The Concept of Khudi (The Self) in Iqbal’s The Secrets of the Self

Aurang Zeb, Khamsa Qasim


This article is an attempt to study the concept of “Khudi” in Iqbal’s The Secrets of the Self not only on theoretical grounds but also on account of its poetic expression. This research article focuses upon Iqbal’s inventive doctrine of the self; and all the subsequent works of Iqbal supplemented and further refined this central concept. The dominant idea that Iqbal emphasizes is that knowing oneself is in fact an immediate perception of God. He focuses his attention on the individual “I”, thus shifting the emphasis from divine to human. The path of recognition of the self is the path that takes one to a contact with the Absolute. Iqbal’s whole conception of the growth of the selfhood consists of three levels:

i-                     the self and “I am ness (intrapersonal)

ii-                   the self and the other (interpersonal)

iii-                  the self and God (transpersonal)

The first level of the self and “I am ness” can be likened to the first (lowermost) level of psychological needs in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. At this level the self is just conscious of its own self. This “I am ness” marks the first awakening of the self. The self cannot think beyond itself until and unless the physiological needs are satisfied. The other level of “the self and the other” can be linked to psychological and social needs. After the station of the biological or physiological needs, the self yearns for security and stability. Here, at this level, the self is able to recognize the other that is to see oneself in the light of the other. When physiological and safety needs are fairly satisfied as Maslow suggests, “People have belongingness and love needs---they feel the need that they belong somewhere instead of being transient or newcomers---“(Hall 204). Relatedness is a need of belongingness, which starts from our natural ties with our mother and reaches to universal comradeship with all human beings. The third level of “the self and God” is the recognition of God---to see oneself in the light of God. This level can be linked to the “Need of self-actualization” in Maslow’s theory. The development of the self does not take place in a void or seclusion. When a man is disconnected from his environments, his capacities remain underdeveloped. Iqbal’s “Perfect Man” at the highest level of self-realization attains a spiritual power. The absorption of the Divine attributes makes the Perfect Man closer to God. So the self attains its highest goal by becoming deeply related to God, making possible a union of the temporal and the eternal. He then knows that the world has been created for him and he is for the world.

Keywords: Khudi (The Self), Secrets, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Transpersonal, Man, God, Universe, Spiritual

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