Humility propels us on the journey from self-absorption to Krishna-absorption
People sometimes ask, “Isn’t humility demeaning and disempowering to oneself?”
No, actual humility is elevating and empowering, freeing us from self-absorption in all its forms, including the two extremes of self-congratulation or in self-recrimination. During self-congratulation, we obsess over how great we are – how talented, special, cool we are. Such self-obsession can degenerate to megalomania. During self-recrimination, we obsess over how bad we are – how untalented, ordinary, uncool we are. Such self-recrimination can trigger inferiority complex, depression and even suicidal urges.
Humility enables us to go beyond such self-absorption to absorption in some higher purpose. Gita wisdom introduces us to the highest purpose: the purpose of love. At our core, we are all souls, spiritual beings, who long to love and be loved. And this innate longing for love is best fulfilled when directed towards the eternal, all-attractive Supreme, Krishna. Underscoring that his all-attractiveness is appreciated by the knowledgeable, the Bhagavad-gita (07.19) states that they surrender to him, understanding him to be everything.
Later, the Gita (13.08-12) states that knowledge comprises twenty qualities, which begin with humility. This knowledge is not theoretical but is transformational. It is the knowledge of bhakti-yoga, the kind of all knowledge (09.02), the knowledge that changes our object of love from the world to the source of the world, Krishna.
In fact, humility works symbiotically with bhakti-yoga. Humility, the doorway to knowledge, liberates us from the self-absorption that entraps us in the cocoon of our own little world. And devotion, the culmination of knowledge, enables us to become absorbed in Krishna.
The combination of humility and devotion is both elevating and empowering. Elevating because we gain profound higher spiritual satisfaction when we focus on Krishna, the source of all pleasure. And empowering because his omnipotent grace helps us forever break free from unfulfilling, binding self-absorption.
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