Agni. The Lord of Fire in the Vedas
The oldest and most revered of the Gods in India. One of the three great deities Agni, Vayu and Surya, and also all the three, as he is the triple aspect of fire; fire is the essence of the solar system. The Bible says: "Our God is a consuming fire." It is also the symbol of the mental plane of which Agni is paramountly lord. IHS glossary
It will, therefore, be apparent that when the system is viewed in reverse order and the physical plane is counted as the first (as it often is when considering it as the field of strictly human evolution), that the third plane—the mental plane—comes under the same group of correspondences and Agni, as the energising factor of the dense physical body of the Logos, or as the fire of His most concrete manifestation, vitalising, warming and holding all together, has to be considered.
Three hierarchies are, in this mahamanvantara, of profound significance, the fourth or human Creative Hierarchy, and the two deva hierarchies, the fifth and sixth.
The fourth Hierarchy in the larger scheme is literally the ninth, for five hierarchies have earlier passed on and are considered as pure abstractions. In this system concretion concerns us, and the blending of form and of energy into one coherent whole. In the ninth, tenth and eleventh Hierarchies lie the clue to the nature of Agni, the Lord of fire, the sumtotal of systemic vitality. He who understands the significance of these figures, and their relation to each other as the triple division of a Unity in time and space will have discovered [Page 606] one of the keys which will unlock a door hitherto fast closed. They are the numbers of achievement, of potentiality brought into full activity and of innate capacity demonstrating in perfect fruition. All potentiality lies in the vitalising, energising power of Agni, and in His ability to stimulate. He is life itself, and the driving force of evolution, of psychic development and of consciousness. This fact is hidden in these figures, and not the evolution of substance, which is but a result, emanating from psychic causes. These three numbers are the basis of the cyclic calculations which concern the egoic cycles, and the cycles of Vishnu, as distinguished from the cycles dealing with the third aspect. Occult students have not sufficiently grasped the fact that objectivity is an inevitable result of an inner conscious subjective life. When this is better apprehended, bodies on the physical plane, for instance, will be purified, developed and beautified through a scientific attention paid to the development of the psyche, to the unfoldment of the Ego, and to the stimulation of the egoic vibration. The cause will be dealt with and not the effect, and hence the growing appreciation by the human family of the study of psychology, even though as yet they are but studying the kama-manasic body, and have not reached back to the egoic consciousness. The lunar Lords have had their day; now Agni, as the solar Lord of life and energy, will assume due importance in human life.
c. Agni and the Three Fires.
In studying the manifestation of Agni in the solar system it should be remembered that we are considering here His essential nature as actuating fire. We have seen that He is the threefold logoic personality, but He is the threefold Logos in a subjective sense, and the form aspect is only subsidiary. Perhaps a tabulation may make this point clearer.
TABULATION V -- AGNI—LORD OF FIRE
Aspect Fire Result Subjective Origin Objective
Manifestation of Energy Manifestation
First, Electric Fire Activity of The One Life. Central The solar system
Will Spirit Unity. Spiritual Sun (etheric and dense)
Second, Solar Fire Activity of The seven The Heart of the The seven Rays
Love-Wisdom Consciousness. Heavenly Men. Sun manifesting
Egoism. The seven Rays. through the seven
Vitality. The seven types of planetary schemes
Third, Fire by Friction Activity in The seven fires. The physical Sun The seven planes
Activity Matter. The akasha.
Each of these three aspects of the One Fire, showing as the Creative Fire, Preserving Fire, and Destroying Fire, must be studied as electrical phenomena, and this under the aspects of light, flame, and heat, of electricity, radiance and motion, of will, desire and action. Only thus will the true nature of Agni be apprehended. As the logoic personality He is demonstrating through a triplicity of sheaths forming a unity, and only thus will it become apparent why at this stage in evolution the material aspect is the most considered.
The entire system is the physical sheath of the Logos and consequently the most easily cognised, for the Logos is as yet centred in His cosmic sheaths and can only reveal Himself through their medium.
Man's just apprehension of this mystery of electricity will only come about as he studies himself, and knows himself to be a triple fire, manifesting in many aspects.
MAN, A FIRE
Monadic fire Electric fire Spirit Will The Central Spiritual Sun.
Egoic fire Solar fire Consciousness The Heart Love-Wisdom of the Sun.
Personality fire Fire by friction Physical man Physical Sun.
Each of these fires can also be studied in a threefold manner and under three aspects.
Will aspect Electric fire Flame Spiritual Will.
Love-wisdom Solar fire Light Spiritual Love.
Active Fire by friction Heat Spiritual
Will Atma Electric fire The spark Conscious; The Jewel intheLotus
Love- Buddhi Solar fire The rays Conscious Wisdom The twelve-petalled lotus.
Active Manas Fire by friction Active Substance Conscious Intelligence The permanent atoms.
Will Mental body Electric fire Lower mind Thought
Love Astral body Solar fire Kama Desire
Activity Physical body Fire by friction Prana Activity
I seek to emphasise here the fact that in this threefold manifestation there is a ninefold unfoldment. It should ever be borne in mind that seven is the number which governs the evolution of substance and of form building in the solar system, but that nine is the number governing the development of the consciousness within that form of the psyche. This is seen in the sevenfold display of logoic life through the planetary scheme, and the ninefold nature of egoic unfoldment.
If the student here substitutes for the words, Monad, Ego and personality, the three aspects of the Logos, and will bear in mind that as yet all that he can ascertain or cognise is the lowest of the logoic manifestations—the personality—it will be apparent why so much must remain mysterious to even the higher grades of initiates, and why even the perfected Dhyan Chohan cannot penetrate the secrets of the Logos outside His system.89 They [Page 610] can cognise much concerning Agni, the Lord of Fire, but until They can contact that of which He is an emanation, a reflection or a ray, there is a limit to what may be known. TCF 610
Agni is Fohat, the threefold Energy (emanating from the logoic Ego) which produces the solar system, the physical vehicle of the Logos, and animates the atoms of substance. He is the basis of the evolutionary process, or the cause of the psychic unfoldment of the Logos, and He is that vitality which ultimately brings about a divine synthesis in which the form approximates subjective demand, and after being consciously directed, and manipulated, is finally discarded. This is the goal for the Logos as it is for man; this marks the final liberation of a human being, of a Heavenly Man and of a solar Logos.
We could divide the process into three periods:
First. The period wherein the fire of matter (the heat of mother) hides, nourishes and brings to birth the infant Ego. This is the period of purely personality life, when the third aspect dominates, and man is in the veil of illusion.
Second. The period wherein the Ego, or subjective life within the form, passes through certain stages of unfoldment, and comes to an ever fuller consciousness. This is the period of egoic development, and is produced by the gradual merging and blending of the two fires. It is the life of service and of the Path.
Third. The period wherein the egoic consciousness itself is superseded by spiritual realisation, and the fire of Spirit blends with the other two.
At first the personality acts the part of mother, or of material aspect, to the germ of the inner life. Then [Page 611] the Ego manifests its life within the personal life, and produces a shining forth which "groweth ever more and more until the perfect day."90 At that perfect day of revelation it is seen what man in essence is, and the Spirit within is revealed. This can be studied from the Christian angle, and Paul was but voicing an occult truth when he enunciated the facts concerning the birth of the Christ within the heart, and the growth of the higher life at the expense of the lower. Thus also can it be taught along occult, and not mystic, lines in the recognition (by science) of the vitalisation of the permanent atoms (the force centres of the sheaths or substance), of the unfoldment of the egoic lotus, and the awakening of its petals, and in the final revelation of the jewel in the lotus.
All that can be said of man can be predicated of the Logos on an inconceivably greater scale. As man discovers the laws of his own material sheaths—the laws of substance—he is ascertaining the nature of the fires of the outer man or Fohat, as he vitalises the logoic vehicle; the fires of his own sheaths are aspects of Agni as the fire of matter. As he ascertains the nature of consciousness, and the laws of psychical unfoldment he is studying the nature of the vitality of the subjective man, and the laws of conscious being, thus studying Agni as He manifests as Light and Cool Radiance, shining through the vehicle. Later (for the time is not yet) as he comes to comprehend the nature of his Monad, the spiritual or essential life which is developing consciousness by means of the sheaths, he will discover the nature of Agni as He shews forth as pure electricity. Even though this is not yet possible, nevertheless the statement as to the lines of investigation which can be pursued, and the realisation of that which may eventually [Page 612] be achieved, may cause men's minds to turn to the study of the real and of the true.TCF 612
Students of the Secret Doctrine when they read carelessly are apt to consider Him only as the fire of matter and omit to note that He is Himself the sumtotal—and this is especially the case when they find that Agni is the Lord of the mental plane.88 He is the animating life of the solar system, and that life is the life of [Page 603] God, the energy of the Logos, and the manifestation of the radiance which veils the Central Sun. Only as He is recognised as Fohat, the energy of matter, as Wisdom, the nature of the Ego and its motivation, and as essential unity, can any due conception be arrived at as to His nature or being. He is not the solar Logos on the cosmic mental plane, for the egoic consciousness of the Logos is more than His physical manifestation, but Agni is the sumtotal of that portion of the logoic Ego which is reflected down into His physical vehicle; He is the life of the logoic Personality, with all that is included in that expression. He is to the solar Logos on His own plane what the coherent personality of a human being is to his Ego in the causal body. This is a very important point to be grasped, and if meditated upon will bring to the student much enlightenment. His is the life that fuses and blends the threefold nature of the Logos when in physical incarnation; His is the coherent force that makes a unity of the triple logoic Personality, but man can only arrive at His essential nature by the study of the logoic physical vehicle—hence the difficulty; he can only understand by a consideration of His psychic emanation as it can be sensed and viewed by passing the history of the races in retrospect. Man's personality reveals his nature as his life progresses; his psychic quality unfolds as the years slip away, and when he passes out of incarnation he is spoken of in terms of quality, good or bad, selfish or unselfish; the effect of his "emanation" during life is that which remains in men's minds. Thus only can the logoic personality express itself, and our knowledge of His nature is consequently limited by our close perspective, and handicapped by the fact that we are participants in His life, and integral parts of His manifestation. TCF 604
First of all, a preliminary period of emergence into the public consciousness, and thus of making its presence felt. This will be done through the steady communication of the new ideals and the constant emphasis laid upon the essential oneness of all humanity. It will [Page 425] be the result of the uniformity and inclusiveness of the note sounded by one here and another there. During this stage there must be no hurried work and no precipitate action of any kind. The growth of the group and of its ideas will be slow and sure. The group exists already. It has not to be formed and organised, and there is therefore for none of you the assuming of any sense of responsibility nor the organising of any activity desired to lure these disciples, who have chosen thus to work subjectively, into publicity. Such are not the methods approved by the Elder Brothers of the race, nor is it the way that They Themselves work.
Know each of you for yourselves whether you stand for the new position, the new attitude towards work, and for the subjective method. Decide once and for all whether you prefer to work in the old exoteric ambitious manner, building and vitalising an organisation, and so producing all the mechanism which goes with such a method of work. Remember that such groups are still greatly needed and are useful. It is not yet the new age and the little ones must not be left exposed to the new forces, nor turned out bereft of the nursery to which they naturally belong.
Should the new mode of work appeal to you, see to it that the personality is subordinated, that the life of meditation is kept paramount in importance, that sensitivity to the subjective realm is cultivated, and any necessary outer activities are handled from within outwards. Avoid a purely mystical introspection or its opposite extreme, an over-emphasised organising spirit, remembering that a life of truly occult meditation must inevitably produce outer happenings, but that these objective results are produced by an inner growth and not by an outer activity. An ancient Scripture teaches this truth in the following terms:
"When the sun progresses into the mansion of the serving man, the way of life takes the place of the way of work. Then the tree of life grows until its branches shelter all the sons of men. The building of the Temple and the carrying of the stones cease. The growing trees are seen; the buildings disappear. Let the sun pass into its appointed place, and in this day and generation attend ye to the roots of growth."
Little groups will spring up here and there whose members respond to the new note and whose growth into the world group will be watched over by one or more working disciples. But these latter do not organise the groups; they grow as a man in this place and another in that place awakens to the new vision or comes into incarnation in order to take his place in the work and bring in the new era. These groups will demonstrate no sense of separateness; they will be unaware of personal or of group ambition; they will recognise their unity with all that exists, and will stand before the world as examples of pure living, constructive building, creative activity subordinated to the general purpose, beauty and inclusiveness. Perhaps in the early stages of integration, the words friendliness and cooperativeness best describe them. They are not interested in dogmas or doctrines and have no shibboleths. Their outstanding characteristic will lie in individual and group freedom from a critical spirit. This non-criticism will not grow out of an inability to see error, or failure to measure up to an idea; falsity, impurity and weakness will be recognised for what they are, but when noted will only serve to evoke a loving helpfulness.
Little by little these groups will come to know each other and to meet with one another at set times and places. They will come to these mutual conferences with no desire to impress one another and with no thought of relative numerical strength; they will demonstrate no ambition to increase their ranks. How should they when [Page 427] they know themselves all to be members of the one world Group? They have no teaching to give of a doctrinal nature and will not seek to demonstrate learning. They will meet solely to discuss modes of world helpfulness, the formation of a platform so universal and composed of such basic truths that it can be presented under all the varying methods and utilise the many terminologies. They will endeavour to employ each other's terms, and to familiarise themselves with each other's approach to reality and symbology.
Little by little also the special contribution and note of each group will be recognised and where a need exists for just that special approach and the particular note or method of interpretation in any part of the world, there will be an immediate and united impulse to facilitate the work that that special group could do in that place.
These groups, with the one subjective group of conscious living souls behind them, will be too busy with world service and interests to waste time on trifling nonessentials. They will not have the time to play around with group names and insignia and badges and the technicalities of fraternities when they meet together. World needs, world opportunities, and the rapid development of the consciousness of mankind and the initiation of humanity into the spiritual realities will so engross their attention that they will have no interest in purely physical plane arrangements, nor in laying the emphasis upon their own personal growth. They will be well aware that response to world need in service and the life of focussed meditation will promote their growth. Their eyes are not upon themselves, upon their own good characters, or upon their individual accomplishments.
Later as a result of their telepathic relationship and their united conferences, there may emerge certain esoteric groups and schools for development in order more rapidly to equip them for world service. In these schools [Page 428] modes of meditation, the intensification of vibration and the laws of the universe will be taught, and the right use of colour and of sound. But all will be subordinated to the idea of service and the uplift of humanity. Also the schools referred to in Letters on Occult Meditation will gradually come into being.
But what use is it for me to forecast the future in more explicit terms and hold out a picture of an intriguing quality when at the present time the integration of the group of world mystics and its close welding is not an accomplished fact?
World unity, brotherhood in its true sense, the growth of telepathic interplay, the elimination of the non-essentials which serve to separate the thoughts of men and bring about separateness on the physical plane, and the laying of a true emphasis upon the fundamentals of the Ageless Wisdom, the manifestation of a true understanding, the bringing about of at-one-ment with the soul, the recognition of those who belong to the group of world Saviours—this is the immediate work to be done and this must engross your attention.
This and this alone warrants the expenditure of all that any of you have to give—love and life, time and money.
This and this alone justifies your existence and calls forth from all of you who respond to the vision that utter self-sacrifice which is so rare and so far-reaching in its effects. The casting of all that one has at the feet of the Lord of Life in order that the work of world salvage may go forward, the elimination out of one's life of all that can possibly hinder, the giving of all that one has until it hurts to give, the ruling of one's life on the basis of surrender, asking oneself all the time: What can I relinquish in order that I may help more adequately? That and more than that lies ahead of all of you who hear the call and respond to the need and opportunity.
Let me tell you this—this group now in process of becoming, will in time develop its own "yoga" and school of training which will gradually supersede that of the raja yoga and bhakti yoga schools. The method of training will only be given to those who have trained the mind and learnt to control the emotions. Hence the key to what is now going on. The mode of training will be no easy short cut to the goal. Only the intelligent can attain it and only coordinated personalities will be eligible to the teaching. The keynote of the new yoga will be synthesis; its objective will be conscious development of the intuitive faculty. This development will fall into two categories: first, the development of the intuition and of true spiritual perception, and secondly, the trained utilisation of the mind as an interpreting agent.
In the book Agni Yoga, some of the teaching to be given has filtered through but only from the angle of the will aspect. No book has as yet made its appearance which gives in any form whatsoever the "yoga of synthesis". We have had "bhakti yoga" or union through devotion. Raja Yoga is now receiving emphasis, which is union through the mind. It sounds like a redundancy to speak of union through synthesis, but it is not so. It is union through identification with the whole—not union through realisation or through vision. Mark well this distinction, for it holds the secret of the next step for the personalities of the race. The Bhagavad Gita gives us primarily the key to the yoga of devotion. Patanjali teaches us the yoga of the mind. In the Gospel story we have the portrayal of realisation, but the key or the secret of identification is still withheld. It lies in the custody of a few in this integrating group of mystics and knowers and will be brought out into manifestation in the furnace of their individual experience and thus given to the world. But the time is not yet. The group must grow in strength and knowledge and in intuitive perception.
You ask me: What keeps a man from becoming a member of such a group? I tell you with emphasis that four things only keep a man from affiliation.
First: an uncoordinated personality. This involves necessarily an untrained mind and a feeble intellect.
Second: a sense of separateness, of distinction, and of being set apart or different from one's fellow men.
Third: the possession of a creed. No matter how good a formula of beliefs it may be, it inevitably produces exclusiveness. It bars some out.
Fourth: pride and ambition. TOWM 430
b. Agni and the Mental Plane.
I seek to deal with a very important point here, emphasising the close connection between Agni, the sumtotal of the life force of the logoic threefold personality, as He is seen at work on the mental plane (which closely concerns man), and that manifesting driving force or intelligent will which emanates from the cosmic mental plane. There is a very interesting series of correspondences to be worked out here and we might briefly indicate the lines to be followed in this connection by the ensuing tabulation:
Thee 5th cosmic plane The cosmic mental.
The 5th systemic plane The mental plane.
The 5th subplane of the physical The gaseous.
The 5th principle Manas.
The 5th Law Fixation, the Law of Concretion.
The 5th Ray Concrete knowledge.
The 5th round The round of manasic attainment.
The 5th root-race The Aryan. Mental development.
The 5th sub-race The Teutonic and Anglo-Saxon. Concrete mind.
The 5th group of Devas Fire Devas of the mental plane.
The 5th Manvantara Three-fifths of the manasaputras achieve.
The 5th scheme The Lord of concrete science.
The 5th Mahamanvantara (or solar system) The solar Logos achieves His fifth major Initiation.
The 5th chain Principal evolution—fire devas.
The 5th Hierarchy The greater Builders.
Vibrations of fifth order Manasic.
It will, therefore, be apparent that when the system is viewed in reverse order and the physical plane is counted as the first (as it often is when considering it as the field of strictly human evolution), that the third plane—the mental plane—comes under the same group of correspondences and Agni, as the energising factor of the dense physical body of the Logos, or as the fire of His most concrete manifestation, vitalising, warming and holding all together, has to be considered. TCf 605
Agni........Electric fire.........Spirit......Central Spiritual Sun..Energy
Surya......Solar fire............Vishnu....Heart of the Sun.........Light
Brahma...Fire by friction..................Physical visible Sun....Fohat
As electric fire the Logos manifests as the seven aspects of Will, spiritual impulse or purpose.
As solar fire He manifests as the seven Rays, or as the Light of Wisdom, the Consciousness, radiating through the form.
As fire by friction He manifests as the seven Sons of Fohat, the seven great fires, or the active heat of intelligent substance.
These three aspects of the God of Fire, and of the fire of God, are the three Entities of the logoic Trinity, and each in turn manifests through seven other Entities Who form their total manifestation.
Sevenfold electric fire. The seven types of spiritual existences, or the seven Spirits before the Throne in Their essential essence; the dynamic force or will lying back of all manifestation. They form on their own plane in a peculiar sense the logoic "Jewel in the Lotus," and [Page 629] hence are inconceivable to our intelligence in this solar system, as They are not revealed until the "Son be made perfect," or the logoic consciousness is fully awakened. They are esoterically the "Spirits of Darkness."
Sevenfold solar fire. The seven Heavenly Men, the sumtotal of Light, the seven Rays of manifestation of the Spiritual Sun. In time and space these seven Rays of Light become the nine (the major three, with the third demonstrating as seven) and are thus esoterically the nine petals of the logoic Ego as He manifests in His physical vehicle. They are esoterically the "Sons of Light."
Sevenfold fire by friction. The seven brothers of Fohat. The seven manifestations of electricity, or of electrical phenomena. These are the seven Raja-Lords or Devas of the seven planes; they are the seven Fires, or those seven states of activity through which consciousness is expressing itself. They are the vehicles of consciousness and the seven vibrations. They are esoterically the "Brothers of energy."
Therefore it will be apparent that the sumtotal of logoic manifestation as it can be seen in existence in time and space is:
Seven Spirits...............sevenfold will.
Seven Rays.................sevenfold quality or psyche.
Seven Deva Lords......sevenfold form.
The latter are literally the seven spirillae, or force vibrations within the logoic physical permanent atom. This needs to be carefully borne in mind and pondered upon. The seven Rays are the sumtotal of the psychic nature of the Logos, as it radiates through His physical form—His seven qualities, the aggregate of the expression of His desire, or love nature. The seven Spirits are the sumtotal of His Will-to-be aspect, the synthetic Life of His total manifestation, that which causes the persistence [Page 630] of the form, and its evolution for as long as the logoic Ego seeks physical existence. TCF 630
I would point out that the Lord Agni shows forth His fiery life on the atomic subplane of each plane; He shows forth as solar fire on the second, third and fourth, and as 'fire by friction' on the fifth, sixth and seventh. From the point of view of the microcosm, the Spark in the Flame, man demonstrates as electric fire on the second plane, or the second cosmic ether; as solar fire on the third, fourth and the three higher subplanes of the fifth [Page 522] plane, and as fire by friction on the lower subplanes of the fifth, on the sixth, and seventh planes. TCF 522
4. We are told in A Treatise on Cosmic Fire that in the ninth, tenth and eleventh Hierarchies (counting from the bottom upwards) lies the clue to the nature of Agni, the Lord of Fire, the sum total of systemic vitality. EA 36
Speaking cosmically, and regarding the solar system as itself a cosmic atom, we would consider that:
The abstractions or entities who indwell the form are "electric fire."
The material substance which is enclosed within the ring-pass-not viewing it as a homogeneous whole, is "fire by friction."
The fire devas from the cosmic mental plane (of whom Agni and Indra are the embodiers along with one whose name is not to be given) are the external agencies who carry on cosmic transmutation.
This triple statement can be applied to a scheme, a chain, or a globe also, remembering ever that in connection [Page 494] with man the fire which is his third aspect emanates from the systemic mental. TCF 494
1. The lowest types of devas or builders on the evolutionary Path are violet devas; next come the green, and, last of all, the white devas. These are all dominated by a fourth and special group. These control the exoteric processes of physical plane existence.
2. It must not be forgotten, however, that, on a lower scale of the evolutionary ladder, are other groups of lives, wrongly entitled devas, which work in obedience to the law, and are controlled by the higher entities. There are, for instance, the denser forms of gaseous life, termed often salamanders, the elementals of the fire. These are directly under the control of the Lord Agni, Lord of the mental plane, and, in this mental age, we have the element of fire entering into the mechanics of living as never before. Eliminate the products which are controlled by heat and you will bring our civilisation to a stop; you will bring all means of transportation to an end and all modes of lighting; you would throw all manufactories into the discard. Basically again, these fiery lives, are found in all that burns, and in the warmth that holds all life formation on earth and causes the flourishing of all living things.
3. Under the Law of Correspondences the mental plane has an analogy in the third subplane of the physical plane, the plane into which science is now entering. Mind has, for its main expression in the material world what we call our scientific civilisation.
4. Agni rules on the mental plane, and has domination likewise on the third subplane of the etheric planes. He [Page 390] is the Lord of the fifth or mental plane, counting from above downwards, if one must employ these terms for the sake of symbolism. For this world cycle, Agni is the dominating influence, though Indra, Lord of the buddhic or intuitional level has a subtle control which is steadily waxing stronger. All humanity is striving towards the fourth plane of union between the three higher and the three lower, but, at this present moment, the plane of mind or of fire is the most important.
5. We need to remember that just as in particular incarnations, men are focussed or polarised in various bodies—sometimes the astral and sometimes the mental—so at this time one might infer that our planetary Logos Himself is focussed in His mental body. He, it has been said, is striving towards the fourth cosmic initiation, which makes possible our attainment of the fourth Initiation, for He carries us forward with Him, and, on our particular level, we achieve as cells in His Body.
6. As time progresses, Indra will swing into control and the age of air will be ushered in. More and more as the buddhic principle manifests and at-one-ment is achieved shall we see this age of air coming into being. A corroboration of this can be seen in the gradual control by men of the air. In an esoteric sense, all in the future will become lighter, more rarefied and more etherealized. I am choosing my words with care.
7. "Our God is a consuming Fire" refers primarily to Agni, the controlling factor in this age. The devas of the fire will play an increasingly important part in all earth processes. To them is given the work of inaugurating the New Age, the new world and civilisation and the new continent. The last great transition was governed by Varuna.
8. Agni controls not only the fires of the earth and rules the mental plane but he is definitely associated with [Page 391] the work of arousing the sacred fire, the kundalini. Note how the correspondence works out. A great part of the fifth root-race, three-fifths perhaps, stand close to the Probationary Path, and with the coming in of the new age and the advent of the Christ in due time and in His own place (note the care with which I express this; dogmatic assertions in terms of men's concrete minds are inadvisable) many will find it possible to make the adequate extra effort, entailed in the taking of the first major Initiation. They will begin to pass from the fifth to the fourth plane. The Lord of Fire will achieve his peculiar work for this cycle by arousing the fire of kundalini in the large numbers of those who are ready. This will be begun in this century, and carried forward actively for the next one thousand years. TOWM 391
Today we have reached a crisis in the field of human apprehension and can now enter into a new era wherein illusion can be dispelled and thinkers can begin to register accurately and without misapprehension that which the intuitives convey to them. This statement does not as yet apply to the [Page 178] general public. It will be a long time before they will respond without illusion, because illusion is based upon the thoughtform-building activity of the lower mind. The masses are just beginning to use that lower mind and illusion is, therefore, for them a necessary stage of testing and training and one through which they must pass or they will lose much valuable experience, leaving undeveloped their powers of discrimination. This is a point which all teachers of occultism should have in mind. It is essential consequently that the masses are taught the significance of illusion and be trained to see and choose the kernel of pure truth in any presentation of truth with which they may be confronted. It is essential likewise that the world intuitives learn to use and control and understand the faculty of spiritual perception, of divine isolation and appropriate response which characterises the intuition. This they can do through the practice of the Technique of the Presence, but not as it is usually taught and presented.
Perhaps I shall make my meaning clearer if I state that this technique falls into certain scientific lines or modes of work, for which much of the training given in schools of true meditation and in the Raja Yoga systems have prepared the aspirant. These stages begin where the usual formulas leave off, and pre-suppose facility in approach the Angel or the soul, and an ability to raise the consciousness to a point of soul fusion. I will list the processes or stages as follows:
1. The evocation of the stage of tension. This is basic and essential. It is a tension brought about by complete control of the personal self so that it is "fitted for contact with the real."
2. The achieving of a state of fusion with the soul or with the Angel which guards the approach to the Path of the Higher Evolution.
3.The holding of the mind steady in the light of the soul, which remains the attitude of the lower self for the entire remaining period of work, held at the point of tension by the soul and not by an effort of the personality. The soul undertakes this holding when the personal self has done its utmost to achieve the desired tension.
These are the three preliminary steps for which the practice of alignment should have prepared the student of the higher mysteries. These steps must precede all effort to develop the intuition, and this may take several months (or even years) of careful preparation. Fire is the symbol of the mind and these are the first three stages of the Agni Yoga discipline or of the yoga of fire for which Raja Yoga has prepared the student.
Next come six more stages in the Technique, and these must be thoroughly understood and form the basis of prolonged brooding and intelligent reflection, carried on whilst the daily avocations and duties are being performed and not carried out at certain set times. The trained intuitive or disciple lives ever the dual life of mundane activity and of intense and simultaneous spiritual reflection. This will be the outstanding characteristic of the Western disciple in contradistinction to the Eastern disciple who escapes from life into the silent places and away from the pressures of daily living and constant contact with others. The task of the Western disciple is much harder, but that which he will prove to himself and to the world as a whole will be still higher. This is to be expected if the evolutionary process means anything. The Western races must move forward into spiritual supremacy, without obliterating the Eastern contribution, and the functioning of the Law of Rebirth holds the clue to this and demonstrates this necessity. The [Page 180] tide of life moves from East to West as moves the sun, and those who in past centuries struck the note of Eastern mysticism must strike and are now striking the note of Western occultism. Therefore, the following stages must follow upon the three earlier. We will continue with the numbering as given, for what I here suggest is a formula for a more advanced meditation attitude. I said not form.
4. Definite and sustained effort to sense the Presence throughout the Universe in all forms and in all presentations of truth. This could be expressed in the words: "the effort to isolate the germ or seed of divinity which has brought all forms into being." I would point out that this is not the attainment of a loving attitude and a sentimental approach to all people and circumstances. That is the mystical way and though not intended to be negated in the disciple's life, is not used at this time in the process of effective approach. It is the effort primarily to see in the light which the Angel radiates the point of light behind all phenomenal appearances. This is, therefore, the transference of the mystical vision to the higher levels of awareness. It is not the vision of the soul but the vision or the spiritual sensing of that which the light of the soul can aid in revealing. The flickering soul light in the personal self has enabled the disciple to see the vision of the soul and in that light to reach union with the soul, even if only temporarily. Now the greater light of the soul becomes focussed like a radiant sun and it reveals in its turn a still more stupendous vision—that of the Presence, of which the Angel is the guarantee and promise. As the light of the Moon is the guarantee that the light of the Sun exists, so the light of the Sun is the guarantee, did you but know it, of a still greater light.
5. Then, having sensed the Presence—not theoretically but in vibrating response to its Existence—there next comes the stage of the ascertaining of the Purpose. Hope of identification with the purpose lies too far ahead even for the average initiate, under the status of Master. With that unattainable stage (for us) we are not concerned. But we are concerned with the effort to achieve an understanding of that which through the medium of form is seeking to embody the high purpose at any particular point in the evolutionary cycle. This is possible and has been achieved down the ages by those who have rightly approached and duly reflected upon the Way of the Higher Evolution. This Way is revealed to the disciple, e'en though it may not concern the intuitive message which he may bring back from his high adventure.
6. He then carries some world problem, some design which his mind has evolved or his heart desired for the helping of humanity into what is esoterically called "the triple light of the intuition." This light is formed by the blending of the light of the personal self, focussed in the mind, the light of the soul, focussed in the Angel, and the universal light which the Presence emits; this, when done with facility through concentration and long practice, will produce two results:
a. There will suddenly dawn upon the disciple's waiting mind (which still remains the agent of reception) the answer to his problem, the clue to what is needed to bring relief to humanity, the information desired which, when applied, will unlock some door in the realm of science, psychology or religion. This door, when opened, will bring relief or release to many. As before I have told you, the intuition is never concerned [Page 182] with individual problems or enquiries, as so many self-centred aspirants think. It is purely impersonal and only applicable to humanity in a synthetic sense.
b. The "intruding agent of light" (as the Old Commentary calls these adventuring intuitives) is recognised as one to whom can be entrusted some revelation, some new impartation of truth, some significant expansion from a seed of truth already given to the race. He then sees a vision, hears a voice, registers a message, or—highest form of all—he becomes a channel of power and light to the world, a conscious Embodiment of divinity, or a Custodian of a divine principle. These forms constitute true revelation, imparted or embodied; they are still rare but will increasingly be developed in humanity.
7. The next few stages are called, in preparation for the revelation:
a. The relinquishing of the Higher Way.
b. The return to the Angel, or a refocussing in the soul.
c. A pause or interlude for constructive thinking, under the influence of the Angel.
d. The turning of the mind to the formulation of those forms of thought which must embody the revelation.
e. Then again a pause which is called "the pause preceding presentation."
8. The presentation of the revelation or of the imparted truth and its precipitation into the world of illusion comes next. In that world of illusion, it undergoes the "fiery ordeal" wherein "some of the fire within that which is revealed wings its way back to the source from whence it came; some of it serves to destroy the revealer, [Page 183] and some to burn those who recognise the revelation." This is a phase of Agni Yoga which, as you can see, is only for those who can penetrate beyond the Angel into the place "where fire dwelleth," and where God, the Presence, functions as a consuming fire and waits for the hour of total revelation. This is a symbolic rendering of a great truth. In the case of the individual initiate, the third initiation, the Transfiguration, marks the consummation of the process. Only glory then is seen: only the voice of the Presence is heard and union with the past, the present and the future is reached.
9. The succumbing of the revelation to the prevailing illusion, its descent into the world of glamour, and its subsequent disappearance as a revelation and its emergence as a doctrine. But, in the meantime, humanity has been helped and led forward; the intuitives continue to work and the inflow of that which is to be revealed never ceases.
This basic technique underlies both primary and secondary revelations. In the case of the first, the time cycle is long; in the second, the time cycle is short. A very good instance of this process is demonstrated by one of the secondary points of revelation in connection with the teaching which emanated from the Hierarchy (the Custodian of secondary revelations, as Shamballa is of primary) fifty years ago and which took the form of The Secret Doctrine. H.P.B. was the "penetrating, sensing, appropriating intuitive." The revelation she conveyed followed the accustomed routine of all secondary revelation from the Source to the outer plane. There the minds of men, veiled by illusion and clouded by glamour, formulated it into an inelastic doctrine, recognising no further revelation and holding steadily—many of the theosophical groups—that The Secret Doctrine was a final [Page 184] revelation and that naught must be recognised but that book and naught deemed correct but their interpretations of that book. If they are correct, then evolutionary revelation is ended and the plight of humanity is hard indeed. Glamour 183
Each era chooses its corresponding Teaching. At such hour, all former Teachings assume a quite distorted image. Humanity itself seeks to adopt the most twisted perversions of the reverence of its fore. fathers. But each phase of the Teaching does not exclude the preceding one. Little attention is paid to this fact, as the priests of every Teaching build their welfare by a denial of the previous Teachings. But it is easy to prove the continuity of that which people call religion. In this incessancy is sensed the one stream of the very same energy. Calling it psychic energy, we speak of the same Sophia of the Hellenic world or Sarasvati of the Hindus. The Holy Ghost of the Christians manifests signs of psychic energy, just as the creative Adonai of Israel, and Mitra, full of solar power. Certainly, no one doubts that the fire of Zoroaster is the fire of space which you study.
Psychic energy binds the fire with Materia Matrix; and the Teaching of Agni Yoga is nothing else than the exposition of the contemporary application of energy, the stream of which is approaching with Satya Yuga. This is not a sharpening of dormant possibility but the enlightenment due at this time. Therefore, I say, the Teaching cannot be given for money, nor can it be imposed; but it signifies the New Era. One can disregard it or deny it, but its heralding is inescapable.
One can understand this epoch either as it merits or in a distorted way, but its approach is undeniable. One can annihilate instantaneously that which took centuries to construct, but from madness only madness can be born. And are not they mad who would try to exist without a mind? And what mind is not nurtured by psychic energy? Why to search the spring in the darkness of unconsciousness, when it is easy to kindle the inextinguishable fire and to approach in full consciousness? AY 416
Agni Yoga is ended. There will be additions to the next part, and there will be experiences and observations on the conception and growth of the Fiery Flower. Apply pure striving! Given in the Valley of the Brahmaputra, which finds its source in the Lake of the Great Nagas, the Guardians of the Covenants of the Rig-Vedas:. I have set down the foundation of Agni Yoga in four directions, as the pistil of a flower.
"I have affirmed Agni Yoga as the pillars of My steps and have received into My Hands the fire of the Stone. To her I gave the fiery Stone, who by Our decision shall be named the Mother of Agni Yoga, because she consecrated herself to the test of the fiery of Space.
"The streams of this Fire were seared upon the Stone in its great flight before the image of the sun.
"A veil of sparks covered the summits of the Protectress of the Snows, when the Stone made its fiery passage from south to north into the Guarded Valley." AY
43. Through fiery aspiration and through the removal of all impurity, comes the perfecting of the bodily powers and of the senses.
Though the two causes of the perfecting process are aspiration and purification, yet these two form really only one and are the two aspects of the discipline of the Probationary Path. The old commentary which forms the esoteric basis of the inner teaching on Raja Yoga has some sentences which will be found of value here in conveying the correct concept:
"As the breath of fire streams upward through the system, as the fiery element makes its presence felt, that which is hindering is seen to disappear, and that which was obscure becomes illuminated.
The fire ascends and barriers are burned; the breath expands, and limitations disappear. The seven, hitherto quiescent, stir to life. The ten portals, sealed and closed or partially ajar, swing wide.
The five great means of contact rush into activity. Obstacles are overcome, and barriers no longer hinder. The purified one becomes the great receiver and the One is known."
In these words the purification by fire and by air is dealt with and this is the purification undergone on the path of yoga. Purification by water has been submitted to in the later stages of the life of the highly evolved man, prior to treading the Path of Discipleship, and is hinted at in the words "waters of sorrow" so often used. Now the fiery ordeal is undergone and the entire lower nature is passed through the fire. This is the first meaning and the one with which the aspirant [Page 209] is most concerned. It is called forth when he can, from his heart, send forth the call for fire, embodied in the words:
"I seek the Way; I yearn to know. Visions I see, and fleeting deep impressions. Behind the Portal, on the other side, lies that which I call home, for the circle hath been well-nigh trod, and the end approacheth the beginning.
I seek the Way. All ways my feet have trod. The Way of Fire calls me with fierce appeal. Naught in me seeks the way of peace; naught in me yearns for earth.
Let the fire rage, the flames devour; let all the dross be burnt;
and let me enter through that Gate, and tread the Way of Fire."
The breath of God is felt as the cleansing breeze also and is the response of the soul to the aspiration of the disciple. The soul then "inspires" the lower man.
The secondary meaning has of course direct reference to the work of the kundalini or serpent fire at the base of the spine as it responds to the soul vibration (felt in the head, in the region of the pineal gland, and called "the light in the head"). Mounting upward, it burns out all obstructions in the spinal etheric channel and vitalizes or electrifies the five centres up the spine and the two in the head. The vital airs within the ventricles of the head are also swept into activity and produce a cleansing, or rather eliminating effect therein. With this the student has as yet nothing to do, beyond seeing to it that as far as in him lies, the aspiration of his heart is of the needed "fiery" character, and that the steady purification of his physical, emotional and mental [Page 210] nature, proceeds as desired. When this is the case, the response of the soul will be effective and the consequent reactions within the etheric centres will take place safely, under law, and normally.
The three verses quoted above deal with,
a. The seven centres, hitherto quiescent,
b. The ten closed portals, the ten orifices of the physical body,
c. The five senses, through which contact with the physical plane takes place, and in these terms the entire outgoing and ingoing activities of the physical plane man are comprehended.
When these have all been brought under the direction of the soul, or inner ruler, then unity with the soul is effected, and consequently identification with that one in whom we live and move and have our being. LOS 209
In the section with which we are now concerned we shall consider the practical ways in which illusion, glamour and the power of maya can be brought to an end in the life of the individual, and eventually in the life of nations and finally in the world. Always we must begin with the unity of life, the Microcosm; then, having grasped process and progress in connection with the individual, the idea can then be extended to the group, the organisation, the nation, and to humanity as a whole. Thus gradually we shall approach the great Idea to which we give the name of God, the Macrocosm.
We shall in this section deal with techniques, and these might be summarised as follows:
1. The Technique of the Presence. By means of this technique, the soul assumes control of the integrated personality and of its relations, horizontal and vertical. This technique involves the unfolding of the flower of the intuition, dispelling illusion, revealing the Angel, indicating the Presence, and opening up to the disciple the world of ideas and the door of the higher initiations. Through the disciple's grasp and application of these divine ideas or seed thoughts, he becomes initiate and the third initiation becomes possible as an immediate goal. The intuition is the applied power of transfiguration. This technique is related to the little known yoga called Agni Yoga or the yoga of fire.
2. The Technique of Light. By means of this technique, the illumined mind assumes control over the astral or emotional body and dissipates glamour. When light pours in, glamour fades out. Illumination dominates and the vision [Page 172] of reality can be seen. This technique is related to Raja Yoga and its goal is the second initiation; it produces ability to tread the Path of Discipleship, and enables the man to "live a life, enlightened by divinity." Illumination is the applied power of transformation.
3. The Technique of Indifference. By means of this technique, maya is ended; for the control of the purified astral vehicle is consciously and technically brought into activity, producing the freeing of the energies of the etheric body from the control of matter or force-substance, and bringing men in large numbers on to the Probationary Path. Where there is "divine indifference" to the call or pull of matter, then inspiration becomes possible. This technique is related to Karma Yoga in its most practical form and the use of matter with complete impersonality. The goal of this technique is the first initiation, which enables man to "live a life, inspired by God." Inspiration is the applied power of transmission. Glamour 183
The fires of living energy circulate around each individual petal and the method of interweaving and the circulation of the fires is (as may be well realised) sevenfold in nature according to the sevenfold nature of the Logos involved. Each circle of petals becomes, as evolution proceeds, likewise active, and revolves around the central Jewel, so that we have, not only the activity of the petals, not only the activity of the living points or the deva lives within the petal circumference, but likewise the unified activity of each tier of the threefold lotus. At a specific stage in evolution, prior to the opening of the central veiling bud, the three tiers of petals, considered as a unit, begin to revolve, so that the entire lotus appears to be in motion. At the final stages the central circle of petals opens, revealing that which is hid, and revolves around the Jewel, only in a contrary direction to the rapidly circulating outer lotus. The reason may not here be revealed for it is hid in the nature of the electric Fire of Spirit itself.
The Jewel itself remains occultly static, and does not circulate. It is a point of peace; it pulsates rhythmically as does the heart of man, and from it ray forth eight streams of living fire which extend to the tips of the four love petals and the four sacrifice petals. This eight-fold [Page 1119] energy is atma-buddhi. It is this final raying forth which produces the eventual disintegration of the body of the Ego. The knowledge petals, not being the subject of the attention of this central fire in due time cease to be active; knowledge is superseded by divine wisdom and the love petals have their forces equally absorbed. Naught is eventually left but the desire to "sacrifice," and as the vibratory impulse is akin to the nature of the living Jewel, it is synthesised in the central living unit and only the Jewel of fire remains. When all the petals have merged their forces elsewhere, the process of revelation is completed. The lower fires die out; the central fire is absorbed, and only the radiant point of electric fire persists. Then a curious phenomenon is to be seen at the final Initiation. The Jewel of fire blazes forth as seven jewels within the one, or as the sevenfold electric spark, and in the intensity of the blaze thus created is reabsorbed into the Monad or the One. This process is paralleled at the final consummation of solar evolution when the seven Suns blaze forth before the great Pralaya.
All these modes of expression are but pictures which serve to convey some small idea of the beauty, and the intricacy of the divine process as it is carried on in the microcosm, and in the macrocosm. They all serve to limit and circumscribe the reality, but to the man who has the divine eye in process of opening, and to him who has the faculty of the higher intuition awakened, such pictures serve as a clue or key to the higher interpretation. They reveal to the student certain ideas as to the nature of fire. TCF 1119