What is Real Humility?


SunraysQuestion to Radhanath Swami: When we meet with success, we often become arrogant. And when we meet with failure, we often become depressed. But depression is not humility; so what is real humility and how can that be achieved?

Radhanath Swami Answers: To the extent we really understand the greatness of God, to that extent we achieve real humility.

Imagine yourself on a little row boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, alone and 5000 miles away from land.  Do you feel small? In the presence of the vast ocean you feel very small. Or imagine yourself sitting right at the foot of  the gigantic Himalayan Mountain. Do you feel small? Or imagine yourself surrounded by 10 massive male elephants. Do you feel small?

Well, these are all little things. Now imagine how Arjuna felt when he was sitting before the universal form, the Virat Rupa, in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. To the extent we understand Krishna and his greatness, to that extent we naturally feel small.

A ray of the Sun, does he have anything to be proud of in the presence of the entire Sun? Yes, he can be proud of being a part of the Sun. When a little ray of the Sun looks at the entire Sun, not from earth but from a very close distance from the Sun planet, it’s not proud thinking, “Look at how much light I am giving and look at how big I am.” Its pride is, “I am part of the Sun.” And that little ray can’t start condemning other rays saying, “I am part of the Sun, look at me,” because it recognizes every other ray also as part of the Sun. Similarly, as we understand Krishna, we become humble. The false ego, the false pride, is only possible to the extent we completely forget our relationship with Krishna.

So real humility doesn’t make us arrogant, it doesn’t make us depressed, but it makes us grateful. In real humility we are simple grateful. Humility doesn’t make us weak; humility connects us with the ultimate strength of God. Humility doesn’t make us fearful, humility makes us fearless, but with love, with compassion.




By Radhanath Swami

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