(Kadamba Kanana Swami, April 2012, Zurich, Switzerland, Srimad Bhagavatam 1.5.34)
By nature, we are weak! The weakness manifests in many ways. Earlier, I spoke about lust but another quality by which the inherent weakness of the living entity manifests, is in pride. We are all very proud and we always take pride in something. This pride is the greatest danger in spiritual life because it is through pride that we become careless in following the process and in respecting our superiors. It is through pride that we think, “I know, I know, I know, I know very well.”
It is due to pride that we commit offences and deviate. It is through pride that we spoil this rare opportunity to go back to Godhead this lifetime.
So we have to cultivate humility, which is very difficult. Many times the question is being asked, “How can we become humble?” Well, one answer is that it begins by becoming honest because as soon as we are honest, we have to admit that we are not perfect. Anybody who is a little bit honest knows that actually, I have some faults… I am not great… I am small. This kind of honesty is what can help us to cultivate humility.
So one must practice this… one must always say to himself, “I have a lot to learn.” At any time in life, even when one is at ninety-nine years old. So in this mood of humility, we can remain careful to serve the vaisnavas, to take shelter of Srimad Bhagavatam, to take shelter of the holy name, to remain grateful for devotional service because as soon as one becomes proud, sooner or later, one will experience service as a burden.
“Oh God, why do I always have to do this service? I don’t know why in this temple that nobody is ever ready to do this and somehow or other, I always have to do this!!”
This is where pride came in and humility was lost. This is where gratefulness was lost. When we are humble, we are grateful.
“I am so fortunate that I am allowed to do this service. I am getting all the mercy. I don’t deserve it. Why am I getting it, I don’t know.”
Such gratefulness is just the opposite of pride. The key is this attitude of gratefulness and humility in spiritual life. We are always thinking that I am being blessed. Yesterday, we were remembering Bhakti Tirtha Maharaj who in his final days would say, “I was blessed by the best!”