This chapter is the English translation of Gujarati Book
Title - Sadhak and Sathi
Author - Shri Atmanandji (Dr. Soneji)
CHAPTER - 13
Humility is internal and devotional respect towards those
personalities and objects deserving respect.
Actually, humility is just a natural inherent virtue of the soul
(Atman). It is inherent in the soul with other virtues like
knowledge, faith, contentment, forgiveness and so on.
The question may be asked that if it is so, why is it not
experienced in daily life? The reply is that the common people
of the world are not aware of their own inherent virtue. People
do not pay attention to this inner and natural virtue but go on
constantly nourishing its rival infatuation in the form of
pride. Thus ignorance and perverse practices are the causes of
non-attainment of the virtue of humility.
CULTIVATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF HUMILITY:
Pride that annihilates humility is said to he eightfold by the
great sages (Acharyas). The Development of humility becomes
simplified and quick success is achieved, if one knows the
following eight forms of pride:
1. Pride of Knowledge:
One may acquire multifaceted and vast knowledge as a result
of studying scriptures, constant discussion with other
aspirants (Satsanga), and the arduous practice of
concentration in the presence of an enlightened preceptor.
At this stage, if one prides himself on this learning and
looks upon others as low and insignificant, this is known as
the pride of knowledge.
2. Pride of Worship:
When several type of human and super-human virtues become
manifest within oneself, when one's fame spreads all over the
world, and when one wins regard, honor and worship from
emperors, wealthy people, sheriffs, great ascetics, and
scholars, at this stage, if one looks upon one's self as high
and great in vanity, then this is known as the pride of
3. Pride of Family:
Suppose one's relatives had been honored with ministerial
positions in the government, or great saints, or a noble
prize winners and so on, at this time if one boasts of one's
greatness due to this, then it is known as the pride of the
4. Pride of Race:
Suppose one's ancestors are of a high and noble family, such
as Nagar Brahmins, Sisodiya Rajputs, or from some other
respectable race and so on, at this time, one boasts of one's
greatness due to this, then it is known as the pride of the
5. Pride of Power:
One might be in the full bloom of youth and endowed with
unique physical power, one might have cultivated grand
eloquence that pleases and makes thousands amazed, one might
have a sweet resounding voice, one might be blessed with the
will power by which one can stick to one's activity till one
is victorious. If one becomes arrogant due to one or more of
these, then this is known as the pride of power.
6. Pride of Excellent Attainment:
When a person attains a super human achievement like far
seeing, far hearing, flying in the sky, walking on the water
and so on, through self control or other means and if one
becomes proud of these, then it is called the pride of
7. Pride of Austerity:
While practicing various types of penances such as fasting,
reciting prayers, meditation, and abandonment of taste
(Rasa), if one starts feeling that he is an unequall
Tapasvi and experiences a sense of loftiness in his heart, it
is pride of austerity.
8. Pride of Body:
When various parts of the body such as the eyes, ears, nose,
chin, chest and so on are quite handsome or beautiful and
well-proportionate, and the elegance of the body is eye
catching, if with this beauty of the body, one becomes proud,
then this is the pride of the body.
This eightfold pride disturbs the spiritual progress (Sadhana)
of the aspirant. One should therefore know fully this eightfold
pride, abandon it in daily routine of life and resort to
humility. If this is done, humility as a virtue will reveal
itself in a short time.
REWARD OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF HUMILITY:
All great human beings have developed the virtue of humility and
have sung its eulogy. Unity, peace and prosperity grow when we
show by our behavior, humility towards our parents and elders,
pious persons, teachers and professors, learned people and
scholars, monk, Acharyas, and others.
Many popular sayings such as "Pride is the source of sin," "One
who bows is liked by all," and "The pride of even king Ravana
went to dust," prove that Indian culture has looked down upon
pride as a vice while humility is accepted everywhere as a great
As the Sadhaka progresses in his spiritual life (Sadhana), his
vision widens, he looks upon all living beings similar to his
own, he loses his interest in achieving a high social status or
position of power and so on. With the rise of this rational and
discriminating view, he agrees to the words of saints:
"It is difficult to be known as a servant, but I am servant,
a servant of the servant! I now cherish the desire to be
like the grass which gets trampled beneath the feet!"
Let us now see the ultimate spiritual reward of the development
of humility. Only the humble can honor and worship the saints
repeatedly and methodically. If one is lucky enough to
associate with a true saint, and if the saint is convinced that
his devotee deserves it, one will receive self-knowledge. When
one ponders over this divine knowledge repeatedly, one is able
to cultivate the power to climb up the ladder leading to true
As a result of this, the Sadhaka attains to self-realization and
becomes a saint. This proves that the highest philosophical and
spiritual reward can he attained by the development of this
virtue called humility.
Let us grasp through the study of authentic scriptures, and
through the guidance of the preceptor, the numerous types of
- humility of true knowledge (Jnana-vinaya),
- humility of true vision (Darsana-vinaya),
- humility of true conduct (Charitra-vinaya) and
- humility pertaining to the greatness of Acharyas and other
great people not comprehensible directly by us at present
Let us develop this great virtue.
GLORY OF HUMILITY:
1. The first test of a person's real greatness is that humility
is inherent in him.
2. As we further our advancement in humility, we move nearer
towards the peak of greatness.
3. By humility, we can win many things, yet it costs us nothing.
4. Through humility, loving conduct and a spirit of tolerance,
all human beings can be conciliated and made our good
5. Real greatness dawns only when boasting ends.
6. Humility is the root of loftiness; it is the source of all
prosperity; it spreads our glory far and wide and is like the
moon that brings the tide in the ocean of religion (Dharma).
7. It is our duty to be humble towards the highly virtuous, it
is our politeness to be humble to equals and our nobility to
be humble to inferiors. Humility towards one and all
indicates a state of equanimity.
8. Just as trees rich in fruits hang low, monsoon clouds full of
water come down towards earth as a rain, similarly, noble
persons develop a natural tendency for benevolence on
attaining to prosperity.
9. What ever great work one may have accomplished, let us not
become proud of it. If one becomes proud, all that one has
done is undone. Pride makes all our fame and great work
10. Like fragrance mixing with gold, if humility mixes with
knowledge, one attains to real greatness.
11. Let us neither look upon any one as low nor hate him. Let
us give up the habit of comparing ourselves with others and
possessing superiority complex.
LIVING EXAMPLES OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF HUMILITY:
Some eighty years ago, a Jain monk named Shree Atmaramaji
Maharaja had come to offer his salutations to the holy place at
Palitana in the state of Gujarat, India. He learned that his
elder brother, also a Jain monk named Shree Vruddhichandraji,
was ill in near by town called Bhavnagar. After offering his
salutations to the holy place, Atmaramaji Maharaja proceeded to
travel on foot to Bhavnagar together with his pupils. He was
accorded a huge welcome.
Vruddhichandraji learned of the arrival of Atmaramaji to
inquire about his health. He went on his own to meet him, and
the two brothers met in all warmth.
Then the following dialogue took place between the two monks:
Vruddichandraji said to his younger brother Atmaramaji, " Please
give a benedictorial speech to the mass."
Atmaramaji replied, "How can I preach to the mass in your
Vruddhichandraji said, "What if I ask you to?"
Atmaramaji said, "Then I will obey your orders."
With these words, he gave a benedictorial speech, got up from
his seat and offered salutations to Vruddhichandraji.
Vruddhichandraji said, "You are the elder Acharya. You need not
offer salutations to me."
Atmaramaji said, "Acharya? Whose Acharya? I am an Acharya of
the householders, but I am a servant to you."
This is the humility of a great man who is no less than an
Acharya towards his honored elder brother.
The king Chandrapid Maharaja ruled over the state of Kashmir,
India. He was virtuous, religious and just.
Once the king decided to build a place of religious worship in
his kingdom. His officers selected a very peaceful land for the
purpose. There was a small house (hut) on the land owned by a
poor family regarded as an untouchable. The officers offered a
very high price to the untouchable for his hut but he did not
accept the offer. The officers sent a complaint against him to
the king. The king was not pleased about the complain, on the
contrary he scolded the officers.
The king sent his special emissary to talk to the untouchable.
He replied, "I would give my hut if the king comes and asks for
As the emissary returned and reported, all the officers were
enraged at his daring. However, the king immediately accepted
the offer. The king gave up his royal glory and pride, and came
to the house of the untouchable. He requested his hut and paid
the full price.
The king was saintly indeed. He had the spirit of offering
everything that he had for best humility, justice and religious
A Jain monk named Ratnaraj Maharaj was a brilliant scholar and a
famous saint belonging to Sthanakvasi sect. He wrote very
useful literature regarding grammar, logic, and principles of
Once he was examining his own work "Kartavya-Kaumudi", when he
was staying at Palanpur for four months of the rainy season in
the year 1915.
He felt the need for an expert to go through the book and revise
it, so that it might become more useful to all. Coincidentally,
Pandit Shree Sukhlalji, another Jain scholar was also in
Pandit Sukhlalji was not a Jain monk but he was the well
respected Jain scholar of the present century. He was born in
Gujurat, India. He lost his total vision while he was sixteen
years old, yet he attained to the highest scholarship which was
publicly recognized by the government of India. He lived a
long, simple, useful, and pious life. He gave many years of his
services to Gujurat Vidyapith an institution pioneered by
Mahatma Gandhiji. He died on March 3, 1978 in Ahmedabad, the
industrial capital of the state of Gujurat.
Shree Ratnaraj Maharaj requested Pandit Sukhlalji to review his
book with him. Pandit Sukhlalji stayed in a house outside the
town and it was not possible for him to go to the monk's
residence (Upashraya) again and again for review purpose. He
therefore suggested that the work be revised only at his
Eventhough Shree Ratnaraj Maharaj was a monk, but he was very
simple by heart and humble, agreed. At a fixed hour daily he
went to the residence of Sukhalalji and read the book chapter by
chapter. He noted all his comments to the book. The review
was over within a few weeks.
If Shree Ratnaraj Maharaj had asked Sukhlalji to come to the
Upashraya, then other Jain followers (Sangha) could have
arranged transportation for Sukhalalji to come to Upashraya.
However, Shree Ratnarajaji was very humble and had no pride of
his status. How could such a great soul put Sukhalalji to
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