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Humility – Benevolence In Hinduism – Amanitva

Humility and benevolence – desirable values – in Hinduism is known as Amanitva. Amanitva comes from the Sanskrit word manah, which means self – respect or self –esteem extending to conceit or haughtiness or an exaggerated opinion about oneself. Therefore, amanitva signifies a mental state free from such unreal conditions.

Some verses in the Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 13) deal with ‘values.’ The Gita designates these values as jnanam, which means knowledge. However, this jnanam used in the sense of values is different from the knowledge of self which is both the means and end of the Vedantic teaching.

Jnana also involves universal values and ethical attitudes. It serves a preparatory ground for gaining self knowledge. These values, which are essential for preparing the mind for knowledge, are given by Krishna while replying to a question of Arjuna. The question of Arjuna relates to kshetra (the field, which indicates the body) and kshetrajna (the knower of the field, which refers to that which is conscious of the body). Answering this question, Krishna lists in five verses twenty qualities of the mind which he terms jnanam or knowledge. Of these, amanitvam is listed first. It means absence of self-worshipfulness. Madhusudana Saraswati in his commentary Guddartha Dipika on the Gita, defines manitva as praising oneself for qualities that one does not or does possess.