” A royal form of desire is to want name, respect and honor. Those who do service while chasing after their name earn a name for a temporary period. However, their name falls back in their claiming a high status because they have eaten an unripe fruit.” (SM 16/06/14)
The dictionary definition of arrogance is to have or reveal an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities. To be egotistical is considered to be one of the main 5 vices along with anger, greed, lust and jealous. It is however not to be confused with self-respect or dignity!
When one is asserting a spiritual lifestyle, it is imperative to first know one’s origins. The moment that this knowledge is firmly ingrained in the mind and acts as the chief catalyst in thought processes, one can easily be humble or modest.
In other words, once one realizes that they are a soul- a divine point of pure, infinitesimal light, like an atom gearing up the life force of the body which is only made up of the 5 perishable elements of nature, only then can one know how simple they are actually. The mistake lies in the fact of imbibing the ‘impression’ (sanskar ) from several births that what we see is what we are/become. We are therefore early influenced by the pompous, material possessions that we see around us.
The first step towards being free from arrogance or an egotistical nature is to know who are really. We are a soul. Nothing more or less. We inhabit this body of flesh and bones and all that we project as our physical identity is merely ephemeral because our roles in this drama of life change constantly according to our karma.
The second step is to change the mindset from “I am” to “I learn that I am”. When one ‘is’ (to be), one has the tendency to extrapolate that they are. The ‘self’ here is not to be confused with the ‘ego’ of the Freudian theory or the Reality principle. While it is important to know that the self exists and lives within the dynamics of a social entity, it is also crucial to understand that the ‘self’ is not and can never be full in its whole sense of existence. The ‘self’ cannot be the ‘supreme self’ because the ‘self’ has a lot to learn in order to be that. (Spiritual life very often seeks perfection through the perfect image of God- the Supreme Soul). Therefore by ceasing to think that ‘I am’, for example “I am from XYZ family clan, I am a Doctor in XYZ, I am the owner of a Ferrari, I own a mansion…”, one should instead start the thinking process with this line ” I learn that I am a soul in the body pertaining to XYZ family, I learn that I can help others by being a Doctor of XYZ field… and so forth”. By using the word ‘learning’, it becomes easy to decrease the prior grandeur that one had superimposed upon the image of the self that the self had. To learn from others all the time makes one a humble being, this in turn frees the self from arrogance and overweening attitudes.
The third step is to constantly keep God next to the self. God is the Ocean of all Divine virtues among which figure humility and simplicity. If God is Itself humble towards all Its children- us souls, then what should be proud about, especially when it concerns this material, degrading world? It is also relevant to mention that whatever is on earth, including us (self and being) belong to God, nothing is ours per say, even the vices!. So what should we be arrogant of?
Where there is arrogance, there cannot be happiness. If one tries to seek respect by being arrogant, then it is the wrong way of climbing the ladder to success.
Here are some appropriate quotes collected for inspiration.
Source: Internet links from Google image