Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Blowing one's trumpet

I read a story about a popular doctor who was noted for his curative skill, patience and helpful nature. He accepted whatever was paid for and treated the poor free. He had however one flaw. He always spoke about his compassionate nature and wished others to praise him.
One day as he was walking with a rabbi, the doctor was proudly telling how he treated poor free. Rabbi said he also did the same.
Surprised, the doctor said he even gave medicines free to the hapless and rabbi replied that he also did the same.
Intrigued the doctor said he even donated money for food in deserving cases. Rabbi replied that he also did the same
The doctor was annoyed and asked rabbi whether he was a doctor like him because he replied always that he also did the same.
Rabbi replied that he was not a doctor. Whenever the doctor talked good about himself, rabbi replied that he also like the doctor spoke to others only about the good he did and never about his faults. That rabbi said was the one flaw in his own character.
Let us ponder for a minute how many of us talk or admit about our flaws to others. We rarely do. We always try to project the brighter side of us and abstain from telling or soften about our negative side. The resume generally exaggerates our capabilities or experience and is silent about our drawbacks. If we really have some achievements, we rarely shut up talking about it. We like to blow our trumpets. Why not if we are good at something some may ask in injured innocence..

No doubt pride gives one a self respect but showing it even when justifiable generally alienates him from the world. Pride unconsciously tends to be a bloated view of one's self be it talent, virtue wealth, family or anything. It often manifests itself in one’s speech and actions. Showing pride in conversation is generally considered a negative trait. This does not mean one should refrain from telling genuine achievements on appropriate occasions like in an interview. But talking about accomplishments even if real just to impress others without a purpose is undesirable Good wine needs no bush is a famous adage.

 Likewise acts of giving are best done silently without fanfare. Many philanthropists donate huge sums  incognito. They hardly talk about it. They feel embarrassed when their identity is revealed. The rain bearing clouds are often silent but it is the rainless clouds that revel in thunder. Imagine how ridiculous it would be for a musician clapping his own hands after rendering a song. The applause should come from the audience. Self adulation is indecent and improper. There is a German proverb”… self-praise stinks, a friend's praise is lame, a stranger's praise sounds."

Sampoorna kumbhaha shabdham na karoti – ardho ghato noonam ghoshamupaiti
vidwaan kuleeno na karoti garvam – gunairviheenaaha bahu jalpayanti
Fully filled pot does not make noise while half filled pot makes lot of noise
Scholars are always humble -while those  lacking good qualities boast a lot.


  1. Ego and habit of self praise spoils all other good qualities.. True. The sloka at the end is a good choice for the article..

  2. I a;so agree with you. However, some people are so obsessed with their achievements, and the good that they have done, that have to bore everybody with the details, They not only bore people but they want everybody t o pat their back and say what great people they are. I s imply can't stand such characters, and have met quite a few of them.

  3. Yes, it is half pots which make lot of noise. It is very difficult to tolerate those people. Ego and self praise make people cringe.

    Very well explained with the apt shloka!

  4. I am in touch with many such people and I just smile silently and listen to what they boast, enjoy the way they try to get their happiness by talking about themselves! So easy to be happy that way!

  5. Loved the shloka at the end. Some people need to trumpet their own achievements to boost their morale, so be it. They will realize their follies when they meet one of their own :)

  6. Mostly it is a must for people to flaunt their achievements, in their view, their stock goes up. Uncommon are the grounded ones who do all selflessly without an expectation, their deed speaks for them. The shloka was apt

  7. One with inferiority complex have had this kind of behavior. Good one Partha sir.

  8. For some , it is : " Live and let live"
    For some, it is : " judge and be judged"