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  • Writer's pictureAshok Kumar Burra


Updated: Feb 5

By B.E.Sampath Kumar, Sri Ramachandrji Seva Trust, Kadapa.

MADHA(PRIDE/EGO) is the root of all evil and one of the six bad vices viz., Kama(Desire), Krodha( Anger), Lobha(Greed), Moha(Attachment), Madha(Pride) and Mascharya( Jealous).  It is a  conceited attitude or way of behaving.  Due to the predominance of the three Gunas i.e., Satvic, Rajasic and Tamasic,  its nature varies from person to person.  In Pride,  Rajas Guna predominates and true spiritual progress cannot be achieved.

A  pride person has an excessive self-image, feels different from others, is too interested in appearance and proud of his abilities. He feels too confident and does not show enough respect for other people. A feeling that he is better or more important than others,  acts as a hurdle when one tries to have a positive relationship with him. When viewed as a virtue,  it is known as virtuous pride about the greatness of his soul or generosity, but when viewed as a vice it is often known to be self-praising about one’s own achievements, feeling of separateness being distinct and different from others.

Lord Srikrishna in Bhagavat Githa teaches us in Chapter 3 verse 27 that how Pride(ego) takes us into its grip.

Prakriteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani  sarvashah 

ahankara -vimudhatma  kartaham iti manyate

All activities are carried out by the three modes of material nature viz., Goodness(Satva), Passion(Rajas) and Ignorance(Tamas). But in grip of the unforgiving Pride(Ego) the soul, deluded by false identification with the body thinks itself to be the doer.

It is the Gunas of  Prakriti like Satva, Rajas, etc., that perform all the activities appropriate to them.  But the man, whose nature is deluded by his Ahankara thinks, I am the doer of all these actions. The meaning is that it is because of this Ahankara, that one who is ignorant of the real nature of the self, thinks, I am the doer with regard to the activities that are really being done by the Gunas of Prakrti.

In the great Indian epic Mahabharath we see how Duryodana’s pride ruined his life in the Mahabharath war. The story runs as follows:

During the Kurukshetra war, both Kauravas and Pandavas wanted to seek help from Lord Krishna to strengthen their Army powers in the war.  First Duryodhana came to Lord  Krishna and found Lord Krishna was sleeping.  But due to pride, he sat close to the head of  Lord Krishna as he felt insulted sitting close to his legs.

After some time Arjuna came and sat at the legs of  Lord  Krishna and waiting for him to wake up.  Krishna woke up and saw Arjuna sitting near his legs. Then Duryodhana tried to show his presence by a small voice with his throat. Then Krishna also saw Duryodhana. Then both seek the help of  Lord Krishna in the war. Then Krishna told them that both of you came here for help.  So I am making it clear that I will put one side all my army and another side myself. But I will not fight in the war but always be with you.

Then Krishna gave the first choice to Arjuna though Duryodhana interfered and said that he came first and deserved the first choice to select. But Krishna denied it saying that the first choice will go to Arjuna as He first saw him.  Arjuna chose Lord  Krishna for their side. Duryodhana chose the army for their side thinking that Arjuna was foolish and idiot and did the biggest mistake by selecting  Srikrishna.  Duryodhana due to his pride/ego chose the army and he was proved as foolish and did the biggest mistake under the influence of his ego/ahankar,  lost his life and all his brothers in the war.

Lord Sri Krishna, in Bhagavath Githa  Chapter 18, verse 17 says that those who are free from Pride, are not bound in the Karmic reactions of what they do.

Yasya nahankrito bhavo buddhir yasya na lipyate

 hatva pi sa imal lokan na hanti na nibadhyate

Those who are free from the ego of being the doer, and whose intellect is unattached, though they may slay living beings, they neither kill nor are they bound by actions.

Those with purified intellect are free from the false pride of being the doer. They also do not seek to enjoy the fruits of their actions.  Thus, they are not bound in the karmic reactions of what they do.

The pride/ego must be eradicated by following some tips given hereunder in order to achieve true spiritual enlightenment.

Whenever we commit a mistake,  we must be humble enough to admit it.  Knowing when we are wrong and admitting,  it is a sign of maturity and wisdom. Moreover, only courageous people can do this. Not only admitting our mistakes but willing to apologize if we have done wrong to others and accept open-heartedly whatever their response would be to our apology.

If someone does better than us in any aspect, then accept that truth and we should not dislike the said person and if he does not perform well like us, we must cheer that person up,   sincerely encourage him and willing to help him to improve without having an idea in mind that he may bypass us.

Too many praises and appreciations could make us fall prey to the evil Pride/Ego,  instead, we should not feel that our eyes are on our head.  We must always evaluate ourselves to make sure pride has not got into our heads.

Treat the people the way we want to be treated. Do not do to others the way we do not want others to do to us. We must never think that we deserve better treatment than how we treat others.  

No matter how many degrees we possess in our education, in which high position doing our job and respect in the society,  how much we have in our bank balance, never think that we are better or more important than anyone else.  Pride(Ego/Ahankar) is just like dust in the eyes. Without cleaning the dust we cannot see clearly. So if we remove pride from our minds and see the world, it looks more beautiful.

Stop boasting how good we are helping the poor or needy so that we should not be caught under the influence of the evil Pride. Always thank everyone who does something helpful to us like the servant at our home, or a waiter at a hotel who serves food, and even in small things at our workplace, because gratitude is one of the best traits of a gentleman. 

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