WRITINGS BY THE MOTHER
© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust
11 September 1957
Sweet Mother, why does one feel attracted at first sight to some people and feel a repulsion for others?
Usually this is based on vital affinities, nothing else. There are vital vibrations which harmonise and vital vibrations which don't. It is usually this, nothing else. It is vital chemistry.
One would have to be in a much deeper and more clear-sighted consciousness for it to be otherwise. There is an inner perception based on a psychic consciousness, which makes you feel which people have the same aspiration, the same aim, and can be your companions on the way; and this perception also makes you clear-sighted about those who follow a very different way or carry in them forces which are hostile to you and may harm you in your development. But to attain such a perception one must oneself be exclusively occupied with one's own spiritual progress and integral realisation. Now, that is not often the case. And usually too, when one has attained this inner clear-sightedness, it is not expressed by attraction and repulsion, but by a very "objective" knowledge, it might be said, and a kind of inner certainty which makes you act calmly and reasonably, and without attractions and repulsions.
Therefore, it may be said in a general and almost absolute way that those who have very definite and impulsive likes and dislikes live in a vital consciousness. Mixed with this, there may be mental affinities; that is, some minds like to have relationships in common activities, but here too, these are people on a much higher level intellectually, and this is also expressed even more by a comparative ease in relationships and by something much more calm and detached. One takes pleasure in speaking with certain people, for others there is no attraction, one gains nothing from it. It is a little more distant and quiet; it belongs more to the [new p. 181]field of reason. But likes and dislikes clearly belong [old p. 180]to the vital world. Well, there is a vital chemistry just as there is physical chemistry: there are bodies which repel each other and others which attract; there are substances which combine and others which explode, and it is like that. There are some vital vibrations which harmonise, and harmonise to such an extent that ninety-nine times out of a hundred these sympathies are taken for what men call love, and suddenly people feel, "Oh! He is the one I was waiting for", "Oh! She is the one I was seeking!" (laughing), and they rush towards each other, till they find out that it was something very superficial and that these things can't last. There. So the first advice given to those who want to do yoga: "Rise above likes and dislikes." This is something without any deeper reality and it can at the very least lead you into difficulties which are at times quite hard to overcome. You can ruin your life with these things. And the best thing is not to take any notice of them--to draw back a little into yourself and ask yourself why--it's nothing very mysterious--you like to meet this person, don't like to meet that one.
But, as I say, there comes a moment when one is exclusively occupied with one's sadhana, when one can feel--but both more subtly and much more quietly--that a particular contact is favourable to sadhana and another harmful. But that always takes a much more "detached" form, so to say, and often it even contradicts the so-called attractions and repulsions of the vital; very often it has nothing to do with them.
So, the best thing is to look at all that from a little distance and to lecture yourself a little on the futility of these things.
Obviously there are some natures which are almost fundamentally bad, beings who are born wicked and love to do harm; and logically, if one is quite natural, not perverted, natural as animals are--for from this point of view they are far superior to men; perversion begins with humanity--then one keeps out of the way, as one would stand aside from something fundamentally harmful. But happily these cases are not very [new p. 182]frequent; what one meets in life are usually very mixed natures where [old p. 181]there is a kind of balance, so to say, between the good and the bad, and one may expect to have both good and bad relations. There is no reason to feel any deep dislike, for, as one is quite mixed oneself (laughing), like meets like!
It is also said that some people are like vampires, and when they come near a person they spontaneously suck up his vitality and energy, and that one should beware of them as of a very serious danger. But that also... Not that it doesn't exist, but it is not very frequent, and certainly not so total that one need run away when one meets such a person.
So, essentially, if one wants to develop spiritually, the first thing to do is to overcome one's dislikes... and one's likes. Look at all that with a smile.