Baba says, ‘In order to receive everyone’s respect have a humble heart, humility is a sign of greatness.’
Humility is grounded in self-respect. To be humble does not mean that I become a door mat. Humility means that I don’t consider myself to be superior or inferior than anyone else. I am so secure in who I am that I am not really what’s on my mind. What I know, what I did, my talents, my responsibilities… these are not the thoughts or feelings I am caught up in. I am too busy marveling at the glory of God and serving in His task.
The first part of humility is to recognize that God is in-charge and not I. He is the Purifier, He is Karankaravanhaar, He is the One establishing the new kingdom. When I have this awareness, then I remember to partner with God in everything, even in the things He has asked me to do. When I come face to face with old sanskars inside me, if I go around feeling shame and condemnation, that’s not a sign of humility. Then, I pressure myself, work hard to get rid of them only to find that I can’t unless I partner with God. He is the Purifier, not me. Let me not be ashamed to go to God, let me humble myself. He will show me the sanskars and help me realize the falseness of it before He helps me get rid of them. Let me learn to work with Him, trust His ways, rather than try to do it on my own.
Sometimes, I make the mistake of thinking that just because I have a certain talent, I am better. I look at the person on stage giving the lecture or at that coworker who got the promotion that I wanted and think: ‘I can do this so much better than they can, how come I’m stuck here and they get to do all this!?’. It’s because of that exact attitude! These situations where I get to watch someone else get what I want while I wait are opportunities to check myself- do I have the ability to be genuinely happy for them or am I jealous, bitter, resentful, wallowing in self-pity?
Baba constantly teaches me through various situations that character, specifically a humble attitude, is so much greater than mere talent. I might have talent but without character, I won’t be able to sustain myself if I am promoted. I will rise up fast like fireworks and fizzle out just as quickly. It’s therefore best to rely on God, learn what He is teaching me about myself during the wait time – to base my self-respect not on talent but rather on the fact that I am God’s child, to be humble because whatever I have is given to me by Him, to understand that only God can truly promote me, not my talent or people. Then, when He sees that I have learnt what I needed to, at the right time, He will promote me to levels I could not have reached on my own.
One of the best ways to show God that I can lead well with authority, if He were to promote me, is to abide by authority where I am right now. When the center in-charge or my team-lead at work gives me a signal to do something or change something about myself and my attitude is: ‘well, I don’t think I will. I will do what I want..’, then that gives God very little confidence that He can trust me with influence. To be humble is to respect others, humility makes me egoless. It’s only when I can show respect and regard to others that I can receive blessings from everyone’s heart. In fact, no one wants to be around an arrogant person with a haughty attitude. To respect others is to serve. Just as the bowing of a tree does service, similarly, to bow down is to serve, says Baba. When you imbibe the virtue of humility in your attitude, vision, words, relationships, and connections, you will become great.
Sometimes, the attitude is not so much of ‘I know better’ but it’s a ‘holier than thou’ attitude. Don’t have arrogance of your self-respect, cautions Baba. Especially when working with souls without knowledge, I tend to think that I am somehow holier or better or more elevated because I know God and have the knowledge and they don’t. Well, if I feel this way then, Baba says, it is a sign that I haven’t really understood or imbibed the knowledge. Baba is the Benevolent One and He expects me to be the same. Look at everyone with good wishes and pure feelings, He teaches, not with feelings of dislike or arrogance. There should neither be arrogance nor insult, He instructs, that should not be the way to conduct yourself in Brahmin life. If there isn’t arrogance, you won’t feel any insult. Such a soul would remain constantly humble and busy in the task of renewal. To the extent that you are humble, so you are a carefree emperor, Baba points out. When I am humble, I work with God and with other people, I am not on my own. I consider myself His instrument to serve, I follow His direction. I don’t take on responsibility to do everything on my own so as to prove how great I am. Rather, I am secure enough to recognize what I can do well and what others can do better and delegate accordingly. To the extent that you have your self-respect, to that extent, you will be humble, says Baba.
And that is the key. Where there is true self-respect, there is automatically humility and then that humility will not be perceived by others as weakness. Father Brahma demonstrated true humility in every step of his life, Baba points out. He brought himself down so much that through his humility, he became a server and was even ready to massage the children’s feet. “Children are ahead of me, the children can give better lectures that I can.” He never said “I first.” “The children are ahead, the children are first.” Saying that the children are greater and bringing himself down is not really coming down, but becoming great. This is known as being a true number one worthy server. To give regard to others and to be humble is to uplift others. This giving is in fact receiving for all time. Renounce temporary perishable respect and remain stable in your self-respect, teaches Baba. Be humble and continue to give respect. To give respect means to put zeal and enthusiasm into the other soul and help them move forward. This treasure of zeal and enthusiasm is for all time, it makes the soul a charitable soul for all time.