English translations of selected paragraphs from the book «Wishes to the Leader» (1933) are presented here.
Some phrases there are very different from the Russian original.)
We see an urgent need to publish the set of those paragraphs that were translated into English by Roerich’s team.
«AGNI» — International Roerich Center and Nicholas Roerich Museum in Israel
The welfare of nations is molded around a single personality. There are numerous examples of this throughout history, in the most diverse regions. Many will attribute this evident manifestation to the personality itself. But thus think the short-sighted; those who are far-sighted understand that such synthesis is nothing but the manifestation of the power of Hierarchy.
Actually in all such manifestations the Hierarchy selects a focus upon which a current can be directed. Besides, a personality of this order possesses a fire, realized or unrealized, which makes the communion easy. But also indispensable is a certain quality on the part of the people themselves—trust in and recognition of the power. This quality is needed as a link of the fiery machine.
You yourselves see how nations progress by affirming a Leader. You yourselves see that there is no other way. Thus, the link of Hierarchy must be realized. One should not be short-sighted.
1. The Leader stands on the crest from which there can be no departure. Only a born Leader can find the boundary between opposite conceptions. From the hidden boundaries, victory is built. Every day, every hour, the Leader conquers riddles. Here he finds condescension, and here is want of firmness; of course, one may result from the other, but between the two is a Sword of Justice. For condescension is of Light, but lack of character is of darkness. On the crest between them lies the Sword of the Leader. Narrow is the place wherein the Sword can be laid. Just as narrow is the boundary between courage and cruelty. Only the Leader’s heart can sense the boundary.
The riddle of Justice is not only in great things; the whole life is full of these riddles. Therefore, the Leader never divides things into ‘big’ and ‘small.’ The attention of the Leader is always equally alert regarding all his decisions. The Leader does not ask for advice; however, he is quite ready to accept advice. He is never late, but will not overburden anyone by staying too long. He knows the advantage of appearing unexpectedly; and he can, in advance, calculate how much time is needed for everything. He is not depressed by slander, and he knows how to utilize every word. He cannot be bribed, as earthly wealth does not tempt him. He understands the significance of color and sound, for he is a healer of human hearts. He rejoices at Truth, but he rejects illusion. Thus, the path of the Leader is the path of Truth.
4. Some may ask why I speak of a Leader and not of a Ruler. The difference between them is enormous. The conception of Ruler presupposes the present and the ruling over something already existing, but the Leader manifests the future in the very significance of the word. He has not received anything already built; he leads, and each of his actions impels forward. The Ruler knows that which is already built and accomplished, but the Leader confronts nothing which is already affirmed and must bring the people to the Mount of Perfection. If the burden of the Ruler is great, then the responsibility of the Leader is still greater, and therefore the Highest Powers affirm their Altar there, where there are signs of such Leadership. Precisely the Leader must discriminate between hypocrisy and sincerity. The manifestation of the virtue of the heart differs greatly from a forced servility. The Leader has the power to discern this quality.
Many have read how David interrogated the Highest Powers. He took recourse in this Source in order to avoid unnecessary errors. There are many such instances in the history of different nations. Everyone knows about them. It is not necessary to delve into the ancient times; these signs of Communion and Great Service are apparent in recent events. But we also know that for the High Communion a pure heart is needed. Nothing impure can partake of this Communion, therefore the symbol of the Leader must be the sign of purity of the heart. Not only in actions but in thoughts the Leader carries the welfare of the people. He knows that he is entrusted to bring a full chalice. He does not lose his path in useless wanderings. He will not spill the entrusted chalice. Thus the concept of the Leader is a sign of the future.
5. Remember to what an extent people are in need of the concept of a Leader. They want to have someone who will be a Sponsor before the Highest. They understand how impossible it is to find the path without this link, but they know that the Leader comes. Nothing can ever impede the Leader if he is not held back by the earthly manifestations, which determine his retreat. The pure striving of the Leader cannot be stopped before the appointed time.
7. An invulnerable armor may be of metal or of silk, but the best armor is the fiery one. Can the Leader proceed by the ordained path without the fiery armor? With what other means may one deflect all arrows of malice and swords of hatred? But many Leaders even in their earthly consciousness have felt that they were protected by the fiery armor. Whole books can be written about the magnetism of the destined Leader. It may be observed that neither the outer appearance, nor the voice, nor riches, but something else convinces people. More than once have I spoken about the Fire of the heart. Precisely this armor is a magnet which attracts and protects. As it has been said, “I will receive all arrows in my shield.” But this shield must be forged. This shield can be manifested only from Above. But how many thoughts and discourses must be sent in advance, in order that this Communion be established and the fiery armor forged! One should lose not a day nor an hour, to make the Communion living and ever-present. In error people think that science precludes the Higher World; it can alter earthly nomenclature, but the triune essence remains the basis. The more so does the Leader know wherein is the substance. Perhaps he will not express the Unutterable Word, but he will feel it in his heart. That Word will help the Leader not to lose the universal concept, only this will bring readily the wondrous armor.
16. You will find people who will say—Away with Leaders, away with Teachers, away with Guides! Be assured that they are parasites who feed upon turmoil and decay. Falsehood and oppression lie in the nature of these parasites. Secretly they hoard riches, and are not averse to reaping luxury. Thus one should discern all those who are builders by nature, and those who are destroyers. Thus it is right to abide with those who know the joy of labor. They also know the Guiding Powers and they reverence the Teacher, for their nature is directed toward cooperation.
17. Verily miracles do occur, and it is worth while to live in cognizance of miracles. A great many ready combinations are shattered by blunt denials and by shameful blindness of consciousness.
23. It is necessary to guide the education of a people from the initial instruction of children, from as early an age as possible. The earlier, the better. You may be sure that overfatigue of the brain occurs only from awkwardness. The mother approaching the cradle of her child utters the first formula of instruction: “You can do everything.” Prohibitions are not needed; even the harmful should not be prohibited. It is better instead to turn the attention simply to the more useful and the more attractive. That tutorage will be best which can enhance the attractiveness of the good. Besides, it is not necessary to mutilate beautiful Images for the sake of an imagined childish non-understanding. Do not humiliate the children! Firmly remember that true science is always appealing, brief, precise and beautiful. It is necessary that families possess at least an embryo of understanding of education. After the age of seven years much has been already lost. Usually after the age of three years the organism is full of receptivity. During the first step the hand of the guide must already turn the attention to, and indicate, the far-off worlds. Infinity must be sensed by the young eye. Precisely, the eye must become accustomed to admitting Infinity.
It is also necessary that the word express the precise thought. One must expel falsehood, coarseness and mockery. Treason, even in embryo, is inadmissible. Work “as grown-ups” is to be encouraged. Up until the age of three, a child’s consciousness easily assimilates the concept of community. What a mistake to think that one must give a child its own things! A child can easily understand that things may be held in common.
The assertion “I can do anything” is not idle boasting but only the realization of an apparatus. The most wretched being can find the current to Infinity; for each labor, of quality, opens the locks.
24. Education in the primary schools and secondary schools must be the same for both genders. It is inadmissible to impose upon a child some specialty, when it is not yet able to define its own aptitude. It is sufficient to begin in high school to map out programs according to students’ abilities. Thus one may plan the education of children who cannot yet express their inherent capabilities. It is very important that the program should not differ for the two genders. This alone will eliminate a very harmful attitude towards gender.
25. It is essential to examine the programs of schools and to strengthen the line of authentic knowledge. Superstition drives people into the crevices of horror. This straightening out of school thinking must be attended to immediately, otherwise one more generation of brainless ones will disgrace the planet. Natural science must be augmented in cognition of the significance of this term. Biology, astrophysics, chemistry, will attract the attention of the youngest child’s brain. Allow children opportunity to think. Likewise, broaden the scope of primary schools. This is advice for immediate application.
27. To direct the consciousness into the future is the aim of a true school. Few seem to understand that the projecting of the consciousness into the future is the formation of a guiding magnet. But what matters is that the consciousness should be fully directed into the future. Many seem to think that they may sometimes ponder about the future, and then again dive into the past. Not isolated thoughts should be allotted to the future, but the essence of consciousness should be attuned in the key of the future. It is impossible to force oneself to such transformation. One can attain only by growing to love the future. But not many love the future. The country of the joy of labor, in perfecting the quality of labor, can be naturally drawn into the future. The duty of the Leader is to direct the people into the future.
28. The evolutionary world processes must be very attractively presented in schools. A motherland is the result of world processes and must occupy a fully defined place and significance. Everyone must know the true value of his country, but it must not be a tree growing in the wilderness. It has to cooperate with many nations. Also, a belief in the Higher Justice will come from the knowledge of reality. Let the processes of the World find vivid interpreters. The Leader himself must take care that these great paths of nations be not distorted for the sake of ignorance.
29. Every unification can take place only on a cooperative basis. To admit but an element of conquest, suppression and humiliation, means that sooner or later these horrible shadows will turn into destructive monsters. Therefore no act of violence can enter into the construction of the stronghold. One may find the power of joy in cooperation, but such cooperation requires the art of thinking.
Who will distribute the forces for productive labor? Only he who is able to visualize a useful cooperation. He must know how to imagine such labor in common, but, as you know, imagination must be cultivated. The task of every school is the opening of a well-founded imagination.
32. The plans for construction proceed in such diverse ways! There was a time when We said, “Give up everything.” Now we go further and say, “Take everything but don’t look upon it as your own.”
Simple logic shows how impossible it is to take earthly things with you. But objects have been created with the spirit taking part, which is why one should not despise them. Could you pass by the flowers of nature without a glance? But the creations of labor are also flowers—the flowers of humanity. If their scent and color are imperfect, you should feel compassion.
33. It is good to understand that one can possess things without a feeling of ownership. It is good to possess things in order to take care of them, and even to imbue them with a benevolent aura, with the intention of passing them on to others. The “hand of creativity” dwells in a home that is free of attachment to property, and whatever the hand improves will only serve to spread joy further. The principle of the giving hand will be constantly put into practice; in this lies the justification for possession of objects. Once people understand this, the most difficult problem is solved. I am saying this for the world, because the main cause of the world’s destruction is attachment to nonexistent property. To impart this to the people means to cure them of the fear of old age.
When possession free of a sense of ownership arises, it will open up the path to everyone without the restrictions of conventional inheritance. Whoever can improve something shall possess it. This pertains to lands, forests, and waters. All mechanical achievements and the various types of inventions are also subject to the same principle. It is easy to imagine how collective creativity will set to work, especially as people will realize that only the spirit provides the best solution. To the hearth of spirit will be directed questions as to how to do things best. And the sword of spirit will strike down every sort of sneakiness. Precisely, it profits you to do better. The law is simple, as is everything of the spirit.
34. When a difficulty with an inheritance presents itself, it may be said that it is possible to leave to the community the wish that the use of certain objects be given over to a certain person for a trial period of three years. Thus the inheritance will be turned into a worthy cooperation. One may entrust specially chosen people to look after the quality of certain works. It is needful to fill the consciousness with a realization of continuous test, for people still do not know how to work under test. Meanwhile the whole substance of the world is engaged in mutual testing. But one should understand that testing means also improvement.
35. At the foundation of evolution lies striving to true cooperation. The cooperative arrangement is the only salvation. The path of ignorance can be wiped away only by the awakening of creativity. Though the forms it takes may even be monstrous. Though people may attempt to make a backyard fire of woodchips into something as bright as the sun, the seething stream of creativity will break through the walls of matter all the same. New discoveries will stimulate the process of collecting knowledge. Instead of stock market speculation let there be striving for discoveries, supported by cooperative societies.
36. Do not live on income from money. Such profit is unclean. The best way of transferring goods is an exchange of things; or, in extreme cases, a direct money-for-goods exchange is permissible.
Criminal speculation should be prosecuted unflinchingly, because the Earth is ill with speculation. Each epoch has its plague; at present there is an epidemic of speculation. One should not think that humanity has always been plagued by this illness. But it is a sign that a radical change is on its way, for this infection is not able to pass away gradually—a paroxysm of evolution is necessary to crush it out.
37. Monetary alms ought to be abolished; help can be given in the form of labor or objects. No one will be without work once the people turn to the path of the spirit. Our job is to show people how the process of perfection brings blessings not for the Invisible World but for the people themselves.
38. The main misunderstanding will be of the fact that labor can be relaxation. Many amusements will have to be abolished. Chiefly, it must be understood that the products of science and art are for education, not diversion. Many amusements will have to be destroyed as hotbeds of vulgarity. The forefront of culture must sweep away the dens of fools passing time over a mug of beer. Likewise, the use of profanity must find a far more severe penalty. Likewise, manifestations of narrow specialization must be disapproved.
Hands of the Leader know not repose. Head of the Leader upholds the weight of the works. Mind of the Leader searches out the solidity of solutions. The power of experience defeats alien infirmity. At the point of loss does the Leader pour in the new possibilities. On the line of retreat he builds strongholds. In the eyes of the enemy he waves the Banner. The Leader calls the day of fatigue a day of repose. He recognizes a manifestation of non-understanding as rubbish on the threshold. He can conceal the sacred in the folds of a working garment. A miracle means for the Leader only the mark of a horseshoe. Resoluteness for the Leader is only the daily bread.
40. The Leader places four stones in the foundation of his actions. First—reverence for the Hierarchy. Second—consciousness of Unity. Third—consciousness of Co-measurement. Fourth—application of the principle, “By your God.”
41. The discipline of freedom distinguishes the Leader. Not only is the spirit disciplined, but also the quality of external actions. It is not the Leader’s custom to grieve too much. It is not the Leader’s custom to count on people too broadly. It is not the Leader’s custom to expect too much. It is needed to be able to replace a complicated plan with a simpler one—never the reverse. For the adversaries act from the simple to the complex.
42. You need to exercise discipline of the spirit, for without it you cannot become free. For the slave, discipline of the spirit will be a prison; for the free, it will be a wondrous healing garden.
An aspirant who understands discipline of the spirit will also understand the direction of the fire and eventually attain to cooperation for the Common Good. The end of the path can be illumined with a thousand fires of the Common Good.
43. A clear brief command is difficult, but on the other hand it is stronger than a magic wand. Affirmation is easier, but a command is like an unexpected pillar of flame from a volcano. A concentrated feeling of personal responsibility lies in a command. A declaration of inexhaustibility of forces sounds in a command. The impetuousness of the Cosmos is manifested in the vehemence of the command, as a crushing wave. Wipe away the tears of benignancy, we are in need of sparks of indignation of the spirit!
What a dam do regrets make, yet wings grow on the end of the sword!
44. Pay attention that commands be prepared beforehand, so that they may enter the consciousness of the executors. Without cooperation a command is like the flight of an arrow against the wind. Even the unexpectedness of a command must be foreseen. The unexpectedness is thus transformed into an outlived tension.
The Leader knows how to evoke cooperation not only in actions but also in thinking. Only then is it possible to send a coworker on a distant journey. The fact of having received a commission obligates one to independent actions. The current will carry the striving ones.
45. One must learn how to encourage spiritual people. True, they achieve heroic deeds not for the sake of encouragement, but still they are in need of safeguarding of their spiritual direction. Every ruler must know not only the power of censure, but must also understand the good of encouragement. The latter is more difficult, but what a Benefaction is derived when the ruler knows what each one needs for the blooming of his “Lotus.” There may be many anchorites, but their beneficial tension will not produce the highest measure of energy if the surrounding forces are hostile. Therefore the heart must be strengthened in the striving to understand the very best.
46. Poor is the Leader who conceals real danger. It can be conquered only with the help of complete knowledge.
Precisely, the Leader should act without fear and as much as possible he should do things himself. 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! Precious is the action which is not in need of any apparatuses or assistants! He who discovers a precious formula cannot cry it out of the window, because the resulting harm would obliterate the best usefulness.
Indeed, as a sealed vessel, as an unplundered mountain, as a bow tensed with an arrow—thus the Leader stands. And as a drink from the vessel is flaming, and as the mountain is inexhaustible, and as the arrow is lethal—thus he acts. For who dares to affirm that difficulty is not the speediest attainment! Rivers of milk will turn sour, and shores of jelly are inconvenient for sitting. Thus, in the armor of personal responsibility the Leader makes haste. Success comes only where there has been complete courage. Small doubts create a slavish timidity.
47. The physician foresees the trend of the disease and you take the prescribed measures. The astronomer foresees the solar eclipse and you provide yourselves with the necessary dark glass. The social psychologist foresees the trend of events and you, crying- prophet! — in terror hide yourselves in the darkest corners. You do this ostensibly in preservation of scientific methods, but in reality hypocrisy and fear prevent you from deliberating as to where is the greater actual knowledge—in the short-sighted opinion of the physician who judges only by external touching or in the far-sighted marksmanship of the social prophet in whom experience is coupled with immutability. Remember your social prophets who hundreds of years in advance indicated coming events to humanity. You call them neither mystics nor hypocrites. Together with us you call them far-sighted psychologists. In this definition We shall agree with you, and pause. Besides, remember that the censured word «prophet» means “one who prognosticates.” A true Leader always foretolds the trend of events, which means that this concept is no less real than medicine and astronomy.
48. Observe the indications of seismographic curves. The points are disposed not along the equator, nor along a meridian, but form their own curves. Sometimes an increased activity of quakes and shiftings coincides with the intensity of so-called sun-spots resulting from a tension of the solar system. One need not be a prophet to understand that brain action in these periods will flow in a specific way.
Social aspirations likewise have their curves of expansion. One should be cautious not to interrupt this succession of events. Crevices of shiftings in the ground and in people’s aspirations are alike. The People’s Leader must be
on the crest of all new horizons. The New World must manifest the sensitivity of the best seismograph.
If someone complicates the procession of peoples, he may receive the wreath of ignorance. His action cannot be justified by ignorance of the laws, and it is equally improper for a leader to change the direction into reverse. No one can be guided by the personal, but, by comparing the values as to the common good, it is possible to choose the quickest path. One must not spill a single possibility.
It seems that what is stated is simple boresome truth, yet no one applies it; the plan of actions is carried out in a dark room—not on the watchtower. To observe, it is necessary not to look for what one wishes to see but to search for reality.
49. A builder has to know how heavy a load the pillars of a house can bear. A lack of co-measurement results in destruction, blasphemy, falsehood, betrayal, and every sort of ugly phenomenon.
Can a structure stand in which the features of a giant are attributed to a flea? In which a soak in the hot tub is sought for more than the Lord is? In which a whirlwind is likened to a mosquito’s flight?
A condition required for construction is full co-measurement in one’s thought and expression—this is a stronghold for the truth of beauty. It is easy to go through life without passing things over in silence or exaggerating them.
The Leader keeps close watch on coworkers to make sure that the way they express themselves corresponds to what they mean to say. That is the only way different beings can cooperate.
The best judgment will be based on beauty. It is ugly to say, “I’ll fit the giant into a little box,” or, “the eagle soars like a hen.”
The best apparatuses are so often ruined by a lack of co-measurement, something that could easily be avoided with a little attentiveness.
50. What is violated most of all? Co-measurement. If co-measurement is not observed, resoluteness also goes to ruin. The resoluteness of the Leader reaches to the utmost limit. It is not the kind of resoluteness that proceeds in comfort, in conformity with personal habits, not the kind that bends to the body’s benefit. The resoluteness of the Leader is only confined by the limits of the spirit. That is why it is impossible to block the course of Leader’s striving. The builders and uniters march onward thanks to this resoluteness.
133. One should strictly distinguish between a contradiction and a particular manner of work. If a left-handed person can create with the left hand, the significance of his attainment will not be contradictory to right-handed work. But people are hampered by the conventionalities of measures; even at present they cannot comprehend wherein lies the value of labor, and each unusual method immediately arouses suspicion. What a nasty quality is suspiciousness; it has nothing in common with the Fiery World! The approach of suspiciousness makes man worse than an animal, for the latter retains his instincts whereas suspicion corrodes all the senses. Indeed, it is a survival from the darkest past. Fortunately it is subject to cure by suggestion, but one should not neglect such an infection.
135. Certainly, cruelty must be eradicated; not only cruelty of actions but also cruelty of thoughts. The latter is worse than any action. It is imperative that the State take measures to prevent the inceptions of cruelty in infancy. Humanity must be purified of this most inhuman, dull and malicious darkness of low thinking, as of leprosy. Children are not cruel until they see the first cruel action, which reveals the current of dark chaos. Only a few are prepared to oppose the current of darkness. Such accumulation of consciousness is rare. The Leader cannot presuppose such attainment in everyone; on the contrary, he should take measures befitting a lower step. Likewise, let us not repeat in a moribund manner the great Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill!” But let us ponder where is the greater killing, in the hand, in the word, or in the thought? One should reflect that the thought of people is ever ready for murder.
136. You yourself know that the most sure path is the path of altruism. Let us recall the dangers we have escaped through magnanimity. Perhaps we do not even know the limits and dimensions of such dangers. But the heart bears testimony that precisely good-will did help in the most difficult hours.
138. The nature of things must be taught among the most primary subjects. It must be beautifully described in all reality; the succession of worlds must be demonstrated with all scientific comparisons. Not only will religion not contradict such exposition of the foundations, but on the contrary religion will assist, through its most ancient allusions. The study of the nature of things will serve as the threshold to understanding of Living Ethics. One must realize why honor, dignity and all other high human qualities are indispensable. From the earliest years children should hear about the Subtle and Fiery Worlds; they must understand the principle of Hierarchy and of Good. The sooner they are reminded about Hierarchy and the other Truths, the more easily will they recall former knowledge. The concept of God in all its grandeur is clarified on the basis of Hierarchy. Only thus can the Highest Concept emerge from abstraction and blend with all Existence. It is necessary that the Leader and the Government understand how to increase the realization of the Higher Representation. It is necessary that schools attractively depict Existence in all its grandeur.
139. Danger is a concentration of the vibrations of tension. A great number of perils surround people, but only a few of them are noticed. When the Leader says, “live in danger,” he might well say instead, “observe the dangers and thus succeed.” One cannot live outside of dangers, but it is beautiful to make out of dangers a carpet of achievement*. The Leader knows that he bears a mission, and dangers are only propelling forces; therefore the Leader does not even think about dangers. The very thought of peril is harmful. Thinking about dangers, we strengthen their vibrations, and thus disturb our equilibrium.
Conservation of forces must not be disrupted by fear and confusion. We are watchful and careful for the best execution of the commission. But dangers cannot overburden our attention. The Teacher should, first of all, insist upon the disciple’s liberation from the phantom of perils. The disciple should always remember not to expend a drop of the higher energy uselessly. Thought of danger agitates many of our centers and in disorderly fashion consumes the precious energy. Thought of danger reflects even upon the pulse; but the heart is strengthened by the desire to carry out well the mission. Thus, let us act in the most efficient manner.
140. On entrance into the monastic life all difficulties of such a path were usually pointed out. Some would say—all is easy; others would warn—all is difficult. To people with fiery heart one may say—all is easy; but for the ordinary consciousness it is better to caution—all is difficult. If someone takes to flight at a single warning about difficulties, then he, all else being equal, is unfit for persistent labor. One should not gather together people who are obviously unfit. Fear of labor is already a treason.
141. The Alexandrian philosophers used to say—Do not criticize the World, for it was created by great thought. The creation is not at fault, but our conception of it is. We can channel our thoughts either for good or for evil. We could transform the best animal into an evil creature. Cruelty on one side and fear on the other fills our consciousness by means of thought. We can send evil in our glance. We could turn a beneficial plant into a most poisonous and pernicious one. The thoughts of the ancient philosophers penetrated into religions. Clement of Alexandria knew how people themselves debase the great Creation. Even now people may observe how evil can transform the most harmless beings.
Indeed, every animal tamer can tell how often precisely the element of good assists him in his work. But he also knows that besides good there must be measures for self-protection, varying according to the character of the animal. Such a science may be called goalfitting. We cannot criticize the World without wondering why malice was allowed to enter it. So too, protective measures will emanate not from evil but from good.
Each Leader may be advised not to forget the advice of the ancient philosophers.
142. You already know sufficiently about the temperance of certain characters. What is to be done when […] moderateness has crept into the broadest circles? Those who are seemingly the champions of good give themselves up spiritually to moderation. One can see that the dark ones do not often suffer from this defect. There is a story about a devil encountering an Angel. The Angel said, “Thy servants are bitter.” But the devil replied, “Mine are bitter, Thine are sour; we both must look for sweet ones.” And the Angel was crestfallen for he could not prove that they had not turned sour. Thus was it observed long ago by people.
143. One can turn to good from any path of evil whatsoever. But such possibilities are most appreciable in view of the problem of progression. Actually, each lingering in evil carries one away from good in rapid progression. Thus, where yesterday it was possible to jump off the chariot of evil, it is already impossible to return to the same place today. Everyone must be reminded of this who thinks that it is equally possible at any time to cast off the burden of evil. Its substance is very sticky and is overgrown with small truths, of which We have spoken.
144. People who take upon themselves Great Service may be called “Heavenly Stones.” In their striving they fill themselves with light. They pierce through the lower strata and contain within themselves diamond-adamant. But it is not easy to be a diamond, and it is necessary to be affirmed in light in order to conquer darkness. Great Service knows no repose; by incessant vigilance is the spirit strengthened. A heap made up of small earthly truths must be covered with the dome of magnanimity. One must be under the cover of Light issuing from Hierarchy, and must assimilate the Subtle and Fiery Worlds as in the nature of things.
From a pit one may not notice the sun; yet people study the stars from a well. The most unexpected may happen on the path of Service, but the experienced Leader will not forget that each worldly loss is made up for in space.
145. Nowhere do people think about the Living Ethics. They think it possible to pass their lives in the usual way, yet with each day it becomes more evident that it is possible to save people only by means of faith, which surpasses all religions. There is not much of such faith, and let us not try to count in thousands where there are only tens. Unusual are such paths of realization of the Highest.
146. The word chorus is used to mean a consonance of voices, but there can be a chorus of energies, a chorus of hearts, a chorus of fires. The Teaching must turn your attention to the choral principle, which does not interfere at all with the individual principle. One should develop within oneself cooperation, in order to bring about a direct increase of possibilities. Thus, care about the choral principle is linked with constructiveness. People can understand that a chorus needs all kinds of participants. Only very experienced leaders understand why there have been needed participants who are not very active, yet who can bring in originality and harmony. The Teacher rejoices at each originality, in it is born a new aspect of Fire.
147. Let us observe how nations can perceive the significance of knowledge. We exercise care that the manifestation of knowledge should proceed by an unusual path in order to strike human imagination. Actually it is not easy to know how to awaken the imagination of past incarnations; only a purified consciousness which is not confused by transition, manifests continuous imagination, ever new and untiring.
148. By all means one should assimilate the basic law that the Teacher gives the direction but does not fix the details. One must seek and find them in labor. Especially confused is the understanding of the greatness of the law of striving which directs to discovery. Not only now but even in better years people have always demanded complete formulas, although they do not think them out for themselves.
How instructive were the tests wherein from an initial letter a disciple had to find the whole required word. But not many will seek such a unified consciousness. It must be pointed out how much such searches reinforce the guidance.
149. It was affirmed many times by the philosophers that a gathering of people is permissible only when it has a high moral consequence. Obviously this saying is a strange one for our time. A gathering of people now usually ends in distortion of the simplest precepts. Let us look upon the subtle and fiery surroundings of such populous assemblies. Let us look and be horrified: discordant rhythms admit only the lower entities, and transform the fiery sendings into searing fire. If it is difficult for an earthly benevolent visitor to make his way through a beastly crowd, then subtle beings will be flung away like dry leaves in a whirlwind.
One must await the time when during lessons in psychology counsels about mass reactions will be given. People are willing to join an organization, but they are averse to cultivation of their own will.
150. The Leader is not dismayed by apparent failures, as he knows that the quantity of good can fill up any abyss. He will perceive any swerving from the path, yet it will but give him one more possibility to visit a new region. Likewise, in the hands of the Leader good becomes an actual manifestation of Light. The consolation does not lie in the fact that a failure is not possible, but in the fact that each achievement of good is a manifestation of new progress.
I do not advise you to count the signs of darkness, they lead only to obscurity. Light is one; Light can be a measuring scale and a support. The Fiery World was created by Light, and thought is a product of Fire.
151. Usually people do not even notice the turning course of circumstances. Yesterday your attention was directed to the fact that people do not wish to understand that they themselves create! The ladder has long since been constructed, yet man nevertheless casts himself into emptiness, for he thinks about a former ladder. It seems impossible to affirm people upon reality. The simplest and most beautiful solutions are passed over in silence, and rejected merely upon the assumption that somewhere grandfather’s ladder has been left standing. It has ceased to exist long since, but the average consciousness will not accept such reality.
Let the grandeur of the Fiery World advance people to the steps of reality!
152. One must observe how entire countries can be shaken by one incorrect interpretation. It is impossible to justify this by saying that someone did not know about something. Usually proof can be found that such knowledge had knocked at all doors, had lain on all tables, and had been mentioned many times. It is not right to try to justify inattention and unwillingness to think deeply.
New oppressions are nothing but unconvincing conduct of the Leader. Often people do not know the actual cause, but in their hearts they feel that something unconvincing is taking place. Most of all must a Leader guard himself against the growth of unconvincingness.
153. Deprivation of blessing was an act of the most ancient patriarchate. It is far removed from the later anathemas. Anathema is a product of ignorance, whereas the very ancient act foresaw rupture of the bond with Hierarchy. The bond with Hierarchy is an actual blessing with all its consequences.
The ignorant will say, “We have many times defamed the Highest, and nevertheless we still exist; no fire has seared us, and nothing threatens us.” Then let us lead them to the public square, where blind beggars are crawling in filth, and say to them, “There also are you.” Let us lead them into prisons, into mines, to fires, to executions, and say, “Can it be that you do not recognize yourselves? You have just severed the thread with the Highest, and you have hurled yourselves into the abyss.” It is not necessary to terrify with threats, life is full of examples of such horrors. Remember that the pressure of fire is invisible, yet nothing can escape its consequences. Thus, it can be seen that even the ancients understood the justice of the law, and knew that offense against the Primary Principles is so great and terrible that the result cannot be immediately seen.
155. One should not be surprised when We pronounce a name and thereby fill space with information. We affirm Our decisions in space. He who has understood the bond with Hierarchy must also assimilate the fact that the decision of the World depends upon filling the space. Truly, not the earthly world alone decides, but all three worlds. Thus, even apparently most positive earthly rulings are destroyed, because they have not been accepted by the two Higher Worlds. Likewise the dark forces must be sometimes informed, and because of this their wails merely augment the sound of the announcement. Through all worlds is such a call resounded, and it stirs up new energies. Naturally, those to whom such a manifestation refers must be careful, for a vortex has been directed around them.
156. The principal danger lies in an incredible divergence of consciousness. While some almost touch atomic energy, others have not yet reached even the cave-man stage of existence. Such a difference produces agitation of currents and makes movement difficult. It is possibly easier to move troglodytes than such heterogeneous crowds. That is why forward motion and broadening of consciousness have become so complicated.
159. Yes, yes, yes, if people do not turn to the Hiero-inspiration, many conflagrations will result. Equilibrium and concordance are violated by the mechanistic concept of the world. Half a century ago We were already concerned about the excessive increase of physical knowledge. Verily, much has been attained in this direction, but at the same time the spiritual consciousness was lagging behind the physical. Ethics were lost amidst accumulations of formulas. Machines attracted man away from the art of thinking. Now they are content to be robots! For the equilibrium of the World the heart is needed, and in this Decree is contained undeferrable salvation. Ill-will is pressing upon the earthly aura.
160. An experienced householder finds a use for all discards. The contemporary builder must undertake this achievement*. It is an especially hard one, for it is not easy to make use of robots when the basic requirement is cognizance of the foundation.
161. Let us strive to understand the distinction of the most necessary. The determination of the degree of necessity is a quality of the Leader. One should know how to make a mosaic of successive order out of many simultaneous considerations. Neither logic, nor reason, nor formulas, but the fire of the heart lights the path of such a train of actions. One should realize with full heart where the passage-way is adequate, so as not to jostle a neighbor. The heart will indicate when not to overdo as regards pressure. Such testings of strength are known as the wings of justice.
162. Shamed be the land where teachers dwell in poverty and want. Shamed be those who know that their children are being taught by a man in want. Not to care for the teachers of its future generation is not only a disgrace to a nation but a mark of its ignorance. Can one entrust children to a depressed man? Can one ignore the emanation created by sorrow? Can one rest ignorant of the fact that a depressed spirit cannot inspire enthusiasm? Can one regard teaching as an insignificant profession? Can one expect an enlightened spirit in children if the school is a place of humiliation and affront? Can one perceive any construction during the gnashing of teeth? Can one expect the fires of the heart when the spirit is silent? Thus I say, thus I repeat that the nation that has forgotten its teachers has forgotten its future. Let us not lose an hour in directing thought toward the joy of the future. And let us make sure that the teacher be the most valued member of the country’s institutions. The time is coming when the spirit must be enlightened and made joyous through true knowledge. Fire is at the threshold!
163. One must mellow the hearts of teachers, then they will abide in constant awareness. The child’s heart recognizes what is aflame and what is extinguished. Not the given lesson, but the mutual aspiration of teacher and pupil reveals the world of wonders. To open the eyes of a pupil means to share with him the love of great creation. Who would dispute that one must have a firm foothold if one’s goal is far distant? The archer will affirm this. Thus let us learn to cherish everything that affirms the future. Fire is at the threshold!
164. Not without reason did the ancient sages choose to occupy themselves with some art or handicraft. Each one had to acquire some manual skill. They had in mind a means of concentration. Each one, in his striving for perfectionment, thus intensified his will and attention. Even in the few objects which have come down to us, there can be seen a high quality of workmanship. Precisely at present, the time has again come to return to quality in manual work. It is impossible to place spiritual limitations within the confines of machines. It is necessary to take the time to produce a quality of workmanship that will revivify the imagination. Precisely quality and imagination are united on the steps of fiery attainment. [Let the Leader remember the advice of the ancient sages.]
It is precisely necessary to understand the sources of antiquity. When their significance is revealed, then will also come new discoveries. There is much to be found, but a savage inclination must not touch the treasures. Let us not reject the logic of evolution.
165. The evil of unbelief inundates the World. Such evil is most ferocious, for it contends with the very essence of existence. It provokes its harborer and in falsehood kills all possibilities.
166. Often people inquire how to deal with the wills of departed ones. Often such commissions do not coincide with the convictions of the executors. Excepting fratricidal commissions, it may be proposed to carry out everything else. One should not take on another’s Karma, the more so since the departed ones continue to develop energy in the direction taken by them. It is truly very difficult to alter a conviction that continues over into the Subtle World. Therefore the fulfillment of testaments is very useful for the harmony of currents.
168. Hence, everywhere one can perceive three paths: the easy, the difficult, and the terrible. The first is molded through the realization of all successful, useful and good combinations. The second, when certain good combinations are covered by most destructive and harmful structures. Such a path is difficult and is like a race with the eyes blindfolded. The third path, when the ignorance draws one into the darkness of dissolution, is truly terrible. But for this horror people do not have the right to blame others; they themselves have closed their eyes and ears. They have rejected assistance and have admitted chaos into their thinking. Therefore let the Builder follow the first path.
169. Can Light form an alliance with darkness? It would have to extinguish itself in order to become united with the opposite principle. Let a Leader of Light not consider taking into his camp the extinguishers and opponents of Light. Light cannot magnify darkness; likewise darkness cannot enhance the Light, consequently such unions contradict Nature.
170. The right path is good for the reason that each of its dimensions is useful. One should not even wonder where the boundary line of the path is. It is possible to become better in any dimension whatsoever.
171. A diver prepares himself for the lowest depth of water. The upper layer of water does not concern him, but he must foresee the entire pressure of the lower layer. So too, in dealing with nations one must have a conception of the lowest consciousness. Everyone who thinks about the Fiery World must be able to understand the thinking of the semi-animal consciousness. One should not ignore the understanding of the very lowest consciousness. On the contrary, one must equip oneself with all resourcefulness, so as to catch the human note even in animal roaring.
Most dangerous it is not to be able to adapt oneself to another’s consciousness. How many misfortunes have resulted from words spoken not at the right moment! Manifest resourcefulness.
172. A messenger being overtaken by pursuers throws himself with his horse into the broadest part of the river. The pursuers stop in the hope that the messenger is drowning, but he instead rides out to the opposite shore. The pursuers, in their haste, rush to a narrow place, and drown in the current. Verily, where it is narrow, there it is dangerous. This consideration should be applied everywhere. Seeking the mirage of alleviation does not lead to achievement*. The most difficult is the most accessible. People do not wish to understand that persistent quests awaken powerful energies. Therefore let us not strive for the narrow, let us prefer the broad principle.
173. It has been said that humanity must abandon luxury. Not without reason have people themselves so isolated this concept. Luxury is not beauty, not spirituality, not perfectionment, not construction, not benevolence, not compassion; no good concept can replace it. Luxury is destruction of resources and possibilities. Luxury is dissolution, for all structures without rhythm mean only disintegration. One can see clearly enough that worldly luxury has already been shaken, but, as a cure, harmonious cooperation must be found in order to rid the world of the plague of luxury. Egoism will raise the objection that luxury is an earned abundance. It will also be said that luxury is regal. This will be slander. Luxury has been always a sign of decay and eclipse of the spirit. The chains of luxury are most terrible too for the Subtle World. Needed there are advancement and continuous perfectionment of thought. The encumbrance of luxury will not help one to the next Gates.
175. The wise Leader first listens to his companion in conversation, and only then speaks his opinion. He listens not only to learn the essence of the thought, but also in order to find out what language the speaker uses. The latter condition is of no small importance. It is no great achievement when a law-giver alone understands his own laws. It is necessary that the fundamentals of Existence ring out for everybody, in each one’s own understanding. Thus the art of adopting the language of one’s companion in conversation pertains to great development of consciousness. It is mastered by Hiero-inspiration or by conscious refinement of attention. No arrogance will be contained in it; on the contrary, it means an interest in the understanding of the companion in conversation. Many a useful consideration is belittled by an odd expression, but the fiery eye discerns these seeds of truth.
176. Thought about impossibility definitely derives from the dark principle. Any depression of spirit must be abolished, because this path does not lead to Truth. Men of the most diverse nationalities identically express joy and sorrow. This means that the path to understanding lies open.
177. It is inadmissible even indirectly to violate the fundamentals of cooperation. To the concepts of cooperation should be added those of teachership, of guidance, of respect for one’s fellowman, respect for oneself, and for those who follow. Precisely at present it is impossible to lessen the significance of cooperation, as a means of broadening the consciousness. One must grow to love cooperation as a pledge of general success.
178. People are unable to think about the future usually because they live under the spell of illusions of the past. Imagine a man who many days afterward receives unpleasant news of something which took place previously. This event no longer exists, the man himself has already lived for some time since the occurrence, yet he sinks into the past and loses connection with the future. Surely, the tree of the future must grow, and it should not die from the injury of a plunge into the past. Attention must be paid in schools to the study of the future. Each Leader in his own field will ponder about the future, otherwise he is no Leader.
179. It has already been said that blasphemy must be ejected, but one should recognize that each and every blasphemy is inadmissible. Sometimes people are freed from blasphemy only in a narrow circle of concepts, yet their tongues utter grave calumnies in regard to their neighbors. Who can tell what lofty heart channels may be touched by these evil revilements? Therefore blasphemy must be altogether excluded from life as an action unworthy and harmful.
180. The ignorant assume that the Radiant One comes to avenge Himself upon darkness. But Light does not even kill darkness. More accurately, darkness is confounded and destroyed by approaching the Light. It is very essential to understand that darkness destroys itself when it approaches Light. This the Leader must keep in mind, when the ignorant speak about vengeance.
181. Once, after a state council, a certain ruler took an earthenware vase and smashed it before the eyes of everyone. When asked the meaning of his action, he said, “I am reminding you about irreparability.” Even when we break the simplest object we understand irreparability, yet how irreparable are thought-actions! We have become accustomed to surround ourselves with crude concepts, and they have thrust out all the higher concepts. If rulers would remind more often about the irreparability of mental decisions, they would forestall a great number of misfortunes. A ruler who is ignorant of the spiritual principle of self-perfectment cannot lead the multitude of consciousnesses entrusted to him. A ruler is a living example. A ruler is the one who lays out the paths through all the worlds. He lays the foundation for prosperity, but it will not be prosperity on the material plane alone. Thus, he will be no true ruler for whom Fire exists only at the end of a match. His scope will be equal to that of his concepts.
182. He who says that heroes are not needed expels himself from evolution. Observe that on the border of mediocrity, lack of faith, and egoism, lies self-annihilation. Decades may pass before the process of self-devouring becomes evident, but it grows from the very hour that Hierarchy is denied. It is impossible to imagine the affirmation of a progressive action without Hierarchy. One must repeat this most simple Teaching, because people are headed toward the abyss. The rays from the shoulders are causing pain not because of the convulsions of the planet but because of the raging of humanity. As waterspouts divide water into columns, so disunited humanity whirls about. It is a very significant year of the revolt of the human spirit. Fire can be held back only up to a certain point. Inevitably it will break through all manifested obstructions.
183. Each abuse of the Saviour, the Teacher, and the Heroes plunges the world into savagery and precipitates chaos. How can it be explained that chaos is very near, that there is no need to cross an ocean to find it? It is also difficult to explain that savagery begins with the very smallest. When the treasure of solemnity is lost and the pearls of the heart’s knowledge are scattered, what remains? One can remember how people mocked the Great Sacrifice. Has not the entire world answered for this savagery? One can see how it is reflected in degeneration. This degeneration is the worst of all. I say, “Blessed be all energies; but let there be no sinking into the miasma of dissolution.” Thus let us remember all Great Days!
184. One may imagine the beauty of the conjoined service of multitudes of people when their hearts aspire in one ascent. We shall not say, “Impossible,” or, “Denied.” From Power one can borrow, and from Light one can become illumined. If one could only realize wherein lie Light and Power! Someone is already laughing boisterously at this, but he laughs in darkness. What can be more hideous than boisterous laughter in darkness! Yet Light will abide with him who seeks it.
185. Cooperation based on personal feelings is not steadfast. Besides respect for the labor itself, reverence for Hierarchy is indispensable. Under the whirl of personal feelings people will bob about like cork manikins, and will jostle each other and be occupied with spasmodic actions. But each labor, in its very nature, does not tolerate convulsions. Labor is a fiery action, but the fire must not lead to convulsions. Moreover, external personal feelings can impede recognition of new possibilities. How many beautiful actions have suffered due to transitory personal mirages!
186. Technocracy should be regarded as a device of the dark ones. The dark ones have often led people on to mechanical solutions, thereby hoping to occupy the attention of humanity, only to divert it from spiritual growth. Yet the problems of life can be solved only by the expansion of consciousness. It can be seen how mechanical hypotheses easily ensnare the hopes of humanity. Such also was the Maya of the ancients, which could be interrupted by the slightest shock.
187. It is apparent that people desire to have a change of existing conditions. A ruler asked that a contented man be found. Finally after long quests one was discovered—he was deaf, dumb, and blind.
188. The path of joyous achievement* is a hundredfold shorter than the path of mournful duties. How steadfastly must this ordainment be kept in mind by the travelers of the fiery march! Only the sign of achievement* raises them above danger, but the significance of achievement* must be cultivated in the heart as joy of the spirit. One cannot discover the best path if one’s eye does not follow the star of achievement*. Even the obscurities themselves must be illumined by the one Light. Nothing, no one, is ever forced to turn back into darkness!
189. Day-dreaming must be transformed into disciplined thinking. The ancient sages advised mothers to pass on to their children tales about heroes, and to acquaint them with the best songs about great deeds. Is it possible that humanity nowadays wishes to renounce this wise advice? The Fiery World is first of all open to heroes—to those who achieve.
191. When will humanity learn to understand wherein consists the true dignity of a nation? When will humanity understand that the sacred spirit should be protected, and that the carriers of thought, as the sole source, can guide nations? Thus, through the annihilation of thought one may deprive a nation of its strength or of the predestined influence. Hence each nation should take care of its Pilot first of all, since the boat without a rudder cannot withstand the storm. Therefore, the great care of a nation and of each construction must be founded upon Hierarchy; for each structure must be saturated by the power from Above.
Thus, as long as the understanding of Hierarchy is not affirmed, humanity will sink in the ignorance and darkness of destruction.
192. What state flourishes without a great Leader? What affirmed undertaking has existed without a Leader? Verily one must understand that the concept of a Leader is the synthesis of all the highest strivings. Thus, only the concept of Hierarchy, of an Illumined Leader, can direct the spirit. Thus, let all, all, all ponder upon and remember the Might of Hierarchy. Only through this realization can one advance. Only through this realization can one attain. Let it be remembered that each stone thrown at Hierarchy will be transformed into a mountain against oneself. Thus let all remember! Thus We proclaim the Leader—the Hierarch!
193. Each spirit creates its own karma. Each nation builds its own Karma. Certainly nations are looking for a Leader, because even an established prestige cannot sustain those people who think erroneously. Neither gold nor vulgar, glamorous names, nor piles of inapplicable counsels will save a nation. Verily, the fiery thought, the fiery spirit of the Leader will provide new ways. Therefore, let the star of the Spiritual Leader shine brightly at the time of cosmic perturbations!
Thus, let the great Realm of Light rise upon the ruins of the old world!
* In paragraphs 73, 139, 160, 172, 188 the word «achievement» is used to translate the word «podvig» — «подвиг» from the Russian original (remark of «AGNI»)
The collection of translations by the Roerich team of paragraphs from “Wishes to the Leader”, published in other books of Agni Yoga, has been completed.