|He that is down needs fear no fall,
He that is low no pride,
He that is humble ever shall,
Have God to be his guide.
Lord Swaminarayan says in his Vachnamrutam, "If one remains equipoised in the dualities of honor and insult, between an honorable ride over an elephant and a humiliating ride on a donkey, and between the charms of a young woman and the deformity of an old hag, between heaps of gold and of dross, he gains the power to sustain God within him fully and thus becomes totally possessed by God."
God ordains, be it Good or Bad
Meister Eckhart in a homely parable writes : "There was a learned man who, eight years long, desired that God show him a man who would teach him the truth. And once when he felt a very great longing, a voice from God came to him and said, "Go to the church, and there shalt thou find a man who shalt show thee the way to blessedness." And he went thence, and found a poor man whose feet were torn and covered with dust and dirt, and all his clothes were hardly worth three farthings. And he greeted him, saying : "May God give you a good day."
"I never had a bad day," he answered.
"God give you good luck."
"I have never had ill luck," the poor man replied.
"May you be happy!"
"I have never been unhappy."
"But why do you answer me thus? Pray explain this to me, for I cannot understand it."
The poor man answered, willingly : "You wished me good day. I never had a bad day; for if I am hungry I praise God; if it freezes, hails, snows, rains, if the weather is fair or foul, still I praise God; am I wretched and despised, I praise God, and so I have never had an evil day.
"You wished that God would send me luck. But I never had ill luck, for I know how to live with God, and I know that what He does is best; and what God gives me or ordains for me, be it good or ill, I take it cheerfully from God as the best that can be, and so I have never had ill luck.
"You wished that God make me happy. I was never unhappy; for my only desire is to live in God's will, and I have so entirely yielded my will to God's, that what God wills, I will."
"But if God should will to cast you into hell," said the learned man, "What would you do then?"
"Cast me into hell? His goodness forbids! But if He did cast me into hell, I should have two arms to embrace Him. One arm is true humility, that I should lay beneath Him, and be thereby united to His holy humanity. And with the right arm of love, which is united with His holy divinity, I should so embrace Him that he would have to go to hell with me. And I would rather be in hell and have God, then in heaven and not have God."
Then the learned man understood that true abandonment with utter humility is the nearest way to God.
Simplicity and Humility
In the Vedas also, the devotees pray unto God, "Even if you cast us into hell, do remain with us so that we can do your devotion."
Simplicity and utter humility are the two sovereign helps on the path of devotion whereas pride and hypocrisy are the two great obstacles.
God, Himself, has ever remained modest performing the lowest form of 'seva' (service) and disregarding the insults hurled upon him.
Lord Swaminarayan, during his stay at Loj in the ashram of Ramanand Swami, washed the clothes of the sadhus, brought water from the well, swept the floor, picked cow dung for fuel, performed every kind of 'seva' in the most humble fashion.
Shree Krishna cleaned up dishes during the Rajsu Yagna performed by the Pandavas.
Durvasa humiliated Shree Krishna by spattering butter on his face and treating him and Rukmani as horses to pull his chariot. Krishna, though an incarnation of God, acted like a humble servant without crossing the barrier of calmness.
Once, on entering Anand, Lord Swaminarayan was pelted with stones, bricks, cow dung and garbage by the unbelievers. The Lord didn't retaliate nor thought of cursing them. He even stopped his angered royal disciples like Sura Khachar and Jiva Khachar from fighting the mischiefmongers.
Nishkulanand Swami writes in the Bhaktachintamani, "How could a devotee even think of acquiring pride when God is ever humble."
Once a sadhu struck Shastriji Maharaj with a stick so forcefully that it broke into two. Shastriji Maharaj calmly picked up the broken pieces and handed them back to the sadhu.
Once Yogiji Maharaj was engrossed in his morning puja. A person put a banana skin on Yogiji Maharaj's head. Swami picked up the skin and put it aside without showing the slightest trace of annoyance.
Mulji Brahmachari was excommunicated by Lord Swaminarayan for an unaccountable mistake. The Brahmachari had realised the greatness of the Lord. He knew that although he was not at fault the Lord had insulted and driven him away. And besides his excommunication he was also forbidden to wear shoes and to eat sweet or oily foods. Inspite of the Lord's seeming injustice, Mulji remained unperturbed. He remained steadfast in his devotion to the Lord. On his having passed the tough test, Lord Swaminarayan accepted him back into His service.
An uncultured man spat on Eknath while returning from his morning bath. Without a word of reproach, Eknath went to the river Godavari and bathed again. This act was repeated a hundred and eight times. Eknath won the man through his humility. The man fell at his feet and asked for forgiveness. Eknath thanked him saying, "It was very kind of you to give me a chance to bathe in the sacred Godavari a hundred and eight times."
Annoyed with Socrates, his own wife poured a bucket of water on her husband. Laughing, Socrates thanked her, "I was feeling so hot from outside. You have cooled me down." His wife felt ashamed of her mean act.
Abraham Lincoln possessed a magnanimity rare in public figures. But Edwin Stanton had denounced him as a low cunning clown. Yet Lincoln appointed him the secretary of war for he found that he was the fittest man for that place. His colleague complained that even as a cabinet member Stanton called the president a fool. Lincoln calmly replied, "I reckon it must be true, for Stanton is generally right." No wonder that a repentant Stanton, sobbing at the bedside of the assassinated president declared, "Here lies the greatest ruler of men the world has ever seen."
Finally let us ponder upon a humble thought :
Humility is the seed,
Of character fertility.
Sow it in your heart,
In order to keep you in one part.
Water the seed,
To perform good deeds.
Serve the meek and the humble,
And seek the divine preamble.
Let this body bend high and low,
For many births have we struck blows.
Be humble to God and life,
Make this the closing chapter to all strife.