Years ago during a Q&A session with B.K.S. Iyengar, students were asked to submit their questions by paper so they could be audited. One student simply asked, “why do you seem so proud or arrogant?” No one would have dared ask this question directly to B.K.S. Iyengar, a man who was nicknamed the Lion of Pune in his early days of teaching. His answer was interesting. He said something like (I am paraphrasing a story I heard from Manouso Manos) “You all are prideful but you have nothing to be proud of. I have something to be proud of.”
After his death last August, his son Prashant gave a soliloquy which you can watch and hear for yourself here. The main theme of his talk to honor his father, teacher and Guru was that this was a man who was always authentically true to himself. That he didn't act like a different person when he was a father or a husband vs. a teacher or a neighbor or customer at a local shop. Fame and reknown did not change this, he continued to interact with others, with the world, with the same attitude of evenness.
When we are true to ourselves. When we stop masking who we are. When we can work skilfully and patiently with our own afflictions. When we stop seeing other people as “other”. Then we can act confidently from our true nature.
In Pema Chodron's commentary on the Bodhicharyavatara (Way of the Bodhisattva) she says, “pride of action is a synonym for confidence”. Confidence means full trust, belief in oneself and one's power, reliability. To be truly confident requires an enormous amount of courage. And when we are able to find that inner abode of trust, of truth, to connect with it truly, then our dignity and our merit as a human being shine forth for all to share in.
Happy Pride All! May you re-discover the inner lustre that you were carrying all along.