- Agni Yoga Society
- (est. 1920)The Agni Yoga Society was founded in New York in 1920 by the Russian artist Nicholas Roerich (October 9, 1874–December 13, 1947) and his wife, Helena (February 12, 1879–October 5, 1955), and was incorporated in New York City as a nonprofit educational organization. The society’s philosophy emphasizes the evolution of planetary consciousness as a necessary and attainable goal for humankind.Agni Yoga, sometimes referred to as the teach-ing of “Living Ethics,” does not rely on a physical or meditative discipline. It is rather a way of life offering a practice and commitment to directing thought and prioritizing actions for the common good. It is reportedly practiced by thousands in Russia and by several thousand others around the world. Although the teaching reveres Hinduism, Agni Yoga is not considered exclusively Hindu in nature; rather, it involves a synthesis of religious teachings of all ages from around the world.Agni Yoga evolved from Nicholas Roerich’s encounters in London with Mahatma Morya and Mahatma Koot Hoomi (ascended masters in the tradition of THEOSOPHY). In March 1920, Nicholas produced the first of the group’s writings; they were followed by several books by Helena. At the request of the Mahatmas the Roerichs moved to New York to share the teachings and to open cultural centers in America. Several institutes and museums were established, including the Agni Yoga Society.The society has published a set of books called the Agni Yoga Series, which encapsulates their philosophy, a teaching that integrates East-ern beliefs with Western spiritual and scientific thought. Although the society does not offer courses, it provides information on Agni Yoga and welcomes correspondence.Further reading: Agni Yoga Series (New York: Agni Yoga Society, 1977); Ruth Drayer, Nicholas and Helena Roerich: The Spiritual Journeys of Two Great Artists and Peacemakers (Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Pub. House, 2005); Helena Roerich, Letters of Helena Roerich (New York: Agni Yoga Society, 1954–67); Nicholas Roerich, Altai-Himalaya: A Travel Diary (New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1929).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.