It is harmony which makes beauty; beauty in itself has
no meaning. An object which is called beautiful at a certain
place and time is not beautiful at another place or another
time. And so it is with thought, speech and action: that
which is called beautiful is only so at a certain time and
under certain conditions which make it beautiful. So if
one can give a true definition of beauty, it is harmony.
Harmony in a combination of colors, harmony in the drawing
of a design or a line is called beauty, and a word, a thought,
a feeling, an action that creates harmony is productive
The question arises from where comes the tendency to
harmony and from where comes a tendency to disharmony. The
natural tendency of every soul is towards harmony, and the
tendency towards inharmony is an unnatural state of mind
or affairs. The very fact that it is not natural makes it
void of beauty. The psychology of man is such that he responds
both to harmony and inharmony. He cannot help it, because
he is naturally made so; mentally and physically he responds
to all that comes to him, be it harmonious or inharmonious.
The teaching of Christ, 'Resist not evil,' is a hint
not to respond to inharmony. For instance, a word of kindness,
of sympathy, an action of love and affection finds response,
but a word of insult, an action of revolt or of hatred creates
a response too, and that response creates more inharmony
in the world. By giving way to inharmony one allows inharmony
to multiply. At this time one sees in the world the greatest
unrest and discomfort pervading all over. Where does it
come from? It seems to come from ignorance of this fact
that inharmony creates inharmony and will multiply inharmony.
A person who is insulted has the natural tendency to
think that the proper way of answering is to insult the
other person still more. By this he gets the momentary satisfaction
of having given a good answer. But he does not know what
he has done by his good answer. He has given response to
that power which came from the other and these two powers,
being negative and positive, create more inharmony.
'Resist not evil' does not mean: receive evil into yourself.
'Resist not evil' only means: do not send back the inharmony
that comes to you, just as a person playing tennis would
send back the ball with his racket. But at the same time
it does not suggest that you should receive the ball with
The tendency toward harmony may be likened to a rock
in the sea: through the wind, through the storm the rock
stands in the sea; each wave comes with all its force and
yet the rock remains still, it stands, it bears all, letting
the waves beat against it.
By fighting inharmony one increases it, by not fighting
it one does not give fuel to the fire which would rise
and cause destruction. No doubt the wiser you become, the
more difficulties you have to face in life, because every
kind of inharmony will be directed at you for the very reason
that you will not fight it. However, with all these difficulties
you must know that you have helped to destroy that inharmony
which would otherwise have multiplied. This is not without
advantage, for every time you stand against inharmony like
the rock in the sea, you increase your strength, although
outwardly it may seem a defeat. But the one who is conscious
of the increase of his power will never admit that it was
a defeat, and as time passes the person against whom he
has stood firm will realize that it was he who was defeated.
Life in the world has a constantly jarring effect. The
finer one becomes the more trying it will be, and the time
comes when, if a person is sincere and good-willing, kind
and sympathetic, life becomes worse for him. If he is discouraged
by this, he goes under. If he keeps his courage, then he
will find in the end that it was not disadvantageous, because
his power will some day increase to that stage, to that
degree at which his presence, his word, his action will
control the thoughts and feelings and activities of all.
He will get that heavy rhythm, the rhythm that will make
the rhythm of everybody else follow it. This is the attribute,
which in the East is called the quality of the mastermind.
In order to stand firm against the inharmony that comes
from without, one must first practice to stand firm against
all that comes from within, from one's own self; for one's
own self is more difficult to control than other people,
and when one is not able to control oneself and one has
failed to do so, it is most difficult to stand firm against
the inharmony from without.
Now the question arises: what is it that causes inharmony
in oneself? It is weakness; physical weakness or mental
weakness, but it is always weakness. Very often, therefore,
one finds that it is bodily illness that causes inharmony
and inharmonious tendencies. Besides, there are many diseases
of the mind which the scientists of today have not yet discovered.
There are two cases: a person, who is perhaps very ill,
is considered insane, and, on the other hand, illnesses
of the mind are not taken into account. Persons who suffer
from these illnesses are considered sane, and no attention
is given to the defects, which come from these diseases
of the mind. So they never have a chance to notice the disease
in themselves, and they are continually finding faults with
others. If they are in an office, if they are in a good
position, if they are at home, everywhere they cause inharmony.
Nobody understands the cause, for to be treated as insane
the person must first be recognized as insane.
Health of the mind is so seldom discussed. In fact, as
there are more solicitors, more lawyers, more barristers,
more courts and more judges, so there are more cases. Consequently
prisons increase, and what is the outcome? After a person
has gone to prison and has come out of it, he has forgotten
where he was; he follows the same path again, for the disease
has not been found out. In court a person is judged, but
what is the matter with him psychologically, what caused
him to do what he did, is not discovered. There are thousands
of people in prison, because something is wrong in their
mind. If they were kept in prison for a thousand years they
would not improve. Nothing but injustice is awarded to them
by putting them in prison. It is just like putting a person
in prison because his body is ill.
The cause of every discomfort and of every failure is
inharmony. What would be the most useful thing in education
at the present time is to give the sense of harmony to children,
and to develop it in them. It will not be so difficult as
it appears to bring harmony to their notice. What is necessary
is to point out to the youths the different aspects of
harmony in the different aspects of life's affairs.
The work of the Sufi message, a message of love, harmony
and beauty, is to awaken in humanity the consciousness of
the true nature of love, harmony and beauty. The training,
which is given to those who become initiated in the inner
cult, is to cultivate these three things which are the principal
factors in human life.
Question: How should we deal with criminals?
Answer: I would suggest that those who are accused of
a certain fault should first – before being brought before
the judge – be taken to a jury of psychologists in order
to see what is the matter with them. Then, after a person
is judged, he should again be taken to the this jury.
Question: In what way could they be cured of their fault?
Answer: Instead of being sent to a prison, I think that
they should be sent to a special school intended for criminals.
Question: At what age should we begin to develop harmony
in a child?
Answer: At the very beginning of a child's growth.
Question: By what means does one develop the sense of
harmony in a child?
Answer: I would develop harmony in a child's manner,
in his action, in his speech, first by believing that he
naturally has love for harmony. The inharmony he shows is
not in his nature, and it is not difficult to put out what
is not in his nature. With my personal experience — not only
with children but with persons of all ages and of great
variety — I should like to say that never for a moment I
think that anything wrong belongs to anyone's nature. I
think that it is only something outside which has got hold
of him and which can be taken off some time or other. Therefore,
I believe that there is hope for everyone, and if a person
were accused of being the very worst individual yesterday,
today I would look at him with hope and think he had gone
far from yesterday.
Besides, I consider that to accuse a person to a fault,
or to think of a person that he is wrong or inharmonious,
creates in him that which you are thinking of. But I must
tell you that it is difficult even for me. It is denying
something which is before you, and which is not only standing
still but active. It is just like saying of a person,
who is cross by nature and who is cross with you, 'No, he
is not cross.'
Question: That will change it?
Answer: It is the same with Christian Science. Of course
a person who practices Christian Science likes so much to
put his science into words that he makes people revolt against
him. But as far as the idea goes, it is a most splendid
idea. Denying a thing is destroying a thing, and to admit
a certain thing is giving it a root. Even saying, 'I have
an enemy, and he is so bad to me,' is really giving that
enemy a strength from your own spirit. But when you put
it out of your mind thinking, 'Well, I have a good wish
for everyone, I do not wish to look at anything that is
disagreeable,' it does not give the other that strength.
Question: Could you please give us a more definite idea
about the way in which harmony in reasoning and action should
be developed in children?
Answer: There are two faults that a child commits in
speaking, not knowing that they are faults. One fault is
that it sometimes likes to reason in a way in which a child
should not reason: when there is no consideration of manner.
In that way it creates inharmony, because it says something
in a form in which a child ought not to speak. Secondly
the child gets into a habit of saying something which psychologically
is not right, which has no good results. This idea is very
much considered in the East, but it is an idea that should
be considered wherever humanity exists. There are many words
which have power behind them, there are many words which
cause bad effects. A child in its play does not consider
what it says. I t simply says things and does not feel backward
to reason about somebody's death or illness, which psychologically
may be wrong, besides being suggestive. If in play a child
says to another child, 'I shall cut off your head,' another
will perhaps take a knife and do it!
Now as to action – a child is full of activity, and in
a moment one child is like a hundred children. He is always
active, without knowing what to do. So he is destructive,
he spoils things. If you stop him from doing one thing,
he goes to another, and in order to stop that in him which
is destructive and would make him do wrong things, you should
awaken the desire for harmony in him.
Besides, for a child to consider others, the comfort
of others, the importance of the word of others, all are
necessary things. There is a saying in the East: good manner
in a child means good luck, bad manner means bad luck. One
can easily understand the reason of it: good manners attract
love, affection and goodwill from all sides, and that helps
the child to be good. Whenever a grown-up person sees a
child with good manners, his first impulse is to think,
'May he be blessed, may he succeed in life.' That goodwill
coming from grown-up people is not taken by a child if he
disturbs them; he is deprived of that blessing.
It seems to me that the first lesson of religion should
teach children to consider another, the friend, the
well beloved people at home. If children are not trained
in this, they cannot understand religion when they grow
up. I mean religion in the true sense of the word, not a
special form of religion. Religion in the world of today
is the betterment of the soul. A good time will only come
when the coming generations will try to strive after the
improvement of the soul.