Interaction: Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | The Times of India | Oct 23, 2019
How should we manage our ego?
It is very easy. It is said that when a peacock sees its beautiful feathers, it becomes proud, but when it sees its ugly legs, it becomes modest. The same is true of man. In every human personality there are plus points as well as minus points. Those who see their plus points become egoists, while those who see their minus points become modest. So, when a plus point comes to mind, turn your attention to the other side of your personality that has a minus point. And you will suddenly become a modest person. This is the easiest formula for maintaining modesty, and avoiding arrogance.
Is it necessary to exercise restraint over our desires? If yes, how can we do this?
Our desires are unlimited, but our capacity is limited. Due to our limitations, we cannot fulfil all our desires. So, it is realistic to control our desires. If we fail to control our desires, we will fall into despair, and certainly no one can afford to follow a path that leads nowhere except to despair.
Restraining desires is often associated with stifling personality development. Is this true?
This is a sheer fallacy. When unlimited desires cannot be fulfilled, trying to fulfil all desires will lead to negative, not positive growth of personality. Any scientific survey can disprove this kind of formulation.
Does prayer help improve one’s personality?
Yes. Prayer means trying to establish contact with the higher reality and the higher reality is the source of inspiration. So prayer, if it is true prayer, will certainly help to develop the personality of the individual.
What is the importance of ritual?
Ritual is the outer form of worship. When imbued with the inner spirit, rituals are good but without that, rituals are of no avail. The body of a human being is important, but without the inner spirit, the body is almost lifeless.
What is the most dangerous impediment for spiritual development?
In my experience, it is excessive concern for materialism. Material goods are a necessity, but when you become greedy for material things, you take the risk of losing your spirituality.
Can we ever be free of fear and doubt?
No. Negative feelings are not evil. They, too, have their positive aspects. A negative feeling is a kind of shocking experience that awakens your mind; negative feelings motivate you to reassess your plans and your mode of life. If you engage in introspection, a negative feeling becomes a great teacher provided you do not allow your negative thoughts to overpower you.
What is the difference between adjustment and compromise?
There is big difference. Adjustment is a principle of wisdom; it is the well-considered behaviour of a wise person; while compromise is a form of expediency, designed merely to secure your interests without following any principle.
We’re advised to always be full of hope. How can we differentiate between positive hope and false hope?
The difference between the two is very clear. True hope is based on reality, while false hope is based on unreal romanticism. When you examine the situation and adopt a well-considered position, you have the right to be hopeful but when you ignore realities and adopt the posture of the ostrich, then you are entertaining false hopes.