Today I would like to share ‘the legend of Narcissus’ with you all.
Narcissus was a youth who knelt daily beside a lake to contemplate his own beauty. He was so fascinated by himself that, one morning he fell into the lake and drowned. At the spot where he fell, a flower was born, which was called the narcissus.
But this was not how the author of the book ended the story.
He said that when Narcissus died, the goddesses of the forest appeared and found the lake, which had been fresh water, transformed into a lake of salty tears.
“Why do you weep?” the goddesses asked.
“I weep for Narcissus,” the lake replied.
“Ah it is no surprise that you weep for Narcissus,” they said, “for though we always pursued him in the forest, you alone could contemplate his beauty close at hand.”
“But… was Narcissus beautiful?” the lake asked.
“Who better than you to know that?” the goddesses said in wonder.” After all, it was by your banks that he knelt each day to contemplate himself!”
The lake was silent for some time. Finally, it said: “I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eye, my own beauty reflected.”
(Story excerpt from ‘The Alchemist’)
The story of Narcissus is a symbol of how self-praises and self-flattering can consume a being from the inside.
Both, the lake and Narcissus were so indulged in loving themselves that they never took a moment of contemplation to reflect on the beauty of each other. Vanity is when someone is so consumed with his/her beauty and self-importance that he/her cannot appreciate the beauty in others.
It also depicts how a person can stay with another person just because they feel empowered and valuable to themselves; just for their own selfish fulfillment of pride. Unfortunately, many relationships today are established on this fragile basis.
“The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated” – William James
Every human being deserves appreciation and so is what they crave. Be it in our office work/ Individual life/ appearance. It is not wrong in seeking appreciation from the outside world. Neither is it wrong if we are our own extoller. The soul starts getting corroded once we can’t visualize the beauty that surrounds us anymore. Thus, leading to Vanity.
Goethe once said, “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and help them become what they’re capable of being”.
We are all beings connected to each other in some or the other way, and we do unknowingly play a part in each other’s life. What better way to purify the soul and getting rewarded with appreciation; than appreciating the good in each other? What would you choose? Vanity on sanity?