THERE ARE two great principles: the attraction of like
to like and the attraction of opposites. Looking at nature
we see that if there is one speck of dust on the wall all
the dust will collect there. Where there is one grain of
wheat much wheat grows. Where there is one little rose-plant
there will be a great many rose bushes. It may be hard for
us to find one fly in the room, but if there is one fly
we shall see that there are other flies near it. It may
be difficult for us to find one ant, but if there is one
ant there will be other ants near it. Where there is one
sparrow there will be many sparrows. In the jungle where
there is one parrot there will be a great many parrots in
the same part of the forest. However much dogs may quarrel
and fight, where there are three or four of them it is there
that they enjoy being. The rabbit does not delight in being
among sparrows, nor does the donkey rejoice in being with
This shows us that like is drawn to like, to its affinity.
This is the reason why nations and races have their peculiar
characteristics and attributes: for ages people of like
character and like qualities have collected together forming
one group. The French are unlike the English, the English
are different from the Swedes, the Swedes differ from the
Germans. It is not difficult for a person whose intelligence
is exercised in this direction to tell at once in a crowd
a Belgian from a Frenchman, a Rumanian from an Italian.
In India every province, every district has its peculiar
character. A Gujerati will always like to be with another
Gujerati. Where there are two or three Gujeratis they are
happy, they do not want a Punjabi in their company. The
Bengali is not like the Madrassi. When a few Bengalis are
together they do not want a Madrassi, and the Madrassi enjoys
being in the society of Madrassis; he does not want a Bengali
to be there. Why? Because each rejoices in his own element.
Families also have their likeness which comes from the
like attributes being drawn to their like. In India where
great attention is paid to heredity this is traced very
far. The first reason for the attraction of like to like
is blood relationship. At the present time relationship
is much less thought of; we do not know who our relations
are. It is however a great bond, as it is said: the blood
is the same, the form is made of the same element.
The second reason is the affinity of occupation. A farmer
who has been tilling the soil all day, in the evening will
want to be with other farmers with whom he can talk about
the crops; he does not want to sit among literary persons.
A soldier always wants to be with other soldiers. A sportsman
wishes to be with sportsmen; he will not like to be among
the learned in whose society he feels out of place. A literary
person always seeks other literary persons. A musician likes
the society of musicians. I have experienced this myself.
Sometimes there were Indians among my audience, people from
my own province, but they were less appreciative than Western
musicians. The Western musician perhaps did not understand
the words I was singing, but he was a musician, his interest
in the music made him akin to its being.
The third reason is the similarity of qualities. A brave
person will like to be with other brave people; he will
not like to be with cowards. A kind person will seek other
kindhearted people. The affectionate are drawn to the affectionate,
not to the coldhearted. A quarrelsome person will seek out
another quarrelsome person to fight with. Like is always
recognized by like. If there are two thieves in a company
the one will at once recognize the other. If a thief goes
from Paris to New York it will be very easy for him to find
a brother there. For another person it will take a very
long time, but the thief knows at once, 'This is a thief,
this is my brother'.
A cruel man attracts the cruelty of others. If we deceive
another ever so little we shall at once find others who
deceive us. Deceit may not be in our nature – but we have
deceived. This is the secret of the punishment of our sins.
It is not that God gives us a certain punishment, but by
our wickedness, by our evil thought we attract the same
wickedness, the same evil thought from others to us. The
evil that we do brings the same evil upon us from others.
A little kindness in us attracts the kindness of the kind.
A kind person meets with kindness wherever he goes, even
among the cruel. A least little generosity on our part attracts
the generosity of the generous. By the repetition of the
names of God, by impressing upon our soul the kindness,
the mercy of that infinite goodness we create in our soul
those qualities and we attract to us the kindness and mercy
of that goodness under all forms and names.
Besides the attraction of like to like there is the law
of attraction of each to its opposite. There are two great
forces in nature: the creative force and the receptive force
that answers to it, or the active force and the passive
force, Jalal and Jamal. This can be understood from the
law of rhythm. In every rhythm there is the stronger beat
and the weaker beat, the returning. In two-four time, for
instance, we count one-two, one-two, the strong beat and
the beat that has just as much force as to counterbalance
We can also see this in the forms of protuberance and
cavity. The representatives of these two forces in nature
are the male and the female. But in every man some qualities
are male and some female; in every woman some of the qualities
are female and some male.
We can see that the ears receive sound; they do not create.
The eyes are creative. The nose perceives the odor; it cannot
create. The nose can tell us the flavor of a thing much
sooner, much more exactly than the palate. The lips, the
mouth, create, and they are attracted to each other. When
the ears hear a sound, the eyes at once want to turn to
see what it is, from where it comes. The nose at once wants
to interfere with what the mouth does. It says, 'Do not
chew that any longer. I don't want it', or it says, 'Do
justice to that; I like it; it is nice'.
We can see that, when our right hand takes hold of something,
the left hand wants to help it. When our right foot goes
out, the left foot at once wishes to join it. When we fold
one arm, the other arm wants to be folded too. One leg inclines
to cross the other. In India there is a superstition that
it brings bad luck to sleep with the legs crossed. Everyone
knows it, but it is most difficult for anyone to get out
of this habit because it is so natural.
Often a person would rather be with his opposite than
with one who is nearer his own level. When two who are of
nearly equal strength meet they are not harmonious to each
other. Students of breath will readily understand this;
they know that there is a more active breath and a less
active breath, and when both become of equal activity there
is a sort of fight. If one person is a great singer and
another is teaching voice-production they can agree together.
There is no competition between them; the one wants to show
himself, to show his voice, the other does not. But if there
are two great opera-singers, a tenor and a bass, they will
never agree; there is rivalry between them, they both want
to be something.
A wise man will rather have a foolish servant than a
half-wise one who will interfere in his orders. There is
a story of a servant who, when sent to fetch the doctor,
went first to the undertaker. He was thinking of the future!
If he cannot be among the wise, a wise person will rather
be among the foolish than among the half-wise. I have often
seen that the simple one with a simple faith can be inspired
and become illuminated, while the intellectual is always
reasoning and does not advance one step. This is why scientists
and mystics never harmonize. The scientist says, 'If you
know something, I know something too. If you are something,
I am something also'.
There will always be some societies, some associations
that we like and some that we do not like; some that do
not like us and some that appreciate us, because we always
like only our own element. There is nothing surprising in
this and nothing to blame; it is the law of attraction.
The Sufi makes himself harmonious with all; he makes
himself the element of all. He activates the element that
is within, and that element is love. We can learn this from
the Bible which says that God is love. The differences and
distinctions are external, but from the beginning man is
so trained to see the differences that he does not see the
unity underlying. People have said, 'We are of this race,
we are superior, you are inferior; our religion is superior,
yours inferior; our nation is great, yours less'. This was
the cause of the present war. The nations of Europe had
reached the same level; if one made a good airship another
made one better still; if one made a good submarine another
made one better still. If the one was strong another wanted
to be still stronger.
People have said, 'By being strong, by a strong rule,
we shall unite the world'. What a mistake! We can see what
happens when we try to rule our family with a strong hand.
It will never be united. It is only love that can unite
the world. It is the only way in which the union of mankind,
universal brotherhood, can be brought about.