Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan
When the miser shows any generosity he celebrates it with trumpets.
The whole tragedy of life is in losing sight of one’s natural self, and the greatest gain in life is coming into touch with one’s real self. The real self is covered by many layers of ego; those which preponderate above all others are hunger and passion, beneath these are pride and vanity. One must learn to discriminate between what is natural and what is unnatural, what is necessary and what is not necessary, what brings happiness and what brings sorrow. No doubt it is difficult for many to discriminate between right and wrong; but by standing face to face with one’s ego and recognizing it as someone who is ready to make war against us, and by keeping one’s strength of will as an unsheathed sword, one protects oneself from one’s greatest enemy, which is one’s own ego. And a time comes in life when one can say, ’My worst enemy has been within myself.’
Man’s greatest enemy is his ego which manifests itself in selfishness. Even in his doing good, in his kind actions, selfishness is sometimes at work. When he does good with the thought that one day it may return to him and that he may share in the good, he sells his pearls for a price. A kind action, a thought of sympathy, of generosity, is too precious to trade with. One should give and, while giving, close the eyes. Man should remember to do every little action, every little kindness, every act of generosity with his whole heart, without the desire of getting anything in return, making a trade out of it. The satisfaction must be in doing it and in nothing else.