Contemplating the gravity of our purpose exposes the frivolity of our pride
Suppose a doctor in an epidemic-hit area succeeds in saving a record number of patients. The feat is laudable, no doubt. But suppose the doctor goes on an ego trip, bragging about the accomplishment and neglecting the many patients who still need to be treated. Such pride would be frivolous or even dangerous.
When we become proud of our accomplishments in devotional life, we too become guilty of similar frivolity amidst gravity. Bhakti-yoga is essentially a cure for the spiritual amnesia that afflicts everyone in material existence. We are all souls, parts of Krishna. But we have forgotten our identity and are misidentifying with our material bodies, thereby subjecting ourselves to the miseries of birth, old age, disease and death.
The Bhagavad-gita (13.09) states that perception of these miseries is a characteristic of wise people; it keeps them grounded in reality, aware that this world is like an epidemic-hit area. The Gita later (13.11) mentions undistracted practice of devotional service as another characteristic – this signifies that the wise take the treatment seriously.
If we serve Krishna enthusiastically and share his message vigorously, then we are not only curing ourselves but are also helping cure others. Given the extreme rarity of spiritual wisdom in this world and given its dire necessity in today’s times of extreme materialism, our contributions in sharing bhakti-yoga are laudable. Yet if we become proud of our accomplishments, how are we different from doctors vainglorying while patients are dying? Actually, we are different, because in our case pride is not just a distraction, but also an infection. Pride is a central component of the cloud of forgetfulness that is our disease.
By thus meditating on the vulnerability of our position and the gravity of our purpose, we can cast away the frivolity of pride.