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imageSwami Sivamurti - Humility

Respect everybody. Bow with folded hands before all. Do not talk in a loud voice before elders and venerable persons. See the Lord in all and feel that you are his servant, and so, the servant of all. Consider none as inferior to you.

Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Humility is the hallmark of a great human being. It is the highest virtue. From the respect and consideration for others that arose through our effort to adapt, adjust and accommodate to the various situations, we have become more humble.

When we say, “Oh, you can do that much better than I,” although, we are feeling that we could do a better job, we put on a show of humility. Pretence, self-demeaning and belittling oneself are aspects of false humility. False humility can also be expressed by looking humble with the head bowed, the shoulders a little stooped and a humble expression, but there is no true humility inside.

True humility develops inner strength and stamina. It also develops a feeling of gratitude for what we have been given. If ever we stop to think how fortunate we are, we feel grateful for everything that is coming our way, we lose our arrogance and realize everything has its place in the scheme of things.

Where do I find the holy man?

The following story is another example of the attitude of humility. Word spread across the countryside of a wise holy man who lived in a small house at the top of the mountain.

A man from a distant village decided to make the long and difficult journey to visit him. When he arrived at the house, an old, shabbily dressed man greeted him at the door. “I would like to see the wise, holy man,” said the villager. The man smiled and led him inside. As they walked through the house, the villager looked around eagerly, anticipating his encounter with the holy man.

Before he knew it, he had been led to the back door and escorted outside. He stopped and turned to the man, “But I want to see the holy man!” “You already have,” said the old man. Looking at the man’s confused expression, he continued: “Approach everyone you meet, even if they appear plain and insignificant, as a wise, holy person. This will develop humility in daily life.”

An extract from Swami Sivananda’s 18 ITIES & the Practice of Pratyahara, Yoga Publications Trust Munger, 2013, pp.103-106. By Swami Sivamurti Saraswati.

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