So humility is the key element in our spiritual life. Humility means that we are ready to put our own ideas aside, and that is an essential element in humility. It is not that necessarily one is always walking with the head a little bowed down, looking at the ground with folded hands – that may not necessarily be humble. Humble is simply that we are ready to accept others as our superiors and we’re open to accept guidance from others. That is true humility. So humility must not be mistaken for externally acting very timid and keeping oneself always in the background; that is not true humility. True humility, rather, is simply submitting oneself before superior persons and ask, “What should I do?” That is true humility. It’s not simple. To take guidance of the vaisnavas, to take guidance of the scriptures – that is humility. To hold the scriptures in such high esteem and say, “Yes, these scriptures will become the guidelines in my life”, that is humility.
We can see that we don’t have it, that rather we are practicing and under the circumstances we’re trying to have a humble attitude but it’s very difficult to take shelter of superiors – very hard, very difficult. Our independence is very great and we’d rather figure it out ourselves. “Is everything fine?” “Yes, yes, very fine…” And then afterwards – it’s total chaos but somehow or other we’ll work it out because we rather not take the risk that someone else tells us to do something we don’t like. So humility requires that we are ready to allow others control our lives, that is a big thing.
This theme of humility is a major theme in spiritual life and that is why we are looking at it – because it can purchase the Lord.
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, March 2008, Durban, South Africa)