Values: Absence of Pretense & Not-Hurting (131)


Lesson 131 is Value 2 & 3. Not exaggerating past events. Avoiding hurt mentally, word (next session), and deed (next session).

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 7.


  • QUESTION: Why distinguish between Universal and Obligatory, when Obligatory is needed for assimilation. In other words, why did we bring in Obligatory vs Personal values (aligned with Universal)?
    • What is an “obligatory value”?
      • It's following a Universal value (EG: help, be kind) out of mechanical obligation.
      • Meaning one hasn't understood WHY I should follow it. One hasn't converted it into a personal appreciation.
      • Thus you'll compromise if living from obligatory values. This is why short advices or religious mandates don't stick. Because one hasn't assimilated the implications of them.
    • What is “personal value”? It's bringing a Universal value down to a personal understanding.
    • SUMMARY:
      • Obligatory values are:
      • Fear based. “Do, or else!“. EG: Per some religions.
      • Unassimilated Universal values. They’re one liner advices. EG: Treat woman/men equally. Most don’t follow.
      • When Universal value becomes your OWN value, it becomes effortless.
    • Most common problem living in Obligatory values: I'm doing good but getting little. While others are cheating, getting away with it, and much better off then me.
      • 2 possible outcomes from this thinking:
        1. If don’t cheat out of Obligation… then will remain a good-miserable person. It means, you don’t trust the feedback system called dharma (Ishvara).
        2. If don’t cheat, because it’s a Personal value… then will continue living happily amidst immorality. Because world is like a bank account. Quality of karma-money you deposit, is exactly quality you can withdraw later.
  • Importance of going through values?
    1. Just by hearing them, we stop interpreting them according to our subjectivity.
    2. It aligns mind back to it’s natural program, which has been contaminated through conditions.
    3. By NOT reassessing values, we place ourself OUT OF harmony with Universal order. Which produces difficulties in life. Which is what we’re trying to rid of.
      • They way we rid of difficulties is by doing more of the old program, which is the very cause of disharmony.
    4. Values cultivate a self-assured independent thinker.
      • Even in Vedanta, most come to solve personal issues. And not discover the final reality.
        • Unfortunately in state of seeking, most are vulnerable.
        • Vulnerability causes:
          • One to buy into ANY teaching.
          • Relationship dependency. Guru will take care of all, I only need to surrender.
        • Fact is, you always attract the teacher that reflects your mental state. So Ishvara's grace is needed to come to teaching that cultivates independence.
  • Why we DON’T follow Universal values?
    • What do we value most in life? Our comfort. Comfort is based on personal likes/dislikes. Hence likes/dislikes overrides Universal values.
    • So ultimately people are NOT seeking things, but a “comfortable me”.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 7:

REVISION FROM LAST SESSION: Value 1: Amānitva: Absence of conceit

  • Excessive (manufactured for sake of agenda) proud of some achievement. Need to explicitly make known.
  • Cause?
    • Inner insecurity, “I’m not good enough”. Way to get it is by getting validation from others (because got none in childhood).
    • Want to feel good (comes at cost of inner personality split).
  • Why reduce mānitvam? Demanding respect turns people off. Who you need to prosper.
  • Manitva will reappear depending on context.
    • How to solve?
      • Step 1: Recognize it’s presence.
      • Step 2: Correct again and again, until pressure/behaviour dissipates. Repeated effort.
        • EG: “What is this need to present myself, and look down on others?”.
    • Don’t be self-critical when behaviour comes back again.


Value 2: Adambhitvam: Absence of pretense (producing false appearances)

  • Summary so far:
    • Value 1 (amānitvam) violation = demanding respect for what you HAVE accomplished.
    • Value 2 (adambhitva) violation = demanding respect for what you HAVEN’T accomplished.
  • What is it dambhitva?
    • Taking small glories and exaggerating them into big glories. OR making up non-existent glories.
    • Meaning one’s internal story has become bigger then actual Reality.
  • Where does dambhitva come from?
    1. PERSONAL:
      • Insecurity about oneself. And to cover it up, I present myself in a way that impresses others.
      • Insecurity manifests as internal dialogue of, “I’m not good enough”. Over period of time, I become dependent on recognition to feel worthy. Dominating question becomes, “How am I being perceived, right now?”.
      • 2 kinds of Insecurities:
        • Superiority: You don't feel good about yourself. So you COPE by presenting yourself as bigger, for sake of being acknowledged.
        • Inferiority: Criticizing oneself.
    2. SOCIETAL:
      • We’re expected to exaggerate in order to secure a career. Trained with notion, “To be liked, I have to present BEST version of myself”. EG: Dating-site profiles.
      • SOLUTION: Mention areas you’re comfortable/skilled in. And HONESTLY mention areas which don’t interest you. Employers today value transparency more then anything.
  • Example of dambhitva:
    • Agreeing to things just to appear informed and fit in the social group.
    • How to deal if you're uncomfortable in a group, talking about an unknown subject?
      • Be honest. Say you don't know it. Listen only if genuinely interested.
      • Learn a little about topic beforehand. Not for sake of flattery, but asking questions to learn.
      • What is reason for discomfort in social group? 2 fold:
        • Insecurity about my worth. I don’t know where I stand, what I can contribute.
        • Everyone has an underlining emotion of “shame” (inadequacy). So we mistakenly associate “NOT KNOWING” into shame. To get rid of this uncomfortable emotion, we present ourself bigger then we are.
  • Fruitlessness of dambhitvam:
    • No guarantee the audience will be impressed. And if you take “not-impressed” personally, then will compensate by projecting criticism onto the audience.
      • Step 1: Take it personally.
      • Step 2: Project & attack.
  • How to HANDLE when not receiving due-respect?
    • SITUATION: Your audience starts to switch off.
      • SOLUTION:
        • Look at it factually. “Perhaps this is the untargeted audience, OR they may be interested at another time“.
        • People come with lots of load, and helplessly project it onto the teacher.
    • SITUATION: Close associate starts to wonder off while you’re talking to them?
      • SOLUTION: It could be because:
        • You’ve triggered something in them. Use this as next conversation thread, “I notice a sudden change, what’s on your mind?”.
        • Mind is fatigued by unfamiliar topics. It switches off. Use this as cue to change your engagement style.
    • SUMMARY:
      • Refuse to take things personally. Your intention is on stating the FACTS. Keep all tensions/conversations factual.
      • What does “more factual” mean?
        • Having objectivity, which means mind is trained to include both thinking AND emotions in your decision making.
        • Traits of an objective/factual mind:
          • Reason and empathy.
          • Both brains are used fully.
          • Considering all the inputs, and not denying something you have dislike for.
          • Incorporating totality of the situation: not denying aspects available to you.
  • How NOT to fall into dambhitvam trap? Think of future consequences.
    • I’ll feel like a fraud/liar.
    • Someone may find out, thus fear.
    • You become suspicious of others, since believe they TOO are exaggerating their accomplishments. Hence can’t form meaningful connections.
    • When realize dambhitvam is a bad bargain, it drops away naturally.
    • What really impresses people is showing your vulnerabilities. Being genuine. Because what people like is different from what you like.
      • CAUTION: Even if you’re genuine, you won’t be respected. EG: Even Avatāras have challenges.
    • How to handle other's opinions (of not giving due respect despite doing your best)?
      • Remain FACTUAL. Don’t take it personally, else you enter another’s game (a projection of their own low self-esteem).
      • No matter who you are, people will always have different perceptions.
      • Reflect on what is meaningful to you (what you firmly stand by). In this case, others discouraging opinions won’t matter at all.
        • EG:Oh, you’re studying/practicing that outdated Gita mambo-jump!”.
    • Advantage of adambhitvam is start to enjoy a level of newfound freedom, because released need to be someone else.

Value 3: Ahiṃsā: Avoiding hurt wherever possible by living an alertful life.

* Starts at: 59:59

  • What is ahiṃsā? Not causing harm by any means. Neither mentally (manasā), by words (vācā), by deeds (karmāṇi).
  • Ahimsa is expressed in 3 forms:
    1. Mental (manasā): Using maximum faculty of choice (free will).
      • Refusing to build on a negative narrative.
        • Our thought-patterns tend to spontaneously construct a DISTASTEFUL opinion of some event/person.
        • Question: Is it himsa (injury), if an unconscious immoral thought suddenly appears? No. It's only himsa when use freewill to sustain that thought.
      • Controlling VS. Mastering the Mind:
        • We're not talking about controlling the mind. Because don't even know what thought will come in 1 minute. However…
        • You can MASTER the mind. EG:
          • Use free will to change focus AWAY FROM cycle of distastefulness.
          • Recognize “THIS opinion” isn't universally true. It's only relative true in my own mind.
          • Biological health of brain contributes how world is perceived.
          • Carrying a distasteful opinion sustains your own turbulence. Not theirs.

— NEXT SESSION: We continue Value 3: Ahimsa  —


    • Value 1: amānitva: Absence of demanding validation/respect.
    • Value 2: adambhitva: Absence of pretense (making up stories).
    • Value 3: ahiṃsā: Deliberation of thought/word/action.


Keywords: amanitvam, ahimsa


Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya), Paramarthananda & Chinmaya Mission.

Recorded 22 June, 2021


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