Man knows so many things, but he does not know himself. A man has so
many sheaths in himself, covering the depths of his heart. Man
learns and unlearns all through life. It is wiser to remain a
student than to be a teacher; a student of the Mystery of Life.
A parable goes to say that a seeker of God, in the quest of Heaven,
wandering here and there, found himself perchance at the Gate of
Heaven. The gatekeeper asked him, "Who are you?" The seeker
answered, "A teacher." The gatekeeper asked him to wait, and went in
to report. After a while he returned and said that he could not let
him in, as there was no place for teachers in the heaven-world. He
was told to go back and wash the dust of dead words clinging to him
in the waters of Silence.
So many teachers are vain; they parade their learning. How can there
be a place in there for him who lives in a world of vanity?
Every day he sat in the silence and listened to the words of Saints,
and his self-consciousness began to develop, and he became humble,
and prayed to be the servant of all men, lonely and lowly ones, and
animals—a servant of God's creation. Then the portals of Heaven were
opened and he entered in and beheld the Master's face: pure and fair
All the Masters of the past and the present say that, "The Kingdom
of God is for the humble of heart." So many of us, alas, are proud,
vain in ego lost; and blind to the wisdom, we do but wander from
darkness to darkness.
The God that rules millions is the ego; enthrone on your heart the
God of Love, and cease to wander—and what should be done to do so?
Become humble as ashes and dust.
The world is full of the proud of purse or power or learning.
Whereas, we should be humble and simple and empty ourselves of
all "self" that the Lord might do with us what He would.
The life worth living is life in the Spirit. Its basis is humility.
We should be reduced to a cipher and God becomes ax. "Let us be
perfect as our Father is in Heaven."
The truly humble are the truly happy. For want of humility, men and
women are leading an unbearable, miserable life. All this misery is
from within it is not a change in our circumstances, but deliverance
from the thralldom of the self, the petty "ego" that sits d tyrant,
robbing us of the bliss that is our heritage as children of God. We
are, as it were, in a cage of self-centeredness, and until this
prison is opened by the key of humility, the swan bird of the Soul
is not free and cannot swim to the regions of radiance and joy
The way to true blessedness is the way of humility and love. He who
is humble has no problems. He has God as his Guide. Significant are
the words of the shepherd boy singing in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's
He that is down need fear no fall,
He that is low, no pride;
He that is humble ever shall
Have God to be his guide.
I am content with what I have,
Little be it, or much;
And Lord, contentment still I crave,
Because Thou sayest such.
Rightly has it been said that if there were no humility in is world,
everyone would long ago have committed suicide.
When the light of humility dawns on the soul, the darkness of
selfishness disappears and the soul no longer lives for itself, but
for God. The soul loses itself in God, lives in God, and is
transformed into Him. This is the alchemy of humility. It transforms
the lowest into the Highest. The great Chinese sage, Lao Tse,
expressed the thought in beautiful words:
How does the sea become the king of all rivers and streams?
Because it lies lower than them.
St. Augustine said the way to God is, "First humility, second
humility and third humility." He who is proud of possessions or of
learning or of authority will not go to any Saint unless he is
humble. Even if he goes to the Saint, but considers himself superior
to Him, he will not listen to Him. A glass which is kept above a
tumbler of water will remain empty—until it is put below the
tumbler. You know what you know; just listen to what the other says.
Perhaps we can learn something from him.
Yes, the branches of a fruit-laden tree bend of their own accord.
Even so, the man who, losing himself, finds God—finds Him everywhere
and in everyone—bends before all, offers homage of his heart to all.
This is true humility. It is not a forced sense of lowliness. Such a
one lives in unity with all. He is in others and others are in him.
It is the fake ego-self that gives rise to the sense of discord and
separation. When the illusion of ego is broken, one feels, "I am not
apart from others, but others are parts of the One—God—The Master—
and all of us are engaged in the same service of God."
Each one of us is unique in his own way. There is a divine purpose
behind the life of everyone who comes into the world; no one has
been created for nothing. We have something to learn from everyone.
This is the mystery of humility.
The truly humble person does not compare himself with others. He
knows that none of us, however evolved, is perfect; none of us is
complete in himself. The humble person does not regard one as better
than the other; he believes in the divinity of each. If one says and
asserts that he is better than others, then he is not perfect as
It is only when one realizes his nothingness that God comes and
fills him with Himself. Where man is, God is not; where man is not,
God is! God cannot enter the heart of the self-seeking person. He
who is full of himself considers himself as above others and so puts
a limit on himself. God is without limit. How can the limitless
enter the limited?
O ye who seek God: See that you do not set yourself above others.
Give up all that you are and all that you have, empty yourself of
all "self," cast the ego out, and you stand face to face with God.
Wondrous are the words of the Sufi Saint, Abur Hassan:
Brothers! This is the Law:
He who cometh nigh to God
Loseth what he hath,
Aye, he loseth himself,
But gains instead the Gift Supreme,
The gift of humility.
A man may strive to be humble, but for all his efforts, may become
all the more proud. There is such a thing as the pride of humility;
it is a very dangerous thing, for it is too subtle to be discerned
by the inexperienced. There are some who will take great pains to be
humble; they make humility impossible. How can a man be humble who
is all the time thinking of how best he can be humble?
Such a man is all the time occupied with himself, but true humility
is freedom from all consciousness of self, which includes freedom
from the consciousness of humility. The truly humble man never knows
that he is humble.
The truly humble man accepts everything as coming from the hands of
God. He knows that in him there is nothing praiseworthy. All the
good that is in him is from God, and the praise that men give him
belongs to God. When the young man called Jesus "Good Teacher,"
Jesus quietly said, "Why call me good? There is none good but God."
"Humility," says Lacordaire, "does not consist in hiding our talents
and virtues, in thinking ourselves worse and more ordinary than we
are, but in possessing a clear knowledge of all that is lacking in
us, and not exalting ourselves for that which we have, seeing that
God has freely given it us, and with all His gifts, we are still
infinitely of little importance." So the truly humble man may accept
sometimes the praise which men give him, and quietly passes it on to
God, keeping nothing for himself.
The man who is not truly humble behaves in a very unnatural manner
when he is not praised by men. He becomes upset, loses his patience
and even becomes angry. He repulses them with his irritation and
creates for them an awkward situation. Sometimes he suppresses his
feelings and remains silent; but he cannot forget the things that
are said about him; they haunt him again and again and do not give
him peace of mind.
The humble man makes no fuss. He is at harmony with himself and
others. He is gifted with a wondrous feeling of peace. He feels safe
and secure, like a ship in harbor, unaffected by howling storms and
lashing waves. He has found refuge at the Lotus Feet of the Lord and
the storms of changing circumstances have no power over him. He
feels light as air. The burdens which we carry all our life —the
burden of the self and its desires—he has laid aside, and he is ever
calm and serene. Having given up everything, he has nothing to lose,
and yet everything belongs to him, for he is of God, and God is in
him. Having broken the bondage of desire, he is as happy with a
piece of dry bread as with a sumptuous meal. In every situation and
circumstance of life, he blesses the Name of God.
He who would be humble regards himself as a student. He learns many
new things, but what is more difficult, he unlearns many things he
has learned. A scholar came to a Saint and said, "O Seer of the
Secret, tell me what I may do to live the life divine." And the
Saint said to him, "Go, unlearn what thou hast learnt and then
return and sit before me."
He who would walk the way of humility must renounce his earlier ways
of living. He must give up the opinions he has formed, the standards
to which he is accustomed. He must have a new outlook on life. The
things the world would worship are to him of no value. His values
are so different from those of other men. Rich food, fine houses,
costly dresses, positions of power and authority, the applause of
men, honors and titles, no longer attract him. He feels drawn to a
life of simplicity. He is happy in living a hidden life in the
He is dead to the world; he is alive in God. At times he actually
behaves like one dead.
Yes, the truly humble man is, in that sense, the "dead" man. He
has "died." God alone lives in him. His self has been annihilated.
His self has vanished into God, and only God remains. God works in
him and through him, and God emits in his eyes. God speaks in his
words. On his feet, God walks the earth; and through his hands gives
His benedictions to all.
Such men are the real strength of the world—its illumination and
inspiration. To see them is to commune with God, for God dwells in
them. They are the living, moving Temples of the Lord. They are the
ones who keep the world intact, though they do not know it
themselves. The whole earth depends on them without anyone being
aware of it. Their hearts and minds are in tune with the Great Heart
and Mind of humanity. They are in complete accord with all that
lives. They give their love to all living beings, as though they
were the sons of the one sweet Mother. They have broken all fetters
and entered into the freedom of the children of God. God does their
will, because they have merged their wills in His. God fulfills
their least desire, for it is He Who desires all their desires. They
are the little saviors of humanity.
I wish each one of you to follow the lesson of humility, born of
love and simplicity.