Stop that fall

It is strange but true. Anyone who works, works for success, yet the very success can lead the person to failure.

We see flourishing businesses folding up, influential personalities becoming nonentities and good relationships breaking up. Why and how does this happen? Success, a great source of satisfaction, can also give rise to pride. It breeds complacency and inefficiency.

Scriptures of many cultures have stories that illustrate its destructive power.

The Bible chronicles how a resplendent archangel, much loved by God, fell from grace and became the hated Satan. His arrogance made him believe that he could supersede God.

A similar story is recounted in the Hindu Puranas. The fourth avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu deals with the reign of Hiranyakasipu. He performed great penance and received from Brahma a wonderful boon – no man or animal then existing could kill him; he could not be killed during day or night, inside or outside the house or with a weapon.

Drunk with pride and power, the king not only let loose a reign of terror but also compelled everyone to stop worshipping Vishnu. Anyone who defied him was beheaded. His own son Prahlad, however, resisted him. When his father demanded obeisance, Prahlad continued to worship Vishnu. Scornfully, the king pointed to a pillar and asked his son whether God dwelt there. When Prahlad nodded, the arrogant king kicked it.

Alas for the king, at this moment all conditions for what happened next were in place. It was twilight, neither day nor night; the pillar stood on a threshold, neither in nor out of the house, and out came Vishnu as Narasimha or man-lion.

He pounced on the haughty king and with no weapons other than his terrible claws, tore him to pieces.

Pride has destroyed many a person who reached eminence but proved himself incapable of maintaining it. Julius Caesar, Napoleon and Mussolini are some examples.
It is important to bear in mind that just a few slips can take one down into the yawning valley that stretches below.

The ill effects of pride are seen not in the pages of sacred books alone; pride infects the ordinary person as well. When a person allows pride to consume him, he feels special and it is admittedly good to reach the summit, but only the foolhardy will remain with his head in the clouds. It is important to bear in mind that just a few slips can take one down into the yawning valley that stretches below.

Comments (+)