In a world characterised by the feverish need to succeed, it’s not that difficult to see the growth of pride in one’s character. The dictionary defines pride as follows:
a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of one’s close associates, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
When one is intoxicated with one’s material or even spiritual achievements, the next phase is a fall down. This is because, to be the centre of power or the ultimate controller or enjoyer is a difficult position for the conditioned living entity to manage. This is something only the Supreme Lord can manage well without being contaminated. When we are proud, we strongly identify with our false ego & our body. We imagine us to be better than anyone else and stronger than all those around us. This leads one to thrive on the accolades & recognition from others, eventually making one unfit to receive any feedbacks or constructive criticisms on one’s deficiencies. Surely, a dangerous position to be in.
In yesterday’s Srimad Bhagavatam class, Abhishek prabhu covered the story of King Nahusa from Canto 9, Chapter 18, Verse 03 – 05.
In summary, King Nahusa was given the opportunity to rule heaven in the absence of Lord Indra (original king of heaven). However, the new king became proud of his powerful position and went after the wife of Lord Indra. In order to protect the queen and also punish the king for his pride, the powerful sages who were present in the court hatched a plot to have him cursed. As a part of the plan, the queen requested the new king to come see her in a palanquin but carried by powerful sages. The proud king intoxicated with his desire to enjoy the queen did not realise the offence he was about to commit. The sages or brahmins are not to undertake such tasks and meant to be worshipped at all times due to their full-time endeavour to immerse in the thoughts of God. The king was blind to his folly and arranged for such a ride to happen 😦 In the slow ride on the palanquin, the king got impatient and prodded one of the sages with his foot – a great insult!
He was immediately cursed to became a snake on the earthly planets but was eventually delivered from his low position when he came in contact with the Pandavas. That’s another story.
Basically, you don’t want to offend a devotee or get cursed by one either. If you do, the only way out is to repent, do a lot of service to the devotees and earn their forgiveness. As we all know, the Lord tolerates any insult directed towards Him but he does not do so when it’s directed towards a devotee.
Both the Lord and material nature are very strict and does not tolerate pride especially towards those in the position of a power. A leader has to be incredibly humble and understand that the power invested in him is a mercy of the Lord. That power and the humility that goes with it, is meant to attract the mercy of the Supreme Lord which can then be passed on to the followers, he/she govern. All the followers in turn will also become humble and will not be proud of their own efforts or be envious of the rulers. This is the way to have a just and peaceful society. That is true success.
In conclusion, we must actively keep a watch out for what we think, say and do and remove any elements of pride. This must be a daily effort. Always remember – Pride Hath A Fall.