Pride vs humility

A sense of confidence can take a man far in life. It reflects on the knowledge, experience and common sense of the individual.

The ability to do the right thing in the appropriate situation takes a lot of confidence.The result of the activity bestows some rightful pride to the confident person. Yet more often than not, people’s mindsets tend to be obscured.

They fail to see that there is a certain difference between confidence and over confidence. Thereby they unthinkingly display cheekiness, snobbery or sometimes a dogged conviction based on half baked theories. They fail to realise that pride comes before a fall. An episode in the Mahabharata shows how sometimes the best of people can fall prey to such weaknesses. Draupadi once dearly wished to possess some beautiful and fragrant Saugandhika flowers which blew her way when she and the Pandavas were in exile. Bhima set out to fulfil her wish. After travelling a considerable distance, he sighted the blooms. An aged monkey with an extremely long tail lay asleep on the way. Bhima coughed, the scrawny simian opened its eyes.

He asked it to move its tail and make way for him. The tired ape asked him to jump over it or move the tail and make way for himself. The Pandava’s upbringing would not allow him into such transgression; therefore he tried to flick the feeble tail away. To his utter dismay, the seemingly frail tail would not budge. Suitably chastened, the mighty one focused on his task.

He revved up all his strength and tried again. To his chagrin, he found that the thin the tail did not even budge from its place.

At once, Bhima knew that he was not dealing with an emaciated creature lying in the woods. Perhaps a god had waylaid his path to test his caliber. Immediately, Bhima prostrated in front of the elderly looking animal and begged for forgiveness. Soon the divine form of Hanuman materialised before Bhima. The sons of Vayu embraced each other joyously. Maruthi revealed that, he had indeed conducted the test to tweak the conduct of Bhima.

The Pandava prince was praiseworthy in more ways than one. Yet his great strength filled him with a superiority complex. He never really passed an opportunity which allowed him to showcase his strength. Hanuman created the situation to correct the flaw in the great warrior. All of us may not be as lucky as Bhima to be corrected by the gods themselves. Nevertheless, if we choose the path of humility for a lifetime, we can circumvent embarrassments and avoidable failures in life.

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