Justice and Forgiveness
Questions and answers
Question: Is it not very difficult to avoid judging? For in order to become just one has to come to a certain conclusion.
Answer: Yes, but what man generally does is not only that he judges anyone in the mind-he is very ready to give his judgment out. He is not patient enough to wait and analyse the matter and think more about it. As a rule a person is not only ready to judge, but without any restraint on his part he is ready to express his judgment instantly. He will not think, “Have I the right to judge that person? Have I risen to that state of evolution?” -when Jesus Christ himself refused to judge and said, “Whoever is faultless-it is that person’s place to accuse or to punish”. It teaches a great lesson: even in order to learn justice it is not necessary that we should be ready to judge and instantly to express our judgement, our opinion.
The idea of the Sufis, who see in every form the divine form, in every heart the divine shrine, is that to judge anyone, whatever be his position, his action, his condition, is against their religion, their attitude, for theirs is a respectful attitude towards everyone. And in this manner they develop that philosophy which has first been learned by them intellectually.
Question: Does the fact of not blaming others mean that we do not see their faults any more, that we are above seeing them?
Answer: No, in the first place it is a question of self restraint or self control, of politeness, kindness, sympathy, and graciousness, of a worshipful attitude towards God, the Creator of all beings: all are His children, good or bad. If anybody’s child happened to be homely in appearance would it be polite to say before its parents, “Your child is homely”? The Father and Mother of all beings is there, ever present, and knows what is going on in every person’s heart; all are His creatures. When with their faults and their merits before us we are ready to judge and to express our opinion against them, it is certainly against the Artist who has made them – not behind His back, in His presence! It would not be difficult to feel the presence of God everywhere if only we were conscious of this.
Besides this it is not only that we judge the faults and merits of people impartially, our favour and disfavour are always connected with it. Our favour is always inclined to see the merit, our disfavour the fault. Is there any person, however great, without a fault? Any person, however wicked, without a merit? Then if we see more faults it means that we close our heart to the favourable attitude and open our heart to the attitude which is unfavourable in order to criticize.
Now the other question: are we above seeing faults? Yes, there comes a time, after a continual practice of this virtue of not judging, when we see the reason behind every fault that appears to us in anyone we meet in our life. We become more tolerant, more forgiving. For instance, a person is ill, he is creating disturbance in his atmosphere by crying or weeping or shouting. It disturbs us and we say, “How terrible, how bad, how annoying. What a bad nature that person has got!” It is not the nature, it is the illness. If we looked from a different point of view, that reason would make us tolerant. And tolerance can give rise to that forgiveness, that only essence of God which can be found in the human heart.
Question: Will you please speak about the justice of God’s judgment?
Answer: By giving you a little simile I will show you what difference there is between man’s justice and God’s justice. There are children of the same father and they are quarreling over their toys. They have reasons to quarrel over their toys. One thinks a certain toy is more attractive: why should he not possess it? The other says, that toy is given to him: why should he not hold on to it? Both have their reason and both are just, but the father’s justice is different from theirs. The father has not only given them the toys to play with, but at the same time he knows what is the character of each child and what he wishes to bring out of that child, and whether that particular toy will help to bring out what he wishes to come out. The child does not know this. It happens perhaps that the toy seems poor to him and according to his sense of justice he cannot understand why that toy was given to him and not to the other. If the child was older he would have accused the father of injustice, but he does not know the justice of his father. He has to grow to that stage of evolution where his father is in order to understand the meaning behind.
The same is with the justice of God and man. Man’s justice is covered by his limited experience in life, by his favour and disfavour, by his preconceived ideas, by the learning he has which is nothing compared to the knowledge of God. When one compares the father with his innocent child, their relationship is too near to be compared to the relationship between God and man where there is such a distance; if we counted all the human beings that exist they would be like a drop compared to the ocean. There is no comparison between God and man. Therefore man’s justice is imperfect, God’s justice is perfect.
If one ever gets a glimpse of divine justice, the only way is first to believe in the justice of God against all the proofs which will contradict His Justice. There are many proofs which will contradict His justice. Why is this person rich, why is the other poor, why is this person in a high position, why has that person suffered so much, and why has another lived long and had a pleasant life? If one judged their actions, their intelligence, their stage of evolution one would find no justification. By judging this one will come to a conclusion where one will say, “Oh, there is no justice, it is all mechanical working which is perhaps behind it”.
Ideas such as karma and reincarnation will satisfy, but at the same time they will not root out God behind them, for then God has no power. God cannot be all powerful if everyone has the power to make his ownkarma. Root out God, then everything is working mechanically. And even if so, there cannot be a machine without an engineer; for a machine there must be an engineer. Is he subjected to his machine? Is he subjected to its power or is he the controller of it? If he is subjected then he is not powerful enough. If he is limited then he cannot be God any more. God is He who is perfect in His justice, in His wisdom and in His power.
If we question the cause of all such happenings which do not give us a justification then we come to another question, and that question is: Can a composer give a certain justification of every note he has written in his composition? He cannot; he can only say, “It is the stream that has come from my heart. I have tried to maintain certain laws, to keep to certain rules of composition, but if you ask me for the justification of every note I am unable to give it. I am not concerned with every note, I am concerned with the effect that the whole produces”.
It is not true that there is no law. There is a law, but is law predominant or love? Law is a habit, and love is the being. Law is made, love has never been created; it was, it is and it will be. So love is predominant. What do we read in the Bible? God is love. So God is beyond the law: love is above the law. Therefore if we come to any solution to our ever rising question: Why is it so?-it is not by the study of the law, never. Study of the law will only give increasing appetite which will never bring satisfaction. If there is anything which will bring satisfaction it is diving deep into love and letting love inspire law. That will open up a realm of seeing the law better.
Then we shall see that there is nothing in this world which has no justification. It is inexplicable but it is perceptible that all has its justification, and in the light of perfect justice all life will be manifest. Then we shall not have one word to say that “this is unjust”, not even the most cruel thing we saw. A thought like this may shock, but at the same time that is the point the wise man reaches, and he calls it the culmination of wisdom.
Question: How do we know that God forgives more than He judges?
Answer: In the first place justice is born and love has never been born. It always has been and always will be. Of what is justice born? It is born of the sense of fairness. As this sense becomes matured in man he begins to seek for evenness, and what is not even he does not like. But to inspire this sense, to develop it, all must exist first: justice is the outcome of what we see, love is not. Love is spontaneous and is always there, as it is said in the Bible, “God is love”. Therefore justice is God’s nature, but love is God’s very being. Therefore He forgives, because He is forgiveness Himself, and He judges because it is His nature to judge.
Question: So justice comes from God’s intelligence, and forgiveness from His divine love?
Answer: God’s intelligence in this world of illusion has a limited expression, for when one judges limited things one’s intelligence becomes limited also. One is as limited as the object before one; the greater the object, the greater becomes the vision. But forgiveness does not judge, it is only the feeling of love. And therefore whatever be the other’s fault, once a person has forgiven, the happiness and joy are shared by both. Justice has not that joy. The one who judges too much is unhappy himself and makes the one whom he judges unhappy also. The one who forgives is happy, he does not keep any grudge in his heart, he makes his heart pure and free from it. Therefore God’s greatest attribute is forgiveness.
Pairs of Opposites used in Religious Terms
IN RELIGIOUS terms one makes use of pairs of opposites such as God and devil, heaven and hell, sin and virtue. Man who begins to acquire knowledge by learning through pairs of opposites cannot at once rise to that pitch where he comprehends life without them. In one way it is not correct, it is not right to conceive God who is all-powerful together with the conception of another personality, an opposite power, calling it devil. On the other hand it would puzzle a believer in God, who considers God all good and all beautiful, when he knew that also all that is bad or evil is contained in God. Besides, a devotee, a worshipper of God, whose object is to raise by devotion and worship his ideal of God as high as he can, is hindered in his effort by being made to see that all that he considers wicked and ugly also belongs to God’s part. On the other hand one has diminished God, making Him limited, producing before Him a power which – if not equal – exists as a power opposite to God.
No doubt whichever method the wise of the world have taken to guide humanity, whether with the limited idea of God opposed by another power, Satan, or with the other idea that God is allpowerful, the only Being, it has always been wisdom’s work to bring man to that pitch where he can understand life more perfectly. No doubt when we give a place to a power for wrong, for evil, when we picture it as a personality and call it a devil, we certainly limit the power of the One whom we always call almighty. Nevertheless, it is picturesque, it is more comprehensible and tangible to believe in the God of good and in the Lord of evil.
As to the idea of what is called heaven and hell – for our comprehension these are two places: one where a person is punished, the other where he is exalted, where he is happy, where he is rewarded. This idea is clear, but where do we experience all unhappiness and sorrow and discomfort, and where do we experience all pleasure and happiness and joy? Is it not on the same earth? It is under the same sun. This explains to us that those two places were shown to us as different because we are capable only of seeing them as two different places. The wise of the world, at any time of the world’s civilization, could not do better than to make the subtle ideas of life as simple and comprehensible to man as possible.
For instance, if I were to say that the world of thought and the world of action are different, it would be true. Yet it is the same world in which we live -call it the world of thought – and the very world in which we live is the world of action. It is not only how it is said, but it is also how we look at it. What is said is not wrong but, if we look wrongly at it, it can be wrong. It is not disbelieving in things which is wrong, but believing wrongly is even worse than disbelief: it is the understanding of all things from every point of view which enlightens, not refusing to believe them or to believe them simply. Cannot one’s own mind be turned from hell to heaven and from heaven to hell? Cannot one’s own life’s situation be turned from hell to heaven and from heaven to hell? It is here where one sees the difference and at the same time the oneness of the two.
Now we come to what people call sin and virtue. In all ages they have pointed out, “This particular thing is sin, that particular thing is virtue”. Whenever the wise have done it they have done it rightly, and yet they differ from one another. If a greater light is thrown upon this subject it is possible to view sin in the light of sin and also to view sin in the light of virtue. Very often one can also see that under the cover of virtue there was a sin, and under the cover of sin there was a virtue.
When people came to Christ accusing a person of wrongdoing the Master did not think of anything else but forgiveness, for he did not see in that person what the others saw. Looking at right and wrong is not the work of an ordinary mind, and it is amusing that the more ignorant a person, the more ready he is to distinguish between right and wrong. Very often it is the angle from which we view a thing that makes it right or wrong, and therefore the very thing that we would call wrong, if we were able to see it from different angles, we would call right at the same time.
When people say that they distinguish between right and wrong by their results, even then they cannot be sure if in the punishment there was not a reward, or in the reward a punishment. What does this show us? It shows us that life is a puzzle of duality. The pairs of opposites keep us in an illusion and make us think, “This is this, and that is that”. At the same time by throwing a greater light upon things we shall find in the end that they are quite different from what we had thought.
Seeing the nature and character of life the Sufi says that it is not very important to distinguish between two opposites. What is most important is to recognize that One which is hiding behind it all. Naturally after realizing life the Sufi climbs the ladder which leads him to unity, to the idea of unity which comes through the synthesis of life, by seeing One in all things, in all beings.
You may believe that the world has evolved, that humanity has always evolved, or you may believe that it has gone up and then down, going round and round in circles, or whatever may be your belief. But in whatever age the wise were born, they have always believed the same: that behind all is oneness, and in the understanding of that oneness is wisdom. A person who awakens to the spirit of unity, a person who sees the oneness behind all things-his point of view becomes different and his attitude therefore changes. He no longer says to his friend, “I love you because you are my friend”; he says, “I love you because you are myself”. He says, as a mystic would say, “Whether you have done wrong or whether I have done wrong, it does not matter. What is wanted is to right the wrong”.
Question: If I have well understood your philosophy and idea of religion it seems to me that it starts from doubt, not making a distinction between good and evil, sin and virtue, justice and injustice. Do you seek to establish a triangle system on which you seek to find the centre of gravity?
Answer: Yes, you are quite right, but I do not mean that we start by not distinguishing between the two. We do not need to start by it, because life starts by distinguishing between the two; life starts us in this way. If we did not distinguish between the two and we arrived at that conception of unity of which I have spoken, we would be missing a great deal in life. It is after distinguishing these that, without becoming congested, we may come to the idea of unity which raises us above it all. For instance, when a person says, “I will not look at the fault of another” and closes his eyes, he has missed a great deal. But the one who has seen it and risen above it has really closed his eyes; he is the person who deserves to close his eyes from the other side.
The purpose of our life on earth is to come and see all the distinctions and all the differences, but not to be congested by them and so to be thrown downwards. We should go on rising above them all, at the same time experiencing them all. For instance a man may say, “I have never thought about anyone who has done me any good, and I have never considered any harm that has ever come to me from anyone; I have always had just that one idea before me and after that idea I kept going”. He may be advanced, he may be spiritual, he may be pious, and yet he has missed a great deal. But the one who has received all the good that has come to him with grateful thanks and felt it, and who has also felt the harm done to him and forgiven and pardoned it, he is the one who has seen the world and is going beyond with success.
Question: What do you mean exactly by the idea of God?
Answer: Everything in the world can be defined except one, and that is the idea of God. If it could be defined it could not be the idea of God – and that is God. Because God is greater than His name and higher than our comprehension of Him. It is our fault to call Him God, but if we would not call Him God then what would we call Him? By giving a name to the nameless, by making a conception of Someone who is beyond conception we only make Him limited. At the same time when we would not do it, we would not do what we ought to do. The idea is that in order to respect a great man we ought to have a conception of greatness, and this conception is not that person, it is the idea we have made of that person.
If there are twenty admirers of a great personality each one of them has his own conception of that personality, I might say that each one of the twenty has his special great person. Therefore there are twenty great personalities instead of one, and only the one name makes the twenty persons unite in it. If the Hindus have said, “So many men, so many Gods”, it was not an exaggeration; it expressed only the idea that every man has his God in his conception, and each one – if he can ever express it – can best express his own conception of God. It is necessary first to have a conception of God in order to reach that stage where comes a realization of Him. If a person does not have a conception of God he cannot have the realization of Him. I mean to say: fuller realization of Him. If a person does not think a personality great, he will not see into the greatness of that personality; he must first have the conception that in him there is something great. In other words we first make our God before we come to the realization of Him.
Question: What do you mean by “God has no opposite”?
Answer: There is the sun and there is the moon, there is man and woman, there is night and there is day. The colours are distinguished by their variety and so are the forms. Therefore to distinguish anything there must be its opposite; where there is no opposite we cannot distinguish. There must be health in order to distinguish illness; if there were no health and only illness then it would not have been illness.
Furthermore in ancient times many have tried to help the imagination of the God-seekers by giving them a belief in a Satan: that God is all goodness and Satan all badness. It was to answer those who could not understand better. In reality badness is only the shadow of goodness; as shadow is nonexistent, so evil is non-existent. There is always going forwards. What is left behind -that is less good; what we gain in the journey forwards -that is more good.
When we compare them then we call one thing evil and the other good. Therefore people have called the devil all evil, to whom one should turn one’s back, and God all goodness, to whom one should turn one’s face. It was a convenient method to teach the people of those times. In reality God has no comparison. No doubt God can be compared if we make God good, as many do. But if we have a wider conception of God we cannot confine God to what we call goodness. What is our idea of goodness? It is very small. Perhaps it is good for us, but it is not something to judge God with.
God is not kind only to a few, to those who are good. We can see that He sends the rain to all the trees and plants, not to a few only; the sun shines upon all, all are given food-because His kindness is perfect.
Question: How could the almighty God allow so much bloodshed in the recent war?
Answer: The answer to this question is that nothing that gives pain and causes harm through life is from God. It comes from the limited, not from the unlimited. In essence it is Godpower which is working through all powers, but when analysed it is the power called Qadrworking through human beings which has been wasted through these wars causing so much bloodshed and disturbance in the whole cosmos and disharmony in all spheres on this planet.
God is not to be blamed for this. It is we human beings who are at fault; instead of seeking the pleasure of God we have sought our own pleasures. It is beyond the power of man to judge the actions of God from his own moral standard and from his limited point of view. A just person will certainly accept the fact that it takes a long time and much practice to develop the sense of justice which after a great many tests and trials makes man just, and it is not the man who is ready to weigh and measure the action of his fellow-man and to form an opinion who is really just. No man with any sense may dare try to trace the cause of war to the divine Spirit of God, when the whole life on earth is laid before us like an open book wherein we can read distinctly its true cause.
Question: As evil cannot come out of good, how came the wickedness and miseries of humanity?
Answer: The miseries and wickedness of humanity did not come from good, but good came out of wickedness and miseries. If it was not for wickedness and miseries and wrong we would not have appreciated what good and right means. It is these two opposite poles which make us distinguish between the two. If there had been just one thing, we would have called it goodness or wickedness, but it would have been just one. Calling it by two different names helps us to distinguish them.
Many have been cross with God for having sent any misery in their lives-but we always get such experiences! Becoming cross one says, “Why, this is not just”, or “This is not right”, and “How could God who is just and good allow unjust things to happen?” But our sight is so limited that our conception of right and wrong and good and evil is only for us – not according to God’s plan. It is true that, as long as we see it as such, it is so for us and for those who look at it from our point of view, but when it comes to God the whole dimension is changed, the whole point of view is changed.
It is therefore that the wise in all ages, instead of trying to judge the actions of God, have so to speak put aside their sense of justice for the time being and have learned only one thing, and that was resignation to the will of God. By doing this they have come to an understanding which was the greatest blessing in their lives: that they could see from the point of view of God. But if they would express that point of view before the world, the world would call them mad. Therefore they have called themselves Muni, which means the people who keep silent.
Question: Why do people who do evil, who do wrong, succeed, while there are people who do right without ever succeeding?
Answer: That is not a rule. The rule is that the one who succeeds through wrong will only succeed through wrong; by doing right he will fail. The one who succeeds by right will always succeed by doing right; if he does wrong he will fail. Furthermore for him who ascends, all-right and wrong-becomes as steps to ascend and for him who descends, all – good or evil – becomes a step to descend. Yet what is consoling is that this takes one to the ideal: there must be an ideal before one in order to ascend; then even one’s error will help.
For instance, when a person is to be cured, both taking medicine and not taking medicine will help him towards his cure. And the one who is not meant to be cured, neither medicine nor its absence will help him. It teaches us to find out what we are seeking, what is our ideal. Do we ascend? How do we descend? A picture of this is a person who is climbing a staircase. If he is going upwards and his foot slips, even then he will go upwards because he is bound to go upwards. The one who is going downwards, if he slips, will go down because he is bound to go down. There is no man in this world who can say, “I am faultless” Does this mean that he is not destined to reach what he is bound to reach?
It is a great pity if a person does right or good because he wants to progress or to become spiritual, for what is goodness after all? It is a very small price to pay for spirituality. And the man who depends upon his goodness to attain spirituality may just as well wait a thousand years, for it is just like the picture of a man who is collecting all the sand he can to make a hill in order to mount to heaven. If one is not good for the love of goodness, if one does not do right for one’s love of justice, for one’s own satisfaction, there is no meaning in doing right, there is no virtue in doing good.
To be spiritual is to become nothing; to become good is to become something. To be something is like being nothing, but to be nothing is like being all things. It is this claim of being something which hinders the natural perfection. Selfeffacement is a return to the Garden of Eden.
Question: Is there no risk that a person endeavouring to become selfless will become a prey to all the conditions of life?
Answer: On the contrary, for all strength and wisdom lies in perfection. The absence of perfection is the tragedy of life. The person who holds on to himself is a burden even to the earth. The earth can easily bear mountains upon its back, but the person who is egoistic is heavier. And what happens in the end? His own soul cannot bear that person, and that is why many commit suicide. The claim of the self has become so heavy upon the soul that the soul wants to depart from it. A hint was given by Jesus Christ when he said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. What does poor in spirit mean? It means the ego that is effaced.
THERE IS a stage of evolution in man’s life where his every question is answered by the life around him. If there is a living being before him or if there is nature around him, if he is wakeful or if he is asleep, the answer to his question comes as an echo of the very question. As certain things become an accommodation for the air in order to turn it into sound, so for every thought of a sage everything becomes an accommodation in order to help it to resound, and in this resonance there is an answer. In point of fact the answer is in the question itself; a question has no existence without answer. It is man’s limited vision that makes him see the question only, without the answer.
There is a pair of opposites in all things, and in each there exists the spirit of the opposite: in man the quality of woman, in woman the spirit of man, in the sun the form of the moon, in the moon the light of the sun. The closer one approaches reality, the nearer one arrives at unity. The evidence of this realization is that no sooner a question has arisen in the heart, than the answer comes as its echo within or without.
If you look before yourself the answer is before you; if you look behind the answer is behind; if you look up the answer awaits you in the sky; if you look down the answer is engraved for you in the earth; if you close your eyes you will find the answer within you. It is only a matter of climbing a mountain; the name of this mountain is WHY. As you have climbed it, then you are face to face to your ideal. It is not study which brings man to this realization; it comes by rising above all that hinders one’s faith in truth.
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 roseplant there will be a great many rosebushes. 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 bloodrelationship. 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 onetwo, 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 odour; it cannot create. The nose can tell us the flavour 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 halfwise 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.
The Liberal and the Conservative Point of View
THERE ARE two points of view open to one in everything in the world: the liberal and the conservative. Each of these points of view gives a person a sense of satisfaction, because in both there is a certain amount of virtue.
When a man looks at his family from the conservative point of view, he becomes conscious of family pride and acts in every way so as to keep up the honour and dignity of his ancestors. He follows the chivalry of his forefathers and by looking at the family from this point of view he defends and protects those who belong to his family, whether worthy or unworthy. In this way he helps to keep up a flame, lighted perhaps years ago, by holding it in his hand as a torch to guide his way.
When one looks at one’s nation from a conservative point of view it gives one the feeling of patriotism – which to-day is the substitute for religion in the modern world. It is no doubt a virtue in the sense that one begins to consider one’s whole nation as one family: one cares not for one’s own children only, but for the children of the nation. Man gives his life when occasion arises to defend his nation, the dignity, the honour, the freedom of his people.
The conservative spirit is the individualizing spirit, which is the central theme of the whole creation. It is this spirit which has functioned as the sun; otherwise it was the allpervading light, and it is the power of this spirit working in nature which keeps many branches together on one stem and several leaves together on one branch. It is again this spirit working in man’s body which keeps man’s hands and feet together, thus keeping him an individual entity.
But there is always a danger that this spirit, if increased, may produce congestion. When there is too much family pride man lives only in his pride, forgetting his duty towards mankind and not recognizing anything that unites him with others beyond the limited circle of his family. When this congestion is produced in a nation it results in all kinds of disasters, such as wars and revolutions with violence and destruction. The nightmare that the world has just passed through was the outcome of world congestion produced by the extreme of this same spirit.
This shows that it is not true that virtue is one thing and sin another. The same thing which once was virtue becomes sin. Virtue or sin is not an action; it is the condition, it is the attitude which prompts one to a certain action, and it is the outcome of the action which makes it a sin or a virtue.
Life is movement, death is the stopping of the movement; congestion stops it, circulation moves it. The conservative spirit is useful in so far as it is moving, in other words: as it is broadening itself. If a person who first was proud of his family, after having done his duty to his people, takes the next step forward which is to help his fellow-citizens, and the third step which is to defend his nation, he is progressing. His family pride and his patriotism are no doubt a virtue, for they lead him from one thing to another, better than the former.
Congestion comes when a person is set in his interest. If his family causes a man to be so absorbed in his pride and interest in it that nobody else in the world exists for him except his own people, or when a person thinks of his own nation alone – nothing else interests him, others do not exist for him – in this case his family pride or his patriotism becomes a veil over his eyes, blinding him so as to make him unable to serve either others or his own.
In selfishness there is an illusion of profit, but in the end the profit attained by selfishness proves to be worthless. Life is the principal thing to consider, and true life is the inner life, the realization of God, the consciousness of one’s spirit. When the human heart becomes conscious of God it turns into the sea and it spreads; it extends the waves of its love to friend and foe. Spreading further and further it attains perfection.
The Sufi message is not necessarily a message of pacifism. It does not teach to make peace at any and every cost; it does not condemn family pride or patriotism; it does not even preach against war. It is a message to make one conscious of the words of the Bible: “We live and move and have our being in God”-to realize this and to recognize the brotherhood of humanity in the realization of God. The natural consequences of this will bring about the spirit of brotherhood and equality and will result in preparing the outer democracy and the inner aristocracy which is in the nobility of the soul whose perfection is hidden under the supremacy of God.