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How To Overcome Pride of Achievement And Arrogance?

"I have worked hard and I now consider myself a very successful man. I would be a hypocrite if I did not admit that I have a considerable amount of satisfaction and, yes, a certain amount of pride too in my achievement. Would that be wrong?" This question was put before Nisargadatta Maharaj by a visitor.

The point to be noted here is that the person who has achieved success has a guilt feeling of being proud about it. This guilt feeling is because he has the fear that his success might one day disappear. The question is due to fear and out of ignorance of his real nature.

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj answers –

Maharaj: Before we consider what is 'right' and what is 'wrong', please tell me who is asking this question.

Visitor: Why, 'me', of course.

M: And who is that?

V: Me. This 'me', who is sitting in front of you.

M: And you think that that is you?

V: You see me. I see myself. Where is the doubt?

M: You mean this object that is before me? What is your earliest recollection of this object that you think you are. Think as far back as you can.

V: The earliest recollection would perhaps be of being caressed and cuddled by my mother.

M: You mean, as a tiny infant. Would you say that the successful man of today is the same helpless infant, or is it someone else?

V: It is undoubtedly the same

M: Good. Now, if you think further back, would you agree that this infant, which you can recollect, is the same baby that was born to your mother, that was once too helpless even to realize what was happening when its little body was going through its natural physical functions, and could only cry when it was hungry or in pain?

V: Yes, I was that baby.

M: And before the baby acquired its body and was delivered what were you?

V: I don't understand.

M: You do understand. Think. What happened in your mother's womb? What was developing into a body with bones, blood, marrow, muscles etc., over a period of nine months? Was it not a male sperm cell that combined with ovum in the female womb thus beginning a new life and, in the process, going through numerous hazards? Who guarded this new life during this period of hazards? Is it not that very infinitesimally tiny sperm cell which is now so proud of his achievements? And who asked particularly for you? Your mother? Your father? Did they particularly want you for a son? Did you have anything to do with being born to these particular parents?

V: I am afraid, I really haven't thought along these lines.

M: Exactly. Do think along these lines. Then perhaps you will have some idea of your true identity. Thereafter, consider if you could possibly be proud of what you have 'achieved'.

V: I think, I begin to understand what you are driving at.

M: If you go deeper into the matter, you will realize that the source of the body—the male sperm and the female ovum— is in itself the essence of food consumed by the parents; that the physical form is made of, and fed by, the five elements constituting the food; and also that quite often the body of one creature does become the food for another creature

V: But, surely, I, as such, must be something other than this food-body.

M: Indeed you are, but not some 'thing'. Find out what it is that gives sentience to a sentient being, that without which you would not even know that you exist, let alone the world outside. And finally, go deeper yet and examine if this beingness, this consciousness itself is not time-bound.

V: I shall certainly go into the various questions you have raised, although I must confess that I have never explored these areas before, and I feel almost giddy in my ignorance of the new spheres you have opened up before me.

Sourcebook titled ‘Pointers From Nisargadatta Maharaj’ By Ramesh S. Balsekar