Q.: What is the greatest illness of this present time?
A.: I think the greatest illness is the thought of self. The person who is concerned with his own self is more ill than any ill person in the world. And at the same time you cannot make him believe that he is ill, because he thinks that everyone but he himself is ill. Because he considers himself to be practical, someone who has common sense, who is concerned with his own interest, with his own self. And if he sees another person who forgets his interest and who is devoted to another person, who sacrifices himself to another person, for him it seems that the other person is mad, he has lost his head. Because another person must be as self-centered as this person is, in order for him to recognize him as a man of common sense. Therefore not only many, but most of the people are in that condition of spirit today. It is a kind of general attitude, and it is the curse of this age, this iron age, that everyone thinks that to be a man of common sense, or to be clever, or to be wise, that means to guard one’s own interest. But to sacrifice for another, to have sympathy for another, to give up one’s pleasure and comfort and convenience and interest for another, he thinks that is simply mad, it is mad to be so. And therefore if one finds the remedy for this it seems that one finds the remedy for the whole world. And as it is said in Gayan, that self-pity is the worst poverty, there is no greater poverty than when a person says: My poor self, how terrible, in what a terrible situation I am. Then a person thinks that he is the poorest man in the world. How much richness he has, and how much comfort–nothing counts as soon as he thinks: ‘my poor self.’ He is gone to the depth of the earth. But the whole Sufi teaching, the whole esoteric teaching, wherefore is it given? To remove the false self in order to bring the real self.