Sunday, March 28, 2010

Signs of true knowledge

What construes true knowledge? Whom can we call as truly wise?

Is this represented by a string of degrees from reputed colleges and institutions? Or does it reflect on people having depth of specialisation on specific subjects without necessarily having a formal qualification? Better still, do we find it in people who have reached the pinnacle of their respective careers?

Then, there are people who are often recognised for their talents and feted for the same. We also have many guys who have up-to-date information on their finger tips and are consulted widely. There are also some deep thinkers and philosophers who could be considered for this.

The moot question to address is - what is knowledge? Awareness of information or statistics cannot be called as true knowledge however important or vital they may be. True knowledge is beyond all this. It is not based on the respect some people command due to their skills, talents or position. True knowledge is indeed reflected only by the way people behave. After all, knowledge has to get translated into ones character.

A person who is truly knowledgeable will realise that we are all made up of the same elements and a soul and are essentially the same. Differences which are perceived are only a result of our minds working with a delusion. Such a person realises the transient nature of life and is not fiercely competing for personal growth.

Such a person will act and behave very differently. She will have only unconditional love for everyone around. She will be compassionate, kind and helpful. She will be extraordinarily generous and extremely humble. She will be equipoised and calm. She will smile often and have enormous and complete faith in the Lord Almighty.

A truly wise person lives an uncompromising life of values.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Praise me not

In the Srimad Bhagvatam, there is a story of a King called Prithu who ruled the world . He was considered as an avatar or part incarnation of the Lord Himself. The earth was barren then and it was this king who forced the earth to yield food grains, fruits etc. The earth is called Prithvi (in Sanskrit) because of this king. When his subjects, in their joy, came to sing his praises this is what he had to say "Praise me not".

"Praises, while they sound pleasing to the ears, are actually slow / sweet poison. People generally tend to go overboard when praising someone and it soon takes the flavour of flattery. The person being praised gets carried away and starts believing what others say about him. This leads him into a kind of fools paradise where he starts living in an imaginary world."

"Rather than praise, tell me what are my shortcomings. Help me to identify defects which I may tend to overlook or ignore. If you really care for me, tell me how I can be a better human being, a better leader and a better person. Do not lull me into a sense of complacency by speaking positive words. I know fully well that I am imperfect and help me to progress towards perfection."

What a wonderful lesson for each one of us!!

Most of us seek the exact opposite. We crave for positive strokes. We hate critics and criticism. Perhaps we do not have the strength of character, self confidence or mental toughness to face the negative feedback. However, if we cultivate this attitude and welcome criticism and shun praise we could become great indeed.

"Flattery is like chewing gum. Enjoy it but don't swallow it." Hank Ketcham

"If you are not criticized , you may not be doing much" Donald Rumnsfeld