Greatness. There’s something about the word, some aura, some power. This is the first chapter of the many chapters to come in this series – a series all about greatness.
The author, when he wrote the Holy Kural, starts off with this chapter – VIRTUE. This chapter is about how you ought to be when you are in the position of greatness. That’s the best part, you see! The author assumes that you will reach greatness. The author assumes that you will be great. The entire series of his chapters starts off with this assumption. Now, that’s what I love about this work of his.
The first step in being Virtuous – Recognising the power above & beyond you.
1) There is always a first for everything. Before humans, before animals, before even this entire universe, there should have been something/someone. People call that something/someone “GOD”. I call that something/someone a “Supreme Energy” from which every being, both living and non-living originated. That supreme energy is within everything, every one of us. That supreme energy is the basis of all things both living and non-living.
Whether we accept it or not, we gotta respect that imaginary guy up there for creating this magnificent universe. I mean, even a basic computer operating system takes hundreds of human beings to create, with a lot of planning, a lot of fore-thought, etc.
Just think about it. Such a huge universe, the galaxies that it contains, the solar systems, the planets, the beings that live on those planets, from such larger than life world to the minute detail of a SINGLE DNA for which you can write pages and pages of explanations – all of this. Don’t you think all of this would have taken much more planning, intelligence, forethought, and much more energy than is humanly ever possible?
For every creation, there should be a creator. And I recognise the creator of this universe as what you call GOD. The first thing we should do to actually become someone great, to achieve a position of greatness in life, is to respect and recognise this energy above us.
2) There should be respect amongst us human beings. Respect for those who are better than us, respect for those who know better. No matter how much you know, no matter how much you have studied, what’s the point of it all if you have no respect for those who know better, who are better, for those who have significantly more experience, knowledge and wisdom compared to you? The first requirement for being virtuous is to respect those who are better than you – doesn’t matter what their age is, and the second one is to eventually learn and keep growing.
3) We all have two sides to who we really are. The God that we think is outside is actually inside. There is also our egoistic mind, which, if we identify with, will keep us definitely away from connecting with the God that we are. If we deliberately pursue the path that connect us with the God that’s within us, we will end up leading a life which will last beyond our body does.
4) Good or bad is as we define it. What’s good for one person may be bad for someone else. But when it comes down to who we choose to follow, we must choose cautiously coz, often the person whom we end up following and based on whom we model ourselves decide what we become, in life. Choose to follow someone who is selfless, someone who is void of desire or aversion, someone who treats everyone and everything equally, someone who lives beyond his animalistic side, someone who chooses to deliberately pursue a path that connects him with his inner God. If we model ourselves based on what we learn by following that person, then, no evil and nothing wrong can happen to us.
5) There are people who do things for fame. And then there are people who do things for money. And there are people who do things for power. Whatever be the reason, if you are going to have your actions originate from your inner God/Goddess, and your actions reflect your desire to reach fame or reputation following your inner God’s/Goddess’ compass, then you will gain the ability to look at good/bad, right/wrong – objectively and face them both as an equal.
6) Conquering your outer world is something commendable. But there is nothing equal to conquering your inner world. There’s nothing more commendable than conquering yourself. Someone who has conquered themselves means that he/she has conquered all of their senses. That person is no longer controlled by their senses, but rather, their senses are in their control. They are the masters of their senses. When you choose to follow them and model their way of life, you will prosper in greatness for a very long time.
7) When you submit yourself to the flow of your life, and the way of the universe, all your anxieties start to disappear. Very often, you have a script in your mind as to how your life should play out. More often than not, what you really want so badly, you end up attracting it and getting it. But what doesn’t happen is, most often you don’t end up getting what you want, in the way you want. It will come to you at the right time, maybe sooner or later, but always in the best way possible for our life’s circumstances. So, if you want to be devoid of anxiety, submit yourself to universe’s ways and go through life, knowing what exactly you want, not HOW you want it. Always, the universe’s HOW part will definitely be better than your HOW.
8) As human beings, we face trials and tribulations regularly. Trials and such troubling periods are all common. But most of us succumb to these situations outside of us and you can see the reason why depression, loneliness and suicides are on the rise today. Most of us have moved away from the essence of our inner self, that we no longer make efforts to reconnect with our actual self. But, if we follow the path of righteousness and stay true to ourselves, nothing in this world can bring us down. Anything, any trouble we come to face, we will go through it and come out as a better person.
9) Let’s say you have a good body and an able mind. As every human being, you have a pair of eyes, a nose, an ear and a tongue. But, the only problem is that none of them works. What happens then? Nothing. It doesn’t matter if your mind is amazing and/or if your body is so healthy; if your eyes, ears, tongue, voice, sense of smell – none of these works, what’s the point of having such an able mind and body?
I know it’s harsh. But that’s exactly analogous to the situation where you have all the wealth, all the name, fame, etc., but you’re not humble. What’s the point of all that wealth, name, fame, and everything you can desire for in this life, if you don’t know how to be gracious and modest about it?
10) Finally, to conclude – the first point I want to make is – we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but we are spiritual beings having a human experience. People usually think they are the body and that they have a soul. In reality, we are the soul. We are residing in the body that we have, that we think we are.
The second point I want to make is, my knowledge about life, reincarnations are all very limited. But I know that we don’t have just one life. We are born again and again with a single purpose for every birth. I don’t know when the rebirths end or what happens in what we call “the end”, or if there actually is AN END.
So, the final point of this chapter – You are going to travel from one birth to another birth through a series of births. You are a soul traveller. You are not going to remember anything from any of your birth, in your normal human form. But, to go through life after life and not know what the process of transition is and how the quality of our further lives will be, is something gravely puzzling.
The best thing we can do is, follow our inner God, be good, do good, be kind, generous, humble and righteous. If we do what feels best, at least we can live this life peacefully. There’s absolutely no guarantee what will happen in our further lives. But the greats, the sages, those who have seen the afterlife, those who remembered their previous births through penance, have all said that our actions in the life we currently have, is going to influence the quality of our further lives.
The author put it in a way that if we submit to universe’s ways of goodness and love, we go through births in a gracious way. You can relate with that, right? It’s that simple.
Even when you are in a position of greatness, respect those above you, those who are better than you, and also those who are wiser than you in every aspect of life. The greatness you acquire is of some purpose and for the higher good only when you are generous, kind, righteous and humble. The more down to earth you are, the more you will live beyond your actual life.
The essence of this post is put in an infographic here: