. Watch events keenly and you will see how all the inflated values shall crumble in obedience to karma.
Letters of Helena Roerich II, 18 June, 1936