By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
September 10, 2018
Happiness is produced from within, and is
unrelated to and not derivable from external matters. It is traceable, rather,
to the human mind. How is that so? Just as our body requires physical exercise
to keep it healthy, so also does happiness depend upon one’s state of mind,
which can be termed as ‘intellectual exercise’. Those who spend their time in
some form of intellectual exercise will be happy. This is testified to by the
rarity of unhappiness among members of the scientific community. This is
because science involves constant intellectual pursuit. Every scientist, with a
great sense of commitment, is continuously preoccupied with some form of
What is intellectual exercise? It is to
have regular, meaningful thought processes, and to live out one’s life as a
mature, thinking person. It is such intellectual activity that provides food
for the mind. Those who do not engage in intellectual activity generally become
victims of sadness or depression. They may have a sense of material well-being,
but their lack of intellectual pursuits ultimately causes them to feel
Recently, i pondered at length on the
religious concept that it is only those who measure up to a certain criterion
who will be rewarded with entry into eternal paradise. I reflected that such
individuals should have some deed or activity to their credit that is
commensurate with being settled in an eternally perfect abode. What should be
the nature of that deed? I have come to the conclusion that it is to
continuously live in the pursuit of intellectual goals. Wealth, luxury and physical
leisure are not achievements that will take one to paradise. It is rather the
exercise of the mind – a relentless engagement in an intellectual quest – that
will make one deserving of paradise.
Such exercise leads to intellectual
achievement, which in turn nourishes the mind. There should be ‘food for
happiness’. If you are leading a dull life, it means you are not receiving this
food to make you happy. One’s mind should have such a target, the achievement
of which is a continuous and unending process. This is true of science.
Scientists do not consider their pursuit of
knowledge as being complete at any particular point in time. Indeed, their
pursuit is never-ending. An intellectual involvement of such a nature gives
constant nourishment to the mind and a mind so nourished is never a prey to
boredom. To be really happy, you must have a goal that constantly engages your
mind in intellectual activity.
Take my own example. I do not remain sad.
This is because the object of my thought processes is God. I constantly think
about God, which, as a subject, is limitless and unending. This is what causes
my ruminations to go on, perpetually. There is no other method of finding
happiness except in continuous intellectual engagement.
This principle does not, however, hold true
in the case of material things. For example, if you eat delicious food, you may
initially enjoy eating it but, in a few days, you will be bored with it.
Material food, however exquisite it may be, can never give you the feeling of
newness every time you have it. A point will come when you will tire of it and
totally lose interest in it. Material food has its limits. Intellectual food,
on the contrary, is so meaningful and so limitless that one can delve into it
and unceasingly receive nourishment from it.