What is humbleness? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Question: Acharya Ji, what is humbleness?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

‘Humbleness’ is required, or is meaningful, only in the context of an inflated ego.

Because most of us live in stories about ourselves, and those stories cause us a lot of misery, therefore freedom from those stories is needed.

A mind free of stories about itself, is a humble mind.

The story could say everything. The story does not always say, “I am the king of the world.” Often the story says, “I am the most wretched person on this earth.” Nevertheless, irrespective of it’s content, a story is just a story.

So, what is ‘humility’?

To not to live in the stories about oneself.

So, humility is not about having a poor or humble story about oneself. Humility is not about saying, “O! I am the little one. O! I am the speck of dust in this giant universe.” You could have a big story about a big monster, and you could have an equally big story about a little speck of dust. Right?

It is not the size of the character that matters.

It is the story around the character, that is the pain.

When we attempt to be humble, then we just reduce the size of the character, and apparently, relatively, new story comes up. But the size of the story remains the same, we said, irrespective of the size of the central character of the central figure of the story.

Are you getting it?

Therefore, humility is a certain cleanliness.

Humility is a certain absence – an absence of ideas and stories about oneself.

To be humble is to live in the fact of one’s life, irrespective of how the fact appears.

So can we say that ‘humility’ and ‘honesty’ are two different words? Are they? Really? And then, can we say that ‘humility’ and ‘understanding’ are different words?

They are not.

Are you getting it?

If you are not humble, it directly implies that you do not know yourself. Because you do not know yourself, the reaction to the ignorance is, imagination. Why else do you need to imagine? Imagination is a reaction to lack of self-knowledge.

When you do not ‘know’, then you need to weave stories and imagine.

I will repeat this, irrespective of what your story says about you – a story is merely a story.

You cannot be humble as long as you put a lot of trust in your myths, in your stories. The more assertively you declare – “This is how I am” – the more it is certain that you do not know the – I AM. It is a strange thing you see. Knowing ‘how I am’, is an instant distancing from the one, I think I am.

So, the moment you know this thing called ‘I’, you will no more call it the ‘I’, because now you are distanced from it. And to call something as ‘I’, you have to be completely united with it, identified with it.

To know the ‘I’, is to no more be able to call it the ‘I’.

It’s a paradox, you see.

What is ‘humility’ then? To know the ‘I’, and therefore be a little cautious of calling it – the ‘I’.

And then that takes you to a totally different center. When you can no longer call the usual ‘I’, as ‘I’, then how will you operate from that ‘I’? The center itself is gone.

What comes over then?

Well, who knows. Who wants to?

Why bother to know?


Watch the session video: What is humbleness? || Acharya Prashant (2019) The transcription has been edited for clarity.


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