EGO OR ARROGANCEVedic Articles
The moment one mentions the word arrogance, an average Indian’s attention is drawn to Ravana, the great demon king of Sri Lanka. We burn his effigy every year. It is the way to convey to every individual that harbouring ego or arrogance is undesirable. After all, what is there in ego, which makes it so abominable? Egoism is nothing but our existence itself.
The word ego carries with it a massive burden. As soon as self-centredness becomes predominant in an individual, ego or arrogance is reflected in his behaviour. One is obsessed with one’s own beliefs. He thinks, he is always right or what he does is unquestionable. He expects others also to agree with him. He regards his praise as something always necessary and cannot tolerate the slightest criticism. He becomes a reactionary and doesn’t hesitate to criticize others. Anger becomes a part of his nature. He behaves aggressively with others. He loses the power of tolerance. Ego creates restlessness in his mind and his thoughts become imbalanced and deluded.
Ego is a kind of disease but man is rarely aware of it. As his pride swells, his friendly circle gradually disappears. Ego makes our life burdensome. It draws one towards baser thoughts and actions. It takes a man far away from the experience of his existence. His vocabulary is devoid of the words like spirituality and godliness. It is commonly said (in India??) of a person who is arrogant that his head is heavy. Let us think about what is heavy. The body, mind and ((discretion)) ((the other items are of the body, discretion is an abstract noun. They do not match in terms of category)) are all heavy. It clearly shows that the person whose head is considered heavy is arrogant. The joy or happiness of life lies in being light. Everyone advises us to remain light. Be it allopathy or the indigenous Ayurvedic system, lightness indicates good health. Similar is the condition of our thoughts. They should also be light. Simple habits, simple thoughts and simple conduct indicate lightness. If one’s thinking is discreet and is linked with the present, one will imbibe the spirit of simplicity.
Our thoughts are over burdened with the memories of the past. We squander much of our time on this useless pursuit. We cannot change our past and still remain afflicted with its burden. We are loath to part with its memories. If we have done a good deed, we keep harping about it for years. This is what we call the burden of memories. Similarly, the premonition of the future and the unknown also adds to the burden of our thoughts. We keep anticipating things that may never occur. It is also a burdensome affair. It hinders the even tenure of our life.
The present is a reality. It carries no burden. Eighty percent of our burden lies in memories and thoughts. Environment also becomes instrumental in it. If you have an access to the filthy lucre or state power or enjoy social reputation, your memories and imaginary freaks can create havoc. If one is a thief or is given to lying, first of all a memory or recollection is awakened in his mind. He can go no further without it. If a person is tempted by a desire to eat pudding or is enraged at the sight of someone, it is all on the basis of his memory.
Memories play an important role in making a person arrogant. They add to the burden of the mind and our discretion gets perverted. Ego is not a small force to reckon with. One needs a cartload of energy to be able to withstand it. We gain the energy or power through the practice of curbing our desires. As a matter of fact one needs to be aware of one’s ego. How else can one overcome the burden it presents to the self?
The simplest way is to stop talking about ourselves. We should check others also if they praise us. Thinking about ourselves is important. It may help us to purify our thoughts. Ego also leads to many diseases. Hypertension, cardiac ailments, epilepsy, etc. are some of the diseases bred by ego. As soon as you purify your thoughts, these symptoms begin to disappear. Your behaviour will attain a clarity and your circle of friends will expand. Your thinking will be discreet and you will have a happy and peaceful life. An essential prerequisite is resolute determination. This is the prime step to a good start. This is the means of achieving the desired changes. If we remind ourselves of our resolve and strengthen our minds, the result will be positive even if our thinking may not be that deep. Sometimes we may be warranted in feeling deserving before the results appear. Once our mind is alerted, we have to keep it wakeful. This awareness will drag us out of the delusion caused by ego. To heighten the consciousness of this alertness is to elevate one’s existence. A heavy thing always falls; it doesn’t rise. If we want to seek elevation, we have to lessen the burden of ego and lighten our thoughts.