EXAGGERATED SENSE OF SELF-IMPORTANCE
TOO MUCH SELF-IMPORTANCE IS HARMFUL
In essence, we boast of knowing others and their ostensible intentions but woefully we are not aware about our own self. In this, our potentialities and our weaknesses are not known to us. Thus lack of self-realization and persistence of self-doubt at every step influence our thoughts and Karmic deeds too. Not knowing our own self fully inculcates fears in us, the consequences of it all is that we adopt self-defense as our weapon – bringing in its wake duality in our habits, attitude and behavior. Persisting on this course, we adopt self-conceit or exaggerated sense of importance as our trait. What we call as self-importance, willy-nilly, becomes a part of our character.
The doubt (Bharam) and duality (Doojaa Bhaav) thus created become wall between us and our Mool within. This is the blind well of Spiritual ignorance the Gurbani so much talk about.
SELF-CONCEIT WHILE GIVING SHORT SHRIFT TO OTHERS
While we give too much credence to ourselves without any consideration of others self-interests leads to a feeling of dissatisfaction which leads to break in relations. If we continue riding roughshod over others then one day the situation may turn for the worst leading to violence and consequences of violence are known to everybody. Giving more importance to self over others results in breach of jointmanship spirit.
It has been mentioned very clearly in Bible: For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
SIMILARITY BETWEEN SELF-CONCEIT AND IGNORANCE
Sometimes self-conceit may visit us in ignorance, just unknowingly while we let our mind play with our thoughts. By so doing continuously, it becomes a part of our habit and then slowly our soul gets drenched in it thereby getting submerged and darkened. This happens when we think to understand outside world more than our own inner-self! Non-awareness of our inner-self results in enhancing our ignorance leading to egocentric tendencies. Egocentric tendencies results in more self-conceit and superiority complex.
In Guru Granth Sahib Ji, it has been clearly mentioned: In the darkness of ignorance, we identify with the body-consciousness instead of our Mool (Truth, Jot Saroop, True Nature…). Thus, our identification with the physical body-frame creates non-apprehension of the Reality, which in turn, creates in us the misapprehension (ignorance) that we are the finite beings as opposed to Joti-Saroop (Our True Nature).
MY OWN TASTE OF SELF-CONCEIT
I got the taste of feeling of superior complex or self-conceit practically a few days back. I happened to go to MTNL office for discontinuation of telephone-net connectivity because it was not giving satisfactory service. Checking the record, a balance of Rs. 50/- was due to be paid to the MTNL department. This amount was to be paid to accounts section but I was told to visit some other place to deposit the balance. While I went to the place, as I was told, that account section too told me to get the payment done in third place!! The first and second account sections, in order to show their importance pushed me from pillar to post for a paltry amount of Rs. 50/-? That is the self-conceit of highest order showcased by the account sections resulting in expenses of about 300/- by way of travel expenditure etc. for a job which could have been done in the first office itself on e-connectivity.
OUR IGNORANCE RESPONSIBLE FOR SELF-CONCEIT
In essence, it could be construed that our ignorance is responsible for self-conceit. This ignorance leads to many things not in consonance to our holistic growth. By showing conceit we are actually earning Karmic debit for ourselves. The exaggerated sense of importance stems from several fears which we are having – if we adopt principle of ease of doing job then we shall be considered as laid-back or easy-going. Some may fear that by so doing, we may lose our importance and self-esteem. This unfounded fear remain haunting us.
In Bhagwad Gita it has rightly been stressed that all those who are self-conceited and give more credence to himself/herself do not know the true nature of the creation. Lowering the dignity of others just to pursue one’s own agenda is steeped in ignorance. And that worker who is always engaged in work against the injunction of the scripture, who is materialistic, obstinate, cheating and expert in insulting others, who is lazy, always morose and procrastinating, is a worker in the mode of ignorance.
It is really strange why some of us show exaggerated sense of self-importance. There are various reasons for such a behavior. Firstly, they are perpetually fearful that others may not respect them if they are acting gently. Secondly, they themselves are not satisfied at the home front. Thirdly, such people are not fully proficient in their jobs and in order to hide their inefficiencies, they resort to creating fear psychosis in the minds of their subordinates. Self-conceit, in some cases results in non-violence since there is a limit to tolerance which may prove to be counterproductive for such a person. Therefore, we should not create fear in the minds of our subordinates and colleagues since jobs done in an atmosphere of fearfulness cannot bring forth good results ultimately. We should follow the principles of fearlessness advocated by Buddha as an essential pre-requisite for non-violence. Any job transacted in fearless and non-violent environs lead to positive results.
FEAR IS NATURAL
The Civid-19 pandemic has shown that due to the fear of contracting infection we adopt various methods such as keeping distance while outside of homes, putting on face mask, sanitizing our hands regularly, taking balanced diet to enhance our immunity, keeping our social contacts to the barest minimum, taking regular exercises in order to keep ourselves sound in body and mind etc. There is logic in this fear to avoid catching infection. If even then, we are infected, then we should face the fact and take all precautions required such as self-isolation, taking medicines prescribed by the doctor etc. This shows that fear is natural but how to live courageously despite fear haunting us at every step. This comes when we are ready to face the challenges fearlessly. There are people who are in perpetual fear of death without realization that whoever is born has to die one day. The cause of death may be any but it will come. Then why fear? I think, this fear of death which is natural should spur us to be egoless, detached and make us humble that we have to die one day, everything here is Maya and impermanence then why adopt self-conceit in our life!
In Bhagwad Gita, it has been said: Neither agitated by grief nor hankering after pleasure, they live free from lust and fear and anger. Established in meditation, they are truly wise. Fettered no more by selfish attachments, they are neither elated by good fortune nor depressed by bad.