Vol 4 Issue 5
Humility, Tolerance and Devotion - The Keys to Happiness
By being humbler than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree and offering all respects to others and expecting none in return, one can chant the holy names of the Lord constantly (and thus experience ceaseless spiritual happiness)." These immortal words of wisdom spoken by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu hold the key to peace and bliss in today s world where domestic and global conflicts erupt over trifles. Celebrated as "the Dancing God", Lord Chaitanya (1486-1534) is popularly known for His widespread propagation of divine love by the congregational chanting of the holy names. Lord Chaitanya is also esteemed among scholars for his delineation of the philosophy of achintyabhedabheda tattva, simultaneous unity and diversity of the soul and God; united in devotional love, distinct in individual identity.
Lord Chaitanya explained that we are spiritual beings, the eternal loving children of God. Thus our real happiness is in reviving our dormant devotion for God. Humility and tolerance are the virtues necessary for awakening this divine love and entering into the world beyond and also for living peacefully in this world. Humility, sometimes misconstrued as a weakness, is actually a power that few people tap nowadays. Srila Prabhupada, the founder-acharya of ISKCON and the foremost follower of Lord Chaitanya in the modern times, defines humility as "freedom from the anxiety of having the satisfaction of being honored by others." Pride, the opposite of humility, makes us crave for honor from others as our source of happiness. Pride thus makes us slave to the possessions and positions, which bring that honor for us. Consequently pride makes us perpetually insecure, worried about whether others are honoring us or not and whether our acquisitions the pre-requisites for that honor - are safely in our control or not. Humility, on the contrary, rewards freedom from the craving for external honor and constitutes the springboard for finding inner fulfillment.
Similarly, lack of tolerance makes us a slave and victim of our circumstances, whereas tolerance rewards the freedom to become fixed in our goals, irrespective of our circumstances. A relative behaves unreasonably, a colleague speaks impolitely, a power cut upsets our plans hundreds of such situations offer rich premiums for the tolerant. Srila Prabhupada succinctly summarizes, "One's greatness has to be estimated by the ability to tolerate provoking situations."
Thus humility and tolerance constitute our spiritual muscles. And just as we can develop our physical muscles by appropriate bodily exercises, we can increase our humility and tolerance by the spiritual exercise of chanting the holy names of God.
Investigating Reality from the Higher
Dimensional Perspective of Vedic Wisdom