Iqbals philosophy of Khudi (Self Realization), refers to knowing oneself and traversing this journey to reach the absolute, where an individual merges from self to absolute, finite to infinite and temporal to eternal. The concept of Khudi which is the focal point of Iqbals philosophy provides a path to undergo a spiritual evolution to perceive the Lord. God has created humans, the supreme species by bestowing him the spark of divinity in his body, which is in synonymous to the soul. To achieve this end an individual has to know himself first. Knowing or realizing oneself sets off the individual on the journey of Khudi. In other words Iqbals philosophy of self or Khudi is shifting the attention from outwards to inwards, from divine to human or individual. This kind of thought begins the journey of knowing the self, rather it is not an end but embarking on the journey from knowing of self to knowing the ultimate. This knowing of self or in other word is Self Consciousness. Without knowing it an individual cannot begin his journey of absolute.
The supernatural power to know the ultimate reality is love, passion and strong emotions. It works as a fuel for running the vehicle of self to reach the destination that is to know divine, feel divine and absorb the divine. Iqbal emphasizes to know the self, and once self is realized or an individual becomes self conscious his soul craves for the absolute divine. The self ultimately embraces the divine or in other words divinity embraces him. The moment one becomes known of self, there begins a paradigm shift from animal nature to spiritual nature in an individual. Then an individual is not mere Darwin’s human being but a pure spiritual entity in addition of being a social animal. Therefore, the Iqbals concept or philosophy of self consciousness, initially knows the self. Self Realizing is like knowing ones reason of creation, ones role in world ones destination, ones needs, ones living in relation to other animals in world, ones capacities and what not. Iqbal thus charts a hierarchy to reach the destination where an individual is absorbed by absolute .After knowing the self, there are series of destinations which one has to successfully pass before reaching the zenith of reality .Iqbals meticulously designed path of Khudi or self consists of three important levels , which are :
Therefore Iqbals concept of ‘Self’ forms the basic foundation of reaching the divine through constant purification, enriching and nourishing the self .The self begins to achieve all capacities and spiritual forces to reach the destination. In other words it has the tendency to perceive the ultimate reality, by doing so; the self undergoes a series of changes and gets refined before reaching the divine.
Knowing the Self:
Knowing the self is the beginning of human life in this universe. It is to know one’s capacities, and spiritual faculties which enable a man to know the secrets of his body, mind and soul which finally direct him to excel on the spiritual evolutionary path to understand, perceive and absorb the ultimate reality. This knowing of self is the lowermost level or grade in the journey of this spiritual evolution. At this level, an individual gets just conscious of his being in this universe. He gets awakened from the deep slumber by his reason of being in the universe.
The individual doesn’t think beyond his self. He has to accomplish the basic needs of sustenance, like food, wood and cloth. An individual is not craving to know the reality at this crucial juncture, but tries his best to get the needs of life .Therefore, an individual doesn’t directly want to know the absolute, and rather it appears to him a futile exercise. Here his focus is neither God nor Universe nor religion. But to meet out his basic necessities of life, which enable him to survive. The art, philosophy, Religion doesn’t appeal him. He fights the battle for his existence which his body craves of. All other needs are pushed to back seat, in other words the basic needs of life to fulfill is being given highest priority in one’s life .This marks the primary level, while as other things of value are fulfilled at secondary stage. This is the reason Mahatma Gandhi has said that it is sin to teach religion to a hungry man. Thus at this level an individual shifts his focus inwards rather than outwards. So once this level of acquiring basic needs gets fulfilled only then an individual thinks for the rest of future needs which his body and soul craves for.
Knowing the Self With Respect To Society:
After the basic needs of sustenance of an individual are fulfilled, the next higher level which the self craves for are social needs .That is when bodily needs are acquired completely, the individual seeks psychological needs to stabilize his self in the society. This is achieved by forming different kinds of relation, the underlying force and passion of this aspect of stabilization from mental point of view is Love.
Love is the binding force of an individual in the circle of society. Man gets modified in society by maintaining various kinds of web of relations. By doing that he feels safe and secure. Here Iqbal stresses on living the self in the atmosphere of society, as an individual does not progress in isolation and detached from society. Thus Iqbal, emphasizes the role of society in reforming the self, and also depicts the value and standard of living in society as well as the indispensable role of society in individuals self. Thus in other words Iqbal doesn’t believe in living a solitary and sedentary life. It is only society which modifies the individual and he becomes conscious of self in relation to others. This level of self provides mental stability and security to the individual. Hence psychological needs of individual are fulfilled only after bodily needs are accomplished. The development of self doesn’t take place in isolation; hence society plays a crucial role in one’s personal development.
The self and the divine reality:
After the bodily needs are fulfilled in the first level and stability is accomplished in the secondary level the self craves for next higher level, that is tertiary level on the path of self realization, this is august and splendid level where an individual is refined and purified, earlier in first level of self, the bodily things are fulfilled and in secondary level mental stability is achieved in relation to society, the soul and body is still in thirst of finding the ultimate. At this third level the man is perfect from spiritual point of view and begins to perceive the divine. In other words the Self acquires the extraordinary supernatural powers and energy and has the tendency to embrace the divinity. It is this stage at which Iqbals perfect man is born which has the ability to imbibe the divine attributes. His hand acquires the characteristics of divine, his heart has the characteristics of divinity and like so his eyes and ears acquires the divine attributes and now he is perfect personality of which Iqbals philosophy maintains the central theme of Self.
In other words this climax of spiritual evolution makes a man like divine entity; this is the level of Self actualization. The individual now has the dire need of longing to some other thing, which is real, pure and unadultered .It is at this stage a man has completely acquired spiritual powers. These are the same supernatural powers which govern the universe .It is in this backdrop the highest place bestowed to a man by God , above all species on earth that a spark of divinity was placed in human body. This led to prostration of angels before the first man i.e. Prophet Adam (AS). This spark of divinity has now fully bloomed on this tertiary stage and which makes a man with divine like qualities. This is the stage of self realization in its totality. At this stage man is very much close to ultimate reality and absolute. The finite merges into the infinite, the temporal is converted to eternal, and even death cannot harm the Self at this stage.
The path of achieving this state is like to move on razor edge. This is the level where self gets illuminated by divine attributes. This is consolidation of Self, right from knowing it to achieving Selfhood. This is the man to which has called ‘The Perfect Man’. The man has now achieved THE Complete Liberation, and is a free man. The actual Secret of Self Is Raveled to Self in its truest form, and man gets acquainted and knows why he is created and for what. And infect he realizes that world has been created for him and he is for the world. Thus Iqbals Philosophy of Self , provides a way how to accomplish the biggest goal of human life in a hierarchical way passing the Self through a series of stages before encountering the ultimate reality which is the main motive and objective of life.
The Self is like seed which when put into the soil gets nutrients water and air lays roots, and finally grows into a big fruitful tree with thick branches and green leaves. In fact it is possible only when it passes through different stages successfully and seasons of life to bear the delicious fruit. In this level where spiritual forces come into play, the journey is kept alive by burning desire probably the Love. Iqbal calls this finest desire to embrace ultimate a passion, a strong emotion, sometimes aspiration, thirst yet commonly known as ishq. This passion alone helps THE SELF to maintain the pace and rhythm in this spiritual journey.
Hence self realization is the beginning of life’s purpose, without knowing the Self, a man is purposeless living the life of decay and death. The real essence of life lies in realizing the Self, and then culminating ones end in perceiving the absolute and eternal being. This yearning of reaching the absolute is the secret of Self which is unfolded to man after embarking on the journey of SELF. Thus self unfolds its mystery only after it is realized
(Author is MA in English)