Arrogance keeps us not just in ignorance, but also in ignorance about the extent of our ignorance
Suppose someone swims in an ocean, knowing that the ocean is so vast that they hardly know anything about it. While swimming, they will be duly cautious. But if someone thinks that the ocean is just like a tiny pond that they know very well, they will fall prey to dangerous sharks whose very existence they are blind to.
We all are souls swimming in the vast ocean of material existence. When we are ignorant, we don’t know the way to success and happiness. But at least we know that we don’t know. And we humbly seek knowledge.
But when we are arrogant, we don’t even know that we are ignorant. We think that we have already got the world figured out, that we know the way to success and happiness. Such arrogance characterizes the demonic (Bhagavad-gita 16.04). They believe that life is just a power game, where wealth is their primary password to power, and power is their gateway to success and happiness. Seeking power at all costs, they, knowingly or unknowingly, trigger their lower side, which is capable of unspeakable malevolence. Over time, they may find themselves deriving perverse pleasure in plundering and murdering as they pursue success and happiness (16.13-15). In due course, they all are devoured by the inescapable sharks of material existence: old age, disease and death. But life isn’t finished with them – they are undying souls who will have to account for all their grievous actions in their future lives.
In our pursuit of success and happiness, we may not become so demonic, but arrogance can blind us all.
How can we protect ourselves? By becoming receptive to Gita wisdom. It can show us the timeless spiritual path to inner satisfaction and outer contribution, thereby raising us beyond both ignorance and arrogance.
Think it over:
- Why is ignorance about ignorance worse than ignorance?
- How does the arrogance of the demonic lead to malevolence?
- Have you ever been struck with the awareness that you don’t know the way to a fulfilling life?
16.04 Pride, arrogance, conceit, anger, harshness and ignorance – these qualities belong to those of demoniac nature, O son of Prutha.
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