From REPLIES TO CLASS QUESTIONS chapter, delivered at Golden Gate Hall, Sunday, January 25, 1903

If through the law of pain we are compelled to advance, is there any truth in the Law of Heredity? Children suffer from diseases peculiar to their parents; how are we to harmonize this?

You know it was said yesterday that we are the makers of our own parents. Here is a man who has a particular kind of disease. We will suppose the disease is bad as people call it, although in reality the word bad is indefinite for everything is God – but here is a man whose disease has been along the fine of sensuality, along the line of animal passions, cravings and hungerings. Now this man will select after death a particular soil and environment, such as will fulfil these desires. In other words, these desires will have appeared before their fruit.

By the law of Spiritual Affinity, he is drawn to such persons, he is born to them, he is now to enter such a body as will enable him to gratify his particular desires* So he comes to such people. Now the Law of Heredity remains true, in as much as it gives him a particular kind of physical instinct, by which he is to carry out his own desires. Thus for instance, he says, “I have the idea of publishing a book.” Now, if the man wants to publish a book, he must go to a printing firm, they furnish the machinery and the material, etc., they do the work for him. The law of Heredity is like the printing firm, they give one’s desires ready material. Suppose, a man desires to commit murder, and the manufacturer of the dagger gives the intended murderer the dagger, find he stabs the enemy. Now the fault does not lie with the manufacturer of the dagger, but on the shoulders of the man who did the stabbing.

The parents have given us this body, because we demanded it, and we got the body we demanded, even if it was diseased. Now the question arises. If the man had to get a body in order to fulfil his desires, he ought not to get a body which is diseased. Well now you know these desires must be fulfilled and at the same time we must give them up; this is the law. Man is master of his own destiny. It is a matter of choice with you whether you give up your lower desires and take up the higher or not. This pain and suffering are not to take away your freedom, but to increase. On account of pain and suffering, consciously or unconsciously, we become more wary, more cautious, and thus, of our own free will we give up the lower desires and take up the higher. Thus pain and suffering do not master us but give us freedom.

Here is a man with lower desires in predominance. These carnal desires had to be fulfilled, at the same time they must be given up; that is the law. Because this authority in you asked for the gratification of these desires, they must be satisfied, and at the same time, as these desires are being gratified, there come pain, sorrow and suffering; this pain and suffering will free you of that weakness. This is the result of his hating his surroundings which at the same time he has to endure.