In Sikhism, pride is considered a formidable obstacle on the spiritual path, leading individuals away from humility and virtue. Guru Nanak Dev ji's teachings highlight the pervasive nature of pride, comparing it to air that fills everyone, obstructing understanding and fostering arrogance. The subsequent Gurus, including Guru Amardas ji and Guru Arjan Dev ji, further emphasize the detrimental impact of pride on one's life, mental turmoil, and the cycle of birth and death. There are numerous forms of Pride:  

a. Pride of Learning: Guru Nanak Dev ji addresses the pride associated with acquiring knowledge. Despite the pursuit of extensive learning, the Guru emphasizes that true wisdom lies in connecting with the divine. This echoes the necessity of humility even in the pursuit of knowledge. 

 b. Pride of Material Wealth: Wealth and possessions often become a source of pride. Guru Nanak Dev ji cautions against becoming arrogant due to material abundance, urging individuals to recognize the transience of material things and not lose sight of the spiritual path.

 c. Body Pride: The emphasis on physical beauty and strength is challenged by the Gurus. Despite the external allure, the Gurus point out the impermanence of the body and advocate for humility, discouraging bullying or mistreatment based on physical strength.

 d. Arrogance of Pilgrimage and Religious Practices: Guru Nanak Dev ji questions the arrogance that may arise from extensive pilgrimages and religious practices. True spirituality, according to Sikhism, lies in inner devotion and selfless service rather than outward displays of religious fervor.

 e. Pride of Service Done: Guru Ram Das ji highlights the futility of counting and boasting about acts of service. True service, according to Sikhism, should be performed with humility and without seeking recognition.

 f. Arrogance of Renunciation: The act of renouncing material possessions can also become a source of pride. Guru Nanak Dev ji warns against being proud of renunciation itself, emphasizing that true humility lies beyond mere detachment from material things.

 Remedies for Overcoming Pride

a. Cultivating Humility:The Gurus advocate for humility as the antidote to pride. Regardless of one's accomplishments, maintaining humility is essential for spiritual growth. 

b. Selfless Service: Emphasizing selfless service, the Gurus guide individuals to use their strengths and abilities for the betterment of others, discouraging the misuse of power for personal gain.

 c. Spiritual Awareness: Sikh teachings emphasize the importance of spiritual awareness and connection with the divine as a means to overcome pride. True wisdom, according to Sikhism, is rooted in spiritual understanding. (For references, see SGGS pages 634-677)

       In conclusion, Sikhism provides profound insights into the detrimental effects of pride on an individual's spiritual journey. By addressing various forms of pride and offering remedies rooted in humility, selfless service, and spiritual awareness, Sikh teachings guide believers towards a path of virtue and enlightenment. The essence lies in recognizing the impermanence of worldly pursuits and embracing a humble, virtuous existence.

Jasbir Singh Sarna

Jasbir Singh Sarna

Native of Kashmir, Independent historian, poet, Journalist. A well known writer with 62 published books in Punjabi and English. Retired Agriculture Officer

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