Arrogance in Opulence is Self-Destructive

In a series on Sklling India, we draw inspiration from our Puranas and Itihas that are full of gems of wisdom. If we paused a little, we might even pick up a few gems on the way to truth

K.K. Shanmukhan
Our Puranas, the great Hindu epics, is a vast ocean, which is deeper, larger and richer than all the seven seas put together. It contains pearls, rubies, sapphires and other precious gems. Each character, incident, event and episode directly, covertly or overtly and symbolically educates us on all human aspects and motivates us – the laymen, scholars, students, teachers and trainers – alike, to pave the right way to lead a perfect life. It prompts a student in character formation, the right attitude, inter-personal skill, leadership qualities, crises management, the right thinking, the art of communication, time discipline, team spirit, setting goals, student-teacher relations, self-respect, patriotism, manners and so on.
Why should we learn and follow the great heroes mentioned in the Puranas to inculcate these qualities? Such a question, if one asks, is very relevant and pertinent. Let us quote from the Bhagavata Gita:
“Yat yat aacharate shreshta:
Tat tat evetharo jana:
Sa: ya: pramanam kuruthe
Loka: tat anuvarthate.”
(Whatever the great personalities do The world imitates it. Whatever they hold as principle. The world accepts it as example).
Who says it or does it, is more relevant here than what is said or what is done. Each of these modules is revealed through stories multifarious. Take, for instance, the story of Lord Ganesha accepting the invitation of Kubera for a breakfast highlights the tragic end of over-confidence, pride and arrogance. Even one of these elements may have been quite sufficient for self-destruction. But if all of these qualities are found in one person, then the tragedy may as well be imagined.
Kubera, son of the noble saint Vishravas, was anointed the Lord of the North with responsibility of protecting that direction. He was also conferred the governorship and custodianship of all riches. Obviously, to become the richest person in the world is no mean thing. Even a humble and pure soul will become proud of him and naturally snobbish arrogance will embrace him. This happened in Kubera’s case also. But you have to exhibit the bounty, affluence and glory before the authorities and get their approval and appreciation. The best platform to show one’s abundance, as we watch in modern day movies, is by way of hosting a party with the most celebrated VIPs of the area. Obviously Kubera approached Lord Shiva and Parvati and requested the divine couple to accept his invitation for a breakfast.
“Kubera”, said the Lord, “Thank you very much for choosing us as your guest. It shows your
magnanimity. I enjoy begging of common people and I have a compatible vessel for that – a human skull.” The Lord paused for a while and continued, “with this animal skin around my waist, I feel ashamed to appear before noble gatherings. My spouse Parvati will not come without me. It is better you take Ganesha. He is a recognized gourmet and he will satisfy your desire.”
Ganesha readily accepted Kubera’s hospitality. Very elaborate arrangements were made by Kubera for the feast. A huge Shamiana, drummers, pipers, crackers and oil lamp procession were put into action. Ganesha started consuming juices, fruits, nuts, cakes, sweets and whatever was accumulated there in large quantities till the last particle of food was exhausted. He demanded even more. He didn’t spare even the utensils along with the Shamiana. Unable to satisfy his hunger, he turned to swallow Kubera himself, the host. Kubera ran in panic seeking refuge in Lord Shiva, who offered a handful of beaten rice to Ganesha. His hunger was quelled instantly and Kubera was relieved.
So a­­rrogance in glory and opulence is no good.