Answers from a Maha-Bhagavata – How to Become Humble?
Recently I was going through the diary which contained my conversations with our beloved Gurudev, HDG Mahavishnu Gosvami Maharaj. I seek the permission of the devotees to allow me to share an excerpt from one of the conversations. I will try and list down the points which I had taken down on my note book. We had noted this conversation down in point form. In this mail we have tried to put together all the points in 4 paragraphs for ease of reading, as such the sentences may not be flowing as it should be. Kindly forgive us.
Question: Maharaj, we always read about the importance of humility. I have read in Prabhupada’s letter that real devotional service starts only when one is humble. What must we do to become humble Maharaj?
Maharaj: Just remember your ashes. When you die the ashes are there. Nothing else. What is there to be proud of? First you must understand that humility is a very subtle thing. You cannot study humility. It cannot be understood just by this philosophical discussion. It is very subtle. Humility will only come when you sincerely chant your rounds and seriously sit down to study Bhagavatam. Try and understand the matters put forward (in Bhagavatam), and try your best to apply it everyday. And these two (chanting and study of Bhagavatam) you should do for only two things. One is for your own purification, and two is for the pleasure of the Lord. Nothing else should be the motive.
Humility is subtle. You will never know that you are humble. We sometimes speak to people about the humble services we are performing. How much we are struggling, how fallen we are. We somehow or another try and make known our activities to others. Wrapping it with the wrapper of humility. When we talk about these things it shows we are not humble. Every time you speak about these have you ever counted how many times you use the word ‘I’? Humility means being transparent. People don’t even know you are there, but everything is nice. That’s it. We should do away with the ‘I’. You do your SevaService, a key Hindu principle/value; the soul's sanatana-dharmaThe religious duties that sustain humans and all living beings., fully expressed through bhaktiThe path of loving devotional service (also Bhakti-YogaThe path of loving devotional service; also called bhakti marg.).. and you are happy. You don’t even have the feeling that you are doing. Krishna, the ability in man is giving you, so you are doing. By Lord’s mercy even the lame can walk, so what is so great if you do some SevaService, a key Hindu principle/value; the soul's sanatana-dharmaThe religious duties that sustain humans and all living beings., fully expressed through bhaktiThe path of loving devotional service (also Bhakti-YogaThe path of loving devotional service; also called bhakti marg.)..? With Lord’s mercy anyone can do. It is Krishna. Not you. We must understand this first. Aham sarvasya prabhavo – everything emanates from Him. So how come your endeavour emanates from you? Is Krishna lying? We should not be attached to humility; humility should attach itself to us. Naturally it happens with sincere devotional service.
Krishna can only be attracted by the materially exhausted. He is akincana gocharam. Nothing to do with matter. That is Krishna. So if your activities you do for the name and fame then how can you approach Krishna?
Srila Prabhupada has done everything that one can possibly do to please Krishna. Krishna was very attracted to his activities. We are all here because of him. Whatever we are doing we have borrowed from Prabhupada. Can we ever say that we can do what he has done? Then why the pride? You borrow, but you are proud. Yes, this is mine. This grabbing is there. This mentality must change then we can come to humility. Krishna reserves the right to bestow this great quality to someone He chooses. Humility is Krishna’s monopoly. See the good in others and magnify but never magnify your good in any way, if there is any.
I must say that Maharaj read my mind when I asked this question. The answer fitted into my heart like a jigsaw. In this conversation my conviction, that the spiritual master knows everything, was strengthened. I asked a generic question, but Maharaj fitted the answer to expose my thoughts and character. Kindly pray that I may follow every single line Maharaj had mentioned in this conversation.
Madan Mohan das,
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Hare Rama Hare Rama
and be happy.