I N I T I A T I O N
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, March 15, 2011
1. Urusvati knows what initiation is. There is much confusion about this concept. Some think that the path to initiation lies in the acquisition of knowledge. Others think that the act of devotion in itself is initiation, but that, too, is only a path to it. Still others state that to be initiated is to absorb a Mystery: even that is but a way.
Initiation is daring to approach the Image of Light and not fearing to look at It. Uniting with Light requires courage and a high degree of self-denial; this fearlessness is in itself a beautiful initiation….
It is impermissible to speak in the marketplace about the awareness of Light. An initiate will not disclose his precious experience. No one can compel him to utter the unutterable. This is the difference between an initiate, and a deceiver, who knows how to roll his eyes and sing sweetly about visions that only he can perceive. True messengers are not talkative.
The Thinker expected His disciples to carry carefully what had been entrusted, up to the end. He understood as Socrates did the significance of Truth. He said, “Truth requires a strong repository. Make of yourself a treasure chest!”
Supermundane I, 232
2. All degrees of initiation are in ourselves. When a disciple is ready, he receives a Ray of Illumination, which corresponds with the degree of purification he has achieved, as well as of the broadening of his consciousness and the fiery transmutation of his centers
Letters of Helena Roerich I, 16 January 1935
3. Teacher and disciple are indissoluble. Each Teacher remains also a disciple, for amid Hierarchy he will be a link in the Chain of Eternity. Likewise in the descending line, each disciple will also be a teacher.
It is a mistake to think that certain initiations elevate one to the step of absolute Teachership; only continuous discipline of cognition can be the living source of perfectment. Let us not look for limits in Infinity. Let us not understand cognition as something finite; in this limitation we lose the joy of Be-ness.
4. It is ridiculous to read about the highest degrees of initiation that can be attained in contemporary occult schools. The highest degrees are attained only through inner perfectment, which no contemporary esoteric school can give. Initiations take place face to face, between a Great Teacher and the disciple; the next degree of perception of the higher energies, or rays, is the result. Therefore, such Initiations always take place unexpectedly and often simply in the bedroom or workroom of the disciple. And this Festival of the Spirit remains unforgettable in the consciousness and heart of the disciple. These Festivals of the Spirit have nothing in common with the trappings of the initiations described in some occult books.
Letters of Helena Roerich II, 7 January 1937
5. You will not be astonished at My confirmation that black magic is increasing greatly. Of course, this is one of the weapons used by the opponents of Light. They gather conscious and unconscious co-workers…. General harm is great. Of course, white magic possesses the most powerful formula--but above all formulas stands the energy of the heart. All formulas and conjurations presuppose mechanical apparatuses, remaining within the confines of the lowest teachings. But now, when the forces of darkness are so aroused, the forces of the heart are set against them in opposition. It can be noticed how gradually the rituals of white magic were carried to the highest concepts of Fire and the heart. The dark ones do not possess these strongholds. Only the pure heart can act. Only the link with the Hierarchy of Light can kindle the inextinguishable fires. Thus, the opposition of the heart to all dark forces will be the sign of victory. I affirm the might of the heart and from your experience you know how close and powerful is this weapon of Light. The fiery sphere cannot be approached without the flame of the heart. Initiation by fire is only for the pure heart.
6. As it was said, “The purification of consciousness and of the Teachings is the greatest task of our time.” There are now so many “initiates,” “hierophants” and “great incarnates,” etc. But it is not so difficult to recognize the impostors. First of all, they lack simplicity. While the true initiates or entrusted ones are entirely simple in their lives, trying not to be different in outward ways and to be silent about their achievements, all the self-deceiving ones are very fond of acting mysteriously and talking about their high initiations, as well as of using high-sounding titles and names, although they themselves do not even know what real initiation means. Real initiations have nothing to do with any kind of ritual invented for the masses; initiation can take place in diverse places and dwellings, and there is only one condition necessary - the readiness of spirit in the disciple. And this readiness is ascertained by the “thermometer” in the hands of the Great Teachers. Initiation consists of the assimilation of the higher rays of various strength and qualities. Often, those who sincerely aspire toward the good are under the influence of these higher rays, though at the beginning they do not even suspect it. The stage of preparation for the assimilation of the higher rays is sometimes very long; all depends on the accumulations of the disciple.
Letters of Helena Roerich I, 12 August 1934
7. How can one attain fiery initiation without actual struggle? How can one pass through life without a real battle? Only a low understanding can have a conception of higher attainment without tension. To pass through life and attain the means to pass along the edge of the abyss, involves passing through sorrow and tension. Just as the Cosmic Laboratory transmutes these energies of the heart, so do human souls pass through purgatory on Earth. Without this fiery attachment to Cosmic Fire the heart cannot know initiation into the Higher World. On the path to the Fiery World one must remember about the purgatory of life.
Fiery World III, 381
8. “The Teaching never entered the world without struggle. Thus, let it enter as usual, otherwise people will forget it. But imagine the dimensions of the Battle, in which all the planets are involved.... Thus, with all the strength of the spirit, and with all solemnity, let us participate in the Battle of Light against darkness.” When the bond with the Hierarchy of Light is strong, all will be turned to good use. And in order to be able to ascend the new step, it is necessary to accept the battle and to overcome the difficulties. Draining the chalice of poison is inevitable on the last steps, and betrayal must emphasize the path of Light. Thus, let us accept this initiation also.
Letters of Helena Roerich II, 17 March 1936
9. If the heart is an accumulator and transmuter of energies, there must also be better conditions for arousing and attracting these energies. The most fundamental condition is labor, labor in thought as well as physical labor. By this act are gathered the energies from space. But one must understand labor as the natural saturation of life. Thus, each labor is a bliss, but the sophistry of inaction is the most harmful in the cosmic sense. To love the endlessness of labor is already an initiation of considerable order; it prepares one for the conquest of time. The state of conquest of time guarantees a step in the Subtle World, where labor is an absolute condition, just as it is in the body. A complaint against labor can only come from slaves of the body.
10. Verily, the deeper we ponder upon the origins of all the Teachings, the more clearly is their oneness and grandeur manifested. Therefore, in our ignorance, let us not accuse the great Founders of the Teachings who assuredly knew about the great law of the Equilibrium of the Elements. In antiquity the last and highest Initiation was connected with this illumination and knowledge. The entire mystery, the whole beauty of Be-ness was revealed to the soul illumined by the highest Light. Even in distorted Hinduism there are preserved some hints of the significance of the Feminine Element. And even up to the present day, the most sacred ritual cannot be performed by a Brahmin without the participation of his wife.
Letters of Helena Roerich I, 31 May 1935
11. During the transmission of thoughts, the difficulty arises not so much from the sender, but in the reception. The sending takes place through tension of the heart and will, hence it depends entirely upon the sender himself. But the recipient is usually in other conditions. Not only may he be mentally overburdened but his thought and consciousness may be absent. Moreover, the most unexpected currents can intersect space and thus distort some portion of the sendings. In order to even partially avoid this impediment, We teach alertness and vigilance. When the consciousness becomes used to these conditions, the receiver remains tensed and open. This method of continuous vigil is not Ours alone, it was already employed in remote antiquity. Each initiation into the Mysteries contained the question, “Is thy ear open?” Such opening signified primarily the ability to maintain keen vigilance. The condition of intersecting currents was avoided by striving toward the Hierarch, with whom a contact was established.
Fiery World I, 226
12. Pay attention to those who are committed to true advancement. They do not impose their beliefs. They avoid claiming degrees of initiation. They always know that it is better not to speak about even their most sacred encounters. They are always kind and ready to offer help. The first task for the true seeker of the sacred knowledge is to cultivate goodness. In doing this he will attract good, like a magnet.
Supermundane III, 581