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Onward she passed seeking the soul’s mystic cave.

At first she stepped into a night of God.

The light was quenched that helps the labouring world,

The power that struggles and stumbles in our life;

This inefficient mind gave up its thoughts,

The striving heart its unavailing hopes.

All knowledge failed and the Idea’s forms

And Wisdom screened in awe her lowly head

Feeling a Truth too great for thought or speech,

Formless, ineffable, for ever the same.

An innocent and holy Ignorance

Adored like one who worships formless God

The unseen Light she could not claim nor own.

In a simple purity of emptiness

Her mind knelt down before the unknowable.

All was abolished save her naked self

And the prostrate yearning of her surrendered heart:

There was no- strength in her, no pride of force;

The lofty burning of desire had sunk

Ashamed, a vanity of separate self,

The hope of spiritual greatness fled,

Salvation she asked not nor a heavenly crown:

Humility seemed now too proud a state.

Her self was nothing, God alone was all,

Yet God she knew not but only knew he was. [1]

What is Humility?

A healthy humility [is] which makes you realise that unless you are sustained, nourished, helped, enlightened, guided by the Divine, you are nothing at all. There now. When you have felt that, not only understood it with your mind, but felt it down to your very body, then you will begin to be wise, but not before. [2]

True Humility

[True] Humility is that state of consciousness in which, whatever the realisation, you know the infinite is still in front of you. The rare quality of selfless admiration about which I have spoken to you is but another aspect of true humility; for it is sheer arrogance that refuses to admire and is complacent about its own petty achievements, forgetting the infinite which is always ahead of it. [3]


True humility consists in knowing that the Supreme Consciousness, the Supreme Will alone exists and that the I is not. [4]


It is towards the Divine that you must be humble, an absolute and integral humility. [5]

A Divine Movement

All depression and gloom is created by the hostile forces who are never so pleased as when throwing on you a melancholy mood. Humility is indeed one thing and depression quite another, the former a divine movement and the latter a very crude expression of the dark forces. [6]

False Humility

But that [pride of the ego] is the case with all human beings. All the action is shot through with ego, acts, feelings, thoughts, everything, big or small, good or bad. Even humility and what is called altruism is with most people only a form of ego. It does not depend on having something to be proud of. [7]


Pride is only one form of ego—there are ten thousand others. Every action of man is full of ego—the good ones as well as the bad, his humility as much as his pride, his virtues as much as his vices. [8]


It's very simple: when you say to people, "Be humble," they immediately think of "being humble towards others," and that humility is bad. True humility is humility towards the Divine, that is, the precise, exact, LIVING sense that you are nothing, can do nothing, understand nothing without the Divine, that even if you are an exceptionally intelligent and capable being, that is NOTHING in comparison with the divine Consciousness—and one must keep that constantly, because then one constantly has the true attitude of receptivity. A humble receptivity that sets no personal pretension against the Divine. [9]


Since the time of Adam, it seems we have been choosing to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and there can be no half-measures or regrets along this way, for if we remain prostrate in a false humility, our noses in the dust, the titans or the djinns among us will know all too well how to snatch the Power left unclaimed; this is in fact what they are doing—they would crush the god within us. It is a question of knowing—yes or no—whether we want to escape once again into our various paradises, abandoning the earth to the hands of Darkness, or find and seize hold of the Power to refashion this earth into a diviner image—in the words of the Rishis, 'make earth and heaven equal and one.' [10]

Excessive Humility

…There are people who have what may be called a warped and excessive modesty or humility and who tell themselves, "Surely the Divine has thrown me out, I am good for nothing, He can do nothing with me, the only thing for me is to give up the game, for He finds me unworthy of Him!" [11]

Outer or Religious Humility

I am not speaking of humility as conceived by certain religions, with this God that belittles his creatures and only likes to see them down on their knees. When I was a child, this kind of humility revolted me, and I refused to believe in a God that wants to belittle his creatures. I don't mean that kind of humility, but rather the recognition that one does not know, that one knows nothing, and that there may be something beyond what presently appears to us as the truest, the most noble or disinterested. True humility consists in constantly referring oneself to the Lord, in placing all before Him. When I receive a blow (and there are quite a few of them in my sadhana), my immediate, spontaneous reaction, like a spring, is to throw myself before Him and to say, 'Thou, Lord.' Without this humility, I would never have been able to realize anything. And I say 'I' only to make myself understood, but in fact 'I' means the Lord through this body, his instrument. When you begin living THIS kind of humility, it means you are drawing nearer to the realization. It is the condition, the starting point. [12]

Spiritual Humility

Perhaps one could say that it [spiritual humility] is to be aware of the relativity of what has been done compared with what is still to be done—and also to be conscious of one's being nothing without the Divine Grace. [13]


The more we advance on the Path, the more modest we become and the more we see that we have done nothing in comparison to what remains to be done. [14]


We must learn that whatever our efforts, whatever our struggles, whatever even our victories, compared with the path still to be traversed what we have already travelled is nothing. [15]


Do not think yourself big or small, very important or very unimportant; for we are nothing in ourselves. We must only live to become what the Divine wills of us. [16]


You are becoming very wise and approaching the realisation that we are nothing, we know nothing and we can do nothing; only the Supreme Divine knows, does and is .[17]


Let us first take for granted that pride and impudence are always ridiculous: only stupid and ignorant people are arrogant. As soon as a human being is sufficiently enlightened to have a contact, however slight, with the all-pervading mystery of the universe, he becomes necessarily humble. [18]


However, you need to be humble not only when you have nothing substantial or divine in you but even when you are on the path of transformation. Paradoxical though it may sound, the Divine who is absolutely perfect is at the same time absolutely humble—humble as nothing else can ever be. He is not occupied in admiring Himself: though He is the All, He ever seeks to find Himself in what is not-Himself—that is why He has created in His own being what seems to be a colossal not-Himself, this phenomenal world. He has passed into a form in which He has to discover endlessly in time the infinite contents of that which He possesses entirely in the eternal consciousness. [19]


As for the sense of superiority, that too is a little difficult to avoid when greater horizons open before the consciousness, unless one is already of a saintly and humble disposition. There are men like Nag Mahashoy in whom spiritual experience creates more and more humility, there are others like Vivekananda in whom it erects a giant sense of strength and superiority—European critics have taxed him with it rather severely; there are others in whom it fixes a sense of superiority to men and humility to the Divine. Each position has its value. Take Vivekananda's famous answer to the Madras Pundit who objected to one of his assertions, "But Shankara does not say so." To which Vivekananda replied, "No, Shankara does not say so, but I, Vivekananda, say so", and the Pundit sank back amazed and speechless. That "I, Vivekananda" stands up to the ordinary eye like a Himalaya of self-confident egoism. But there was nothing false or unsound in Vivekananda's spiritual experience. This was not mere egoism, but the sense of what he stood for and the attitude of the fighter who, as the representative of something very great, could not allow himself to be put down or belittled. This is not to deny the necessity of non-egoism and of spiritual humility, but to show that the question is not so easy as it appears at first sight. For if I have to express my spiritual experiences, I must do it with truth—I must record them, their bhāva, the thoughts, feelings, extensions of consciousness which accompany them. What can I do with the experience in which one feels the whole world in oneself or the force of the Divine flowing in one's being and nature or the certitude of one's faith against all doubts and doubters or one's oneness with the Divine or the smallness of human thought and life compared with this greater knowledge and existence? And I have to use the word "I"—I cannot take refuge in saying "this body" or "this appearance",—especially as I am not a Mayavadin. Shall I not inevitably fall into expressions which will make X shake his head at my assertions as full of pride and ego? I imagine it would be difficult to avoid it. [20]

In the Parts of the Being

To be humble means for the mind, the vital and the body never to forget that without the Divine they know nothing, are nothing and can do nothing; without the Divine they are nothing but ignorance, chaos and impotence. The Divine alone is Truth, Life, Power, Love, Felicity. [21]

In Relation to Other Qualities

Peace and Quietude

… The mind, the vital, and the body must learn and feel, once and for all, that they are wholly incapable of understanding and judging the Divine, not only in his essence but also in his action and manifestation. This is the only true humility and with it come quiet and peace. [22]


Silence and a modest, humble, attentive receptivity; no concern for appearances or even any anxiety to be—one is quite modestly, quite humbly, quite simply the instrument which of itself is nothing and knows nothing, but is ready to receive everything and transmit everything. [23]


What the Guru can do for the sadhak depends upon the latter's receptivity—not upon any method or rule of sadhana. Certain psychological conditions or attitudes of the consciousness tend to increase the receptivity—e.g., humility towards the Guru, devotion, obedience, trust, a certain receptive passivity to his influence. [24]


“… humility (is) indispensable for making progress." [25]

To discover one's weaknesses and imperfections is already a great progress. The first step towards progress is a sincere humility. [26]


Sincerity, humility, perseverance and an insatiable thirst for progress are essential for a happy and fruitful life, and above all, to be convinced that the possibility of progress is limitless. Progress is youth; one can be young at a hundred years. [27]


If we know how to accept these spiritual blows with due humility, we are sure to cover a great distance at a single bound. [28]

Trust and Surrender

It is the usual experience that if the humility and resignation are firmly founded in the heart, other things like trust come naturally afterwards. [29]


All can be done by the Divine, the heart and nature purified, the inner consciousness awakened, the veils removed, if one gives oneself to the Divine with trust and confidence—and even if one cannot do so fully at once, yet the more one does so, the more the inner help and guidance comes and the contact and the experience of the Divine grows within. If the questioning mind becomes less active and humility and the will to surrender grow in you, this ought to be perfectly possible. No other strength and tapasya are then needed, but this alone. [30]

Impediments to Humility

Discover in your nature the opposite way of being (benevolence, humility, goodwill) and insist that it develop to the detriment of the contrary element. [31]

Ambition, Pride and Vanity

… the circumstances of life are at each minute organized in such a way that the one who is destined to do the work is confronted with his own difficulties, which he must conquer, and with the difficulties of the world he works in, which he must conquer too. If he has the necessary humility to see in himself what must be transformed so he can become capable of doing the Work, then all goes well. Naturally, if he is full of pride and vanity and believes the whole fault lies outside and there is none in him, then naturally things go wrong. And the difficulties become more pronounced. [32]

… no ambition, no vanity, no pride. A sincere self-giving, a sincere humility, and one is sheltered from all danger. There you are, this is what I call being greater than one's experience. [33]


... you must insist on a complete truthfulness in the whole being which will refuse to accept any denial of what the psychic discrimination sees or any affirmation or consent anywhere to what it disapproves, spiritual humility and the removal of self-righteousness, self-justification and the wish to impose yourself, the tendency to judge others etc. [34]


A spiritual humility within is very necessary, but I do not think an outward one is very advisable (absence of pride or arrogance or vanity is indispensable of course in one’s outer dealings with others)—it often creates pride, becomes formal or becomes in effective after a time. I have seen people doing it to cure their pride, but I have not found it producing a lasting result. [35]

... Let us see, you have an indisciplined, disobedient, insolent pupil; well, that represents a certain vibration in the atmosphere which, besides, is unfortunately very contagious; but if you yourself do not have within you the opposite vibration, the vibration of discipline, order, humility, of a quietude and peace which nothing can disturb, how do you expect to have any influence? You are going to tell him that this should not be done?—Either that will make things worse or he will make fun of you! [36]

Respectable and Virtuous

Yet usually the people whom I have found most difficult to convert are very respectable people. I am sorry, but I have had much more difficulty with respectable people than with those who were not so, for they had such a good opinion of themselves that it was impossible to open them. [37]


It is very difficult for a virtuous man to enter the path of God; this has been said very often, but it is altogether true, for he is most self-satisfied, he thinks he has realised what he ought to have realised, he no longer has either the aspiration or even that elementary humility which makes one want to progress. You see, one who is known here as a sattwic man is usually very comfortably settled in his own virtue and never thinks of coming out of it. So, that puts you a million leagues away from the divine realisation. [38]


It depends first of all upon sincerity—on whether one really wants to receive—and then... yes, I believe the principal factors are sincerity and humility. There is nothing that closes you up more than vanity. When you are self-satisfied, you have that kind of vanity of not wanting to admit that you lack something, that you make mistakes, that you are incomplete, that you are imperfect, that you are...There is something in the nature, you know, which grows stiff in this way, which does not want to admit—it is this which prevents you from receiving. You have, however, only to try it out and get the experience. If, by an effort of will you manage to make even a very tiny part of the being admit that "Ah, well, yes, I am mistaken, I should not be like that, and I should not do that and should not feel that, yes, it is a fault", if you manage to make it admit this, at first, as I said just now, it begins by hurting you very much, but when you hold on firmly, until this is admitted, immediately it is open—it is open and strangely a flood of light enters, and then you feel so glad afterwards, so happy that you ask yourself, "Why, from what foolishness did I resist so long?" [39]


At such a moment you see, you understand something; and then the next minute you start your work again with that something gained in you, but without any pretension. What I most fear are those who believe themselves very exceptional because they sit down and meditate. Of all things this is the most dangerous, because they become so vain and so full of self-satisfaction that they close up in this way all avenues of progress.... There is one thing that has always been said, but always misunderstood, it is the necessity of humility. It is taken in the wrong way, wrongly understood and wrongly used. Be humble, if you can be so in the right way; above all, do not be so in the wrong way, for that leads you nowhere. But there is one thing: if you can pull out from your-self this weed called vanity, then indeed you will have done something. But if you knew how difficult it is! You cannot do a thing well, cannot have a fine idea, cannot have a right movement, cannot make a little progress without getting puffed up inside (even without being aware of it), with a self-satisfaction full of vanity. [40]

Why Humility?

How beautiful is this humble role of servant, the role of all who have been revealers and heralds of the God who is within all, of the Divine Love that animates all things.... [41]

Why is Humility Important?

The First Requirement

Whatever is your personal value or even your individual realisation, the first quality required in yoga is humility. [42]


Of course you can [do Yoga without being great]—there is no need of being great. On the contrary humility is the first necessity, for one who has ego and pride cannot realise the Highest. [43]

To Become Conscious of the Divine Force

But if it is your sole preoccupation, if truly, with all your being, you want to become conscious of the divine Force, you will be able to. You can't, simply because you think about it from time to time; when the subject comes up, you ask yourself, "Why, it is true, how can I do it?" And then, the next minute you don't think about it any more. So, how do you expect this to happen? You must be very attentive, you must be very silent, must observe yourself very clearly. And you must be very humble; that is, be willing not to play a great part in all this story. The misfortune is that usually either the vital being or the mental being or even the physical being is very anxious to play a part, very anxious. So it swells up, takes up a lot of place, covers the rest; and it covers it so well that one can't even become aware of the presence of the divine Force because the personal movement of the physical, the body, the vital, the mind, covers everything with its own importance. [44]

To Receive the Divine Grace

It is to have a certain inner humility which makes you aware of your helplessness without the Grace, that truly, without it you are incomplete and powerless. [45]


To receive the divine grace, not only must one have a great aspiration, but also a sincere humility and an absolute trust. [46]

Dissolution of the Ego

A true and sincere humility is our safeguard―it is the surest way to the indispensable dissolution of the ego. [47]

If there is one fundamental necessity, it is humility. To be humble. Not humble as it is normally understood, such as merely saying, 'I am so small, I'm nothing at all'—no, something else ... Because the pitfalls are innumerable, and the further you progress in yoga, the more subtle they become, and the more the ego masks itself behind marvelous and saintly appearances. So when somebody says, 'I no longer want to rely on anything but Him. I want to close my eyes and rest in Him alone,' this comfortable 'Him,' which is exactly what you want him to be, is the ego—or a formidable Asura, or a Titan (depending on each one's capacity). They're all over the earth, the earth is their domain. So the first thing to do is to pocket your ego—not preserve it, but get rid of it as soon as possible! [48]

Indispensable for Purification

Do not be over-eager for experience,—for experiences you can always get, having once broken the barrier between the physical mind and the subtle planes. What you have to aspire for most is the improved quality of the recipient consciousness in you—discrimination in the mind, the unattached impersonal Witness look on all that goes on in you and around you, purity in the vital, calm equanimity, enduring patience, absence of pride and the sense of greatness—and more especially, the development of the psychic being in you—surrender, self-giving, psychic humility, devotion. It is a consciousness made up of these things, cast in this mould that can bear without breaking, stumbling or deviation into error the rush of lights, powers and experiences from the supraphysical planes. An entire perfection in these respects is hardly possible until the whole nature from the highest mind to the subconscient physical is made one in the light that is greater than Mind; but a sufficient foundation and a consciousness always self-observant, vigilant and growing in these things is indispensable—for perfect purification is the basis of the perfect siddhi. [49]


It is necessary to lay stress on three things—

(1) an entire quietness and calm of the mind and the whole being,

(2) a continuance of the movement of purification so that the psychic being (the soul) may govern the whole nature,

(3) the maintenance in all conditions and through all experiences of the attitude of adoration and bhakti for the Mother.

These are the conditions in which one can grow through all experiences with security and have the right development of the complete realisation without disturbance to the system or being carried away by the intensity of the experiences. Calm, psychic purity, bhakti and spiritual humility before the Divine are the three conditions. [50]

Psychic Opening

The direct opening of the psychic centre is easy only when the ego-centricity is greatly diminished and also if there is a strong bhakti for the Mother. A spiritual humility and sense of submission and dependence is necessary. [51]


These three categories of tests are: those conducted by the forces of Nature, those conducted by the spiritual and divine forces, and those conducted by the hostile forces. This latter category is the most deceptive in its appearance, and a constant state of vigilance, sincerity and humility is required so as not to be caught by surprise or unprepared. [52]


Humility and sincerity are the best safeguards. Without them each step is a danger; with them the victory is certain. [53]

[Humility is] the surest shield against all hostile attack. Indeed, in the human being it is always the door of pride at which the Adversary knocks, for it is this door which opens to let him enter. [54]

For Supramental Change

The first indispensable condition to prepare ourselves to receive the new consciousness is a true and spontaneous humility which makes us feel deeply that we know nothing and are nothing in the face of the marvellous things we have to acquire. [55]


It is very unwise for anyone to claim prematurely to have possession of the supermind or even a taste of it. The claim is usually accompanied by an outburst of superegoism, some radical blunder of perception or a gross fall into wrong condition and wrong movement. A certain spiritual humility, a serious un-arrogant look at oneself and quiet perception of the imperfections of one's present nature and, instead of self-esteem and self-assertion, a sense of the necessity of exceeding one's present self, not from egoistic ambition, but from an urge towards the Divine would be, it seems to me, for this frail terrestrial and human composition far better conditions for proceeding towards its supramental change. [56]

Need in Parts of the Being


Humility, a perfect humility, is the condition for all realization. The mind is so cocksure. It thinks it knows everything, understands everything. And if ever it acts through idealism to serve a cause that appears noble to it, it becomes even more arrogant more intransigent, and it is almost impossible to make it see that there might be something still higher beyond its noble conceptions and its great altruistic or other ideals. Humility is the only remedy. [57]


Ignorance always lacks humility—the more ignorant the mind, the more it judges and the more it revolts. [58]


It is only love that can understand and get at the secrets of the Divine Working. The mind, the physical mind especially, is incapable of seeing correctly and yet it always wants to judge. It is only a true, sincere humility in the mind, allowing the psychic to rule the being, that can save human beings from ignorance and obscurity. [59]


The first thing you must do is to learn a little humility and to recognise that you know nothing—you read words, you read prayers, and you repeat the words, you copy the prayers, but you do not understand them; you mix up all these ideas and notions in a brain that is still like a child's, and then you have the illusion of understanding! [60]


You have answered the trustful welcome given to you by an arrogant and uncomprehending attitude, judging everything from the viewpoint of an ignorant and presumptuous morality which could only alienate from you the sympathy so spontaneously extended to you as to all those who come here in quest of the spiritual life. But in order to profit by one's stay here, a minimum of mental humility and generosity of soul is indispensable. [61]


As for the way out of the impasse, I know only of the quieting of the mind which makes meditation effective, purification of the heart which brings the divine touch and in time the divine presence, humility before the Divine which liberates from egoism and the pride of the mind and of the vital, the pride that imposes its own reasonings on the ways of the spirit and the pride that refuses or is unable to surrender, sustained persistence in the call within and reliance on the Grace above. [62]


Humility before the Divine in the physical nature: first attitude needed for transformation. [63]

How to Cultivate Humility?

Mirrors of Truth

What, however, is of genuine worth is the opinion of the Truth. When there is somebody who is in contact with the Divine Truth and can express it, then the opinions given out are no mere compliments or criticisms but what the Divine thinks of you, the value it sets on your qualities, its unerring stamp on your efforts. It must be your desire to hold nothing in esteem except the word of the Truth; and in order thus to raise your standard you must keep Agni, the soul's flame of transformation, burning in you. It is noteworthy how, when Agni flares up, you immediately develop a loathing for the cheap praise which formerly used to gratify you so much, and understand clearly that your love of praise was a low movement of the untransformed nature. Agni makes you see what a vast vista of possible improvement stretches in front of you, by filling you with a keen sense of your present insufficiency. The encomium lavished on you by others so disgusts you that you feel almost bitter towards those whom you would have once considered your friends; whereas all criticism comes as a welcome fuel to your humble aspiration towards the Truth. No longer do you feel depressed or slighted by the hostility of others. For, at least, you are able to ignore it with the greatest ease; at the most, you appreciate it as one more testimony to your present unregenerate state, inciting you to surpass yourself by surrendering to the Divine. [64]


Naturally, when it is a reason of progress, the attitude is not quite the same, for instead of trying to make a good impression, one must first endeavour to know the impression one is actually making, in all humility, in order to profit by the lesson this gives. That is quite rare, and in fact, if one isn't too naïve, one usually attaches importance only to the opinion of those who have more experience, more knowledge and more wisdom than oneself. And so that leads us straight to one of the best methods of cure. It is precisely to come to understand that the opinion of those who are as ignorant and blind as ourselves cannot have a very great value for us from the point of view of the deeper reality and the will to progress, and so one stops attaching much importance to that. [65]

Becoming an Instrument

Learn thou first to be the instrument of God and to accept thy Master. The instrument is this outward thing thou callest thyself; it is a mould of mind, a driving-force of power, a machinery of form, a thing full of springs and cogs and clamps and devices. Call not this the Worker or the Master; it can never be the Worker or the Master. Accept thyself humbly, yet proudly, devotedly, submissively and joyfully as a divine instrument. [66]


When, therefore, the mental being seeks to know the divine, to realise it, to become it, it has first to lift this lid, to put by this veil. But when it succeeds in that difficult endeavour, it sees the divine as something superior to it, distant, high, conceptually, vitally, even physically above it, to which it looks up from its own humble station and to which it has, if at all that be possible, to rise, or if it be not possible, to call that down to itself, to be subject to it and to adore. It sees the divine as a superior plane of being, and then it regards it as a supreme state of existence, a heaven or a Sat or a Nirvana according to the nature of its own conception or realisation. Or it sees it as a supreme Being other than itself or at least other than its own present self, and then it calls it God under one name or another, and views it as personal or impersonal, qualitied or without qualities, silent and indifferent Power or active Lord and Helper, again according to its own conception or realisation, its vision or understanding of some side or some aspect of that Being. Or it sees it as a supreme Reality of which its own imperfect being is a reflection or from which it has become detached, and then it calls it Self or Brahman and qualifies it variously, always according to its own conception or realisation,—Existence, Non-Existence, Tao, Nihil, Force, Unknowable. [67]

Change of Consciousness

Humility before the Divine is also a sine qua non of the spiritual life, and spiritual pride, arrogance, or vanity and self-assurance press always downward. But confidence in the Divine and a faith in one's spiritual destiny (i.e. since my heart and soul seek for the Divine, I cannot fail one day to reach Him) are much needed in view of the difficulties of the Path. A contempt for others is out of place, especially since the Divine is in all. Evidently, the activities and aspirations of men are not trivial and worthless, for all life is a growth of the soul out of the darkness towards the Light. But our attitude is that humanity cannot grow out of its limitations by the ordinary means adopted by the human mind, politics, social reform, philanthropy, etc.,—these can only be temporary or local palliatives. The only true escape is a change of consciousness, a change into a greater, wider and purer way of being, and a life and action based upon that change. It is therefore to that that the energies must be turned, once the spiritual orientation is complete. This implies no contempt, but the preference of the only effective means over those which have been found ineffective. [68]

Constant Effort

You cannot do a thing well, cannot have a fine idea, cannot have a right movement, cannot make a little progress without getting puffed up inside (even without being aware of it), with a self-satisfaction full of vanity. And you are obliged then to hammer it hard to break it. And still broken bits remain and these begin to germinate. One must work the whole of one's life and never forget to work in order to uproot this weed that springs up again and again and again so insidiously that you believe it is gone and you feel very modest and say: "It is not I who have done it, I feel it is the Divine, I am nothing if He is not there", and then the next minute, you are so satisfied with yourself simply for having thought that! [69]

In Parts of the Being


Psychic Growth by Bhakti

You are surely mistaken in thinking that the difficulty of giving up intellectual convictions is a special stumbling-block in you more than in others. The attachment to one's own ideas and convictions, the insistence on them is a common characteristic and here it seems to manifest itself with an especial vehemence. It can be removed by a light of knowledge from above which gives one the direct touch of Truth or the luminous experience of it and takes away all value from mere intellectual opinion, ideas or conviction and removes the necessity for it, or by a right consciousness which brings with it right ideas, right feeling, right action and right everything else. Or else it must come by a spiritual and mental humility which is rare in human nature—especially the mental, for the mind is always apt to think its own ideas, true or false, are the right ideas. Eventually it is the psychic growth that makes this surrender too possible and that again comes most easily by bhakti. In any case, the existence of this difficulty is not in itself a good cause for forecasting failure in Yoga. [70]

Perception of Mental Being’s Incompetence

The questions you asked Mira had no true connection with the vital-physical weakness of which you complain, nor can that kind of practice help you to transmit to the physical the exact light of Truth from the higher consciousness. It was the ignorant Mind in you which was attaching an undue importance to this "practical occultism" and it is the same mind which tries to connect two unconnected things. This mind in you makes the most fanciful mistakes and likes to cling to them even when they are pointed out to you. Thus it erected a sheer imagination about an "interior circle" from which you were excluded in the arrangement of places, took it as a true and "profound" impression and seems to want still to cling to its own falsehood after the plain and simple practical reason of the arrangement had been clearly told to you. It is because of this continued false activity of the mind that you were told to silence the mentality and keep yourself open to the Light alone. What is the use of answering that you are centred in the supermind and living in the Light and that [it] is only the vital physical that is weak in you? You were nearer the supramental when you discovered your mind's entire ignorance and accepted that salutary knowledge. That humility of the mental being and the clear perception of its own incompetence is the first step towards a sound approach to the supramental Truth. Otherwise you will always live in messages, approximations and suggestions, some from the Truth, some from the many regions of half Truth, some from the Twilight and Error and have no sure power to distinguish between them. [71]

The only way to save yourself from these disturbances is through true humility—the humility that consists in knowing that at the moment you are utterly incapable of understanding me and that it is presumptuous stupidity to try to judge me. [72]


… it would be quite disastrous if human intellectual capacities, mental capacities, were to gain control of that [the creative willpower] power—it would be terrifying! It would cause terrible havoc. Hence the need to consent in all humility to become imbecile before being able to acquire it. [73]


Perfect Humility and Modesty It knows the gap between the consciousness of the being using it and itself; but it doesn't suffer from it and has perfect humility and modesty. And it's not surprised or worried, because its "May Your Will be done." That has become an absolute law: "May Your Will be done; it doesn't concern me, I am incapable of judging, nor do I try: may Your Will be done." So then, it's like this (passive, offered gesture). And when it disappears, when it's wholly, completely surrendered and no longer exists by itself, then the Force going through becomes... sometimes it's awesome. [74]


Perception of Body’s Incompetence I have always felt that this attitude of my body perceiving its own imperfection was indispensable in order to keep a living and constant humility in the physical consciousness. [75]

Constant Aspiration

And it's not me! "Me," where is the me?... It's not this, in any case (Mother pinches the skin of her hand), poor this—poor this! It keeps on with its aspiration, and it has the sense all at once of its incapacity, its misery, its powerlessness to express what it should express, and its unworthiness to be an instrument of the Divine. At the same time, it has, first, a sort of increasing certitude of... (how can I put it?) the magnanimity of the divine Presence, which is so marvelous in its effects in spite of the almost total imbecility of all this (Mother points to her own body); all this is really cast in, outwardly cast in stupidity, but with the ardor of such an intense and constant aspiration, with something touching in its humility and trust, and with the sense of its powerlessness and at the same time of this marvelous Presence there, ready and willing to act—if It is allowed to. All that is translated as a sort of film review of all of the body's difficulties, all its powerlessness, all its incapacities, all its darknesses, it's all shown as if on a screen, in order to be dissolved. And then one is a spectator of the dissolution by the Light. It's fantastic. [76]

Common Mistakes

The conclusion is always the same: the only true attitude is one of humility, of silent respect before what one does not know, and of inner aspiration to come out of one's ignorance. One of the things which would make humanity progress most would be for it to respect what it does not know, to acknowledge willingly that it does not know and is therefore unable to judge. We constantly do just the opposite. We pass final judgments on things of which we have no knowledge whatsoever, and say in a peremptory manner, "This is possible. That is impossible," when we do not even know what it is we are speaking of. And we put on superior airs because we doubt things of which we have never had any knowledge. [77]

Humility Towards Other Men

It is very simple, when people are told "be humble", they think immediately of "being humble before other men" and that humility is wrong. True humility is humility before the Divine, that is, a precise, exact, living sense that one is nothing, one can do nothing, understand nothing without the Divine, that even if one is exceptionally intelligent and capable, this is nothing in comparison with the divine Consciousness, and this sense one must always keep, because then one always has the true attitude of receptivity—a humble receptivity that does not put personal pretensions in opposition to the Divine. [78]

Constant Self-Depreciation

It is only this habit of the nature—self-worrying and harping on the sense of deficiency—that prevents you from being quiet. If you threw that out, it would be easy to be quiet. Humility is needful, but constant self-depreciation does not help; excessive self-esteem and self-depreciation are both wrong attitudes. To recognise any defects without exaggerating them is useful but, once recognised, it is no good dwelling on them always; you must have the confidence that the Divine Force can change everything and you must let the Force work. [79]


An excessive depreciation is no better than an excessive praise. True humility lies in not judging oneself and in letting the Divine determine our real worth. [80]

Illusion of Knowledge

Is it desirable to talk with Y about Yoga?

I do not think that it is good for you to talk to people about Yoga in this way—it gives you the illusion that you have something to teach them and it does not foster humility in you. [81]

Humility in Outer Acts

A spiritual humility within is very necessary, but I do not think an outward one is very advisable (absence of pride or arrogance or vanity is indispensable of course in one's outer dealings with others)—it often creates pride, becomes formal or becomes ineffective after a time. I have seen people doing it to cure their pride, but I have not found it producing a lasting result. [82]


It [to feel like doing namaskar to everyone] is a feeling which some have who either want to cultivate humility (X used to do it, but I never saw that it got rid of his innate self-esteem) or who have or are trying to have the realisation of Narayan in all with a Vaishnava turn in it. To feel the One in all is right, but to bow down to the individual who lives still in his ego is good neither for him nor for the one who does it. Especially in this Yoga it tends to diffuse what should be concentrated and turned towards a higher realisation than that of the cosmic feeling which is only a step on the way. [83]

Some Helpful Practices

Let us pray with the humility of the wise and the candid faith of a child; [84]


To prostrate oneself at His feet, giving up all pride in perfect humility. [85]


… we should tell ourselves, "There must certainly be something I can do better than anyone else, since each one of us is a special mode of manifestation of the divine power which, in its essence, is one in all. However humble and modest it may be, this is precisely the thing to which I should devote myself, and in order to find it, I shall observe and analyse my tastes, tendencies and preferences, and I shall do it without pride or excessive humility, whatever others may think I shall do it just as I breathe, just as the flower smells sweet, quite simply, quite naturally, because I cannot do otherwise." [86]


There are only two ways by which we can effectively get the better of the passion which seeks to enslave us. One is by substitution, replacing it whenever it rises by the opposite quality, anger by thoughts of forgiveness, love or forbearance, lust by meditation on purity, pride by thoughts of humility and our own defects or nothingness; … [87]


One must not neglect having a small dose of humility, a sufficient one, and one must never be satisfied with the sincerity one has. One must always want more. [88]

Humility in Physical Transformation

On the surface, it’s [*] a very humble work, nothing sensational. There are no illuminations filling you with joy and…. All that is fine for people seeking spiritual joys—it belongs to the past. [89]


It’s [*] a very modest work, very modest, even from a purely intellectual vantage point. It’s different from the sensation of knowing things because you ARE them, which gives you joy, a sense of progress. It’s not even like that! It is VERY humble, a very humble and unglamorous work, but which keeps on very regularly, with extreme regularity and STUBBORNNESS. [90]


All the powers, all the siddhis, all the realizations, all these things are… the grand extravaganza—the great spiritual spectacle. But this isn’t like that. It’s [*] very modest, very modest, very unobtrusive, very humble, nothing showy about it. It takes years and years and years of silent, quiet and extremely careful work before there can be any visible and tangible results, before anything can be noticed, even for the [Mother’s] individual consciousness. [91]

  • Here Mother is referring to one of the important process for the physical transformation. In which she had a clear perception of the two vibrations, the ordinary physical and the subtle physical, the two permeating each other and one vibration quite naturally changing the quality of the other—the subtle physical vibration was bringing about a sort of… almost a transformation, or in any case a noticeable change in the purely physical vibration and of the physical vibration almost becoming porous

More on Humility

Religious Humility

The view taken by the Mahatma in these matters [of caste] is Christian rather than Hindu—for the Christian, self-abasement, humility, the acceptance of a low status to serve humanity or the Divine are things which are highly spiritual and the noblest privilege of the soul. This view does not admit any hierarchy of castes; the Mahatma accepts castes but on the basis that all are equal before the Divine; a Bhangi doing his dharma is as good as the Brahmin doing his, there is division of function but no hierarchy of functions. That is one view of things and the hierarchic view is another, both having a standpoint and logic of their own which the mind takes as wholly valid but which only corresponds to a part of the reality. All kinds of work are equal before the Divine and all men have the same Brahman within them, is one truth, but that development is not equal in all is another. The idea that it needs special punya to be born as a Bhangi is of course one of those forceful exaggerations of an idea which are common with the Mahatma and impress greatly the mind of his hearers. The idea behind is that his function is an indispensable service to the society, quite as much as the Brahmin’s, but that being disagreeable it would need a special moral heroism to choose it voluntarily and he thinks as if the soul freely chose it as such a heroic service and as a reward of righteous acts—that is hardly likely. The service of the scavenger is indispensable under certain conditions of society, it is one of those primary necessities without which society can hardly exist and the cultural development of which the Brahmin life is part could not have taken place. But obviously the cultural development is more valuable than the service of the physical needs for the progress of humanity as opposed to its first static condition and that development can even lead to the minimising and perhaps the eventual disappearance by scientific inventions of the need for the functions of the scavenger. But that I suppose the Mahatma would not approve of as it is machinery and a departure from the simple life. In any case it is not true that the Bhangi life is superior to the Brahmin life and the reward of especial righteousness. On the other hand the traditional conception that a man is superior to others because he is born a Brahmin is not rational or justifiable. A spiritual or cultured man of Pariah birth is superior in the divine values to an unspiritual and worldly-minded or a crude and uncultured Brahmin. Birth counts, but the basic value is in the man himself, the soul behind, and the degree to which it manifests itself in his nature.

Attitude for Prayer

Sri Aurobindo says in one letter:

“All prayer rightly offered brings us closer to the Divine and establishes right relation with him.”

What is meant by “rightly offered” in this letter? Will You please elucidate?

With humility and sincerity.

It goes without saying that all bargaining spirit is an insincerity that takes away all value from the prayer. [92]

Attitude Towards Sacred Writings

My [Sri Aurobindo’s] method does not allow me to deal with the language of the Upanishads in the spirit of the scholar,—not the pride of the Pandit dealing with words as he chooses, but the humility of the seeker after truth in the presence of one of its masters is, I have thought, the proper attitude of the exegete. In the presence of these sacred writings, so unfathomably profound, so infinitely vast in their sense, so subtly perfect in their language, we must be obedient to the text and not presume to subject it ignorantly to our notions. [93]

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