Friday, May 24, 2024
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A correction please!

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Editor,
The special article “Easter celebrations in the backdrop of election” by Albert Thyrniang (ST April 4, 2024) made interesting reading and was rich with valuable information but there was an important mistake too. The majority of the Bible scholars believe Jesus Christ died in 30 or 33 AD. If Jesus died in 30 AD, 2024 marks 1994 years ago and if he died in 33 AD, 2024 marks 1991 years ago. The median wage in 2024 in the US is $56473 per year or $1086 per week for a 5-day, 40-hour work week. This translates to roughly to $217.2 per day and thirty pieces of silver are worth 120 days’ salary. Then the purchasing power of the coins (Tyrian Shekel) was the equivalent of $ 26,064 today. Since the dollar is 83.42 to the INR as on 4 April 2024, therefore the 30-silver coins that Judas Iscariot received then is today equivalent to INR 21,74,259 and not INR 25,000.
Yours etc.;
V.K.Lyngdoh,
Via email

True humility

Editor,
A friend of mine invited me to attend an opening ceremony of his wife’s art exhibition. A 5-wick traditional oil lamp was to be lit to mark the beginning of the event. Four artists lit four wicks one by one. My friend requested me to light the last one. I was taken aback. “Me! I’m not an artist”, I said to myself. Then I thought that I was after all a human being like those four famous artists and my refusal might sound like supporting the practice of casteist categorisation of human beings.
So, I went ahead and did my little job. After that an artist who was to preside the ceremony went to grace his chair on the stage and called the artist of the day, my friend’s wife, to sit at the chair next to him. But she declined saying that she could not sit beside him.
Again I was taken aback. I thought it might hurt the renowned artist the way she was turning down a normal procedure. I thought that some audiences might take a hint that she wanted to cast aspersions on the character of the artist on the centrestage! But I gathered that there was no such misunderstanding. That she was showing her humility and high respect for the artist had been accepted by all including the artist with a grin.
Is it at all humility to belittle our self-esteem and underestimate our potentialities? The answer is simply – no. C S. Lewis rightly said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Indeed, we must not think that we are less capable. Just like a small banyan seed that has a magic blueprint within it to grow up to become a big tree if it gets a field to grow; every human being has immense potentialities to become a great person if she/ he gets a level playing field to nurture her/ his talent.
But one must not think only about oneself as it is a falsehood to separate ourselves from the whole universe. By thinking of ourselves less, we will actually be able to enlarge us to live infinity and live oneness where there is no room for little vanity, little self-complacency and little self-pity. And this will help us say a firm NO to casteist gradation.
Unfortunately, humility has often been abused by two groups of people, hypocrites and defeatists, in two diametrically opposite ways. A hypocrite sometimes says some tongue-in-cheek humble words about herself or himself feigning humility to get puffed up inside with a feel of vanity. On the other hand, a defeatist enjoys masochistic pleasure by uttering a self-lowering remark. It is either superiority or inferiority complex that uses humility in a wrong way. In both of these cases, it is all about humility before human beings. But true humility should only be before the Supreme Consciousness.
The Mother (spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo) said, “True humility consists in knowing that the Supreme Consciousness, the Supreme Will alone exists and that the I is not.” One can attain such an unalloyed humility if one realises that everything is One in this infinite universe and to mark oneself as a completely separate entity is a falsehood.
We need to reflect on the fact that after our deaths the atoms of our body will become atoms of a matter then again some of them become a part of some trees, animals and/or individuals. Even the atoms of our nails and hair start becoming a part of other things during our lifetime! This reflection helps us erase our ego that separates us from the universe. It gives birth to true humility before the One which we are also a part of. Spiritual humility hatches the ego-egg to break the eggshell of separation to give birth to a psychic conscious being.
Yours etc.,
Sujit De,
Kolkata

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