I N E R T I A
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, May 10, 2011
1. A yogi has no habits, because habits are nothing more than the decay of life. However, it is natural for a yogi to have his own way of action. It is not difficult for a yogi to cut the bonds of habit, because his state of tense alertness constantly reveals to him new approaches to problems. Inertia is the skeleton on which ignorance grows. How many kingdoms have collapsed because of inertia!
Agni Yoga, 198
2. Even in ancient times, people knew about the inertia of human consciousness. Our advice is to develop the needed agility of the mind. What treasures a pure, free, and dauntless consciousness can give to humanity! But the inertia of habit holds the inexperienced one in fetters. Fire cannot be bridled by the will; it gains strength through straight-knowledge.
Agni Yoga, 524
3. If one would take the trouble to compose a diagram of earthly customs, one could perceive a peculiar picture of the life of the planet. Many customs outlive races and even entire epochs. Even a change of all the conditions of life has no influence upon customs molded by obstinacy. One may be amazed at how old the habits of inertia are, and how they do not depend upon social forms. Therefore I speak so often about the ability to overcome habits. This advice concerns the path to the Fiery World.
Fiery World II, 298
4. Success in life can be found both by those who with particular clarity understand the essential nature of things and also by those who have accepted their own very distorted perception of things. The difference lies only in the consequences. Those who have realized the nature of things are not attached to them, but the distorters are slaves to them. If someone finds no success, it means that he has remained at the fulcrum of the balance rather than placing himself in either cup. What is the measure of whether things are understood or distorted? Whether or not the conditions of one's life have changed. If nothing has changed, it is because there has been no action of thought. Those who are slow to understand cannot succeed. The majority of people are dragged down by their own weakness and inertia. Life is like chains to them, whereas life should be a conquest. The guarantee of success lies in action.
Agni Yoga, 286
5. Refine, refine the co-workers! Stagnation is the greatest danger for productive human work. A broad consciousness is needed to maintain the rhythm of action. When the moment for action arrives, people are distracted by irrelevant thoughts, and as a result they send against a tiger an arrow fit for a sparrow. This is not only a lack of goal-fitness, but also a loss of concentration. Is not one who has deprived himself of the power of concentration lower than a beast?
He who is spiritually inert cannot be an Arhat. The Teacher sometimes speaks of the need for rest, but never says that rest may become equal to that of a moribund spirit. One who imposes such limitations on himself can neither hear nor see.
We are told about motionless Arhats, but you must know that their stillness is only external. Many people are pleased when they can find excuses for their inertia. Any call to action disrupts their leisurely state of mind. Can such people be allowed to approach the element of fire, which in its very nature requires vigilance? Fire is like a scherzo, a fugue. But glowing embers are like an andante. Of course, the many kinds of flame all have different rhythms, but an Agni Yogi will never be an unresponsive sluggard.
Agni Yoga, 415
6. Satisfaction is not welcome in Our house. Who among Us could ever be satisfied? The onrushing task of world creation cries out against satisfaction. Can there be joy in completion? We gain impetus from the joy of new beginnings. This is not an abstraction. Beginnings correspond to motion, whose line of continuation is determined by inertia. The stroke of the beginning is Our bell. If We were to take back from the world all that We have begun, the greater part of the world's texture would crumble.
Agni Yoga, 463
7. Most people have completely lost the understanding of and ability to apply psychic energy. They have forgotten that any energy propelled into action will continue by inertia. It is almost impossible to stop such action. That is why each manifestation of psychic energy pursues its action, sometimes quite continuously. For example, one could already have changed one's thought, but the effect of a previous thought will nevertheless continue to pierce space. In this lies not only the power of psychic energy but also its particular quality, which deserves special care. Only through an enlightened consciousness can one control psychic energy so as not to obstruct one's path with thought-projections from the past. Often an accidental and unfitting thought can disturb the surface of the ocean of attainments for a long time. One may have long since forgotten about a thought, but it continues flying before one, lighting or obscuring the path.
Agni Yoga, 477
8. If it is difficult sometimes to concentrate thought, also it is not easy sometimes to get rid of thought. However, this quality also must be attained. Physicians have noticed haunting thoughts. Such a state can be the result not only of obsession, but also of inertia of the brain centers. One must know how to set aside, as it were, a useless intrusive thought. To this end one may perform little exercises, forcing oneself to consciously put aside a thought, as if massaging the brain. Many people fail to understand at all what We are talking about, but such immobility of the brain must be routed by different tasks, so that a preceding thought in no way colors the following one. Such a coloring usually deprives the new formations of preciseness.
Fiery World II, 99
9. In contrast with confidence there is depression. Precisely distrust begets this awful viper. But trust awakens the most fiery, the most divine instincts of the spirit. Beings of the Fiery World can approach people in hours of trust, and the miracle of enthusiasm creates the most beautiful approaches. Trust must be cultivated, as otherwise people sink into inertia. Trust is straight-knowledge; there can be no betrayal when we know the direction of our striving. We rejoice when approaching a man who guards the fire of trust. Many beautiful creations take place when the gates of trust are open, gates purified by Fire.
Fiery World II, 102
10. Urusvati knows how much people confuse peace of mind with the inner peace that is the source of peace for all else. Seeking for inner peace should be encouraged, for only this equilibrium makes higher communion possible and opens the doors for the best decisions. However, there are those seeking inner peace who are filled with selfishness and false modesty, and believe that they will acquire inner peace by doing nothing. These are not bad people, they do no evil, but their good is of little value. What kind of peace can come from inertia? True inner peace can be likened to Nirvana, in which all the energies are so intensified that they are unified in their ascent.
Supermundane II, 254
11. The planetary current at every moment has a unique significance, but this simple truth is not understood. People strenuously resist the fact that all existence is in a state of continuous motion. Even the beauty of such a current in limitless space fails to stimulate the imagination of humanity. Yet, how can we understand evolution if our consciousness has not accepted the principle of motion? People know about the movement of the planets, but do not apply this law to themselves, and while Earth rotates, humanity clings to the idea of immobility. Thus every word about the beauty of motion is undermined by the inertia of human consciousness. In such a state of discord with Be-ness how can one expect speedy development?
In daily life one can often see a primitive personality in otherwise learned people. Because of this We have suffered from human opposition in all Our experiments. It is particularly striking that so many people who regard themselves as modern are actually hopelessly archaic. I affirm that until the cosmic current is recognized there can be no true progress.
People sometimes attempt to advance by leaps, prompted by fear or prejudice or by their passions, but it is impossible to advance by leaps. A steady, systematic motion is needed in everything, and only through the Golden Mean can one progress.
Supermundane II, 417
12. You ask how one is to understand that “Teros and Tamas must work like brothers,” (Illumination, page 91). Teros is synonymous with spirit, motion, or light. Tamas is synonymous with matter, inertia, or ignorance. The life of the Cosmos is composed of the equilibrium of these two elements. The predominance in nature or in a human being of one of these elements leads to decomposition and final destruction. The necessity for equilibrium of these elements can be seen in all of life. Thus, today we can see most clearly in the life of entire countries and nations what comes of violation of equilibrium. People think that they have advanced in many ways, and they proudly point to their mechanical achievements. But they are very little advanced in the knowledge of spiritual and ethical foundations. Man has perfected himself in ways and means of fratricide, but he has lost the ability to think about the foundations of existence. Indeed, those problems which could improve life remain neglected. Try to question the world at large and you will behold a shameful spectacle. Only a minority will manifest some striving toward the foundations mentioned above, and even this minority will timidly whisper about the Subtle World, about the continuity of life, about the significance of thought and the need for ethical concepts. Acceleration of mechanical discoveries does not lead to concentration of thought. If we were to write the history of knowledge concerning these foundations, it would speak clearly about the immobility of consciousness. Therefore, if humanity wishes to flourish, it should think of the foundations, and it should speedily intensify the actions of Teros, even at the expense of those of Tamas, for otherwise it is impossible to re-establish the lost equilibrium.
Letters of Helena Roerich II, 23 October 1937