Every Which Way
In the last two days I attended satsang, home gatherings, where we spoke about some of the vices that we are all plagued with. From the Bhagavad-gita, 15.5, the issue of pride is addressed. From the verse’s purport I read and expanded upon the topic:
“The first qualification is that one should not be deluded by pride. When one is free from delusion caused by pride, he can begin the process of surrender. For one who is always expecting some honour in this material world, it is not possible to surrender to the Supreme person. Pride is due to illusion for although one comes here, stays for a brief time and then goes away, he has the foolish notion that he is the Lord of the world. He thus makes all things complicated, and he is always in trouble. The whole world moves under this impression.”
Speaking bluntly of a list of nasties such as pride, the author, Srila Prabhupada, explained that vices are “the royal road to hell”. Pride’s opposite, humility, is also described by Prabhupada as the quality where one is not anxious to have the satisfaction of being honoured by others. (Bhagavad-gita 13.8)
With the last effort to walking for the day, my humility was tested. This happened so after talking about meekness versus pride at a satsang. I was going southbound on Yonge St. I was sleepless, it was after midnight, so I took to the sidewalk. A group of drunken fellows blasted by in a car. One of them stuck his body out the window to shout out an obscenity. My mental response was one of defensiveness. Walking almost abreast to me was a black dude who looked with disgust. He and I were both not sure whom the curse was meant for. Being both representatives of minorities, either of us could have been the target, or both. “What’s the matter with these guys? You can be drunk, but you can still have respect,” said my brief walking agitated companion.
I encouraged him to see it with a different point of view, “Perhaps we need to receive a dosage of humility every now and then. I learned this from being on the road three times across Canada.”
I made a friend out of this event. Had the nasty remark not been uttered, we likely would not have had a meaningful conversation. Something positive arose from a foul source. Lessons in life come from every which way.