Back in 1998, I visited Mumbai with my college band Krossbreedz. We were participating in the rock competition at Mood-Indigo, IIT Bombay’s cultural festival. The organizers put us up at one of the IIT hostels. We got a unique chance to experience their hostel life and mess food which otherwise we would never have. None of us were inclined to appear for IIT-JEE. As a matter of fact I had filled out the application form, but chose to bunk the exam as it would have been a waste of time in addition to the money that was already wasted.
Someone had engraved these words on one of the walls of our hostel room – ‘Never consider yourself superior or inferior to anyone.’ These are wise words indeed, however not easy for many people to follow. Ego has a way of coming in the way. A superiority or an inferiority complex, even if small in magnitude, can affect the best of us from time to time. Humility, as some say, is itself a form of pride. The problem is not about which side you are on, rather how you internalize and project your own situation.
A couple of months ago, our CEO Arun wrote a blog post (Lonesome On Top) that led me to penning these thoughts. If you haven’t already, you can go to read that blog post for the context, and come back to read my views below.
Welcome back. There are three aspects:
1) Materialistically speaking – more often than not, the commoner is more intrigued by the lifestyle of the rich and famous instead of the other way round. This disparity causes mismatched levels of mutual interest in wanting to connect in the first place. Even if there is interest, vastly different means can lead to vastly different lifestyles, leaving less common ground for the two sides to connect on. The gap itself is a byproduct of our capitalistic economies to a great extent.
2) Spiritually speaking – going back to my IIT stint (yes I can say that), never consider yourself superior or inferior to anyone. Krishna knew this better than Sudama. The same ego that can make you feel superior due to your high net worth, can also make you feel inferior in another setting. If people on both sides can shed the ego aside, there in is your ability to connect with the other. This is where I will insert an original quote by yours truly, “Bigger the ego, smaller the person”.
3) Statistically speaking – now there are far more steel and wooden spoons on the planet as compared to diamond ones. There are only a certain number of meaningful relationships a person can have, irrespective of the type of spoon he or she is. Even if all diamonds were to mingle and connect with the commodity level spoons, they would still cover only so many spoons. They cannot have time for all the spoons anyway, yet another case of demand-supply mismatch.
It is the imbalance between your materialistic quotient (net worth) and spiritual quotient (real worth) which creates a turmoil with your emotional quotient. To explain visually, all the people in the world can be divided into four categories.
- Most people like to believe, me included, that their spiritual quotient is high.
- Most people would like to graduate from low to high materialistic quotient.
- Pseudo kings and real kings can enjoy superficial relationships with each other.
- Pseudo kings can have deep relationships, for whatever it is worth, only with people from their category.
- Pseudo kings do not like to be around commoners or monks, unless it is for a selfie.
- Real kings and monks have the ability to connect with people in most categories. Their spiritual quotient tends to outshine their materialistic quotient. They don’t mind the lower level of spiritual evolution of the commoners or the pseudo kings. They understand nature.
- Commoners connect best with commoners. They give more importance to kings and may not think much of monks. They do not care to differentiate between pseudo kings and real kings.
- Commoners like to be around kings, mainly for selfies.
History must have examples of people, in their lifespan, moving from one quadrant to another, with one exception. People can move from bottom to top, top to bottom, and from left to right, but not from right to left. Spiritual awakening does not go away, once you have it at whatever level. Materialistic belongings can come and go.
Please use the comments field to share your thoughts, and cite examples of famous people moving from one quadrant to another.