We all have this intrinsic nature to achieve greatness. We have never been taught to aim for perfection or to desire to be great, yet this urge always remains within us. Have you ever thought about why?
The Vedas gives two definitions of Brahm- वृहत्वात् ब्रह्म (Vrihatvat Brahm)-the one who is the greatest and बृहणात्वात् ब्रह्म (Brihanatvat Brahm)- the one who makes others great.
We, the soul which is just a tiny part (anshi) naturally gets attracted towards its greater whole (ansh) the Supreme Soul or the Brahm. This is the law of attraction. Therefore, knowingly or unknowingly everybody aspires to be always blissful, all-powerful, all-knowing, immortal, invincible, etc. Because these are all the qualities of God.
However, we do not realize that there is a gap between who we are and what we want to be. We want to be great, famous and we want people to respect and listen to us. But who we are in reality- this is a piece of knowledge we haven’t discovered yet.
Once Socrates was lost in deep contemplation while he was strolling alongside. Suddenly he bumped into a man. The man scorned him, “Can’t you see where are you going, who are you?” Socrates replied, “My friend, I have been pondering over this question for the past 20 years, please tell me if you know the answer.”
The Vedas inform us that we are the soul and this body of ours is merely made of the five gross elements – Earth, water, fire, space, and air.
छिति जल पावक गगन समीरा । पंच रचित अति अधम सरीरा ।।
Swami Vivekananda said, “Thou are not bodies, thou are not mattered, thou art spirits blessed free and eternal. The matter is your servant and not you the servant of matter.” Therefore, we are tiny parts of God and have existed ever since God has existed. We are the energy of God. The very reason for our existence is that Supreme Personality – God.
Why do we not realize this knowledge? Due to our ignorance of infinite lifetimes. We have highly mistaken ourselves to be the body. We think of ourselves to be merely a composition of chemicals. This in turn has resulted in boosting our pride. Our ego blows up to the extent that we think that this world has been created for our pleasure. A man was once tracing the route of River Ganga. He had a map in his hand and he was checking if the route on the map matched the flow of the actual river or not. As he was moving along, there came a point where the map was flowing towards the left while the Ganges was flowing to the right. He immediately grumbled, “How can this be? The Ganga should flow according to my map. It is not following my map. This is not right.”
Think about it. Should the map follow the river or should the river follow the map? Similarly, we ought to contemplate, should we follow the will of God or should He follow our will? It is we who should follow and accept God’s will and not the other way round.
What is the way of following His will? HUMILITY. Realizing that we are like glow worms in front of the sun and accept our insignificance.
The Tao Te Ching teaches: “Instead of trying to be the mountain, be the valley of the Universe.” Jesus of Nazareth also stated, “When you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place so that when the host comes, he may say to you, friend, move up higher. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Saint Kabir has put this very nicely:
ऊँचे पानी न टिके, निचे ही ठहराय । निचा होय सो भरी पिये, ऊँचा प्यासा जाय ||
“Water does not remain above; it naturally flows down. Those who are low and unassuming drink (God’s grace) to their heart’s content, while those who are high and pompous remain thirsty.”
Hence, when we kneel down and cry out to our Master, he will definitely embrace us. We have to inculcate the sentiment, ‘O Lord, I am nothing but by your grace I can move the biggest of mountains.” Swami Vivekananda was once taking a walk with a few devotees. A little schoolboy also joined them. Swami Vivekananda pointed out to the boy something that was down. Despite repeatedly pointing it out, the little boy couldn’t understand what he was pointing at. At once Swami Vivekananda knelt down, caught the shoes of the little boy, and tied up the shoelaces.
Thus, the one thing that makes great personalities great is the virtue of humility. Let us today chastise our ego and take the very first step towards greatness. Let us not just aspire but turn our dreams into reality. Let us imbibe the most elevating quality ever – the quality of humility.