O R G A N I Z A T I O N S A N D C O M M U N I T I E S
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, April 17, 2012
1.What more nearly compares with Our Community--a choir of psalm-singers or an armed camp? Rather the second. One can imagine how it must conform to the rules of military organization and leadership. Is it possible to establish the paths of advancement of the Community without repulse and attack? Is it possible to take a fortress by assault without knowing its situation? The conditions of defense and attack must be weighed. Needed is experienced knowledge and keen vigilance. They are wrong who consider the Community a house of prayer. They are wrong who call the Community a workshop. They are wrong who regard the Community as an exclusive laboratory. The Community is a hundred-eyed guard. The Community is the hurricane of the messenger. The Community is the banner of the conqueror. In the hour when the banner is furled, the enemy already undermines the foundation of the towers. Where, then, is our laboratory? Where is your labor and toil? Verily, one patrol left out opens ten gates. Only vigilance will provide the rampart for the Community.
2.The community, being a fellowship first of all, sets as a condition for entrance two conscious decisions: labor without limit and the acceptance of tasks without rejection. It is possible to eliminate faint-heartedness by means of a two-fold organization. As a result of unlimited labor there may be a broadening of consciousness. But many people, not bad otherwise, do not envision the results, being frightened by incessant labor and enormous tasks. And yet they have accepted basically the idea of the community. It would be harmful to include these yet weak people in the community; but in order not to extinguish their striving one should not cast them out. For this it is useful to have a second organization--friends of the community. Herein, without forsaking the customary order of life, these newcomers can become more deeply conscious of the community. Such a two-fold organization permits the preservation of a far more concentrated sincerity in the work. If however, a formal entrance into the community itself be allowed, one will be obliged periodically to eject the unfit ones. In other words, the community will cease to exist altogether. It will be simply an institution under a false label, beside which the Sanhedrin of the Pharisees would be a highly righteous establishment.
Friends of the community provide the possibility of having a reservoir without danger of betraying the bases of the Teaching. Friends of the community do not conceal their weaknesses, and this gives the possibility of successfully strengthening them. Indeed, We use the word “friends” because for the Occident this term is more understandable. Among Ourselves We call them disciples of a certain degree, but the West poorly contains Our concept of discipleship. Therefore, let us keep to the better-known designation--friends of the community.
3. Often the community is accused of doing violence to the freedom of individuality. This charge is applicable to any compromise state but not to the community. In a conscious community there is a place for every labor. Each one may select his task at will, for every labor is sharpened by new attainments. There is not the tedium of mechanical performance, for the worker is at the same time an experimenter. He understands the significance of the problem of introducing perfectionment of work without disturbing the general complex of rhythm. …
Necessary is both the desire to work and the open consciousness through which each labor becomes attractive. For the labor is performed for the future, and each one carries his best stone. Here and now before the face of the mountains, We are speaking for the future.
4. If you enter a gathering of people with the words, “Friends and co-workers,” the majority will look upon you with suspicion. But if you dare to call them brothers and sisters, then most likely you will be denounced as having uttered inadmissible terms.
People sometimes establish brotherhoods, but such superficial and pompous institutions have nothing in common with the great concept of Brotherhood. Thus people start communities, cooperatives, various unions and societies; but in their foundations there will not be even simple trust. Consequently, these establishments are very remote from that Brotherhood which would be a strong and steadfast union of trust.
It may be that right now certain finer hearts are already dreaming about the creation of organizations where trust would be the cornerstone.
5. Certainly it is never and nowhere suggested that all should live in crowded communal quarters. This must be understood in a broader way. Assuredly, not in all working communities do people live together. They gather for common labor, but their personal lives and daily routine go on separately. The idea of common labor does not necessarily mean physical proximity. Precisely, there is no need to jostle one another physically. Each age dictates its own demands and conditions, and it is quite impossible to completely return to the old forms. … Therefore, if you are planning to establish a community, do it as simply as possible without binding yourself by any obligations, and mainly by practicing the most intensive labor--and arm yourself with infinite patience and tolerance.
Letters of Helena Roerich II, 17 January, 1936
6. Do not allow outsiders to criticize and condemn any of your co-workers in your presence. Always try to find worthy words with which to stop evil-speaking and condemnation--for this you will receive respect. Remember that as long as you are united you will be able to pass through all obstacles, but the least disunity in your actions will create a rift to the very foundation. And what structure can be built upon a cleft foundation? The first storm would ruin such an edifice. Come closer together and strive to fulfill the smallest Indications of the Teacher. This is the only way to victory.
Letters of Helena Roerich I, 17 December, 1930
7. It is useful to observe traces of discipline wherever they are. In the matter of collective conscious discipline one should pay attention to the Japanese Zen monasteries. It is rare that Hierarchy and cooperation are preserved without coercion. Discipline should be regarded as an organized voluntary cooperation. Among the methods of educating the heart the voluntary organization of cooperation has great significance. But so long as compulsion is concealed somewhere there cannot be any conscious cooperation or the desired results. And let us hasten to understand cooperation. It is impossible to hope for flowering and victory where there is disunity. Let us accept this truth as a Command.
8. During the organization of the communities, see that under a mask of fulfillment of the Covenants cupidity be not concealed. Destruction of creative conquests follows sinister cupidity. It may be said that this worm is far too firmly nested in man's ignorance. The more necessary, then, to know the cause of its germination. The most harmful cause will be in permitting privilege. With all strength it is necessary to destroy this evil ghost. The organization of the community first of all foresees equality. Admit any form of inequality and at once you come up against the perniciousness of privilege. The fact of inequality creates a seesaw--the greater rise of one creates a still greater rise of another. The only way to avoid an unsettling of the pillars is by maintaining equality.
Cynics may be found who will say, “Let them sway freely, the more energy will there be in space.” The remark is not devoid of sense, but indeed the common work is so much in need of solicitude that a true economy of forces must be adopted. The most economical principle is equality, which destroys privilege and cupidity.
9. Urusvati knows how We labor for peace. Why then do We not rejoice at the many organizations dedicated to the promotion of peace? Simply because very few of them are unselfish in their work and the majority harbor hidden motives that are worse even than the drive toward war. …
Envy is a viper that grips the human heart and infects it with evil, and thoughts of peace then become impossible. Indeed, people can be envious in the most unexpected ways. Many surprises will await you when you learn to read the human mind. A man may have many treasures, yet will still envy his neighbor's meager success. Until the vices that obstruct peace are eradicated, true peace will not be possible.
Supermundane II, 319
10. Let us not forget that the main success of the dark ones is in their methods of creating disunity. They succeed when the co-workers fail to realize the seriousness of the moment, and when they neglect and put aside urgent matters. We must remember that irritability and touchiness are the easiest channels through which everything dark can approach.
Letters of Helena Roerich I, 21 October, 1931
11. Many small circles are scattered throughout the planet. The black lodges know what to do. But the servants of Light, by their disorganization, often even harm each other. The black lodges are not approached by strangers, but the servants of Light, through good nature, or rather ignorance, often are ready to embrace the most dangerous traitor. One must eject indifference, which paralyzes the best forces. Truly one can become exhausted not so much by enemies as by the indifference of friends. … The qualities of Fire are the antitheses of indifference. One must beware of the oppressiveness of such inert people, although occasionally one can put them to shame and at least rouse indignation in them.
Fiery World I, 351
12. The most frightful bane of humanity is its narrow world outlook. The best people think that the adoption of their horizon is the principal key to the salvation of the World, but their world outlook goes no farther than the boundaries of the physical world. Representatives of the church promise people salvation of the soul, but beyond the physical world they do not go. National leaders direct the thinking of their peoples toward reorganization, but further than the lower spheres they do not lead. Thus one can enumerate all the degrees of human leadership, and become horrified at the blind alley into which humanity has entered. Verily, only the reconstruction of the World and the regeneration of consciousness can awaken the energies needed for the maintenance of the planet.
Fiery World III, 334
13. Everything you say about the so-called occult groups does not surprise us but confirms what we expected, as we know of the sad situation within many organizations and we know that human nature is everywhere similar. The evil is always the same: lack of tolerance and a terrible exclusiveness which destroys all foundations. The presidents of numerous societies and lodges pretend to have an exclusive monopoly and authority over everything concerning the Teaching given by the Great White Brotherhood. In addition, some wish to be the sole channel through which the High Teaching may be introduced. But in the poverty of their imagination they fail to see that the Great Brotherhood, which leads the evolution of the whole of humanity, cannot limit itself to one or even ten currents or recipients who are, in any case, just temporary!
Letters of Helena Roerich I, 17 February, 1934
14. Let us not conceal from ourselves that until now America has not been among the so-called leading cultural countries. America has been considered only from the standpoint of the dollar and mechanical civilization. And the formulae pronounced by an American official, whose words you have quoted, only prove the aforesaid. If we were to talk to such an official about the Banner of Peace and about the cultural activities of our organizations, he would sincerely wonder, “What is the use of bothering about such annoying and unnecessary things? But since they are so eager to concern themselves about culture, why do they not use their apparently not meager imagination and their knowledge of art for organizing something like a gambling club, and let us say, a movie theater with modern shows slightly risqué? It would be acceptable and pleasant and very profitable.” Such people will never be able to grasp the meaning of culture.
Letters of Helena Roerich I, 29 May, 1931
15. Could it be possible that the women's organizations in America will remain indifferent and will not support the Banner of Culture? I do hope that we are not over-estimating their spiritual receptivity. Long before the first conference, in Bruges, I learned about the real value of many modern organizations, and I understood how much one must work in order to awaken the consciousness of the masses to make them understand the true values and cultural creativeness. This can be achieved only by the persistent and systematic spreading of ideas, but not by convulsive bursts. Therefore, let us not be discouraged by the attitude of indifference shown by governments and certain groups of civilized society, but let us use all our efforts for destroying superficial thinking among the nearest co-workers, as well as for deepening their understanding of the pressing necessity to fulfil this idea.
Letters of Helena Roerich I, 7 October, 1931
16. One should study the manifestations of nature in connection with world events. There may be found characteristic conformities; they repeatedly show how much of a living organism is the planet. Everything related to the planet is coordinated as the organs of a single body, therefore it is impossible to regard each being as an isolated individual. All beings belong to one organization, and they must regard themselves as responsible members of a community. In such a manner can one observe the fully defined structure of the Universe. … Observe and compare events. These observations help one to understand the laws of conformity and concatenation. The Teaching gives intimations which are confirmed by reality.