Maulana Wahiduddin Khan I The Speaking Tree I Kolkata I March 2, 2014 I Page 8
Everyone is born with a perfect nature. Nature is the best guide of every man and woman. One’s nature gives the right direction on all occasions. This natural signal, when followed deligently, is a guarantee of human success.
For example, overeating is a common problem. It leads to obesity and all kinds of diseases. Yet, it is very simple to avoid overeating. A few minutes before reaching the stage of overeating, the stomach gives out a light signal. If you listen to that signal and stop eating there and then, you can prevent yourself from eating too much. This is the easiest way to save yourself from all kinds of unnatural diseases. When you make an incorrect statement or talk about a matter that is not right, your conscience gives you a signal from within. And if you hear that signal, you can certainly avoid wrong thinking and wrong speech. There is no doubt that wrong thinking and speaking are the root causes of failure.
Suppose, while engaging in some activity, it appears after some time that you are not getting the expected results and that your step is proving to be counterproductive, then this kind of negative result is a signal. If you listen to this signal, objectively reassess your activities and redraft your plan of action, then such self-correction will certainly lead to success.
Then, there is a very important signal which teaches you by way of advice. Other people are like mirrors. You can fail to see the marks on your face, but a mirror doesn’t fail to reflect them. The advice given by other people is just like the mirror’s reflection. That is, others’ objective advice is also a signal. Sincerely heed this signal and try to understand others’ point of view. You will then readily reach the right conclusion. This will help you to correct your course of action and will finally help you to reach your goal.
In the rainy season, you go out without an umbrella, and midway it starts raining. In this case, the rain is also a signal. It reminds you that you failed to take the precautionary measure of taking an umbrella. This is an example from nature.
So is the case of human life. In human life, everyone always receives some signals, sometimes internally, and sometimes externally. The best way to ensure your success is simple: Listen to that signal, obey it and you will certainly reach your goal.
Suppose that you are a leader, you organise a street protest and are able to successfully gather a crowd. But when you lead that crowd, you discover that a disturbance has been caused in the flow of traffic, commercial activities have been disrupted, and very soon you find yourself in a situation of confrontation and bloodshed. This kind of negative result is also a signal. You have to rethink your plan and understand that your method was wrong. You have to recognise the truth of the well-known Gandhian saying, “The end does not justify the means.”
Learning From History
There is a historical example of this principle. In 1920, the Indian National Congress, under M K Gandhi’s leadership launched the Non-cooperation Movement. It was understood that the satyagrahis would remain peaceful. In 1922, however, a mob of protestors became furious and killed some policemen in Chauri Chaura. Fearing a slide into violence and anarchy, Gandhi immediately called for the struggle to be suspended.
Everyone is free to act according to his plan, with the only condition that one’s activities will not result in a new problem. Problem-free activities are good, but problem-full activities are equally bad.