Faith

Self-criticism

People love to hear others praise them. The problem with this love for praise is that it blinds us to our faults, and so there is little hope of self-correction. While it is true that not all criticism may be valid, if we refuse to accept criticism, there is the genuine possibility that we might be ignoring valid criticism too. We welcome praise, without bothering to check if we have done anything to deserve it. But when it comes to criticism, we conclude that all of it is unfair. None but the Lord and our preceptors deserve adulation and it is wrong of us to fall prey to praise, said Akkarakkani Srinidhi, in a discourse.

The Vaishnavite Acharya Parasara Bhattar was once giving a discourse. At the end of the discourse, some people who had been listening to him criticised him. He gave them his ornaments as a reward. But to those who had praised him, he gave nothing. Angered and puzzled by this, those who had praised him asked him why he had rewarded those who had criticised him. Parasara Bhattar answered that every bhakta had two duties. He should always praise Lord Narayana, but must run himself down. Self-criticism was important. Without this, one would become complacent, and eventually forget to think of one’s deficiencies. A devotee must always be conscious of his own smallness, and the greatness of the Supreme One.

While Parasara Bhattar always praised the Lord, he had been so busy doing this, that he had failed in his duty to criticise himself. By criticising him, the men he had rewarded had taken care of his (Bhattar’s) duty! Hence they had been rewarded, Bhattar explained.


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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 1:15:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/Self-criticism/article11089535.ece

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