Why do people become proud? Or what are the sources of pride? There are tons and tons of reasons / causes that make people proud. Especially in a ‘Having’ society vs a ‘Being’ society (words from Erich Fromm, you must read his book: ‘To Have or To Be’)

Let us enumerate the sources from where man / woman get their pride:

Youth pride: ‘I am young’ is what Shankaracharya called ‘yovana garvam’. It is there is man right through childhood to old age! Amazing to see a 84 year old have this pride in a group of 90 year olds. Not joking.

Money: “I am rich’ is also a very strong pride / ego booster. Normally associated with people who have earned their own money. However there are some inheritors who could also have this pride without contributing to the corpus. Have you seen the Pramod Mahajan family? The elephant (on which Lord Lakshmi sits) is the symbol of wealth. You find a picture of  the elephant outside all temples – telling you ‘leave your Money pride outside the temple’….

Strength: ‘I am strong’. Strength is a very big source of pride. Compliment a man on his muscles or a woman on her well toned body and they will go ga ga over their regular habits, gym, swimming, running…..blah blah. Invariably a source of pride for amateur athletes…

Drinking: Surprisingly being able to hold say ‘8’ pegs or ’12’ pegs is a great source of pride! Actually to me this looks almost stupid. If booze does not make you tipsy, you might as well have water.

Illness: We are in such a competitive environment that even illness are found to be a source! Have you noticed people saying “i have diabetes” or ‘I have blood pressure. This is the ownership mentality? On the other hand ‘I have great health’ is also a source of pride. ‘I have never gone to a doctor is a source of pride.

Capacity to do a lot of work: I have been working all day and night for the last few days is a common ‘sigh’. It may not mean that they really work hard, but they create an atmosphere of creating an impression of working hard. Many a times they take on work far more than what they can handle – but they like martyrdom, so they continue to do so…

Educational Pride: Being educated well and knowing more than the common man in any field leads to what is called ‘Gyana’ gauravam. However this is very risky – how educated you are is a clear function of what kind of crowd you are sitting with!

………many more to go……..but this is a good start..is it not?

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  1. I have not read the book you mentioned. But, what is wrong with pride? I know that even english has the phrase “Pride begets the fall”. But this constant advice/refrain (particularly in Indian traditions) against pride, can also harm. Could it also not be the source of much accomplishment in the world?

  2. How to make sure that we aware that we have a garvam? Is there any method which reminds us to aware of it ?

  3. Reminds me of Bhaja Govindam…

    maa kuru dhana jana yauvana garvam
    harathi nimEshaath kaala: sarvam
    maayaamayam idam akilam hithvaa
    brahmapadam tvam pravisa viditvaa

    maa kuru dhana jana yauvana garvam – Do not be proud of wealth, friends, relatives and youth

    harathi nimEshaath kaala: sarvam – Time can kill all these things in a moment

    mayaamayam idam akilam – This whole world is impermanent and an illusion

    hithvaa – So, leaving that aside

    brahmapadam tvam pravisa – enter into the Brahman

    viditvaa – after knowing It

    Bhaja Govindam

  4. Excerpt from “The Mind and it’s control”, by Swami Budhananda (Ramakrishna Math)


    These five things must be contemplated by all men and women, householders as well as bhikkus:

    1. Old age will come upon me some day and I cannot avoid it
    2. Disease can come upon me some day and I cannot avoid it
    3. Death will come upon me some day and I cannot avoid it
    4. All things that I hold dear are subject to change and decay and separation, and I cannot avoid it
    5. I am the outcome of my own deed and whatever be my deeds, good or bad, i shall be heir to them

    Bhikkus, by contemplating old age, the pride of youth can be curbed, or at least reduced; by contemplating disease the pride of health can be curbed, or at least reduced; by contemplating death the pride of life is curbed, or at least reduced; by contemplating the change and separation of all things dear, the passionate desire for possession is curbed, or at least reduced; and by contemplating that one is the result of one’s own deeds, the evil propensities of thought, word and deed are curbed, or at least reduced.

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