THE ART OF THINKING
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, March 1, 2011
1. Bygone nations knew much, but the quality of thinking has progressed very little. And still people talk a great deal about a new race and a new humanity…. The quality of thinking will differ from that of past ages. The art of thinking must be completely and consciously regenerated, but without understanding the three worlds it is impossible to raise thinking to a new level. He who does not yearn for self-perfection will not think on a planetary scale. He who considers discussion of the Fiery World as superstition or paganism cannot revere the Image of the Savior. One need not wonder that people become accustomed to honest thinking so slowly, for throughout their many incarnations they have been bereft of the best images of the heroes of mankind. People have continually seen that it was precisely the heroes who were tortured and killed before their very eyes. By such thinking one does not arrive at the concept of the new man.
Fiery World I, 541
2. The art of thinking must be developed in schools. Every art is in need of exercise. Likewise thinking must be strengthened by practice. But such a deepening should not be burdensome nor tedious, therefore the instructor in such a subject must be truly enlightened. It may be seen that the most terrible calamities in the history of mankind have arisen from the inability to think. There may be found a multitude of examples wherein spasmodic thinking and unbridled feelings have let whole nations towards the abyss. On the other hand, laziness of thinking and slow-mindedness have destroyed accumulated possibilities. The Leader must provide in himself the example of a constant broadening of thinking in order to approach foresight. Of course, foresight results from Communion with Hierarchy. But Communion itself requires alertness in thinking and a clear striving. The art of thinking should not be understood as an occult concentration. There is nothing mysterious in the art of thinking and in the refinement of consciousness. Only a lofty quality of consciousness will affirm the path of the thinker. And no one will say that the thinker is a special genus. Every child can be directed towards thinking. Hence one must regard the art of thinking as the health of the nation.
Fiery World II, 61
3. Every unification can take place only on a cooperative basis. To admit but an element of conquest, suppression and humiliation, means that sooner or later these horrible shadows will turn into destructive monsters. Therefore no act of violence can enter into the construction of the Stronghold. One may find the power of joy in cooperation, but such cooperation requires the art of thinking. Who will distribute the forces for productive labor? Only he who is able to visualize a useful cooperation. He must know how to imagine such labor in common, but, as you know, imagination must be cultivated. The task of every school is the opening of a well-founded imagination.
Fiery World II, 63
4. That man is good who creates good. Creation of good is the improvement of the future… It is possible to improve the thinking of a nation; and in this will be a synthesis of good. How beautiful is thought-creativeness which is not directed toward evil! When a people apprehends all the evil of condemnation, it opens new gates to the future. So much time is thus freed for cognition, for the art of thinking, for the creation of true good; and in these the best fires of the heart are kindled. Such fires are not kindled in evil. Such good will preserve health and to a large extent purify the atmosphere. It is absurd to think that good is an abstraction or a personal merit. It is the salvation of the future, for without it there is no affirmation of ascent. Thus each thought of good is already an arrow of Light. Somewhere it has already exterminated disunity, and any disunity, in malice, is a lapse into chaos. Therefore teach to think about good.
Fiery World II, 286
5. Vairaga is the very sacred flame of renunciation of corporeal things. Forbearance is more difficult in thought than in action. In action even the muscles can assist abstinence, but the thought centers are so subtle that the man who has not attained the art of thinking will not know how to follow the reflexes of these centers. It is said that the Subtle World is far from the material, yet each thought process is already a process of the Subtle World. According to the subtlety of thinking is it possible to imagine the film of the Subtle World. The subtle body is also ponderable, but in the most minute measurements. But the fiery body is already beyond measurement. Scientists can assist in revealing the Subtle World. In all domains is it possible to observe that thought multiplies the other energies; thus new cooperations take place.
Fiery World III, 582
6. It is almost impossible to find people who are devoted to the art of thinking. In the simple matter of Olympic Games people are ready to award crowns to the winners. But where is there recognition and encouragement of thought? One's ears are almost shattered by the applause accorded the jumpers, yet each leap of thought is suspected and ridiculed.
Let the manifested fighters for thought gather together!
7. Frequently there occur fallacies about the names of energies. People cannot understand why the primary energy is called by different names. But there may be names which were given by different peoples. Moreover, the manifestation of different aspects of it has been identified by many definitives. It is impossible to establish a single designation for manifestations which are so very diverse. In the history of humanity it can be traced how attentively people have detected the subtlest shades of this same energy. It would seem that at present observations ought to be deepened, but in fact it proves to be almost the opposite. People are attempting to justify themselves by the complexity of life, but it is more accurate to explain this as aimless dispersion of thinking. The more should one repeat about the art of thinking. If it be not sufficiently developed in schools, then the family must come to its assistance. One should not allow man to become scatter-brained, that is to say, irresponsible.
8. How can feeling exist without its foundation of thought? People do not differentiate between the process of thinking and thought itself, which is swift as lightning. The Thinker spoke of the role of thought in all creation, but this simple affirmation was rejected by people who had made up their minds not to accept the power of thought. In this way the Teacher suffered greatly for thought.
He taught, Thought is like lightning, and not knowing where a thought originates, you are unable to transform it into words. A thought may strike your consciousness, but without the process of thinking, it will remain unrevealed and lie ungerminated, like a seed in infertile soil. Such dried up thoughts sadden the Teacher, who sends these salutary signs through space. Centuries may be needed for the proper growth of a seed of thought.
In schools the art of thinking should be studied above all. One should be trained in the art of constant thinking and learn to be ashamed of thoughtlessness. Man is unable not to think, but there is a great difference between harmonious, disciplined thinking and the oscillations of chaotic thoughtlessness, which not only influences man, but space itself. How can man dare to pollute all of space? Indeed, the time will come when mankind will finally realize the power of thought. And when man starts to study thought as a special science we may already be on the far-off worlds!
Supermundane I, 182
9. Urusvati knows that people love to immerse themselves in the past…. They detest the tempo of today and cherish the hope that life will return to the slow-flowing current of yesterday. If you tell them that this is impossible, and inform them of the coming of the New World, you will be labeled a destroyer of traditions and a dangerous revolutionary!
But who is strong enough to bring back the former weak currents when the river is already overflowing its banks? Indeed, the new rhythm is tiring for those who are unable to accept it. An unassimilated rhythm can even become destructive. Uncontrolled gases can be deadly. A technique wrongly applied can cause calamities, and many dangers have arisen because of ignorance. Nevertheless, the new rhythm has already entered life, and people cannot ignore the new conditions that are flooding it. Returning to the past is impossible, and one must harmonize oneself with the new conditions. For that purpose, people should pay attention to the humanities, and the art of thinking must be revived.
Scientists are discovering new characteristics of the human brain, and such research is useful for establishing the equilibrium of rhythm. The brain and nervous system will provide unusual discoveries that will create possibilities for adjustment to the new rhythm. The speed of life will seem frightening until people develop a speed of thought sufficient to outstrip it. People must accept cosmic conditions or there will be dangerous discord…. When it was declared that ideas rule the world, the power of thought was affirmed. Intelligent thinking must help humanity to accept the new rhythm and cognize the New World that has already drawn near. Truly, the New World pours forth its influence, and has manifested its power in the radiance of scientific achievements. May we overcome all the suffocating dangers through concentration upon the New World!
Mankind must realize that life now takes on supermundane meaning…. Instead of the limited formulas of the past, humanity will now see unlimited supermundane achievements. In these new achievements there will be place for both the intellect and the heart. One can affirm that the gates to the New World are wide open, and in this realization there will be no place for remorse or depression.
Supermundane II, 255
10. People do not understand that the way to harmony is in the art of thinking. Deep contemplation is needed for the realization of harmony. Truly, only the art of thinking can refine one's feelings. But how does one acquire this art, which can sometimes be possessed by an illiterate person, yet elude the most learned? How can We teach man the art of thinking? Many will take this to be a clumsy aphorism. How can We explain to people that Our philosophy is based upon thinking about Infinity? With such ideals, earthly tribulations become bearable and manageable. Do not fear the lofty concept of harmony. It can be applied in all aspects of life, and every human being can develop a sense of it within himself. This state can be called by different names, yet it is the property of all. Everyone sooner or later will achieve harmony if the art of thinking is cultivated.
The Thinker stressed correct thinking. He wanted His disciples to feel themselves to be artists who could create new kinds of harmony.
Supermundane II, 341
11. Urusvati knows that one of the most valued human qualities is keenness of observation. Everyone who can see should develop this keenness. But actually, the opposite occurs. People obscure their minds with superstition and prejudices… As always, ignorance reigns and the voices of enlightenment are solitary and subject to persecutions, which, though different from those of the Dark Ages, are equally inhumane.
Let us not boast of culture, which now is taking on ugly forms. What kind of culture can succeed when the very art of thinking is not cultivated in the young! Even the reading of books will not help if their contents are not pondered. Therefore it is so necessary to sharpen attentiveness so that world events will be seen in their true significance. People attempt to justify their behavior by saying that the universe is engulfed by chaos against which human thought is powerless. But such a notion cannot be applied to thought. Thought is powerful in everything. The aspiring consciousness is already successful in space, and even the germ of a thought has power. Keen observation will help to perceive how thought moves not only the muscles, but even the most complex processes of life. Amidst everyday life the most wonderful manifestations can be observed.
Supermundane IV, 720
12. The protective network is formed out of subtlest energies. All centers participate in the formation of this powerful shield. For a complete circle it is necessary that all the spiritual centers intensify their energies. From out of the centers of the spirit it is especially necessary to tense the heart, because by its power it can transmute thinking. Right thinking produces stability, which is the first requirement. Steadfastness expels duplicity, fear and doubt. The protective net can defend a man, making him invulnerable. But this shield can only then be affirmed when all subtle energies have been harmonized. The experience of Agni Yogi truly provides this shield, but a most cautious regard for the centers is necessary. The protective net must be continually saturated with the energies from within, as a fiery, eternally ascending spiral. Spiritual centers must nurture this power. The protective net passes on with the spirit into the Subtle World. Woven from the subtlest energies, it can become assimilated into the Fiery World; only the highest strivings may be reflected in it. People who live by means of lower centers have no protective net. Obsessed ones do not have this shield. Therefore, on the Fiery path one should take care of the interweaving of the subtlest energies.
Fiery World III, 112