C O M P A S S I O N
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, April 2, 2013
1. I tell you, let the flame of your heart be alight with the fire of compassion. In compassion is buried the great pearl of Secret Knowledge. All Bodhisattvas, all Holy Ones, all Martyrs, strove along this Path. Remember the legend of the Seven Gates. Not for all is the thorny way a hardship. There are souls to whom a crown of thorns is sweeter than a kingly one, And a coarse garment more precious than the royal purple.
The Call, 324
2. Pity is a puddle in which the faithful foot may slip. The one who pities descends to the level of the pitied. His force is dissolved in twilights of that which he pities--a most whining result.
Pity must not be confused with compassion. In compassion nothing is dissolved, but crystals of action grow. Compassion does not weep, but helps.
3. It is said that a yogi has no desires; actually, he is filled with striving. A desire is not active, because it creates expectation, and expectation is the mother of passivity. Striving, on the other hand, is a generator of motion, leading to ascent of the spirit. It is said that the yogi knows no love; but in truth, he is full of compassion. People think of love only as constricting bonds. But compassion is boundless, a co-worker of Truth. It is said that a yogi is endowed with inexhaustible powers; however, like a diligent gardener, he must tend his own plants in the garden of opportunities.
Agni Yoga, 210
4. Even if you succeed in convincing people that the heart participates in mercy, compassion and love, the other branches of the heart remain unintelligible. Will not reason set before you a thousand unknown quantities, as soon as you begin to speak of cosmogony? And without the courage of the heart these conversations will stray from the higher regions. Also, without the participation of the heart, you cannot speak of quality, which lies at the basis of everything that exists. Reason rejects quality; but you already see how life is upset without the reverence of quality. Only the heart rejoices at the truth of quality. Thus, let us understand why, after complicated calculations, there remains the one salvation, only through the path of the heart.
5. Let us learn to discriminate--thus we will become generous. No limited person can become spiritually rich, but one should have compassion for a neighbor's color blindness. For, up to the highest steps, each one is subject to such diversities. Let us not demand that all people think alike. It is good if they can discriminate between Light and darkness. But subtle vibrations are not easily perceived.
Fiery World I, 220
6. Do not falter at the sight of demons. Pity for them is sharper than a fiery sword. Through pity one can repel the most daring attack. A beast cannot withstand the look of compassion, whereas it attacks when it senses the trembling of fear. True, fear is evil, but an evil which intrinsically is insignificant because it is ignorance. You have had many occasions to convince yourself that the inventions of evil are begotten of ignorance. Thus, supply yourself with a coffer of compassion.
Fiery World I, 608
7. One may observe different types of people, who can be distinguished according to their natures. Some do not think about the future, fulfilling, as it were, their entire purpose in this earthly life. Others strive forward with their whole spirit, for them earthly life does not present any finality. Even if not highly refined, these people sense with the heart that everything is ahead of them. Have dealings with the latter, for notwithstanding their errors they will be still striving into the future, and thus will already belong to the Truth. You know that Agni lives in the hearts of those who love the future. Even if their Agni is not yet manifested, its potentiality is inexhaustible. Likewise look with compassion upon people who do not know the future, as upon the sick.
Fiery World II, 26
8. From the temple let us go into the cellar. Let us contrive to retain in ourselves not only soaring flight but also compassion. Each man has an open wound. Only psychic energy can point out this pain. Each study of the higher energies teaches open assistance. So, also, the wish to help must be cultivated.
9. Many have heard about the Kumaras, but few have rightly understood about them. This manifestation is something superearthly-- thus do people say, but they forget with what labor the attainment is built. Scholars are already beginning to understand how a human personality enters into the pantheon of heroes. By the same path also are the qualities of the Leaders of humanity accumulated. If they do not pass through earthly sufferings, they cannot respond to people's sufferings. If they do not experience the sweat of toil, they cannot guide people in their labor. Self-abnegation, mercy, compassion, courage are forged in life. Nothing abstract can mold the strength of the spirit. Thus let people understand the Kumaras as the true Leaders.
10. Urusvati knows that every good deed transforms some particle of chaos. Each kind action is a burning away of chaos. This description has a basis in reality, for every impulse toward kindness and Light kindles the best fires, which transmute chaos into a new, purified form. Some think that collaborating with the Brotherhood will evoke the fury of darkness, but it would be nearer the truth to say that each good deed attracts the fury of the dark ones. Timid souls will probably wish to refrain from performing good deeds for safety's sake, and there are many such people who for this reason refuse to be compassionate. They have extinguished their fires and merged with the darkness. But the ghosts of darkness are repellent, and whoever fears goodness will sink into chaos.
Supermundane I, 168
11. Urusvati knows that the far-reaching embrace of the consciousness, or containment, must be clearly understood. Many think that containment means the acceptance of opposing arguments, but in fact containment is the understanding of true motives. One can understand with compassion the motives that guide one’s interlocutor, but it is impermissible to immediately give up one’s own long-established and carefully-considered principles.
Containment has much in common with compassion. A compassionate person can clearly see how others err and act against themselves. But how careful one must be in trying to influence them! One should remember the ancient saying, “One does not argue about taste.” There may be karmic reasons for one’s tastes and inclinations, but often they can be traced to cultural conditioning. It is not possible to quickly help someone to eliminate such ingrained tendencies. Nor is it easy to persuade someone to question his own tastes when they differ from those of people around him, especially if his tastes cause no harm. The disharmony can be pointed out, but not everyone is capable of recognizing it. Do not think that I am speaking about those strong habits that dominate people. Right now I refer to inclinations that are much deeper than habits.
The Thinker instructed, “If you learn to open your heart so that it can embrace another’s pain, you will then be able to find the needed words of comfort.”
Supermundane III, 502
12. Urusvati knows the healing quality of Great Compassion. People usually suppose that only the Higher Beings possess this quality. But people, in their daily lives, often come in contact with the realm of Compassion.
Truly, mercy, peacefulness, sympathy, kindness, solicitude toward people, are manifestations of various aspects of compassion. Love itself is close to compassion. Is not cooperation kin to compassion? All these good qualities have healing properties. Psychic energy, sent with good intentions, exerts a healing action. Science should reveal how good intentions heal the nervous system. And let us not forget that he who offers compassion receives beneficial effects, in the boomerang-like return of the dispatched energy.
Supermundane IV, 809
13. Urusvati knows the true meaning of compassion for the less fortunate. Let every act of compassion be a step of your ascent.
A fool beats his exhausted donkey and thus does only harm. But a wise master lets his donkey rest and feeds it, and thus receives benefit. It is the same with the ignorant. It is wrong to rebuke the ignorant in anger, for such abuse is only harmful. But there will be benefit if one makes allowance and finds appropriate words. It is not easy to empathize with the ignorant, but a thoughtful person will understand that when a passage is low, one must stoop to proceed.
Much has been said about compassion, yet every act of compassion requires that one know how to bend to the level of the needy one. Indeed, this affords a glorious ascent. In the Supermundane World, mercy and compassion lead to a speedy ascent. The pilgrim learns to harken to the voices of pain and is imbued with thoughts of healing, which, like wings, bear him aloft. Man should constantly seek for opportunities to act with compassion. Schools should teach the benefits of compassion, and that negative judgment is fruitless. It can be avoided if one remembers that destruction is, for us, not equal to construction. Let us leave destruction to the wisdom of Cosmos; let us create.
The Thinker said, “Teacher, point out to me the way to ascend in compassion.”
Supermundane IV, 847
14. Urusvati knows the true meaning of compassion. Maitreya, the Lord of Compassion, impressed this pan-human feeling on the future mind. Yet the confusion of the present world is great!
Many physicians will be needed to cure humanity. Psychic epidemics are increasing, together with the bodily ones. Compassion can arm physicians for their urgent battle.
There are some feelings akin to compassion, but only compassion itself is without selfishness. Pity, for example, can be somewhat patronizing, and even charity can have selfish motives, but compassion aids the suffering, taking the entire burden of pain upon itself. It studies the cause of the pain and offers psychic energy to revitalize the ailing psyche.
Psychic illnesses should be understood in a broad sense. People enter upon a path of confusion and thus grow helpless. Much energy for good is needed to support, to not offend, and to express hope in the simplest of words. A sick person can be quite vain and one should not give the impression that his faults are known. Truly, compassion is the most tender and sympathetic feeling. Let us not forget how a subtle feeling helps in the Supermundane World. It reveals the magnet of the heart, and its power makes one invincible.
The Thinker asserted, “Compassion is the crown of the future.”
Supermundane IV, 864
15. The heart of an Arhat is like the Heart of Cosmos. The heart of an Arhat is like the fire of the sun. Eternity and the motion of Cosmos fill the heart of the Arhat. Maitreya is coming, radiant with all fires. His Heart is aflame with compassion for destitute humanity. His Heart is aflame with the affirmation of the new Covenants.