Outer Humility

In order to be deserving of the Lord's Grace we have to empty the heart of vainglory, for, unless a vessel is empty, it can contain nothing. Because of humility Kal and Maya cannot affect us. All the Saints have adopted it and adorned themselves with it.

What is false pride or vainglory? To be proud of a virtue we do not possess, or we possess merely as a gift from some one else, is false pride. We do not deserve to be respected or honoured because we belong to a noble family of great deeds or because our ancestors selflessly gave in charity. We can understand it from an example. Lord makes some one a treasurer. He has in that capacity heaps of money. How can he be proud of that? They are in trust with him and have to be disbursed according to the directions of the owner. If the treasurer is proud of this money, it is false pride. The owner can remove him whenever he likes. Similarly, a man may be riding a horse while putting on a costly costume and may feel proud of it. All this pride is misplaced. In reality, it is the horse or the costume or the tailor who made it, who should feel proud. It would be meanness on his part to snatch and appropriate the credit for this. Another person is proud of his beautiful hair, fair face, soft hand or healthy body and walks about the streets like a bloated bag.

Such pride is false; pride such as this is due to that all powerful Creator and nature which made him or to the soul granted by the Lord.

The Guru has said: "Oh Nanak, those who are proud without virtue are really donkeys."

A man who is proud without possessing the virtues is really a donkey. One should be thankful to the Lord for His gifts.

By whose Grace you have a beauteous face, always remember that wonderful Lord. By whose Grace you have got this good species, always remember that Lord day and night. By whose Grace you have a diseaseless body, contemplate that Lord with love.

Gauri M5, 270:3, 5

Another person is proud of his knowledge and talent. He is not entitled to this pride. This is due to the teacher who taught him and the intellect given to him by the Lord. Of what should a man be proud in this world? People are proud of wealth and property. These are evanescent like the declining shade. People are proud of youth, which is lost in disease and old age. In the first place, these do not remain the same but if they do, it is only for a short time. These fall like leaves of a tree.

Wealth, Youth and Flowers last for a short time. like the Pabban (a small lotus plant) leaves, they wither away as they sprout.

Sri Rag M1, 23-5

Let those who are proud of family and its members see with their open eyes the value of getting entangled in the attachment of children and lured by their sweet talk and antics. Man is like a guest for the night who has to leave in the morning. Being here for a night it is useless to build schemes for ages. Houses, temples and wealth change like the shade of a tree.

This world is like a sarai (resting place) visited by persons who constantly give place to others. Body, son, wife, family, etc., which he considers eternal, are with him for a few days only and would then have to be given up. None of these would accompany him.

It is therefore useless and in vain to be proud of them. These are like a dream.

Why are you falsely proud of this world which is like a dream? Nothing is yours in it, says Nanak.

Salok M9, 1428-8

Worldly pride and grandeur is like the saffron plant which multiplies when trampled upon. If one turns his back on worldly pride and pays attention to Reality, its realization increases constantly.

The real beauty belongs to the soul in which dwell love, coolness, peace and calmness and through which the body is glorified. The body in which the Lord dwells is indeed beautiful.

The body is the beauteous bride With whom abideth the Lord. Eternally she enjoys the love of her spouse catching hold of the Master's Word.

Suhi M3, 754-6

That knowledge is blessed and really praise-worthy which is utilized in trying to understand the Lord and in singing His glory. All other knowledge becomes the cause of our shame, for by swelling our ego it leads us millions of miles away from the reality and only the pride of knowledge remains.

It is generally observed that people parade their qualities in order to attain position and honour. In this way they become seekers after honour, titles and positions. Only that position or prestige is praiseworthy which springs in the heart of others because of our being full of virtues and owing to the tall stature of our simplicity and humility and not that gained by propaganda or spending money. Such pride and glory is to be despised.

The flowers that grow out of earth are beautiful. They however wither when plucked and rubbed between the fingers. They lose their freshness. Their scent and colour disappear. Those who enjoy the smell and colour of the flowers from a distance are happy. When they bring their noses in contact with them and smell them for a long time, it has a bad effect and somtimes the hidden poison makes them deleterious. Similar is the case with worldly rank and honour.

To love virtues and to make an effort to acquire them make us full of them. But to run after honours and positions and to try for them keeps us away from reality and makes us despicable. It leads to the fall of our soul. We should aim at realizing the Lord and not try for that which keeps us away.

Give up worldly pride. When the beloved is found one feels happy.

Bilawal M3, 808-10

It is true that one who finds pearls does not amass heaps of shells. Those who seek the Lord do not run after outer show and glory. They remain happy in the will of the Lord and the greatness of their soul can be glimpsed in whatever work the Lord puts them on.