Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, in a talk on compassion, says it’s on letting go of ego that oneness with the Universe is achieved
This is an entirely different kind of talk. Delivered by a sophisticated Imam called Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf and titled “Lose your ego, find your compassion”, it is one of the many talks on compassion in TED talks.
“Speaking from compassion from the Islamic point of view, when my faith is not thought of being so well grounded in compassion... the truth of the matter is otherwise,” begins the Imam. “Our Holy Book the Quran consists of 114 chapters and each chapter begins with what we called the Bismillah, the saying in the name of the God, the all merciful and the all compassionate. It has also been translated as the compassionating and the compassionate.”
Continues the Imam, “God says to Prophet Mohammad, the last of the Prophets, ‘We have sent you as source of compassion.’ As Muslims our purpose is to make ourselves as much like the Prophet as possible, and the Prophet in one of his sayings said, “Adorn yourselves with the attributes of God and the primary attribute of God is compassion. Our objective and mission must be sources of compassion, activators of compassion, actors of compassion, speakers and doers of compassion.”
Where do we go wrong? And what is the source of the lack of compassion in the world? The Imam says, “In every religious tradition there is the outer and the inner path; the exoteric path and the esoteric path. The esoteric path of Islam is more popularly known as Sufism. The spiritual masters of Sufism teach us where the source of our problem lies. In one of the battles that the Prophet was returning from, he said, “We are returning from the lesser war to the greater war.” His followers are said to have replied that they were battle weary. How can they now go to a larger battle? “This is the battle of the Self, the battle of the Ego,” replied the Prophet. The sources of human problems have to do with egotism. The famous Sufi master Rumi has a story in which he talks of a man who goes to the house of a friend. He knocks on the door and the voice asks, “Who is it?” He replies, “It is I.” After many years of training he comes back and knocks on the door and replies to the same question that is repeated by saying, “It is you, O heartbreaker.” The door swings open and he is told that there is no space for two ‘I’s. In the presence of God there is no room for two ‘I’.
God says my servants have to do more of what I want him to do. The more of that he does, the closer he comes to me. This results in a merging with the divinity. Compassion on earth is given, it is in us. All we have to do is to get our egos out of the way.
We have all had a spiritual experience, a moment when the boundaries of our ego dissolve. Then we feel one with the Universe and in the presence of power. The knowledge of truth is inside every human being. We know it all. We have access to it all. Through our subconscious we can access it. Call the presence of divinity whose primary name is the Compassionating, the Compassionate. God, Boh, Allah, Ram, Om, whatever you want to call Him, the locus of absolute being, absolute love and compassion, absolute knowledge. What the Hindus call sat chit ananda. It is the language which differs. Objectives are the same.
That should also be the primary attributes of being human. This is what I understand from my faith tradition and my study of other faith traditions, and this is the common platform on which we must stand. We have reached a stage in human history where we have no option, we must lower our egos, control our egos, individual, personal, family or national.”