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True Dignity

February 2008
True Dignity

By Sadhguru

True dignity is known only to the one who has risen beyond sin and virtue, and arrives at an equanimity that leaves him untouched in moments of success and failure, in recognition and persecution, in acceptance and resistance, in life and death. It is this freedom within that brings dignity. It is not the fineness of the cloth or demeanor that is the basis of dignity, but liberation from the meanness of the mind that delivers us to an indiscriminate sense of love and inclusion, which flowers into dignity.

Dignity is not something that can be given or taken away. It can only be earned or surrendered. There will be dignity for all only when we include all as ourselves. Unless a person makes himself in such a way that who he is, what he is, what he feels, thinks, and how he acts in his life is not determined by external forces or external situations, if he is in a state of reaction to the situation in which he exists, he will not know dignity. When he is free from this and he acts from within as to who he really is, only then he will truly know dignity.

In my work with all types of people, especially in impoverished societies, in rural India and the horrible slums of Indian cities, I have seen many, many faces of absolute dignity. I would like to bring a certain moment which completely overwhelmed all of us.

We have been doing certain programs called ‘Inner Freedom for the Imprisoned’ in the prisons in South India, and there was this young man who had committed three murders and had been sentenced to three life terms. And because he had nothing to lose anyway, he was very violent inside the prison, and there was a certain fear and insecurity in him that as he is aging, somebody else may come and take over his dominance in the prison; so he was unnecessarily violent. He told me his strategy was, at least once a week he simply picked on somebody and beat them up—. Jjust so that everybody knows who the boss is there. We put him through a certain process of meditativeness and contemplation within himself and then he happened to be on the playground and three other convicts attacked him and pushed him down and kicked him, but he did not react, he just was lying there being kicked even in the face.

Then, after they were finished with him, he got up and walked off. And the next day, when we met him he shared this, bringing tears to almost everybody in the hall. He said, ‘Till now I thought my power was to beat people up. Now I have realized a new kind of power, if somebody beats me I have no need to beat them; I have no need to react.’ I think this is a true face of dignity. And dignity does not come because of poverty or riches or affluence. It comes because the way you are is not disturbed by what is happening around you.

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