Lesson 6: Mental Purification
There is no great difference between magnetism and an electrical current. Scientists have never been able to give an answer to the question of what electricity really is; but no one can say that to a certain extent electricity is magnetism and magnetism is electricity. Power of attraction is magnetism, power that gives force and energy is electricity; it is essentially the same power. But interesting as the subject of magnetism is from a scientific point of view, as interesting, or even more so, is it from a mystical point of view.
A magnet and something which is attracted to the magnet have a relationship. The magnet represents the essence, part of which is held by the object which is attracted. Very often one does not find a trace of that essence in the object that the magnet attracts, but at the same time the essence is there, and that is the logical reason why it is attracted.
The ancients used to recognize that the relationship between two persons of the same blood was influenced by that magnetism, and a deep study of this fact will certainly prove that there are relations. An incident that occurred lately is an example of this. A man from Stockholm was visiting London, where he thought he had no relations or, if any, they dated from perhaps a century ago. In the street one day someone called him by name. When he turned round, the man who had called him excused himself, saying, "I am sorry, I have made a mistake." But he asked, "How did you know my name? The name you said is mine!" And when they spoke together they found that they were cousins, although very distant ones.
The more attention we give to this subject, the more proof we can find of one element being drawn to its similar element. Sa’adi says, "Element attracts element, as a dove is attracted to a dove and an eagle is attracted to an eagle." But do we not find the same thing in life every day? A gambler when he goes to another country, one does not know how, attracts another gambler very soon. And it is not only that when two persons of a similar element meet they are attracted to one another, but even conditions, life itself, brings about their meeting; life itself draws them together. And therefore it is natural that a person who is very sad attracts a miserable one to join him; the one with joy, with happiness, naturally attracts happiness. And in this way magnetism is working through the whole of creation; and in all aspects you will see the phenomena of magnetism, in the physical world as well as in the mental spheres. Of course, one cannot say that an element always attracts the same element, for the element also attracts what it lacks, what is opposite to it. When we think of friendship, we see that with some we feel inclined to be friends and from others we feel inclined to keep away. And the most interesting part is that those whom we feel disinclined to be friends with, have also some who are drawn towards them in friendship. This leads us to the truth which lies in musical harmony: how two notes have a relation to one another and their combination brings about a harmony.
Now coming to the question of the practical use of magnetism, whether you are in business or in industry, whether you are in domestic or in political work, in whatever situation, you will always find that magnetism is the secret of your progress in life; and as to qualifications, to which we give such great importance, you will find that numberless people who are most highly qualified do not make their way through life because of lack of magnetism. Very often there may be a highly qualified man, but before he speaks of his qualification the person to whom he has gone has had enough of him. Personality takes such an important place in life that even the absence of qualifications is tolerated
when the personality has magnetism. In these times, when materialism is so much on the increase that personality is given much less importance in society, and when heroism has no place in life, magnetism works automatically and proves to be the most essential thing even now, and it will always prove so. But people generally do not go deeply into the subject of magnetism and only recognize personal magnetism by the attraction that they feel.
When we consider personal magnetism, we may divide it into four different classes.
One kind, the ordinary kind of magnetism, is concerned with the physical plane; and this magnetism has to do with nourishment, with hygiene, with regular living, with right breathing and the regulation of activity and repose. This magnetism also depends on the age, like the ascending and descending notes in an octave. It may be likened to the season of spring, which comes and goes; and at the same time this magnetism is dependent upon everything belonging to the physical world, since it is a physical magnetism.
Then there is the magnetism which may be called mental. A person with a sparkling intelligence naturally becomes the center of his society. The person who has wit and a keen perception, who can express himself well, who understands quickly, that is the person who always attracts others around him and is liked by everyone. The person who has knowledge of human nature, who knows about things and conditions, naturally draws people towards him. If there is any qualification it is this; and without this qualification no other qualification can be of very great use. But a man who is born with this sparkling kind of intelligence, it is he who becomes a genius, it is he who accomplishes things, and it is he who helps others to accomplish something, for on his mind others depend. It is this person who can guide himself and direct others. And with all our thought of equality in which we are so much absorbed, we shall find that it is this person who will win the battle in life, and it is this person who stands above the masses, who leads, and without whom many are lost.
The question is, how can this magnetism be developed? This magnetism is developed by study, by concentration, by a keen observation of life, and by the knowledge of repose. Very many intelligent persons, because they do not know how to concentrate and how to take repose in their lives, in time blunt their intelligence; because there is a certain fund of energy which is preserved and which is limited, and when there is too much pressure put upon that limited energy in the end, what happens? A person becomes less and less intelligent, and his power of mind diminishes every day. Whenever you find a very intelligent man becoming duller every day, it always proves that the amount of energy that was there has been spent. It is, therefore, by knowing how to preserve one’s intellect, that this magnetism remains in a right condition. What generally happens is that great responsibility falls on the intelligent person. Much more is asked of him than of others who lack intelligence. If he does not give his mind a rest by knowing how to repose, and if he does not concentrate and thus sharpen his intellect naturally &endash; just like a knife which is continually used, it will become blunted naturally &endash; the continual use of intellect will make him short of words.
The third aspect of magnetism is perhaps a higher kind than the two which have been described above, for this magnetism is more profound and it affects another person more deeply. This is the magnetism of love, of sympathy, of friendliness. A person who by nature is sympathetic; a person who tolerates, who forgets, who forgives; a person who does not keep bitterness nor malice in his mind against anyone; a person who admires and appreciates beauty, who loves it in art, in nature, in all its forms, and who goes out to friend and foe, to the acquaintance, the stranger, to all; the person who can endure and who can suffer, and who has the power to have patience through all conditions of life, who feels the pain of another in his heart and who is always willing to become a friend, it is that person whose magnetism is greater than all the other magnetisms that we know of. We do not
need to go far to see this; if only we look for good things in people we shall find this. Among our surroundings we can find many in whom we can appreciate this quality.
One day a man who had traveled very much saw an Indian mystic, and he said, "We have heard so much and we have read so much about the saints and sages and Mahatmas and masters who live in India, but when I went there I found no one." And the mystic told him, "You need not have gone so far. The souls who are worthwhile, the souls who love one another, the saints and sages, are to be found everywhere."
If we can appreciate them, we can find them; but if we cannot appreciate them, even if an angel came we would not be able to find these qualities in him. Nevertheless, call him a saint or a sage, call him a prophet or a Mahatma, if there is anything that draws man towards man, it is the love element that he pours out.
Now the question is, how can one develop this quality? And the answer will be: by one thing only. By studying, by knowing, by practicing, and by living the life of a friend. By contemplation on this thought from morning till evening: "Towards everyone I meet, towards those who love me and those who hate me, will I practice in my life that thought of friendliness, that outgoing, that pouring out of sympathy and love." Apart from the magnetism that one acquires from this, when we consider life as it is, with all its limitations, with all the pain and troubles and responsibilities that it gives us, if there seems to be anything worthwhile it is one thing only, and that is the thought and impression that we have done our best to be gentle, to be tender to those whom we meet in our everyday life. If there is any prayer, if there is any worship, if there is any religion, it is this. For in the life hereafter there is no one to please; if there is anyone to be pleased and whose pleasure it is worth while to earn, it is here, it is man; and it is in the pleasure of man, if one understands it, that the pleasure of God resides.
The fourth aspect of magnetism is magnetism itself. Lack of magnetism means that this aspect is hidden; this magnetism is the soul of man. To define what the soul is, it may be said that the soul is the self of man. But which self? That self of which he does not know. There is a humorous Indian story about some peasants who were traveling, but it was the first time in their life that they had done so. Therefore, being worried about each other, they decided the next morning to count if all the peasants were still there. They were very upset after having counted, for they counted nineteen, and it was understood that twenty peasants had left home. And so each peasant counted and each said, "There are nineteen"; and they could not find who was missing, for everyone was there. In the end they found that all those who had counted had forgotten to count themselves.
That is the condition of the soul. It sees all selves, but it does not see itself. And the day when the soul realizes itself, that day a new life begins, a new birth. It is the self-realized soul which grows, which expands. So long as the soul has not realized itself, it does not develop, it does not grow.Therefore it is at the moment when the soul begins to realize itself that a man really begins to live in the world. But it must be understood that the magnetism of the self-realized soul is greater than any magnetism one could ever imagine. It is power, it is wisdom, it is peace, it is intelligence, it is all. It is this magnetism that heals, heals bodies and heals minds; and it is this magnetism that raises those fallen into difficulties, in pain and sorrows. It is this magnetism that brings others out of their confusion, their darkness. It is by this magnetism that the illuminated souls spread out their love, thereby attracting all beings. It is of this magnetism that Christ said to the fishermen, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." It is with this magnetism that the great ones, such as Buddha, such as Moses, Christ, Muhammad, came and attracted humanity. And humanity during the ages has not forgotten. It is their magnetism which, after their having left this earth, has held millions and millions of people in one bond of brotherhood, of sympathy, of friendship. The immense power that
the soul-magnetism gives shows that it is divine magnetism. It is a proof of something behind the seen world.
Lesson 7: The Magnetism of Beings and Objects
In preparing anything one does not only put one's magnetism in it, but the voice of one’s soul is produced in the thing one prepares. For instance, it is not difficult for an intuitive person to find in the food that comes before him the thoughts of the cook. It is not only the grade of evolution that the cook has, but also what the cook is thinking at that particular time, that is produced in it. If the cook is irritated while cooking, if she is grumbling, if she is sighing, if she is miserable, wretched, all that comes before you with the food she prepares. It is the knowledge of this fact which made the Hindus engage as a cook a high-caste Brahmin, whose evolution was great, whose life was pure, whose thoughts were elevated. It is not the custom of the past, it is the custom of today, that a Brahmin who is sometimes the Guru, the teacher, of other castes, may also be the cook. Besides this, in the ancient times when human personality was keenly observed in everything one did, every person, whatever his rank or position in life, was qualified in cooking and preparing dishes for himself and for his friends; and a great mark of appreciation and affection was shown by people who invited some relations or friends to come to their house, by placing before them dishes that they themselves had prepared. It was not the dish, it was the thought that was put into it.
Life at the present time seems to have taken away many considerations of personal character. But whether in the East or in the West, there was a time when the craft of knitting or weaving clothes was known by every little girl; and to give one's brother or sister or beloved or relation some little thing made by one's own hand was the custom. Now a thing is easily bought at the shop; no one knows who has made it, nor whether it was made grudgingly, or with grumbling, or how. Especially at this time when the working man is in revolt, what the workman has put into the objects he has made for you is a question. And in sewing for the one she loves, a thought naturally has gone with every stitch that a girl has made; if it is done with love and affection, every stitch produces a new thought; it completes that living thought of love, thus giving inwardly that help that every soul is in need of.
But then also the wagons, carriages and ships which are used at the risk of man’s life, by whom are they made? Who knows what was the condition of mind of the builders of the Titanic? Was there a peacemaker teaching them to keep a certain rhythm of mind while making her?
Everything that is made as a magical influence in it. If it is made with a thought quite contrary to what is needed, it only means dangers awaiting the ship, the train, the wagon, the car. Very often without apparent cause you find a boat in danger, something breaking without a substantial reason. In its make-up the thought of destruction has been given. It is working through it; it is something more living than the object itself. So it is when a house is built. The thoughts given to it by the one who was building it, or by those who worked on it, all count.
The thought attached to things is a life-power. But in order to define it, it may be called a vibratory power. In a mystic's conception vibrations may be considered to have three aspects: audible, visible, and perceptible. Now the vibrations put into an object are never audible and visible; they are only perceptible. Perceptible to what? To the intuitive faculty of man. But it is not meant by this that the one who lacks intuitive faculty does not perceive it, he perceives it too, but unconsciously. In short,
we understand by this that there is a thought attached to all things made either by an individual or by the multitude and that thought will give results accordingly.
The influence put into things is according to the intensity of the feeling. A note resounds according to the intensity with which you strike it. You may strike a note on the piano, and it will continue to resound for so long; and if you strike it with less intensity it resounds for a shorter time. But at the same time it is according to the strength with which you strike and the instrument on which you strike. There may be one instrument the string of which will continue to vibrate for a very long time; there is another instrument whose string will not vibrate for very long, and then it will quiet down. And so it is also according to the medium which you take in striking vibrations, that the effect is made.
In all things there is God; but the object is the instrument, and man is life itself. Into the object a person puts life. When a certain thing is being made, it is at that time that life is put into it which goes on and on like breath in a body. This also gives us a hint that when we take flowers to a patient and we bring a healing thought with them, the flowers convey the thought of healing. And as the patient looks at the flowers, he will receive from the flowers the healing which has been put there. Any eatable or sweet, anything that we take to a friend with a thought of love, may create a harmonious, a happy result with him. Therefore every little thing given and taken in love, with a harmonious and good thought, has a greater value than the object itself. For it is not the object, it is what is behind it. Does it not teach us that it is not always the doing or preparing of things in our everyday life, but that it is giving these things with a harmonious, constructive thought that counts, so that our work may become a thousand times greater in effect and in its real value?
This also teaches us that while doing a certain thing we should be accomplishing something very great if we did it with this attitude, with this idea at the back of it: that we are not making a thing only, but that we are making it so that it lives. Does it not open before us a vast field of work that we could do easily, without much cost or effort? In its results that work could be of a much greater importance than anyone could think or imagine. Is it not at the same time a great blessing to be able to do a thing of great importance without any outward pretense? Even while writing a letter a person sometimes puts into it what words cannot explain; and yet the letter conveys it. There may be one word written with a loving thought behind it; that word will have a greater effect than perhaps a thousand others. Do we not almost hear a letter speaking? It is not always what is written in it; it brings the one who wrote it to us, and what mood he was in, his evolution, his displeasure, his joy and his sorrow; the letter conveys more than what is written in it.
Consider the great souls who have come to the earth at different times. Conditions opposed them, and they found difficulties at every move in accomplishing what they wanted to do; yet they have produced the voice, a living voice. That living voice continued long after they had left, and spread in time throughout the whole universe, accomplishing what they had once wished. The effect of that one moment of thought took perhaps centuries to build something, but it was something worth while, something beyond man's comprehension.
If we could only understand what spirit is, we should esteem the human being much more than we do now. We trust man so little, we believe in man so little, we respect man so little, we esteem his possibilities so little. If we only knew what is at the back of every strong and weak soul, we should know that there is every possibility, and we should never under-estimate anyone nor fail to respect any man in spite of all he may lack; we should recognize that it is the Creator creating through all the different forms; but it is one Creator; and all that is built and prepared and made and composed, is made by that one Being working through this world of variety.
Lesson 8: Personal Magnetism, Part I
Everyone sees how great is the influence of personal magnetism upon success in everyday life, profession., business, family, and daily occupations.
Sometimes we notice that we go to a shop to buy a certain thing, and there is something about the manner of the salesman that impels us to decide to visit the same shop the next time we need that kind of article. Even if it is a long way to the shop, we prefer not to go to one which is nearer. Similarly it sometimes happens that a person goes to a hotel or boarding house or restaurant, and someone treats him in such a way that he decides to return to that place rather than visit another.
So with doctors, solicitors, barristers, scientists, professors, and teachers of all kinds. A doctor may be well-versed in his knowledge, he may have a great many degrees, but if he lacks this personal magnetism, instead of curing patients he may make them worse. Sometimes a doctor cures the patient before giving him the prescription. Just by a word of kindness, by a manner, a tenderness, a sympathy he makes the patient feel so much better that the disease which before was too much to bear, appears to be curable after all. Half the pain has gone with just seeing the doctor, such a difference does personality make. It is a great healer.
Then there may be a solicitor or barrister who antagonizes his client as soon as he sees him, and so the latter does not wish to go to him next time. Another person will impart courage and hope; his personality, his speech, everything, will show that he is the man to follow, to go to for help.
In family life disagreement or agreement often arises for the same reason. The father, mother, husband or wife may have personal magnetism which can hold the family together. When this magnetism is lacking, a person finds it better to be among friends than to be with a relative; he would rather go out than stay at home. The home becomes a strange place, because there is not that magnetism for which he lives. It is as if in mid-winter a person comes to his room and finds it cold because there is no fire there; he wishes that he were somewhere else where there is a fire. Personal magnetism can create beauty around one, can attract one, can make a person attractive to his fellowman, serviceable to them. It is soothing; it is healing
What is this personal magnetism? Is it a development of psychic power or occult power? Is it an education, or is it refinement? The answer is that education helps personal magnetism, because knowledge is light, and light is beautiful, and it always helps. But this is not personal magnetism. People may be very well-educated and at the same time very disagreeable. Sa'adi says that an educated man who does not put what he has learnt into practice is like a donkey loaded with books: he is carrying them on his back, but he does not know it or act accordingly. He has a load of knowledge which serves no purpose. If his education has not made a man human, what is the use of education? It is just learning for the purpose of earning money.
One may think, if magnetism is not education, is it then psychic power? Not necessarily, though it is the natural psychic or occult power that we call personal magnetism. It is not necessary to attain this kind of power by a certain practice or study; one should already have it; and when it is used in the right way it is personal magnetism.
Is magnetism then politeness? Is it polish? As polish is the fashion today, every person learns it when he mixes with people; but this is not necessarily personal magnetism, though men may think he has a winning manner. If there can be any real explanation of personal magnetism, it is the making of one's own personality into that which one expects from others. A man usually makes the mistake of expecting things from others and not doing them himself. For instance, a man is very pleased if he is
well received in a friend's house, if he is spoken kindly of, and treated well, if his vanity is satisfied by the action of others. He is very glad if others have a good opinion of him and overlook his defects. But seldom does he pause to do the same himself.
If we only tried to give to others all the things we demand from them; if we overlooked their bad points instead of expecting them to overlook ours; if we only thought, "How inconsiderate I was that time when I spoke so rudely to so and so;" if we only gave others all that we would like them to give us, that would create a personal magnetism; if we did to them all the things that we expect from them!
The word "gentleman" in the English language is a very good one in this respect. It has come to refer merely to dressing well; but the ideal behind it is good. It is the ideal of gentleness, and gentleness is the essence of personal magnetism. There cannot be a better lesson than that given in the Bible where it is said, "Blessed are the meek, blessed are the poor in spirit." But the difficulty is that man pays little attention to all these things; he thinks they are too simple. And at the same time if you ask him the meaning of "poor in spirit" he will find it very difficult to answer. Not many will know what that means. It may be understood by comparing the spirit of man with the spirit of an animal. If a tiger is lying in a certain place, and you want the tiger to get up, he will roar. If a man is lying there, and you say, "Will you please let me sit there," he will say, "Certainly," because his spirit is poorer than the spirit of the tiger. And that is also the difference between a man and a gentleman. The gentleman is he who shows that poorness of spirit in himself, a spirit of accommodating another, letting another sit in his place if he wants to.
He feels that it does not matter if another person sits in his place; it is really better. There is a person who, if we talk roughly to him, returns our words four times more rudely and coarsely. There is another person who, if we talk roughly to him, bears it and perhaps does not give an answer at all, or perhaps he understands and consequently avoids a fight or quarrel in his search for peace. It is written, "Blessed are the peace-makers." This is not merely the kind of peace which prevents fighting and bloodshed and strife; we may make this kind of peace many times a day from morning to night.There are a thousand matters about which we can quarrel and get annoyed with one another. So throughout our daily life, at all times, there are opportunities of making peace.
We always admire a person who shows gentleness in his movements, in sitting, walking, in his voice or words, in his thought; we admire it consciously or unconsciously. There is always charm in gentleness, and yet man neglects it when the time comes to practice it. That which should come first comes last. If only man realized how much he likes gentleness on the part of others! If a person has gentleness of voice or expression or word, it is so charming, so winning; we know this so well and yet we always forget it at the critical moment.
Poorness of spirit comes from meekness. Meekness is mildness, which is contrary to what we call roughness. Roughness of action or roughness of speech is contrary to mildness or meekness. Our eyes naturally always enjoy softness of color rather than striking tones, because of the aggressive power in the latter which our eyes cannot bear. We experience the same thing with the sun and moon. We do not like to look at the sun, and in India we enjoy the moonlight nights so much, we wish the moon shone every night. Why? Because it is mild; it shows meekness. Our power is the power of light; our strength of speech, thought, and action is of the same kind and the same nature as the light of the sun and moon respectively. If the light is too strong, it irritates; if it is mild, it soothes. So if we treat everyone with gentleness, our personality is always welcome wherever we are.The same gentleness in our speech will always give us success, and we will always have friends. If only we had control over our words; if only our words were always of that meek nature!
Among the musicians and poets of the East special attention is given to education in meekness and mildness. There is a Sanskrit saying, "Art becomes twice as graceful when art and mildness go together." How true it is. When we admire the art of the artist and say how beautiful it is, and he answers, "O, it is nothing, it is your kindness that causes you to admire it," his magnetism becomes great.
From a king down to the most ordinary person, it is mildness that wins the whole world. People of all positions in life and all grades of evolution can do such a great work with this one little possession. Sa'adi says, "If your word is sweet, you conquer the world; wherever you go you win men's hearts." Is it not what Christ means when he says to the fishermen, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men; " that is, "I will teach you those manners of humanity by which you will win everyone you may come in contact with." Do you think a person can become a fisher of men by his cleverness, by his artificial polish? False is false, gold is gold. The true gold will last; the false gold will lose its brilliance.
Polish is just like false gold. A person may wish to win wife, husband, father, brother, all by his cleverness, by his polish, but he will prove to be false even on a very unimportant occasion. Polish may please the eyes, but it cannot please the heart; the polish of the heart comes from the feeling. When the action of the heart is not in harmony with the roughness of the feeling, the feeling will come out all the same. All that is real will come out; the polish is only beautiful for a moment. It may show a person to be very gentle and clever for a moment, but it does not last. His friends will leave him in a short time. The relatives will all know in time that it is just external, all cleverness, not that which will last for ever. It is the truth that lasts for always. All the beautiful qualities should be true qualities, not false, because the value lies in the true and not in the false.
In ancient times people of great descent, royal princes, people of educated and religious families, used to go out into the world, and were not recognized as such because there was no international communication in those days; no nation knew its neighbor. Yet it happened that these persons were always recognized by their manner, recognized as belonging to such a family.
Lesson 9: Personal Magnetism, Part II
Evolution has made all humanity a family; and now is the time when every individual should consider that as a member of the family of the whole of humanity he ought to show himself as being human in nature, and show how superior he can be to the animals and the lower creatures. If we only did what animals do, if we only ate, drank, slept, bit each other, got the better of one another, we should not accomplish anything great. Their whole life is spent in pursuit of their food. In the night animals join together and make a noise in the jungle. If we also enjoy ourselves in that way, then our amusements and joys and comforts are no greater than those of animals, unless we show some quality in our personality which animals do not possess.
A Hindustani poet, Amir says, "It is much more precious than any wealth to collect the wealth of a good manner." Because by a good manner we can make another person as kind as our own father and mother, as kind and sympathetic as our own brother and sister, as respectful as our own son and daughter, if we only have that manner. If we know how to behave respectfully towards our elders, if we know how sympathetic and polite and good we ought to be to those who are poor or are servants, or who depend on us, if our manner is beautiful, there is no heart we can fail to win. The children of the wealthiest people may, owing to the ill manner of the parents, want to sacrifice all their fortune,
their fatherland mother, in order to get away from them; they would even sacrifice life itself. As with children, so with less near relatives. They cannot attract as long as they have no good manner; all the physical magnetism passes away. During youth, a man may be very magnetic, but when his youth passes away his attraction may be lost. But the attraction of personal magnetism grows with years and can be used at all times. Even an old man is attractive, so that people will say, "What a nice person. By going to him we can feel so filled with joy and comfort." Although even the nearest and dearest will not always desire to spend time with an old person, they find themselves attracted to an aged one who has personal magnetism.
The Prophet said, "God is beautiful, and He loves beauty." What is beautiful in life? It is not only trees and plants and flowers and the external physical world; the higher beauty is the beauty of personality. By the beauty of personality our heart is filled with joy; by the beauty of nature only the eyes are satisfied, the heart is not satisfied. It is the beauty of personality that fills our heart with joy; there is something imparted to us which we cannot explain. Animal magnetism passes away with the strength of the animal. Animal beauty all goes when the person is ill and his physical energy is lost; there is no longer any attraction.
Personal magnetism helps in all conditions. If a person is poor, it makes him rich, because his personality is such that he receives the attentions, the service, and all his life’s demands with less trouble, even in spite of his humble position in life. Do we not see around us how a person of beautiful personality, however helpless, will always attract the good, the bad and all around him? If a person lacks it, however rich, however educated, however great in position, he will only attract those who are forced into his society, or such as are looking to get some of his wealth. His relatives, forced to be with him, only long for the time when he is no more, and his wealth will be theirs.
Let us think about the Prophets. There are so many followers of Christ in the world today, and perhaps it is true that not everyone understands his teachings or follows him because of his teaching. But if there is anything of him which is known to the world, if there is any of his fragrance left in the world, it is his personality. He was ready to forget and overlook the faults of others; he was ready to attend to the service of the poor, ready to play and be equal with little children. He never said, "I am a teacher from God, and people must come and bow before me."
That, then, is the attitude: the poorness of spirit, the harmony in life, the harmonious temperament. From the highest to the lowest we always find people in a state of disharmony. In clubs, associations, meetings, institutions, parliaments, all will dispute and fight. This teaches us that however evolved a person may be in his education, his position, or his power and wealth, he has not mastered the law of harmony by these.
Whoever has mastered the law of harmony has developed humanity within himself. He will harmonize equally with the wise and with the foolish. It is not because he is wise that he harmonizes with the wise, nor because he is wise that he harmonizes with the foolish. Foolish men gave their lives for Christ; wise men worshiped him for his wisdom. "They left their nets" and the fishing where they had spent all their lives because Christ harmonized with them. He answered their questions; he was tolerant.
So with the story of Krishna. He is looked on as the incarnation of God, one of the greatest teachers the Hindus ever had. He was a child with little children, a cowherd with every cowherd. He was harmonious with everybody. He was wise among the learned, and was merry among the happy. He was not a king; he was not poor; he was one among all. The young and the old, everybody loved him. When he played the flute the cows and the deer and all the animals of the jungle would come to listen. It was not the mere skill of his music, for music is not attractive if the personality is not attractive; it was his personality that attracted them.
There were two friends speaking together, and one said, "That funeral which is passing is of a person who is going to heaven." Another funeral, passing later, caused this friend to remark, "For this person, the place is hell." The younger of the two friends asked, "What do you know about it?" "Oh," said the other, "it is so simple: Behind the first one were people walking with tears in their eyes, and they all looked so sad. So he must have won their hearts by his personality. His magnetism must have made such an impression that all the people appeared sad and sorrowing. But with the other funeral there were few people, and they were laughing in the sleeves and winking, and everybody had a smile, which shows that they were very pleased to get rid of him."
Whatever possession, whatever power, whatever honor, whatever wealth, whatever property we have, is of no use in the end, for all is passing. But if there is any one thing which is worth gaining in life because it lasts for ever, it is humanity.
Lesson 10: Our God Part And Our Human Part
Not only in this age but also in past ages, the first thing realized by man has been his own limited existence formed of matter, which he called "I". This is not his fault; it is because religions have been interpreted with the intention of dominating the people, of holding them in the grasp of those who understood their meaning. The priests have only allowed people to understand very little, and all the rest they have kept for themselves. They have said, "You are ordinary beings. God is much too high for you to understand. We can communicate with Him, we can understand Him, but you must stay where you are."
All his life Buddha fought hard against this. When someone spoke to him of a spirit, of God, or made a show of a holy, a spiritual life, he said, "I do not believe in it." But this was very extreme, for it led people into another error: it led them to say that there was no God, no spirit.
Another reason for this separation was that it has always been the tendency of those who had the same way of thought, the same belief or faith, to come together in one group, in one society, in order to have the encouragement of each other’s thought. By this they separated themselves from the rest of humanity.
The mystic has never believed with a blind belief. In fact he does not believe, he experiences. He experiences that he is himself the whole Being. There is a verse of a Hindustani poet which says: Behind the human face God was hiding,
I did not know.
I veiled my eyes and was separated from Truth,
I did not know.
It is a very beautiful verse, and it has a deep meaning.
All of us have our God part and our man part. Man is made of two things, spirit and substance. The spirit is the finer part and the substance is the grosser part; the finer part, the spirit, has turned into the grosser part. One part is the external, limited self that we see, and the other is the unlimited being.
Man’s external self is composed of the five elements, but in reality man is much larger and extends much further than we generally believe. For instance, when someone stands before an audience he appears to be of a certain size; but when he speaks he is as large as the area to which his voice carries. Although a friend or a beloved may be thousands of miles away he will feel our attachment, our
affection. The feeling originates here, but manifests over there. This shows that in our feelings we are larger still.
The breath goes still further. By the breath we can send our thoughts wherever we wish, and we are able to know the thought and the condition of every being. The thought of someone who wishes to accomplish a certain thing reaches out in order to prepare it. Man is like a telescope: at one end there is the man part, the limited existence; and at the other end there is the God part, the unlimited Being. At one end we are so small; at the other we are so vast that we are the whole Being.
If each of us is so great, as great as the whole Being , we might ask how there can be room for so many of us. Are there then several whole Beings? There are not. Through our ignorance we see many and make distinctions saying: "This is I, that is you, this is a friend, that is an enemy, I like this one, that one I do not like." But in the hereafter all are connected; there we are all the same.
Man has two natures: Farishtagi, the angelic, and Hayvanat, the animal. Hayvanat means man's body and the part of his nature which needs food and drink and sleep and the satisfaction of all its passions. His anger and his jealousy are animal, also his fear of one who is stronger than himself. In all these man is the same as the animals.
Farishtagi is the part of his nature that goes back to its source. It is not man's intelligence; the animals also have intelligence, though the animals cannot ask, "From whence have I come? For what purpose am I here?" When man knows this, when he recognizes his origin, then he is a divine being.This angelic nature is his kindness, his love, his sympathy, and his desire for knowledge. A great Hindustani poet has said, "We created man for feeling; if not, for our praise the angels were enough in Heaven."
In his worship, man, thinking that he glorifies God, in reality reduces God. We take a part and call it "I". We occupy this part and thereby deduct this part from God. I remember that my murshid when he met with any difficulty used to say with a deep sigh, "Bandagi becharegi," which means, "By coming here, He has become helpless."
What connection is there between Allah and Bandeh, between God and man, and what connection is there between man and God? What we call "I" is formed by the impressions of the external world, of the world of illusion, which have fallen upon the soul. An infant will never say "I". If it has something in its hand and one takes it away, it does not care. It does not distinguish between old and young. Whoever comes near to it, friend or enemy, is the same to the infant. The intellect that recognizes things by their distinctions and difference has deluded the soul.
We can see that that which we call "I" is not the true nature of our soul because we are never really happy. Whatever we do, whatever we have, whatever power we possess, we can never be happy. We say that this or that makes us unhappy, but it is only the distance that makes us so; the soul is unhappy in its separation.
A person sees that his coat is worn and poor, and he says, "I am poor." He sees that his coat is grand and he thinks, "I am grand." It is not he who is grand, it is his coat. Whatever is before the soul, the soul recognizes as "I". But what is "I"? The coat is not I, because when the coat is taken off, the self remains. When we are not experiencing through the senses the consciousness still remains.
The Sufi, by the inactivity of the senses, by different postures and practices, produces stillness; and then by the repetition of the name of God he merges his consciousness in the whole Consciousness, in God. This has been understood by the Greek philosophers; it has also been understood by the Vedantists. The Sufi keeps to the adoration, the reverence that he has for God; he bows and postulates himself before God. And he gives the beautiful name of Beloved to God. He understands that by saying, "This too is God," he glorifies God; he does not reduce Him. With all his humility, with all his devotion, he realizes his oneness with the highest Being.
It is difficult to separate God from man; in reality there is no separation. God’s action and man’s action are the same; God’s action is perfect and man’s action is imperfect. We upon earth are dependent upon so many things. First of all we must eat. If he did not need to eat, man would not have to work; he could sit with his friends and think of God or of something else. Then he must sleep; and there are so many other necessities.
There is a verse of Zahir which says, "The seekers have lost themselves before they sought Thee." And the great poet Amir says, "Do not say that man is God for he is not God. And do not say that man is separate from God, for he is not separate."
It is not difficult to have occult or psychic powers; to be virtuous is not difficult, nor to keep our life pure. But to be merciful, to be compassionate, to be human, is difficult. God has many names: the Great, the Almighty, the Sovereign, but He is mostly called the Merciful and the Compassionate. In these qualities we are never perfect, and we never shall be. One should go into one’s room at night and repent of what one has done, of all the thousand bad thoughts one a has had of friends and enemies. A Persian poet says, "The whole secret of the two worlds is in these words: with thy friends be loving, with thy enemies be courteous."
If we have understood this then this world is nothing; and if we have recognized that it is a passing thing, why not let others enjoy themselves while we look on? Why not let others put on a beautiful dress, while we look at it? Why not let others eat a good dinner, while we watch or stay in the kitchen and cook it? Why not let others sit in the carriage, and we pull it, instead of sitting in it ourselves and making others draw it? Keeping our life noble means being merciful and compassionate. But it is the tendency of every man to take what is best from another; even in friendship there is that tendency. All are seeking their own enjoyment and want to leave the worst to another; but if one is a seeker of God one should take the opposite way, even if it is contrary to all the world.
There are three courses: The first is renunciation &emdash; this is the way of the saints and the sages. It means following in the ideal and accepting whatever troubles and sorrows and ill-treatment may result. The second is selfishness, which means being more selfish than the rest of the world. The third is the greatest and the most difficult. It means having all the responsibilities, all the cares of life, friends and everything, and being as unselfish, as good as possible and yet just selfish enough not to be trampled upon.
If a person is turning round in a circle, the first time he goes slowly, the second time he goes faster, the fourth time he goes faster still, and the fifth, sixth, seventh, or eighth time he will fall down. Thefirst time he experiences the joy of turning, the second and third and fourth times he experiences it more and more, till at last he is drunk with it and falls down and experiences it to the full. This is what the universe has been doing, night and day, from the creation till now. In every activity there is an intoxication. Whatever we do we wish to do more and more, whatever the action may be. If a man is a patriot he will be more and more patriotic. A singer will sing more and more songs until he loses his voice. If a person gambles he will want to do it more and more. If a person has been drunk or drugged he will want more and more of whatever drink or drugs may be.
Hafiz says, "Before sunrise the wine was poured out. The wine was borrowed from the eyes of Saki, the wine-giver." Saki is the manifestation, which so intoxicates us that we believe that this is all that exists until we have become so enslaved by it that we cannot free ourselves any more.
From: 'The Inner Life' by Hazrat Inayat Khan