D A R I N G AND C A U T I O N
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, March 5, 2013
1.Co-workers must understand that everything requires urgent decisions. Let them imagine the quantity of information that pours into Our Abode, all of which demands immediate decision. In this, We must not frighten Our earthly co-workers and must find everywhere an applicable spark of energy…. We apply the highest measure of caution so as not to subject Our co-workers to unnecessary danger. But one can imagine how difficult it is at times to protect those who rush into danger, indignant at the Guiding Hand.
Supermundane I, 63
2.The impatience of the passengers cannot hasten the train. New circumstances require new flights. Rush not--all things will come.
The Call, 198
3.You write about caution, but who knows the need for it better than I? But I know also of courage, of creative daring, and first of all, of great balance. Therefore, caution should not turn into the fear that springs from persecution, neither should daring become senseless bravado. However, because of my very nature, I prefer the latter; I believe in the wise proverb, “God helps the brave,” and also another, a more prosaic one, “To be afraid of wolves means not going to the woods, not picking mushrooms.” Thus, let us say that caution must be combined with daring and should be applied in wise co-measurement with the circumstances and conditions.
Letters of Helena Roerich II, 22 July 1935
4.Urusvati knows that We disapprove of fear and suspicion, and consider them to be derived from ignorance. At the same time We insist upon vigilance and caution, qualities that belong to an enlightened consciousness. For the unwise it is not easy to discern the boundary between different feelings. They will see caution as suspiciousness, and vigilance as fearfulness, thus lowering the best qualities to a shameful level. But the wise will understand where caution is needed, based upon clear insight. In a world that is torn by confusion the careless one is a fool. The sensible one will weigh all causes to determine the true source of harm.… Fortunately, vigilance can be developed without limit, and one should not hesitate to repeat that at times of highest tension, the highest degree of vigilance must be manifested. It is not fear that compels one to such an affirmation, but a desire to serve in the best possible way. Heroes are born out of this desire. We have spoken about the qualities of the hero, who fortunately can exist in all walks of life.
Supermundane III, 513
5.And so in labor will you meet Me. But what are the signs of labor? Speed, decisiveness, and self-sacrifice. But with speed and decisiveness one may also rush toward the abyss. But your path is to the summits. Therefore, add also wisdom.
The Call, 390
6.We most definitely do not want to lose useful people. We frequently advise caution and the avoidance of unnecessary dangers. The experienced and devoted aspirant understands how best to apply the accumulated energy. Imagine a scientist who, while absorbed in an especially important experiment, abruptly leaves his work to rush and give aid to victims of an accident in the street. Some people will criticize the abandonment of important work that could have been of benefit to humanity, but a refined consciousness can perceive the boundaries of heroic action. We know how imperceptible this boundary can be. So many factors are placed on the scales that balance is achieved with difficulty.
Supermundane II, 383
7.Let us say that man should, wherever possible, help his fellow man, but he can only risk his life in a case where he does not bear great responsibility. It would be a tremendous lack of co-measurement and a heavy loss for all humanity if people who benefit all mankind were to senselessly risk their lives. But if we talk to the masses, we must say that man should always and in everything hasten to help his fellow man. Verily, that man is a hero who risks his life for the salvation of his fellow man. But there are different kinds of risks and sacrifices. How important is the sacrifice of a physician or a research scientist, who works self-sacrificingly with terrible destructive substances in order to discover a remedy for pernicious ailments! But these conscious martyrs and benefactors of humanity are seldom remembered.
Letters of Helena Roerich II, 8 March 1938
8.Life is symbolized by a river or rushing current, but never by a lake or a well…. One should not imagine oneself immovable when the planet provides an example of ceaseless rotation; it exists by means of this motion. Thus, man cannot dwell in immobility. Still the consciousness whispers that a hustling about is only pretended movement. Again we come to the path of rhythm and harmony. Hustle is dissonance, and it can only irritate and dismember accumulations. Only a broadened consciousness understands the boundary line between striving and hustling.
9.Precisely, without fear and as much as possible doing things oneself. Correct is the manifestation of personal responsibility. Neither miracles, nor quotations, nor actions; but affirmation strengthened by personal example. Even a mistake in daring is more easily remedied than is abject mumbling…. Thus, in the armor of personal responsibility let us make haste. Take notice, there has been success only where there has been complete courage. Small doubts create a slavish timidity.
10.It is astonishing to see how people spoil their own lives without reason or sense by depriving themselves of possibilities that are theirs by right. It is astonishing to see how readily people diminish boundaries expanded over lifetimes. We say that it is better to act in error than to commit the error of inaction. Daring in action contains in itself its own justification; it applies pressure that multiplies the energy. Is it possible to ignite the flaming spirit through inaction? By pointing out the necessity for joining with Us in action, We draw you into the spiral of this special pressure. Truly, in this spiral one can only ascend; it must be protected as a dynamo of the most precious energy.
Agni Yoga, 429
11.Urusvati knows the difference between a podvig--a fiery achievement--and a prudent act. A podvig is beautiful, majestic, solemn, wise, and awe-inspiring. It can never be described as prudent…. There are many for whom the idea of podvig simply does not exist. For them, prudence is the highest ethical level. Their entire world outlook is defined by prudence. … Do not interpret Our attitude toward prudence falsely. This word is based on good concepts; goodness is always good and a wise understanding is always useful. But the worldly misinterpreters manage to turn good ideas into shameful ways. If they could, they would eliminate the word podvig, which is so completely against their mentality…. We may recommend caution and a careful weighing of possibilities, but if a fiery act of podvig is profound in its significance, the more We shall rejoice. We note every act of podvig, for it forges new evolutionary links. The Thinker said, “Leave prudence to the shopkeepers, love the daring of the heroes.”
Supermundane III, 571
12.According to certain symptoms one can distinguish between those nations that are ascending and those declining. The nation that ascends dreams of heroes. But for the worn-out nation the idea of a hero seems wearisome and pointless. Though this nation may be showered with gold, though its conceit still may be impassioned, it will be unfit for podvig. The dreams and ardor of real daring have passed out of the walls of the nation that knows only reason. Everyone remembers the stories of children who left home in quest of happiness; and in the fairy tales of all times happiness is given to these children.
Agni Yoga, 46
13.Inner courage should not be confused with similar qualities. People may say we are speaking probably about calmness, and though calmness, and its neighbor, equilibrium, are related to courage, they are not quite the same. It is not easy to teach the understanding that inner courage is a constant readiness for bold thinking and action… Not without reason it is said that each dream will at some time be turned into reality. But one should have a big store of such dreams of daring. Inner courage can dare, and this must be learned not only for the Supermundane World, but also for the earthly one. Learn to understand that whatever is useful for the Supermundane World is also useful for the earthly. Thus, n calmness, one should think about heroic achievements.
Supermundane III, 607
14.When alone, spurning possessions, standing firm and unperturbed, not bewailing his fate--only then does the daring one exult. Thus shall We begin the translation of Our ancient Book of Daring. When a child plays with a newborn kitten, his mother rejoices at his courage, loathe to note that the kitten is still blind. When a youth toys with the soul of his comrade, the spectators marvel at his daring, not seeing the shackles binding the wretched soul. When a man denounces an assembly of judges, the witnesses admire his courage, not knowing that the daring of his threat has been bought with the jingle of gold. When an aged man comforts himself by deriding death, his friends delight, unmindful that fear has fashioned his mask of derision. True daring is often unnoticed by people, because in its essence it is unusual. But the heart will tremble in response to the unusual. Where art thou who vanquished? Where art thou who transformed the tremor into a leap toward the light? Hear, thou who darest! In the deep of night I shall draw near to bless thy sandals….The sleep of the daring one is as the calm before the whirlwind, when even the slenderest blades of grass are unstirred.
Agni Yoga, 10
15.They will ask, “Who gave you the right to dare?” Say, “We dare by the right of evolution. The right of evolution is inscribed in flame in our hearts. We cannot be deprived of the truth of the immutability of ascent. Both amidst the crowds and in solitude we know our inalienable right”…
Daring! Should one understand it as an unheard-of achievement? Shall not daring be one’s daily repast, and the garment of one’s every thought? Will not the prison walls become transparent? And will not the seal of the secret scroll melt away for the one who dares? In recommending daring, We offer the simplest way. The heart knows the truth of this way. At present one cannot point out any other.
Agni Yoga, 49
16.The old world and the New World are distinguished through consciousness, not by outer evidence. Age and circumstance bear no importance. New banners are often raised by the hands of the old world, still filled with prejudices. But often in solitude beats a heart filled with the radiance of the New World. Thus, unwaveringly, before our eyes, the world divides itself. The new consciousness grows, unskilled, but full of daring. Despite its experience the old thinking loses strength. There is no power that could hold back the tide of the New World. We regret the useless waste of energy of the expiring consciousness. We welcome with a smile the daring of those who realize their right to expand new achievements. Each mistake, if committed for the cause of the New World, becomes a flower of valor. Agni Yoga, 55
17.The happiness of the Teacher is in encouraging the disciples to dare toward Beauty. Long lists of tedious, torpid incidents do not promote this achievement. The Teacher himself must be aglow so that his approach alone may be passed on fierily. Such an everyday task is difficult, yet people are tested precisely in everyday life, which is the sister of Infinity.