“Humility means not to think less of yourself, but to think about yourself less."
Humility is defined as the quality of having a modest or low view of one's importance, right? Thinking oneself to be so low, so insignificant? At least that’s what is stated in the English dictionary. However, the humility which is discussed in bhakti yoga is not about self-absorption or the vicious cycle of depressive thoughts connected to it, but it is about turning to God, turning to divinity for help. There is a difference. Not that “I am so low” but that “God is so great!”
"To the extent we really understand the greatness of God, to that extent we achieve real humility."
- Radhanath Swami
In a humble state of mind, we don’t think we are the controller, we don’t think we are the proprietor, we don’t think we are the doer. That is humility - to really understand that I am dependent on divinity. There is a famous story of a yogi who once said to Bhaktivedanta Swami: “Swamiji, I am the most fallen.” To which the Swami replied, “You are not the most anything. You are simply insignificant.” This position of understanding that we are the instrument of service is where true empowerment can begin.
“It’s being convinced beyond doubt that there is absolutely nothing in this world - not your money, not your family, not your fame, not your gun, not your education - nothing that will save you, except for Grace.”
So real humility doesn’t make us arrogant, it doesn’t make us depressed, but it makes us grateful. Humility doesn’t make us weak; it connects us with the ultimate strength of divinity. Humility doesn’t make us fearful, it makes us fearless, with love, with compassion.
Yours in seva,
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