Guiding Light of The Month

Like a flame that burns in silence, like a perfume that rises straight upward without wavering, my love goes to Thee; and like the child who does not reason and has no care, I trust myself to Thee that Thy Will may be done, that Thy Light may manifest, Thy Peace radiate, Thy Love cover the world. - The Mother

From the Editor’s Desk

Humility is the theme that this month’s issue carries. This English word is derived from the Latin word humilitas. The Oxford Dictionary defines humility as being humble, and having a ‘low view of one’s importance.” The root of humilitas is humilis, which means ‘ground’. In Sanskrit, humility is, ‘Namrataa”.  The Mother tells a simple and beautiful story about the skilled flower-artist and his opinion of his work. The man with humility is one who sincerely knows that his work needs improvement or may have flaws unnoticed by him. This man is appearing open to criticism of his work and also improving it with the right suggestions. The Mother points this out as a desirable trait; his behaviour is “pleasing”. This is humility. Perhaps one can understand humility better when considering the opposite of humility, and that is ‘vanity’. Who may be a vain person? It is he who thinks highly of his work, or boasts about it. Accordingly, hearing boastful words or self-praise is not pleasing, one indeed, “smiles” at the person. In such a person, there is no opening for self-improvement as one already feels that he is good and need not look for further improvement. Such a person, who does not have humility, is one who is closed; his world is all done.

There is “…Greatness that is modest” as in the case of King Solomon. Contemplate on this phrase. What does this mean? It will be useful to register all the feelings and thoughts that this statement evokes within one. What does this mean? What is greatness? What are we when we think we have achieved something really great, meaningful? What is our state within? Is there vanity within or humility? When? 

And whichever our response, why is that the case? 

Now, back to humility, the common notion of being humble is generally assumed to be one being modest in the midst of other human beings, to be not vain in the eyes of other human beings and or to have a “low view of one’s importance”, as the definition goes. The Mother and Sri Aurobindo elevate the meaning of true humility by referring to it in terms of the Divine, thereby exceeding the common meaning wrought with and given to limited human tendencies and capabilities. Here’s what The Mother says:

“True humility is humility before the Divine - that is, the precise, exact, living sense that one is nothing, can do nothing, under¬stands nothing without the Divine, that even if one is an exceptionally intelligent and capable person, one is nothing in comparison with the Divine Consciousness. And one has to keep that always, because always one has the true attitude of receptivity, a humble receptivity which does not put personal pretension in the way of the Divine.”

Like the rest of the virtues represented in the Mother’s symbol, Humility is one aspect of the manifestation of the Divine Shakti. Its spontaneous expression in any individual must be a divine grace. Its absence then would only indicate that, though immanent, it is clouded by undesirable elements within the being, which is not part of what the being is in essence. The good news is that once we make an effort to see the cloud, realise the obscurity and ask sincerely for the clouds to be removed or dissipate in Light, then the true quality of Humility may come forward and express itself. But again, it requires a yogic attitude and effort. We still need to ask, simply, for it.

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