Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Speaking Tree Blog | Dec 06, 2021
CV Raman (1888-1970), the renowned Indian scientist, once had it pointed out to him that scientific discoveries were accidental. Raman’s response was: “Yes, but such accidents occur only when the mind is prepared.” The fact is that all the opportunities for scientific discovery are already present in nature. People pass by them, but fail to recognize them. A scientist, having a prepared mind, instantly recognizes and develops any such matter as could be of scientific interest the moment he comes across it. This is how scientific discovery is arrived at.
The same is true of spirituality. Tokens of spirituality are scattered all over the world. In fact, every part of nature, great or small, is invested with spiritual content. People see the signs, but pass them by without detecting them. One who has a prepared mind, however, is able to recognize them and then turn them into objects of contemplation. It is ‘discovery plus contemplation’ that adds up to spirituality.
Two friends, Moti Ram and Ram Ratan Kapila, the former a jeweller and the latter an AC engineer, were in the habit of taking morning walks together in a quiet part of New Delhi. Once, along the way, they found a glittering object. Ram Ratan Kapila picked it up and pronounced it to be a piece of glass. Moti Ram, on the other hand, immediately recognized it as a diamond. His friend, although a degree holder in the science of Air Conditioning, totally failed to recognize the object for what it was. Moti Ram, being a jeweller, only took a second to recognize it. This was because, on the subject of gemstones, he had a prepared mind.
This story illustrates the importance of mental preparedness. Anyone who wants to live as a spiritual person must train himself to this end. One who has neglected to prepare himself will never be able to draw spiritual nourishment from life’s experiences. In the midst of spiritual abundance, he will continue to remain spiritually starved.
What is preparation? Preparation cannot be achieved by means of taking some external course. It is an exercise in self-training. Only those who are ready to engage in self-training can enjoy spirituality. Those who do not do so, can never develop themselves as spiritual persons.
There are many aspects of self-preparation, for instance, the capacity to discern which are the relevant and which are the irrelevant aspects of any given event, so that an appropriate course of action may be taken. An acute sense of what is significant and what is not is essential, for without it, man can never experience spirituality.
To train oneself spiritually, the most important thing a person must do is to condition himself to refrain from taking offence. The moment he allows himself to be offended, he closes the door to self-training.
The process of learning always takes place within society. In social relations, a person speaks from his mind, not from another’s mind. Hence it is necessary that, as regards social relations, one should be 100 per cent objective. Where there is a lack of objectivity, there is the likelihood of offence being taken. And one who takes offence shows himself to be incapable of objective thinking.
There are always two options before you – subjective thinking or spirituality. If you are desirous of spirituality, you shall have to give up thinking subjectively. If you are not ready to forego subjective thinking, spirituality will forever remain beyond your grasp.
Spirituality cannot be acquired through physical exercise. Physical exercise is quite unrelated to spirituality, the latter being a state of mind. Only with the right state of mind can spirituality be cultivated, for spirituality is a way of thinking – a function of the mind. One who has the urge to live with spirituality must train his mind for this purpose, otherwise spirituality for him will remain a distant dream.