Being unconscious of our faults is the worst unconsciousness and the biggest fault
When a disease infects us, we seek treatment. But if we are unaware of the infection, we won’t seek any treatment.
Our various faults, especially our moral inadequacies, are the symptoms of the disease of bhava-roga (the disease of material existence). This disease involves the conquest of our consciousness by anarthas (unhealthy material cravings) that impel us into immorality.
One of the most dangerous anarthas is arrogance. The Bhagavad-gita (16.04) refers to it through three related qualities: dambha (pride), darpa (arrogance) and abhimana (conceit). Arrogance makes us feel so cocksure of the correctness of our actions that when our well-wishers offer us good counsel, we neglect it contemptuously, even reject it caustically.
The classic and tragic example of arrogance is Duryodhana. He had treacherously dispossessed the Pandavas and grievously violated their wife. Yet he dismissed the warnings of his well-wishers with the outrageous assertion: “I have not committed the slightest fault” – and thereby courted destruction.
Thus being unconscious of one’s faults is the worst unconsciousness and the biggest fault: the worst unconsciousness because it keeps us unconscious of our wrongness, and the biggest fault because it is the breeding ground for all other faults – it lets us do increasingly perverse things without any compunction.
To come out of such unconsciousness, we need to hear from scriptures, for they voice the counsel of our greatest well-wisher, Krishna. Regular and submissive hearing reorients us whenever our faults lead us astray.
Won’t repeated reminders of our faults make us depressed?
No, because the scriptures focus not on our faults but on the glories of devotional service, the infallible treatment for our faults. Hearing those glories reassures us that we are redeemable and thereby accelerates our march to moral and spiritual integrity.
“Pride, arrogance, conceit, anger, harshness and ignorance – these qualities belong to those of demoniac nature, O son of Prtha.”