Someone very dear to me recently asked me to write about humility. Well, I’ve been really struggling with this. As much as I want to write about it, as an offering to this devotee (and anyone else it may inspire) it’s still very hard.

I could go into some quotes from scripture, and write the things we all know and read about humility. That would be easy. Most everyone (and I’m sure the person asking me to write about it) knows and has read things in scripture. The hard part is trying to write about it from a personal perspective.

Someone very dear to me recently asked me to write about humility. Well, I’ve been really struggling with this. As much as I want to write about it, as an offering to this devotee (and anyone else it may inspire) it’s still very hard.

I could go into some quotes from scripture, and write the things we all know and read about humility. That would be easy. Most everyone (and I’m sure the person asking me to write about it) knows and has read things in scripture. The hard part is trying to write about it from a personal perspective.

The reason it’s so hard, is because I don’t have any humility (see how humble I am?). Okay, really, maybe I have a little humility, (not looking quite so humble now am I?). Honestly, I don’t have any idea how much humility I have or don’t have, or how I could measure it myself. Judging myself, I would say I have very little, if I have any at all.

What I do have, is awareness of false humility. False humility comes easily and takes many forms. Anyone can get it. All you have to do is say the right words, to the right people, at the right time. That’s easy. Just address everyone as prabhu or mataji, pay your obeisances, be respectful, always defer to the “superior knowledge” of other devotees (thus offering all respects to others and expecting none for yourself).

Isn’t that what humility is? Oh, you can also make sure to say you are very fallen, preferably the most fallen, and have no hope of ever becoming Krishna conscious. You can say that you know you can only serve the lotus feet of all the other devotees (if you are very fortunate). That helps too. If that’s not enough, and you still think you don’t have humility, then focus on how sinful you are, and how sinful your consciousness is, and how many material desires you have, and how you are not fit to even be in the association of other devotees.

When you write letters to others, make sure you include every formal address you can think of. ” Please accept my humble obeisances. Dear Glorious Grace Divine XXX (x for extra), Mataji/Prabhuji”. End the letter with “Your Lowly Fallen Despicable Aspiring Servant”. Of course you would need to write this way to every devotee, not just senior devotees, since you are the “most” fallen, you would be respectful of everyone in this way. (by the way…Srila Prabhupad said we are not the “most” anything).

Well, that was easy…. talking about false humility. If you have no real humility (and few of us do) these things are a good place to start. It’s Vaisnava Etiquette. Good behavior. You can at least “act” humble. Just don’t go to extremes about it for show. It’s only a show. For most of us anyway, I’m not talking about individual persons, just the concept, and usually when things are extreme this way, there’s a reason, meaning “show”.

For those who want to go deeper, and cultivate actual humility, that’s a whole different story. Well, first you might start by ending the pretense. Stop “pretending” to be so humble. I don’t mean treat other devotees with disrespect, but stop before you get ready to go into the lengthy formal addresses and ask yourself if you really mean it. Before you sign something “your servant” ask yourself if you are truly ready to serve that person, if you truly feel that you are their servant. What way are you their servant? How are you willing to serve them? What does that mean to you?

I’m not saying “give up all these formal addresses”, I’m saying to think about what they mean, what they mean to you when you write them. Are they just words? That’s just one thing you can do to start to cultivate genuine humility. Think about it more deeply. Going through the motions does not mean you will have (or do have) actual humility.

Another thing you can do to cultivate actual humility is to understand how advanced a platform of devotion having genuine humility is. We are in this material world because of our false ego. Our belief that we are separate from and independent of, Krishna. That we are powerful, in control, the enjoyers, the Lords. That is the exact opposite of humility… right? Yep. So, if you think you are humble, but you are not yet pure in your Krishna consciousness, then it’s actually a form of false humility (to some degree at least). Take a closer look.

These impurities and envy of Krishna have been in our hearts for billions of births. Yes, in this lifetime, we all are at different stages of spiritual awakening. Still, very few of us are already free of all our conditioning. Conditioned soul means “false ego”. I am this body. I am this mind. I am my concepts. I am my intelligence. My pride is important. My relatives are important. My country is important. My projects are important. My service to Krishna is important. We all tend to think that we are very important, and what we do (no matter what it is) is very important.

That’s what’s known as being “puffed up”. So full of our false pride in our false “selves” that we become “puffed” with it. Like the frog in the well, who wanted to know how big the ocean was, and thought he could “puff” his own little frog body up enough to demonstrate how large the ocean was. That’s us, with our demonstrations about who we are, and what we do. It’s also us with our “demonstrations” of humility. We don’t have humility yet. That’s something that takes a long time and a lot of chanting and serving to cultivate. We want everything “instant”. We live in an instant society.

Humility can be talked about so much, in so many ways, and I am only writing this one blog about it. There is so much more to be said. Still, most of us could give up some of the “shows” of humility, done so that we can “look” humble to others. Recognize that we don’t have humility, we can only “learn” to behave in the proper respectful ways toward other devotees. Realize that “feigning humility” is only a more advanced form of false ego. (Yeah, you’re really good at it now…. you can look really humble to everyone, and they will all think you’re so humble). If we give up the false pretense in the heart, it will help us start to cultivate real humility.

* Navasi’s blog
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Mon, 10/06/2008 – 21:11 — tekisui
tekisui’s picture
True and false

Like they say False humility – false pride.

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Fri, 10/03/2008 – 15:10 — abrennan
abrennan’s picture
What a topic

I have the evidence of my lack of humilty. I have more than 20 emails from people telling me I am arrogant and uneducated.

These emails detail all of my failings as a moderator at Connect in many ways.

Actually I think that as Navasi says you can’t really judge your own humility factor, for better or for worse. And those who want to judge the level of humility of others they have to be qualified to do that, lest their judgment be flawed.

I meet with other devotees and I have not heard anyone refer to their degree of humility. When I meet other devotees in “real life” I become aware of my own lack of humility. When I see the way they greet and speak to each other, how kindly they treat each other.

In real life you can’t really feign humility very easily. All the words we say are betrayed by our actions and body language. On the Internet however it is easy to pretend. See what a good job I am doing of pretending to be arrogant and lacking in humilty here in the internet : )

How to cultivate it, that is the good question.

I always figured it to be the result of something, the fruit of some work, some karma. The result of Bhakti, surrender. Something like that. If you are doing something for devotional service you do it in Krishna consciousness, with love and humility.

That is cultivating humility I think, is it? Then you are increasing your humble- ability. When humility is required it naturally arises.

All the replies here are very interesting too.

If I were the pure devotee I would really stand out, like Srila Prabhupada. That is the only measure I can make and I don’t do well in light of it.

Hare Krishna

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Sat, 10/04/2008 – 02:34 — Navasi
Navasi’s picture
How To Cultivate It

Hare Krishna, Antony,

It’s true that the quality of humility will come about from the practice of devotional service. That’s really the main thing, because that’s the process of developing all the qualities of a devotee. Along the way, we develop these qualities by degrees, as you were talking with Karnamrita about.

If you want to focus on that particular aspect of these qualities we are trying to develop, and enhance your humility quotient 🙂 then, there are quite a few suggestions I have made in the comments throughout this thread.

Especially the comments I made to Anjan.

There are also some other very good suggestions here as well, such as the one Aruna Locana mentions: austerity. Taking on suffering or penance or enduring trials is also a very good way to cultivate it. I was going to mention that myself, but there’s just only so much I can say at one time.

Mostly though, if you focus on what this service means to other devotees, what it means to be humble, what you mean when you say things, and try to keep yourself “within” that mood in your dealings, it’s very helpful.

Whatever you meditate on increases.

Taking instruction from other devotees is also an excellent way to increase humility. You can take advice and instruction from anyone and find a way to apply it.

For example, I have a nice friend who helps me in lots of ways with things. This person is fairly new to Krishna consciousness (from my perspective anyway). Sometimes, this friend tells me things I have been aware of and practicing for years (about Krishna consciousness). Now, I could tell them “hey, obviously I know this, why are you telling me to do that, or think this, or understand such and such”…… or, I can look at what they are saying, realizing that there are always greater and greater degrees of understanding I can have of anything at all.

Thus taking instruction. Then I say to them “well, thank you, that’s a very good point, I’ll keep that in mind and try to do it”… I don’t just “say it”… I mean it, I think about it, and try to do it to an even deeper degree.

It helps me work toward humility.

I hope these suggestions are helpful. They are in the comments, but I’m writing them again here, and also, there may be some others that I’ve said or others have said, if you would like to read all this again, you might find them.

Also, as long as it doesn’t lead to discouragement and despondency, some of that “telling what’s wrong with you as a moderator” can be used help your humility.

Look at each thing they say, and think to yourself “how and it what way can I find some truth in this statement”… then, when you find it, work seriously to improve in that particular way.

Hare Krishna,

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Sat, 10/04/2008 – 13:50 — abrennan
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It’s very interesting to talk about cultivation

In Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, 13.8-12 purport Srila Prabhupada says

“Humility means that one should not be anxious to have the satisfaction of being honored by others. The material conception of life makes us very eager to receive honor from others, but from the point of view of a man in perfect knowledge — who knows that he is not this body — anything, honor or dishonor, pertaining to this body is useless.”

He goes on to say that humility is the beginning of knowledge.

To humbly enquire is the the method

Lucky there was this blog to find out about it

Hare Krishna

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Sat, 10/04/2008 – 23:21 — Navasi
Navasi’s picture

All Glories To Srila Prabhupad!

That’s an excellent quote there Antony. Thank you for sharing that with us.

There is so much information contained in that quote.

The reason that we are eager to receive honor from others is because of subtle sex desire, which is the desire for fame, adoration, and distinction.

Sex desire is the manifestation of our desire to be separate from Krishna, and it’s the reason that we’re in the material world. It’s our envy of Krishna, and our desire to be the enjoyers, manifest.

So, when we’re in this material conception, we want all this honor, this distinction.

For devotees, this can be especially dangerous. We’re trying to become humble, because we know this desire for honor is the root cause of our being separated from Krishna. So, naturally we want to avoid any kind of honor.

It’s difficult though because there are so many situations we will be put in, where it is necessary to allow a certain amount of honor.

It’s not useless if it relates to the spiritual lives of others (rather than our body, which also means mind, false ego). It’s often difficult to separate those things, since we are not in a position to be perfectly and purely representing Krishna, we know that the things we do are “mixed”. Meaning some of it is still coming from our personality, our various concepts (materially).

For devotees, also, naturally we will only want to see Krishna praised, or the pure devotees praised, or other devotees praised, rather than ourselves.

The easiest thing to do then, is just tell people “don’t praise me, just praise Krishna” (or other devotees). That’s the way a lot of devotees handle this kind of thing. It’s the easiest way.

I remember that in the early days of the movement, that was more a rule than any other way of acting about it. Devotees would always say that, and it made things easier for us, but harder for anyone newer, who was trying to develop relationships with other devotees. It’s kind of a “put down” when someone says that to you, and it can feel rather cold.

There are so many situations where we have to learn to accept a certain amount of honor for the benefit of others, since they are only trying to honor other devotees. That’s where it gets difficult.

If everyone is always saying “oh, Antony, you’re such a wonderful devotee, you do such nice service here as a moderator on connect”…… you are going to feel naturally bothered by it. It’s interfering with your developing humility. Which is in turn, keeping you from Krishna. (unless of course you’re so advanced that you have no material desires at all 😉

But, you can’t stop doing the best job you can as a moderator, so you have to somehow learn to accept the honor nicely, kindly, as an offering to Krishna. At the same time, not allow it to affect your humility (meaning not allow it to “feed” your false ego, and your material desire for honor).

It’s hard though, everyone struggles with it (by degrees) since we are still attached materially and not free from sex desire (including the subtle forms of it) and that’s another way our humility is tested. It’s so much easier not to be in a position where anyone gives us any honor or praise.

One thing that is helpful is to remember that honor and dishonor are two sides of the same coin. One day they honor you, the next day they dishonor you. It’s just the nature of the material world. So, that’s always happening even within our lives as devotees, since we’re still in material consciousness (by degrees depending on who you are). You’ve seen that yourself clearly with your position as moderator, you get praise, and you also get letters tearing you apart and berating you (dishonor).

Honor and dishonor pertaining to our bodies (including subtle bodies) is useless because it does nothing to get us closer to Krishna, and only perpetuates our false conceptions of ourselves. I am my mind, I am my concepts, I am my senses, etc…

Thank you for posting that quote, it’s amazing. Very relevant to what we’re discussing here.

Hare Krishna,

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Fri, 10/03/2008 – 13:27 — Karnamrita.das
Karnamrita.das’s picture
In my humble opinion

With a straw in my teeth, from a far distance, please accept my most humble prostrate obeisances—from the front, from the back, and from either side, and from up and down, falling in the dust of your lotus feet. All glories to Prabhupada! All glories to Shri Guru and Gauranga!

Most Respected Mataji:

My opinion is so terribly low and ill-informed that I would be an offender to share it, lest others become contaminated hearing me. Perhaps I should take a vow of silence and refrain from any communication, covering my body with heaps of cloth so no one has to see my despicable form. However, taking heart from your insightful blog, I realize there is a very slight and remote chance that I am being falsely humble. So, IMHO, maybe I am just proud of my humility, or am I humble about my pride?

I am confused.

Some of my friends always tell me that I am extremely smart and intelligent. This sounds very true, so shouldn’t I believe them? Or are they my enemies for trying to puff me up? Other people I know tell me I am so incompetent and dense. Why would they make that up? Aren’t they are my friends for helping smash my false pride? Maybe I am the most humble afterall, well, you said Prabhupada said we are not the most anything, so maybe there are a few more humble persons above me, or are they bellow me?—though I haven’t found them yet.

So I am either almost the most intelligent or almost the least intelligent, or perhaps almost the most fallen, or almost the least fallen. I will consult further with my mind and later give you a definitive conclusion.
Truly our mind can convince us of anything according to the condition of our heart or the dominant modes of material nature. KC is meant to help us realize our ineligibility materially for Krishna seva, and how wonderful and great Krishna is. I have understood humility to be a by product of realization of the beauty, charm and wonder of Krishna, in comparison to we are insignificant. We are not depressed by that understanding and pouting, but enlivened to do service.

The commentators on Lord Chaitanya’s siksastakam prayers have informed us that the successive stages of realization as the verses progress, represent deeper and deeper manifestations of humility. And in Sanatana Gosvamis Brihat Bhagavatamrita, he actually equates humility with love of Krishna—they are like parts of the one thing–Prema.

You know, I think that I have understood in theory that I am just an ordinary, insignificant person who is trying to be a devotee. I can relate Navasi, that true humility eludes me (pretty humble huh!), though I do have some humble moments—perhaps when I am asleep and not oppressed by my false ego–I think the few times I have been a little humble are when I was very sick, like when I had malaria. It is hard to be proud when you feel like …., and know you could die at any moment—though there is likely a way for that as well.

Truly words are easy, as is cutting a profile, yet to be truly humble and truly a devotee is rare, though we endeavor to follow our gurus and practice sadhana with as much determination as we can muster, confident that Bhakti is more powerful and merciful than we are fallen. To think otherwise—that we are too fallen to be eligible for his mercy–is another side of pride.

Your friend in Krishna,


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Fri, 10/03/2008 – 23:38 — Navasi
Navasi’s picture
Pride Mantras

Dear Karnamrita,

You really had me laughing…. wow, you have the “humility” routine down to a science. I think you have covered every possible aspect of it.

The thing I always think about when someone talks that way, is are they really prepared to do it?

Okay, so you think perhaps you should take vow of silence and refrain from communication because you’re so fallen? What if I agree and tell you should (or someone in a position to instruct whoever is saying this). Are you truly prepared to do it?

Or if someone says “I know I’m the most fallen, so whatever any devotee does to me, I gratefully accept as what I deserve”…. well, that sounds nice… but, if some devotee (who perhaps is in maya at the moment, none the less, a devotee) starts really mistreating you, banishes you from the temple, (just an example), tells you you can’t be around devotees anymore, are you going to just gratefully “take it” understanding your fallen condition?

I doubt it, and if you do, then you’re in even more illusion than the person who’s mistreating you. We have to have a certain amount of “pride” to even step up and say “yes, I want the mercy!” “I will take it!” “It’s mine too, and I deserve it as much as anyone else!”.

Now, for a lot of us, this is not at all easy. I know I have totally struggled with this all my life. It’s a material conditioning, having nothing at all to do with any degree of spiritual realization. It usually (in my case it did) comes from growing up in an abusive childhood. Well, you know you’re “nothing” and you “deserve nothing” and you “deserve to suffer”…..

So, in that kind of consciousness, we take to Krishna consciousness. We then “apply” all our mental concepts to our spiritual “reality”. Like you said, about the condition of our heart and the dominant modes acting on us.

That’s not the same thing as true humility though, and sometimes it takes a rude awakening to make us “snap out of it” and realize that we do have pride, we do feel we “deserve” Krishna. Not that we “did” anything to deserve to serve Krishna, or deserve to more than others, but that this mercy is here for every single one of us, no one deserves it “More” than someone else. We are all fallen.

Another thing about all this humility talk and behavior. We’re not here to “worship” humility. We’re here to worship Krishna.

Sometimes, it becomes almost like a “religion” in itself. Worshiping humility. We are not trying to attain humility, we are trying to attain love of Krishna.

These terms, these words, also, they are not mantras imbued with special powers…. they are just “terms”.

For example, the words “your servant”…. they are not mantras that somehow if you say them, they invoke a sacred spiritual mood. They are just words. If you don’t understand and feel the intent behind them, then you have not achieved some sort of “mercy” just because you used them.

In other words, they are not like the maha mantra, sacred in themselves with their own power.

What I think is interesting, is how often the same people using them will in that very letter counter the very thing they are saying.

Here’s an example:

Dear Mataji (meaning mother that you would take instruction from, right? right)

Please accept my humble obeisances.

I don’t agree with anything you’re saying. You should not have said that the way you did. You told me before that this is “so and so” and I just think you should realize that it’s not really like that. Here’s a quote from scripture to show you that I’m right.”

Your humble servant,

Okay, well…. we’re addressing respectfully, acting as though we’re submissive, saying we want to serve, meanwhile, basically “telling” another devotee what’s wrong with them…. ah, okay… something’s wrong with this picture….. obviously.

Also, it takes a certain amount of Pride to call attention to your own self, even if that attention is to say “I’m so fallen”… it’s obvious, you’re calling attention to YOURSELF! Not Krishna! So, if you’re humble, why are you attracting attention away from Krishna, and directing it to the “amazing degree of fallen-ness you posses”???? Pride. False Pride. That’s all.

It takes a certain degree of advancement to even see these things of course. I remember for years and years and years, I thought I was actually humble. Really truly humble. I only found out after a long, long time, that it was just a symptom of my material conditioning of feeling worthless. I applied it to my spiritual life, and voila! Instant Humility!!!

Now, I don’t feel worthless anymore because I overcame my material conditioning (that particular one anyway, mostly, that is, I still do struggle with it at times) and so, now I see, it wasn’t humility at all.

So, I’m recommending (for anyone who wants to take advice from someone as fallen as I am) that we at least realize that we don’t have humility yet. That we can at least try to behave in a humble submissive way. (that’s more valuable that all the words we say). That there is no benefit in thinking these terms are “mantras”. That it’s a good idea not to make a “religion” out of humility. That cultivating humility that is genuine starts by understanding that you don’t have it.

Taking advice and instruction from other devotees helps a lot too. Some people, it’s impossible to instruct them because they are certain that they “already know”. This is death for spiritual advancement. If you already know, then what are you doing here in the material world??? (unless of course you have come to save the rest of us….. hmmm, even that is sometimes thought).

It’s a tricky business, being “tricked” by our own minds, senses, and egos. That’s why it’s so good to first realize the meaning of the statement:

We Are In Illusion.

When you’re in illusion, it means you can’t see what’s what.

Thank you for your comments. I really loved reading your “humility” speech. lol

Hare Krishna,

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Fri, 10/03/2008 – 21:37 — abrennan
abrennan’s picture
Dear Prabhu ji

You do a very good version of humility in writing : )

“Deeper levels of realization reveal deeper manifestations of humility.”

I like the concept in the above that humility is manifest as a result of our purification.

I think it is true that pride is very subtle and will sneak in anywhere even in humbleness.

Hare Krishna


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Fri, 10/03/2008 – 08:42 — Snehal
Snehal’s picture
Keep reminding

Hare Krishna!
Thank you for this wonderful and nice post. What you say is so right, covered by false ego we have just forgotten our real position of being a servant. Material energy many times offer us oppurtunity to get puffed by success and achievements. And there is success on spiritual level too which can make us proud.

If we can always keep ourselves reminded of the fact that we are just instruments in His hands and He is cause behind every cause, we can avoid pride arising from success or achivements.

One thing I always try to do (which helps to practice humility) is avoid hurting anybody (be it a devotee or a non devotee). When we keep reminding ourself that Lords present in all the living entities automatically, we become humble in our dealing with them.


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Sat, 10/04/2008 – 08:42 — Navasi
Navasi’s picture
Avoiding Hurting Anyone

Haribol Snehal,

This is great. On the topic of how to cultivate humility, your suggestion of seeing Krishna in everyone’s heart is very helpful.

I especially like what you’re saying about avoiding hurting anyone.
This is so important.

What does that mean for us who are devotees? Well, obviously we would not do any physical or emotional harm to anyone.

Further than that though, and more important, the most essential way to not harm anyone is to always give them Krishna.

It’s often far easier to just “be nice” and let people stay in illusion.

Like you for example, at work, or any of us. We may have so many people we come into contact with. We really could introduce them to Krishna consciousness in some way, but there is the risk of causing “discomfort”. Perhaps they won’t like us saying things about Krishna, or it may upset them.

However, if we really truly care about them, and see what real “harm” is, then we will go ahead and take the chance in order to give them the opportunity for the higher benefit of hearing about Krishna.

This applies to so many aspects of our dealings with other devotees. If we have a friend who maybe chants very inattentively, for example. Well, we could say something that would help them, suggest that perhaps they would benefit from chanting more attentively.

Usually, that involves putting ourselves “on the line” so to speak, we have to take a risk that they will be upset with us, and maybe angry or hurt, which in turn, hurts us.

Still, if we really, truly care, and want to do what “won’t hurt them” in the actual issue, we will take that risk, and at least make the effort.

We can only try. That’s all any of us can do. As long as the intention is to help, and not harm, then it’s up to the individual and Krishna what the outcome of our efforts are.

It takes a greater degree of humility (and is good practice for cultivation of that quality) to act according to what is beneficial for their soul, seeing them as soul, and not their body or their illusions.

That is true non-violence. True kindness. Give everyone Krishna, if you can. At least try.

Thank you for you comments.

Hare Krishna,

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Fri, 10/03/2008 – 07:43 — Aruna Locana
Aruna Locana’s picture
Wishing to Be Humble!

Hare Krsna Navasi,

Thank you for this post, this is really valuable. Thinking to myself I really think we all need to learn about it, it has been millions of births as you said acting like the body and thinking you are the enjoyer, that being humble in the beginning seems false, and it is. But we need at least to try! In Sacinandana Swami’s site I read an article how the devotee puts himself in the most fallen condition and this is only to make him feel worse about himself and with lack of self esteem. There are levels of advancement and each one has different realisations to share. Achieve a platform to see all as parts and parcels of Krsna is hard, but what I do myself is that I am always sincere to others and to my own advancement.I dont try to be something I am not, I know I have a lot to improve and to learn with devotees and from Krsna but as one mataji said in a story we are at least bathing. And if you are in the process purification will come and the Lord sees that. If we really want to be humble Krsna will give us this quality and all the conditions to achieve it.

Thank you once more for this sharing!!


Aruna dd

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Sat, 10/04/2008 – 08:57 — Navasi
Navasi’s picture

That’s true Aruna, we are all in the process of “bathing” ourselves clean from all this false ego and material contamination.

As you’ve said, the most important thing is to “keep bathing”. When we start bathing, if we notice suddenly how dirty we are, it makes no sense to suddenly “stop bathing” because we’re ashamed of our dirty condition.

Just by staying “in the bath” we will eventually become clean.

That’s a great example.

I like what you’ve said about Sacinandana Swami’s website regarding putting oneself into a fallen condition to help develop humility.

I would love to see his actual words in quote form if by chance you read this comment and feel like posting it here for us.

I think it’s really important and I mentioned this aspect to Antony in my comment to him.

Sometimes, we have enough difficulty and suffering already, we don’t need to take on more. For those who don’t though, and are wanting to cultivate more humility, taking on austerity, either physical or enduring trials, is good for humility.

An example would be taking on some service that you really don’t like to do, and doing it for as long as you can with devotion.

I remember when I was a newer devotee in the Dallas temple, one of my services there was to clean the guest bathroom. Well, no one wanted to do it, because it was for the general public, men and women, and could be very, very unclean. I didn’t want to do it either, but that’s what was asked of me, so I “got into it” and did the very best, most devotional job of it I could.

That’s just one example of course, there are so many things I could think of like that, but taking on that kind service is very good, and also taking on difficulty with others that might be having struggles and so it’s harder to work with them, or help them, that’s another way.

Thank you for your nice addition to this topic.

Hare Krishna,

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Fri, 10/03/2008 – 06:06 — anjanadri.reddy
anjanadri.reddy’s picture
I am now able to understand the difference

Hare Krishna Mataji,

These lines from your blog struck me –

Before you sign something “your servant” ask yourself if you are truly ready to serve that person, if you truly feel that you are their servant. What way are you their servant? How are you willing to serve them? What does that mean to you?

Thank you for the above informational content – By Krishna’s mercy I will try to apply this each time I write something like Ys in my emails, letters, etc.

Another part of your blog which I think is very true –

I’m not saying “give up all these formal addresses”, I’m saying to think about what they mean, what they mean to you when you write them. Are they just words? That’s just one thing you can do to start to cultivate genuine humility. Think about it more deeply. Going through the motions does not mean you will have (or do have) actual humility.

Yes Mataji we need to take these words very seriously and follow them to start our journey towards cultivating real humility.

Thank you very much for this thought provoking blog. Until before I read this blog I was under the impression that I was humble, but now I realize that I was WRONG.
Hope that my reply is of some relevance to all the wonderful blogs that you write.


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Fri, 10/03/2008 – 06:52 — Navasi
Navasi’s picture
Meditation On Service Attitude

Hare Krishna, Anjan,

Yes, your comment is very relevant. Thank you so much. It’s very hard sometimes to get certain points across on the internet, and it’s always encouraging when someone sees the meaning intended for what it is.

The point is, if we “meditate” on our service position, and our service attitude in relationship to other devotees, rather that just “saying the words” because we have a notion that we would “like” to serve everyone and be humble, then we are much more in a position to cultivate that in actuality.

It’s a fact that it’s very hard to learn anything if we think we already know it. It’s even harder to develop a quality that we believe we already have.

This is especially true and relevant when we talk about humility in spiritual life.

We know that we need humility to serve other devotees (in a genuine, helpful way) to advance, to chant Hare Krishna, to serve Krishna.

We don’t start out having it, and all along the way, this humility is going to be tested in various ways.

If we are just “going through the motions” without thinking deeply about what it means, and what we are saying, how can we ever “internalize” it. We don’t even think about what we’re saying or put devotion into saying it……

It’s the same as any devotional thing we do. If you can’t do it with devotion, it’s of course better to “just do it”… but, if we want to truly cultivate this devotion in our soul, at some point in time we have to be ready to understand that we first need to cultivate it (meaning we don’t already have it) then second, think deeply about (meditate on) what everything we do and say “means”.

What does it mean? What is your mood? How far will you go? How much will you serve? Will you only serve in certain ways? Will you give anything and everything that is asked of you? Will you serve any and every Vaisnava? Or only the ones the you “deem” deserving of your service (meaning you feel they are advanced more than you or have something to offer that you want).

So many times we are so conditional in our service attitude, but because we feel “some” desire to serve “some” Vaisnava’s in “some” way, we tell ourselves we feel we are the servant of everyone.

All these things require deep introspection on what it actually means to serve, and what humility actually means, and the scope of that meaning.

It takes effort, understanding, practice, patience, persistence, and most especially, not assuming you already have it.

Thank you for your helpful comments.

Hare Krishna,

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Fri, 10/03/2008 – 02:20 — Go-Seva
Go-Seva’s picture
My life

PAMHO, Hare Krsna mataji~ Speaking only for myself, I know for a fact that I am a very fallen, wretched, vile individual who does not deserve any of what I have received in the way of Krsna Consciousness. In fact, I have no idea what I could have possibly done in this life or past lives to have attained even a shred of mercy from the Lord to know about Him.

Being lowborn in a meat-eating karmi family, my “previous” life was fraught with all manners of atrocious sins of all sorts, regularly breaking every regulative principle I now embrace and live by. If it weren’t for the grace of George Harrison and Srila Prabhupada, I would still be riding the road to Hell. Devotees such as yourself who started at a very young age, before corruption, are very fortunate and don’t know what it is like to have a enormous backlog of sins to (hopefully) try and wash off in this lifetime or subsequent lifetimes. I don’t have to pretend to be humble because I know I am very, very far from being a good devotee of the Lord. I just try everyday to serve Him in some small way so He knows I am fumbling my way toward Him.

As far as serving others, I am fully prepared to serve any and all Vaisnavas by something as little as offering gardening or nutritional or food preparation advice, to friendship, to offering a place to stay if they needed it. I pray I can serve a Vaisnava in any way I can, and I do, since I am serving my two small children every day. They are a million times better situated than I am, and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to perform this service regularly.

I cannot admit humility, but I can admit that I am, for sure, well below many, many devotees I see on Connect…if not all of them as far as I know. Only I know the extent of my sins.

Your servant,

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Fri, 10/03/2008 – 03:48 — Navasi
Navasi’s picture
Awareness and Gratitude

Hare Krishna, Lisa,

There is a huge gulf of difference between the awareness that we have been sinful, and gratitude for having been given the chance to take up Krishna consciousness,


the genuine humility exhibited by the pure devotees.

In this post I am addressing the fact that none of us approach that level of humility. I’m also talking about the fact that we are sometimes “tricked” by our own false ego into believing that we do approach that level.

I’m not talking about how grateful we all are for being given the chance to serve Krishna, despite our conditioned state.

Also, since you don’t know anything about my life prior to becoming a devotee, I think it’s a good idea not to make assumptions and statements about it.

We are all born less than sudra in kali yuga, every one of us. Every one of us is in the same position as you are. Very fortunate and very grateful to be able to serve Krishna, and also very aware of our sinful nature.

Not one of us has done anything to deserve the chance to serve Krishna, that’s the meaning of “causeless mercy”. You can’t “deserve” your way into it.

It’s very wonderful that you understand all these things. It’s wonderful that you are grateful for your chance to serve Krishna and His devotees.

Hare Krishna,

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Fri, 10/03/2008 – 11:23 — Go-Seva
Go-Seva’s picture
I am sorry…

to have offended you, mataji. You are right: I am an idiot who doesn’t know about being humble. I am fool number one, and I suppose I should disengage myself from Connect for awhile to regroup and make sure when I am writing something, I express myself more favorably. I apparently don’t understand my feelings at all, or don’t know how to label them correctly.

Thank you very much for your lesson about humility, and again, I am truly sorry to have been presumptious or offensive.

Your servant,

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Sat, 10/04/2008 – 00:05 — Navasi
Navasi’s picture

I just now saw this comment of yours, Lisa, I was busy talking to Karnamrita.

Why Lisa?

Why would you disengage yourself from connect until you can write something that expresses yourself favorably?

It is the method of purification to express whatever you express and have your illusions dispelled.

Why would you desire to hide from that purification until you can “express yourself more favorably”.

No one needs to “express favorably”. Being a conditioned soul, full of material attachments and illusions is not a “favorable expression”.

The way to become free of that is by exposing your illusions, taking instruction about them, and continuing to do that over and over and over.

I am not offended by what you have said.

I’m only trying to give you instruction in ways that it seems to me you need it.

What is there, in that, to make you feel sorry? Why would you feel sorry for having some of your illusions and misconceptions cleared up? Why would you decide not to continue to have that happen?

Hare Krishna,