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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Self-control & humility

One might have noticed that when paddy crops begin to bear grains, they bend, and when the grains are ripe, the bend is greater. The more the grains, the greater is the incline towards the ground.

Likewise, one would have noticed that the branches of mango trees laden with fruits bend down, because of the weight of the fruits. In the same way, gnana makes a person humble. The ill-informed are over confident. The educated speak cautiously, and only when they are sure of their facts. The gnani is humble because of his wisdom, said Malayaman, in a discourse.

Humility comes naturally to the one who has control over his senses. His desires, as a consequence of his self-control, are also limited. He is not led by desires but by wisdom and kindness.

The Tamil work Naaladiyar says self-control is the best ornament a person can have. It may not be visible, but it makes a person likeable. Another Tamil work says the truly educated person thinks about what he has studied, as a result is humble. Even the most educated man cannot claim to know everything in the world, and a truly educated person knows that even in his own field, there is a lot he is yet to master. Thiruvalluvar says self- control is such a desirable quality that a person should guard it zealously. He also says self-control elevates a man to the level of God. The lack of self-control results in unpalatable consequences.

The senses tempt us to take the wrong path, but we must beware the dangers of being led by our senses. Look at the tortoise. Its head and its limbs stick outside its protective shell. But the moment it senses danger, it withdraws into its shell.

In the same way, dangers come from our senses, and self-control is the shell that will save us from being misled by our senses. Humility goes hand in hand with self- control. A gnani will never be impressed by words of praise or hurt by words of criticism. He will act according to dharma. He who is not moved by praise will not be led astray by flattery. Thus, in many ways, self-control and humility are among the most desirable qualities.

Courtesy - The Hindu Religion Column, Feb 18, 2014

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