16.04: Pride (P + Ride) takes us on a Perilous Ride

by February 1, 2012

The Bhagavad-gita (16.4) states that pride is a quality that is treasured by the ungodly (asuri-sampada). Pride originates in the misconception that we permanently own the things that we only temporarily possess: talents and abilities, positions and possessions. Pride infatuates us with our temporary possessions and sends us off on a dangerous ego trip that is propelled by the miscalculation that we are superior to others and independent of Krishna.

The ride that pride takes us on is perilous right from the beginning because it makes us feel lonely and insecure: lonely because our very desire for superiority alienates us from those around us and ultimately from Krishna, and insecure because we know that our sources of pride – our talents and treasures – can be and will be taken away at some time or the other and we dread that inevitability. And the ride of pride is all the more perilous in the end because when pride unceremoniously dumps us off, that is, when our sources of pride are divested from us, we wake up to the horrifying reality that we have been led far away from all those who loved us – including especially Krishna.

Far easier than embarking on the uphill journey of restoring all the relationships ruptured by pride is to refuse to climb aboard the ride offered by pride. No wonder then that the Mahabharata says that the further we go from pride, the closer we come to others.

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