Good Will and Magnetism


Hi! Could you please explain what the dictum in the April 25th of “Living Wisely Living Well” means? It says in the principle of magnetic interchange, never think of uplifting others merely by exercise of goodwill. But we have always heard from our childhood that love can change everything and everybody.

—Sana, India


Swamiji gives the key to the answer in the reading itself:

A principle of magnetic interchange between people is that the stronger magnet always influences the weaker, never the reverse. Unless your inner strength is great, never think yourself capable of uplifting others merely by the exercise of good will.

Essentially Swamiji is saying that merely sending out good vibrations is not enough to uplift someone else unless you are very strong inside. Otherwise your effort is more like wishful thinking. But to send out love toward all is a wonderful thing.

These two are not mutually exclusive. Swamiji is making that point — as you can see from the readings the day before and after the one above — that it is well to be cautious in situations that involve especially direct personal contact with people of very different and/or potentially negative magnetism. The reverse is true too — that contact with a saint or master can be extraordinarily uplifting. That is the origin of the saying in the scriptures: “Even a moment in the company of a saint will be your raft over the ocean of delusion!”