Dealing with pride

One of the great heroes of the Mahabharata was Yudhishthira. Yudhishthira was King of the Pandavas and known for his adherence to dharma (right action). With the help and guidance of Sri Krishna, the Pandavas were successful in defeating the Kauravas at the great battle of Kurushetra.

It was a symbolic victory of dharma over adharma. But, after the victory, Yudhishthira confessed he was not happy, and he couldn’t understand why.

Sri Krishna told Yudhishthira that his problem was pride. His one remaining undivine quality was pride – pride in his adherence to dharma, pride in his victory.

See: Yudhishthira’s worst enemy at Sri Chinmoy Library

Commentary on the problem of pride

strength-pride-humilityThis is the great paradox of leading a good life. If we do the right thing and follow all the required wisdom and spiritual scripture, we can gain a feeling of pride from our own actions. This feeling of pride we may not even notice because it is quite a subtle feeling.

It is good to do the right thing and lead a good life. But, pride can be the undoing of our progress and efforts.

How can we avoid this pride in doing the right thing?

The inner pilot. Feel, if we have the capacity to do the right thing, there is something within us, the divine inner pilot which is acting in and through us. This is not our unique achievement but something that belongs to our bigger I.

Feel that God observes all our actions – inner and outer. If this is the case, we can’t fool God. If we are acting selflessly and with the best motivation, then God will know and this is enough. There is no need to broadcast it to the world.

Who is better than who? If the index finger is stronger than the little finger, we don’t let one finger feel proud it is stronger. All the fingers are an integral part of our hand. Similarly, if we do something good, feel that there are many others who made this possible. If is never our achievement alone, but all those who have helped teach and illumine us.

Humility alone gives joy everlasting. If we feel inner disturbance, if we lack an inner peace and poise, perhaps it is our pride which prevents us from enjoying the satisfaction yearned for by Yudhishthira. If we become aware of this, then we can make a conscious effort to let go of our pride and choose the contentment and inner peace from not valuing our pride.

When pride disappears,
Real joy appears.

Sri Chinmoy

Remember the problem of pride. If we come across someone who is overly proud, we tend to dislike this attitude. Instead, we value those who are modest and don’t boast. When we observe other people, we can choose which characteristics we would like to cultivate in ourselves.