Hubris and the Seeker

A wise friend once remarked, “When a colleague rests his / her rear on a seat of power the effect is felt in his/her brain. He / she, notwithstanding their training as academics, then confuse a combination of luck and sycophancy, and perhaps a dash of hardwork, with divine right. This right they then exercise, with hubris, in all sorts of wrong ways.”

Buried in that statement there is the recognition that academics like to administer. It being easier to tell others how to resolve their problems than solve their own.

The importance of administrative posts to academics, and the effect it has on their hubris, has been recognized in the Panchatantram. Of course, being older and wiser, the text’s opinion was much wider in scope, not restricting itself to mere temples of learning. All knowledge then was pursued in monasteries — the immaterial and, hence, belonging to the material World, and  knowledge which is material but  lies in the other. And the pursuers had to watch out for the creeping conquest of hubris which, as Ravan exemplified, leads straight to Hell:

नरकाय मतिस्ते चेत्पौरोहित्यं समाचर ।

वर्षं यावत्किमन्येन मठचिन्तां दिनत्रयम् ।।

In lingua materna you may understand this as follows

नर्क का इच्छुक ?

वर्ष भर बन जा

धर्म का भिक्षुक

या फिर तीन दिन

मठ का रक्षक ।

Still confused? Then try it in my version in lingua franca, before which, here is AW Ryder weighing in, in 1925:

A certain course for hell to steer

Become a Chaplain for a year;

Or try more expeditious ways—

Become an Abbot for three days.


Which you may compare with

Interested in Hell?

Then for a year

In temple dwell

[In a hurry?]

Or three days

There hold sway.