- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Spirituality Without Intellectual Revolution
Spirituality has always been a subject of interest. It is known by many names. For instance, mysticism, meditation, sufism, etc. For thousands of years great activities have been engaged in to attain spirituality. But these activities have not yielded any real results. Despite all man’s efforts and struggle, what has been gained is ecstasy rather than the intellectual development which was desired from these activities.
The truth is that since ancient times people have come to believe that the human mind is the centre of thinking, while the human heart is the centre of emotions and feelings, and because spirituality has come to be regarded as deriving from emotions and sentiments, people always believed in heart-based spirituality. Because of this supposition, the theory was developed that a person’s heart was the source of all spiritual treasures. And by awakening these feelings and emotions hidden in the heart, one could attain spirituality.
But, in present times, scientific research has found this supposition to be baseless. Now it has been learnt with certainty that the only centre of thoughts and feelings is the human mind. As far as the heart is concerned, it is only a muscular organ which keeps up the circulation of blood by contracting and dilating.
This is why, for several thousand years, what man has found as a result of great spiritual struggle, is merely ecstasy rather than any intellectual development. This kind of spirituality, in fact, is an unreasoning form of emotionalism rather than any spiritual development in the real sense.
As we know, ecstasy is another name for rapture, whereas the greatest evidence of man’s spirituality is that he possesses a mind which is capable of thinking. Indeed, if spirituality is to be given credence, it must be found to exist at the level of the mind. Just as all the material progress made in human history has resulted from harnessing this thinking faculty to superior ends, so also spiritual progress needs to be made through intellectual activity.
Spirituality is, in fact, a sublime state of realization of the truth. It has nothing in common with some vague state of ecstasy. It follows that true spirituality is that state which can be attained at the level of the mind, rather than at the level of the heart.
Due to a lack of awareness of this reality, man has largely remained deprived of true spirituality throughout the entire human history. What he regarded as spirituality was not spirituality. It was due to this lack of awareness of the truth on his part that he failed to progress towards true spirituality. There is no tragedy greater than this in all of human history.
Source: Discovering God