Self-righteousness is part of the egoism acting in conjunction with worldly thinking and belief about what is right and wrong/good and bad, it’s not part of the yoga practice. In yoga practice, the mind disciplines itself to be free from the cause of suffering – Ignorance, egoism and impurities, to see the truth as it is, going beyond all kinds of thinking and belief about what is right and wrong/good and bad, being free from egoism of attachment, identification, craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation. This is not the same as egoistic self-righteousness that is based on particular worldly thinking and belief about what is right and wrong/good and bad, to judge, criticize, discipline and punish oneself and/or others, or out of the sense of pride and superiority, one interferes with other minds/people, with intention to influence/control/change/discipline/punish other minds/people that one doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with.
Under the many different cultures, many people growing up being encouraged to develop self-righteousness to uphold what they believe as right and good. It’s regarded as a ‘good quality’ that someone should possess, to discipline oneself. It’s fine if people just stop at ‘disciplining’ oneself in accordance to one’s belief and practice about ‘what is right and wrong/good and bad’. But most people don’t just stop there, but they also want to self-appoint themselves as ‘morality guardian/hero’ to ‘discipline’ others whom they know or don’t know, whom are different from them, whom they dislike and disagree with, whom they think and believe are ‘wrong’ and ‘bad’ in accordance to their own cultural/religious/social/political/personal thinking and belief or practice.
People are being encouraged to develop a strong self-identity/family identity/national identity/cultural identity/religious identity/political identity/social identity and have strong sense of pride towards their identity of that particular thinking and belief, values and practice, and then based on that particular thinking and belief, values and practice, people judge all and everything, and expect themselves and others in the society or the world to somehow comply to that particular thinking and belief, values and practice to think, to behave and to live life the way that they can agree with/accept.
People also like to talk about personal/family/social/national/global ‘development’ and ‘peace and happiness’, but mostly are being influenced by self-righteousness based on their particular cultural/religious/social/political/personal thinking and belief, values and practice about what are ‘good/right/positive/progressive development’ and ‘peace and happiness’ to them. It’s not so much about universal selfless development, peace and happiness for all kinds of diversity beyond all the different names and forms, unlimited by any particular cultural/religious/social/political/personal point of view, thinking and belief, values and practice.
If someone truly/sincerely wants to have peace in oneself and wish to contribute peace into the world that one is living in, the mind needs to be free from self-righteousness based on a particular values of life existence, way of life and conduct, thinking and belief about what is right and wrong/good and bad.
Though it’s not necessary, but most minds/people think and believe that as ‘an individual among the species of human beings’, they need to rely/attach onto a particular values, way of life and conduct, cultural/religious/social/political/personal thinking and belief to nurture/build a personal/worldly identity to be existing as who they are, and to think, to behave and to live life complying to that particular values, way of life and conduct, cultural/religious/social/political/personal thinking and belief.
Most minds/people don’t just keep their values of life existence, way of life and conduct, cultural/religious/social/political thinking and belief only to themselves, but they want to interfere with others who are different from them. Out of survival instinct and fear of extinction, people want to gather/invite more other people into their ‘group’ to form a ‘strong and powerful group’ by converting/recruiting many others to ‘join’ their group, to adopt and support their vision. People also have the tendency of self-righteousness to control/change/condemn/punish others for being different from themselves, which they dislike and disagree with, where they feel that their values, belief and practice are being threatened/intimidated by the other values, beliefs and practices.
- The idea of ‘I’.
- Attachment and identification onto certain qualities of names and forms to ‘support’ the existence of a self-identity of ‘I’.
- Possessiveness and pride towards the self-identity and the possessions of ‘my life’, ‘my body’, ‘my mind’, ‘my thinking and belief’, ‘my culture’, ‘my religion’, ‘my God’, ‘my wealth and health’, ‘my success and happiness’, ‘my accreditation and reputation’, ‘my virtues and merits’, ‘my home’, ‘my family’, ‘my parents’, ‘my partner’, ‘my relationship’, ‘my children’, ‘my friends and relatives’, ‘my country’, ‘my world’, ‘my practice’, ‘my contribution’, ‘my teacher’, ‘my students’, and so on.
- Desire of craving and aversion of “I want ‘I’ and all that is ‘mine’ to be like this and I don’t want ‘I’ and all that is ‘mine’ to be like that.”
- Fear of losing the identity of ‘I’ and all that is ‘mine’ the way that ‘I’ like it to be.
- Defensiveness/protection towards the identity of ‘I’ and all that is ‘mine’.
“This is my home/my country/my world. I want my home/my country/my world to be like this and not like that. I don’t like and don’t agree with all the others who are different from me, who’s vision is contradicting to my vision of the perfect home/country/world that I want to have. I want everyone to comply to my values of life existence, way of life and conduct, thinking and belief. If they don’t, I won’t be able to have my home/my country/my world exactly the way that I want it to be. And I don’t want that. I don’t want these people being here ‘polluting’ my beloved home/my good country/my beautiful world.”
Most minds are outgoing and desire to be engaged in community or worldly affair with very strong self-righteousness towards how the community or the world should be like, where they feel proud towards their thinking and belief and towards their identification with that thinking and belief as who they are, that they believe that they are being ‘assigned’ with the responsibility to ‘save’ the world (their world the way that they prefer) by ‘disciplining’ or ‘teaching’ others about what is right and wrong/good and bad based on their particular thinking and belief, to eliminate what they think and believe as ‘wrong’ and ‘bad’ from the society or the world.
Yoga practice is turning the mind inward, focusing on eliminating ignorance and egoism in this mind, to go beyond all the ‘right and wrong’/’good and bad’/’positive and negative’, to free this mind from being limited by any thinking and belief, values and practice (including the teachings of yoga) judging all and everything including this body and this mind, or expecting oneself and/or others and the world to be in certain ways that the egoistic mind likes/agrees with/desires based on those thinking and belief, values and practice. It’s not about enhancing health and fitness, to look good and feel good, or to create a ‘good’ world with everyone behaving in the way that we think it should be. Though there’s nothing wrong with that aspiration, but all these qualities of names and forms are impermanent, and it’s not the goal of yoga practice.
The freedom of being free from being limited or determined by any thinking and belief or identification with qualities of names and forms is unthinkable/unperceivable for the minds that attached strongly onto the thinking and belief to be who they are.
It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life, body and mind, and whether to practice yoga, or not.