Volume XII - The Divinity of the Human Soul
Part I: The Vision of God and Man and other Lectures
THERE is much in our lives that depends upon suggestions, suggestions which come from outside, either consciously or unconsciously, as well as suggestions which come to us from ourselves. The superstitions which existed in ancient times and which still exist in some countries tell us something of the psychology of suggestion. If a person saw a certain bird, a certain animal, before beginning his work, that impression affected his work. If a man, when starting some business or industry or new enterprise, met with an unpleasant incident or a disagreeable person, naturally this brought him ill luck. On the other hand, if he encountered desirable conditions and people with a good influence his whole life might be changed. People called this superstition; in fact it is a science, it is the psychology of impressions. It is in accordance with every impression which is made on us that our life works.
The greatest impression is made by the word. The Bible says, 'In the beginning was the Word... and the Word was God,' which tells us of the creative power of the word: that the word is as creative as God Himself. In the East, in good families, children were taught when quite young to avoid words which might cause ill luck; such expressions as boys use, 'I will kill you,' 'I will shoot you,' or as is used by girls, 'I wish I were dead,' 'I wish that it was all destroyed.' The children were taught never to use words with a destructive meaning; for as far as we know at a certain time a universe may be connected with the word of man, and the word he speaks may come true. If he had spoken of something he did not wish to happen it would have been better not to have said it. People do not think about this. They say things as a joke, things that might cause serious trouble in their lives or in the lives of their friends, not realizing how great is the power of words in our lives. Therefore the great teachers have made a science of words, so that by the repetition of certain words a definite result can be produced in one's character, in one's circumstances, or even that a person can help another by the use of a certain word.
Man's character can be changed by the repetition of certain words, entirely changed; the results brought about by their repetition are wonderful. Thus suggestion often proves to be the secret of a miracle. It is a field which still remains unexplored by science, and the more man gets to know about it, perhaps in five centuries from now, the more he will begin to believe that behind suggestion the spirit of God is hidden, the secret of the whole of creation.
Now coming to the question of attraction and repulsion, why are we drawn towards some people, and why do we feel repulsion in regard to others? I would say that it is the same with souls as with notes in music. It is their combination, which makes the notes either harmonious or inharmonious; it is not the notes themselves. Every note is harmonious enough if put with other harmonious notes, the notes which blend and make a consonant chord. Therefore it is wrong to say. 'That person is inharmonious,' or 'harmonious.' It is the blending of persons that proves either harmonious or inharmonious in accordance with their grouping.
It is the same with color. No color is inharmonious, however striking or however pale. If it is in its right place, if it is well blended with other colors, it is harmonious; it is inharmonious if it is not put next to colors that blend with it. And it is exactly the same with human nature. The wise person can get on with another who is near to him in wisdom, or he can get on with a foolish person; but a wise man has difficulty getting on with the semi-wise, because the semi-wise make it difficult for him. With a strong person another who has strength himself will get on all right, as well as the one who is quite feeble, but not the half-strong. This proves to us that there are two principles to be understood. The person must either be of the opposite quality, or he must be of the same quality to blend harmoniously with the other. In other words, with a black coat either a black tie will be worn or a white tie; when the tie is of another color then there is disharmony.
The reason why the same quality is attracted is that like attracts like. Water attracts water, fire attracts fire; all elements attract their like, so every person attracts his like. A thief, wherever he goes, will find another thief; wherever a gambler goes he finds another gambler; wherever a drunkard goes he finds another man who drinks. And it is extraordinary that very often the first person these people will meet when they come to town will be of their own kind; they attract each other unconsciously. If they are traveling they will be sitting in the same compartment, brought together by destiny. The wicked will be attracted by another wicked person, just at the meeting of a glance. They instantly become friends. But if a person is half-wicked he will not get along with the wicked one, although the wicked might get along well with a good person because then he finds his opposite. The reason for the attraction of opposites is that the one lacks what the other has, and therefore one has power over the other.
Then there is the law of positive and negative forces. Where there are two people of positive nature there is always trouble, nor can two people of negative nature get along either. But a positive person can get along with someone who is negative, because the negative person needs what the positive has. A talkative person is never happy with another talkative person; he wants someone who will listen to him.
Besides these laws there is an attraction of quality. There is a noble quality in every person, and there is a common quality. A noble quality is repulsed by commonness, and the common quality is irritated by the noble quality. It is such an amazing thing to see that someone of noble quality can be repulsed by a person of common quality. He gets irritated and cannot stand it, for the one quality cannot be compared with the other. It is the same with the quality of sincerity and that of insincerity. An insincere person is as antagonistic to a sincere person as a sincere person is to one who is insincere. The insincere cannot conceive of another being sincere; even if he saw it he could not believe it, because he does not know anything except insincerity.
Among Hindus there is a custom, a custom which still exist, that when a marriage is contemplated a Brahmin is consulted, a special priest, and he comes with his books of horoscopes. And after he has made his calculations he decides whether the marriage can take place or not. But in reality the drawing of the horoscopes is an excuse. He is a psychologist, and he considers the question whether the two who are to be married have the same qualities.
The Brahmins conceived of three qualities: Manushya, Deva, and Rakshasa, which means the human quality, the angelic quality, and the animal quality. The one left out was the devilish quality; may be they did not have it at that time! And then they saw if the two young people who were going to marry both belonged to Manushya, Deva, or Rakshasa; and if they found that for instance the girl was of the angelic quality and the man of the animal quality, then they thought, 'It will never go right'; and they advised against the marriage. But if they thought that the man was of human quality then they allowed it, because then there was only a difference of one degree, not of two degrees. The great and countless difficulties that are experienced today in marriage come from lack of consideration of these qualities. There is now a kind of false conception of equality; everyone says 'I am as good as you,' but therefore there is no chance to be better.
I shall always remember an old man in India telling me, 'The moment you think you are good, learned, wise, you close your heart's door to goodness, learning, and wisdom.' The spirit of today is that a child begins to say, 'I know what you do not know.' There is no regard for the idea that another knows more, there is no appreciation of it. It is because something is missing in education; the children are not taught that way. What they are taught is self-pride, and even that is a false quality. True pride should be based upon a stronger foundation: the nobility of the soul. False pride must break one day or another. That is why the consideration of individuality seems to be lost.
A poet once said, 'Lord let me not live in a world where camphor, cotton, and bone are all considered white.' Now our world is becoming more and more like that every day. If there is a distinction it is of money, of rank, of position, but not of human quality. The real distinction is not recognized; if there is any disparity it is what sort of house one lives in, what position one holds, or how much money one has in the bank. Therefore instead of evolving mankind is losing its opportunity.