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Yogi Bhajan: Self-Aggrandizement

Sat Nam Dear Family,

As a spiritual journeyer, not only must you not self-aggrandize, but you must not fear self-aggrandizement. That sounds counterintuitive. The only way to know you don’t fear something is to go though the experience. In this case, that means the exercise of self-aggrandizement. How can that be? First you mustn’t, then you must do the same thing. Which is it? It can’t be both? Can’t it?

The answer lies in how you define self-aggrandizement. If self-aggrandizement means standing on a soapbox and shouting, “I’m the best. I’m the only one.” No one wants to hear it. But, if self-aggrandizement means being truthful about your true experience with your God, what’s wrong with that? 

It’s only when the student is no longer influenced by any kind of aggrandizement that self-aggrandizement is not only allowed, but required. You can share with others your experiences. Your neutrality is transferable. Your presence is powerful. Your compassion brings peace and hope. You sight creates miracles. Your self-aggrandizement delivers God’s will.

You can only share what you have yourself. So, if your experience is neutral, share. If it’s not, or it’s limited, beware, your self-aggrandizement is probably for your ego, not for the sharers elevation. Here is another way to understand this. The self exists as a part of God, and only in service to the Grand, which is God. That is self-aggrandizement!

People misunderstand spirituality. Everyone has his/her concept which is their reality. Only the experience of God’s grace can clear individual false identities and reality-up up the true understanding of who God is.

We fear nothing, especially self-aggrandizement. We do what’s called for. As long as we continue to sincerely nourish serving God’s will, we’re set. Now, how much of His will we practice determines how set we are. 

So, I look forward to self-aggrandizement. Not for recognition, but for performing His will. If He want’s me to self-aggrandize, I’ll do it in His Sacred Name. So, like everything, self-aggrandizement isn’t the issue, obedience is. We act on what He puts in front of us. We do all in His Name. Wahe Guru. 

It turns out that for centuries many have only believed that humility and self-aggrandizement don’t go together. Humility is knowing and recognizing from where everything comes. And remembering this at all time. True humility doesn’t bring judgment along, humility produces deeper and deeper gratitude. 

Humility reflects the miracle that a flawed human can be touched by God’s Grace and loved by Him. Nevertheless, that opportunity exists and for everyone. Humility brings God’s love to you. What’s not to like, but, how do you handle it? 

So, from our cultural perspective, humility is the opposite of self-aggrandizement. In a yogic, in a Sikh custom, self-aggrandizement is a good thing. Who’s right? What’s right? Who knows? 

The answer lies, as with all things, in remembering that anything and everything done in His name, in devotion, is in remembrance of God, is what God wants. He wants to be constantly remembered. May your only prayer be to remember God in everything you do. Remembering God is all He really wants. Remembering Him in a good way is led through His name. 

When God hears His name called in a loving way, He cannot deny it. He may reject you, but He can’t deny the love you give him through His name. It’s an aggressive approach, but if you continue calling his Name in a more and more loving manner, God has to keep deciding whether on not to let you into His court. My advice, keep banging on the door. Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t let anyone tell you what a pest you are. Keep your focus on remembering Gods True Name. Sat Nam! People will always tell you what you should and shouldn’t do, be polite, but keep-up your focus on His Name. 

How many other examples exist in our culture, and our language, that only tell one side of the story? I’ll tell you. There are as many as there are stories. Stories don’t change, perspectives do. The more of the story you can see, the better perspective you have until you reach neutrality in decision making. This is what our beloved teacher meant when he taught, see things from 35,000 feet above. Like an airplane above, see below in full perspective. See where the mountains lie, where the weather is bad, where the sinkholes are situated. Both definitions of self-aggrandizement were neither all right or wrong. But, a larger view allows for picking and choosing what’s best from all sources. This is a big advantage and a lot of fun. Stay tuned,

In The Humility of Service and Gratitude,

MSS Hari Jiwan Singh Khalsa
Chief of Protocol
Sangat Representative