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Volume XIV - The Smiling Forehead

Part II - The Deeper Side of Life

Chapter XIV
The Law of Attraction

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 serpents.

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 the other.

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.

checked 10-Nov-2006