Mulla Nasruddin is said to have accidentally hit someone on the road and he fell. He was abused and called names like mad Mulla. He coolly said “Yes I am mad” and the argument ended there and then. Onus often lies on us. Or at least assume it lies on us and we will see things in a different light. Perhaps we will have conscience to prick if we are not totally given to blame mode. There is a sentence by Dostovesky’s character that may be phrased as ‘I am responsible for any crime that happens anywhere’ that should be enough to lead us to blame ourselves rather than the other. Jesus’ “Judge not” also implies the same thing. Levinas’s view of self-other relationship in which we have infinite responsibility towards the other as the other is ultimately none other than God also implies the same attitude. Most of the troubles in the world can be traced to assertion of will or ego and Islam demands nothing but its surrender. Getting angry when abused or humiliated is, at root nothing but a symptom of egoism. Saints have been known for not getting angry when it is a question of hurting their ego. But, here in this part of the world, it is very difficult to find even one person in one’s lifetime to be enlightened in this sense. But why seek this in others if ourselves we fail to live upto the ideal. Real education and religion are nothing but deconditioning from ego complex. As Ibn Arabi has expressed the kernel of religion and mysticism:
Now you must know that if human beings renounce their (own personal) aims, take a loathing to their animal self (nafs) and instead prefer their Sustainer/Teacher (rabb), then the Real will give (that human being) a form of divine guidance in exchange for the form of their carnal self… so that they walk in garments of Light. And (this form) is the sharī‘a of their Prophet and the Message of their messenger. Thus that (human being) receives from their Lord what contains their happiness – and some people see (this divine guidance) in the form of their prophet, while some see it in the form of their (spiritual) state.
Here is Paulo Coelho at his best in explaining this key spiritual principle.
The tears I shed, I forgive.
The suffering and disappointments, I forgive.
The betrayals and lies, I forgive.
The slandering and scheming, I forgive.
The hatred and persecution, I forgive.
The punches that were given, I forgive.
The shattered dreams, I forgive.
The dead hopes, I forgive.
The disaffection and jealousy, I forgive.
The indifference and ill will, I forgive.
The injustice in the name of justice, I forgive.
The anger and mistreatment, I forgive.
The neglect and oblivion, I forgive.
The world with all its evil, I forgive.
Grief and resentment, I replace with understanding and agreement.
Revolt, I replace with music that comes from my violin.
Pain I replace with oblivion.
Revenge, I replace with victory.
I will be able to love above all discontentment.
To give even when I am stripped of everything.
To work happily even when I find myself in the midst of all obstacles.
To dry tears even when I am still crying.
To believe even when I am discredited.
Zygmunt Bauman, a great sociological thinker, has explained the other aspect of the same problem – our need for love – One only needs to note that love follows transcendence of ego. “We have so many needs in our life, but at the end of the day, all we need is to be needed.
In the consumer age, human relationships are caught between our irreconcilable needs for security and freedom.” The same point has been reiterated in this statement. “The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.”
Kashmir Problem and socio-economic problems of modern India can be understood as pathology of self formation at national level and murky power games. Acknowledging truth of the matter would have solved the conflict but hydra headed ego-power complex has apparently made it so difficult. Winston Churchill’s observation in this regard is not without value and can’t be dismissed as imperialist hubris. “POWER WILL GO TO THE HANDS OF RASCALS, ROGUES, FREEBOOTERS; ALL INDIAN LEADERS WILL BE OF LOW CALIBER & MEN OF STRAW. THEY WILL HAVE SWEET TONGUES AND SILLY HEARTS. THEY WILL FIGHT AMONGST THEMSELVES FOR POWER AND INDIA WILL BE LOST IN POLITICAL SQUABBLES. A DAY WOULD COME WHEN EVEN AIR & WATER WOULD BE TAXED IN INDIA.”
So the question is what are we doing to educate ourselves and our children and our would be leaders to transform our beastly ego to image of divine self? If nothing why complain of all kinds of problems within and without?