S E R V I C E
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, December 14, 2004
You may be asked how the entrance upon the path of Service is defined. Certainly the first sign will be renunciation of the past and full striving to the future. The second sign will be the realization of the Teacher within one's heart, not because it is necessary thus, but because it is impossible otherwise. The third sign will be the rejection of fear, for being armed by the Lord one is invulnerable. The fourth will be non-condemnation, because he who strives into the future has no time to occupy himself with the refuse of yesterday. The fifth will be the filling of the entire time with labor for the future. The sixth will be the joy of Service and completely offering oneself for the good of the world. The seventh will be spiritual striving to the far-off worlds as a predestined path. According to these signs you will discern a spirit ready and manifested for Service. He will understand where to raise the sword for the Lord, and his word will be from within his heart. Hierarchy, 196.
Let us see how people understand Service to the Lord and Hierarchy. He who thinks of ascending only by prayer is far from Service. He who in his labor hopes to bring the best efforts for the good of humanity must adopt the Lord with his heart. He who does not relinquish his own comfort does not know how to serve Hierarchy. He who does not accept the Indications of the Hierarchy does not understand Service. Only when the heart is ready to accept consciously the affirmation sent by the Highest Will can it be said that the realization of Service is adopted. Thus, We are no lovers of funereal rites and of empty invocations to the Lord. Thus, We venerate the striving of disciples to the Service of Hierarchy. Hierarchy, 295.
So many distortions, so many inaccuracies have been admitted into the Teachings. Verily, each purification is great Service. Each striving to renew the Truth, as it has been given to humanity, is fiery Service. Fiery World III, 125.
Great Service has all humanity in view. Neither nationality nor any other divisions should place limits on Service for the Good. Aum, 116.
…weighty reasons impel the newcomer toward one particular nation. <…> In one’s service to mankind, there is no doubt that the greater part of one’s effort will be given to the land of one’s birth. Supermundane III, 565.
Where then is that sentiment, that substance with which we can fill the Chalice of the Great Service? Let us gather this feeling from the best treasures. We shall find its components in religious ecstasy, when the heart quivers at the Highest Light. We shall find its components in the feeling of heart-felt love, when the tear of self-renunciation glistens. We shall discern it in the hero's achievement when power is multiplied in the name of humanity. We shall find it in the patience of the gardener when he ponders over the mystery hidden in a seed. We shall find it in the courage that pierces the darkness. We shall find it in the smile of the child when it is attracted to a sunbeam. We shall find it amidst all flights that carry us into the Infinite. The feeling of Great Service is unlimited; it must fill the heart, which is forever inexhaustible. The sacred tremor should not become the daily gruel. The best Teachings turned into soulless husks when the tremor left them. Thus, in the midst of battle, think of the Chalice of Service and take an oath that the sacred tremor shall not leave you. Heart, 509.
As to how to apply one's qualities in Service, it is not enough to say, “I have come and I wish to serve,” for readiness to serve obliges the disciple to acquire discipline of spirit. It is insufficient to say that all indications of the Teaching have been accepted, for only in life is it possible to manifest acceptance of the Indications. If the earthly plane imposes hard and fast rules, the world of the spirit demands the manifestation of striving in life towards acceptance of the Covenant of Hierarchy. Firm striving compresses the spirit and tempers it for true Service. One must merit the affirmation of the Call, one must understand the Call, one must free oneself from many burdens; thus, should one understand the truth of approach to the Teaching. One must understand the beauty of giving, for merely earthly givings do not affirm the “chalice.” Thus, on the path to the Fiery World let the co-workers apprehend the Call to Service. Fiery World III, 127.
Urusvati realizes the multiformity of the Great Service. This great concept of Service is usually completely misunderstood, or if accepted at all, it is mistaken for monastic monotony. But the Great Service responds to earthly needs, and the true servant of humanity must know all conditions of life. He must spare the feelings of the ignorant, he must soothe the desperate, and must appreciate the various fields of labor in order to be able to give wise encouragement. In this way Service will bring benefit everywhere, and the servant of Good will know how to find the word that will lead people to a brighter future. Supermundane I, 111.
Urusvati knows what We mean by “life.” We say that life is service for evolution. One might find it simpler to say that life is evolution, but We emphasize the idea of service. Indeed, everything is in the process of evolution, but life's full expression can come only under conditions of voluntary service. It is the voluntary quality of service that indicates the rightness of the path.
In general, people dislike the concept of service. They dream about a time when there will be no need for it, and would be horrified to learn that all of life is unending service. They prefer to hear about Us, about Our labor and Our joy, and puzzled, they ask, “What kind of continual service is it when one can hear singing in the Brotherhood?”
People cannot understand that We use singing not as a pastime, but as a method for achieving harmony. It is hard for them to understand that art is a refined aid for evolution, and that We recommend the mastery of any art or craft as a rapid approach to service. A master will willingly agree to perpetual service in the perfection of his art, and feels no need to count the hours of labor.
Our life is a voluntary mastership and is not concerned with limits. Even on Earth it is possible to almost forget time, and service becomes joy. I affirm that one can prepare oneself for such service under all circumstances. One need not be a sage to accept life as something important and responsible. There are examples of even simple farmers who were ready to devote themselves to the idea of service. It was the loss of this concept of service that turned earthly life into slavery and insanity. But the time is approaching when people will be looking, even unwittingly, for the purpose of life. They will first refer to evolution in scientific terms, but the next step will be the acceptance of service as the right approach to life.
The Thinker taught that the concept of service can solve the riddles of life. Supermundane II, 305.
Urusvati knows that it is easier to see a dragon at one’s door than a nest of worms. But who can say which is the more dangerous? Worms will come crawling, bringing with them suspicions and doubts. They will whisper, “We do not know the meaning of Agni Yoga, perhaps it is just an empty sound, leading to delusion. Would it not be better to express its essence in a simpler way that can be discussed and considered?”
All right, let it be as they wish: Agni Yoga is service to good. Understand this definition in its full meaning. Learn to serve good. Learn devotion to the Great Service. Find the fiery forces that will help to manifest courage on all difficult paths. Understand why these paths are difficult. Learn to accept naturally the fires of your nature. Understand all the great manifestations of the Universe. Do not become fatigued with daily labor, which is the best pranayama. Assist all seekers, on all paths.
Experience the greatness of thought that lives in the Infinite. Allow no fear in yourselves, and protect others from it. Immerse yourselves in knowledge, because ignorance is a terrible crime. Welcome the young ones with a smile, for you build the bridges and roads for them. Choose for yourself the heaviest labors, and be an example for all. In this way you will reveal to all the full meaning of service to good. Do not fear the whisperers of doubt, who will always be with you as your shadow. Let your shadow be a long one. Concentrate upon your work and your achievements, gained in a natural way.
The Thinker taught, “Only that which is achieved naturally will create the luminous future.” Supermundane III, 586.
I shall answer the questions about service. Service to the Hierarchy of Light is service to the General Good. Of course, striving to the General Good opens the gates of higher knowledge and Service. But I would like you to realize clearly what qualities you must first of all develop in yourself for advancement on the path of Service. Many people are dreaming about the General Good and even are ready to work for it as long as it does not interfere with their habits and prosperity. But true service to the General Good, which leads to the gates of the Stronghold of Light, requires sacrifice and complete disdain for everything personal, in other words, the complete abandonment of selfhood. When the consciousness is broadened, when all feelings and comprehension are refined, the law of sacrifice will be accepted as the highest achievement. There will be no room for self-pity, fear for the future, offenses and envy because with every breath will sublimity, beauty, and the highest joy of service be realized. Letters Of Helena Roerich I, 15 January 1931.
Yes, each one entering upon the Path of Service for the Common Good is unavoidably subjected to all kinds of tests, which are the results of his increased spiritual and mental work, and also of the hastening of the karma that is being outlived by him. Each thought process changes something in our karma; therefore, if it is directed toward benevolent construction, a corresponding purification takes place, but these purifications may be painful. It is good if we learn to love difficulties, because only personal experience, personal trials and sufferings teach us great patience and compassion, those qualities which lie at the basis of all achievements. Letters Of Helena Roerich II, 23 April 1938.
I give this farewell bidding to the disciple; “Let thy prayer be—'Thee, O Lord, I shall serve in everything, always and everywhere. Let my path be marked by the attainment of selflessness'.” When the disciple realizes in his heart the joy of the path, a path which knows no friction because all is transformed in the joy of Service, then it is possible to open before him the Great Gates. Fiery World III, 7.