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Humility and tolerance
October 22, 2010  |  radhanath-swami

Richard (now Radhanath Swami) soon learnt that one of the most special devotees in Vrindavan was Krishnadas Babaji. Krishnadas Babaji would sing devotional songs with great absorption and often struggled to restrain tears. Although he was seventy years old, he was like an inexhaustible volcano, erupting with ecstasy each time he chanted the Lord’s holy names. Richard learnt that Babaji knew fluent English but never spoke a word of it until it was absolutely required. Richard was particularly impressed by this because he had met many in India who would try to show off even little bit of English they knew. But babaji had no trace of arrogance.

In Krishnadas Babaji’s association, Richard’s misconception that silent meditation is the path of spirituality was shattered. He saw the obvious power of Babaji’s knowledge, detachment and love, and concluded that chanting and dancing is not sentimental but a deep expression of love for the Lord. Babaji spoke with great feeling about Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who descended five hundred years ago and distributed love of God in the easiest possible way.

Radhanath Swami recollects that Krishnadas Babaji was empowered to chant the holy names constantly because he had no trace of pride and sought no adoration. While teaching young Richard (now Radhanath Swami), Babaji revealed the essence of Lord Chaitanya’s philosophy that one should strive to be  more humble than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree, and to offer all respect to others while expecting none for one’s self. Only in this way one can taste the nectar of the Holy Name.

Humility, sometimes misconstrued as a weakness, is actually a power that few people tap. Radhanath Swami, quoting his guru, says, “Humility means the freedom from the anxiety of having the satisfaction of being honoured by others.” Radhanath Swami also contrasts this by saying that pride, the opposite of humility, makes us crave for honour from others as our source of happiness. When a proud person is disrespected, his lack of freedom becomes appallingly obvious; he is forced by pride to lose his prudence and explode with words and actions, often hurting the other person and even himself far beyond what the situation warrants. Humility, on the contrary, brings freedom from the craving for external honour and empowers us to act for our and everyone’s long-term good. Radhanath Swami’s pearl like wisdom shines forth in his declaration, “Humility doesn’t mean that we let others trample upon us without protesting, but that we don’t let others’ (mis) behaviour determine our decisions and lives. Humility allows us to calmly consider the cause of disrespect and maturely adopt a principled course of action to clarify the situation and rectify the misdemeanour.”

Radhanath Swami gives equal importance to tolerance and considers it to be an underutilized power. A relative behaves unreasonably, a colleague speaks impolitely, a power cut upsets our plans, and another vehicle cuts across our path-such daily situations offer rich premiums for the tolerant. Tolerance empowers us to not let irritating circumstances steal our peace of mind. “Lack of tolerance makes us a victim of our circumstances”, says Radhanath Swami, “whereas tolerance brings the freedom to choose an intelligent response and stay fixed in our values and goals, irrespective of our circumstances.”

Radhanath Swami’s emphasis on humility and tolerance brings to mind an example that one friend gave. Our biceps protect us from physical dangers. Similarly, humility and tolerance protect us from internal over-reactions to externally distasteful situations. Thus they constitute our inner muscles, which we can increase by the spiritual bodybuilding exercise of chanting the holy names of God.

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125 Comments


  1. I liked the last para of essay the most. And Radhanath Swami’s internal muscles are very strong —humility & tolerance.

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  2. This is a beautiful teaching. When we don’t long for recognition from others then we are actually free. We can actually choose our responses and behave in a cultured way rather than react (and many a times over-react).

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  3. Radhanath swami has tapped this power of humility and tolerance.In so many difficult situations of Maharaj was always grateful and ready to learn valuable lessons from it.

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  4. M Pandu Rangayya Shetty

    This world is full of dangers at every step. To get rid of them, one need to be more humble and tolerant. Radhanath Swami very nicely explains this. All glories to Radhanath Swami.

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  5. Very truly mentioned by Radhanath Swami in his book. Infact any person who has made it big in life, (even materially) has exhibited Humility & Tolerance to some extent. These 2 qualities are at the core(the sutras) of happy life even in this material world.

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  6. Radhanath Swami emphasizes humility in almost all his talks….

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  7. Thankyou Radhanath Swami for sharing such a beautiful article

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  8. “Lack of tolerance makes us a victim of our circumstances” – I never thought that tolerance has to such an grate impact in our life. Thank you Radhanath Swami for teaching this valuable lesson.

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  9. Those who have taken the shelter of Holy Name develop this quality of humility & tolerance and that is their real strength.

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  10. Mele Parambottil S

    I never thought that humility and tolerance actually gives freedom. One who is not in posession of these two qualities is actually controlled by the circumstances.Trust H.H. Radhanath Swami to bring out the true essence of everything.

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  11. Arjun K Ramachandra

    Just too good! Thanks a million to Radhanath Swami for empowering us with this knowledge of humility and tolerance. Most people today don’t even consider harnessing these divine qualities, rather it is considered a sign of weakness. But Radhanath Swami has revealed this open secret to all for our benifit.

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  12. Radhanath Swami is the perfect person from whom we can learn about humility & tolerance because he symbolises these qualities in his dealings with others.

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  13. Humility and Tolerance are the qualities which are always practiced to the core preached more by HH Radhanath Swami. Humble like a blade of grass and tolerant like a tree, offering all respects to others and expecting none in return are the words always ring in the lectures of Radhanath swami as these principles of humiltiy and tolerance are the basic foundations for the progress in the path of spirituality for any one and every one.

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  14. Radhanath Swami stresses on Humility as being one of the key qualities to be developed by devotees. Maharaj Himself is humility personified. All glories to Maharaj.

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  15. Humility and tolerance as taught by Lord Chaitanya can actually make one free from anxiety.

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  16. Such a nice lesson in humility to always remember and serve in that mood.

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  17. Last para of the given meditation on Radhanath Sawmi’s book is very heart touching.Humility and Tolereance if we follow in our day to day life then it has capability to protect us from detasteful situations.Thanks Radhanath Swami for such a good guidence.

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  18. Such a noce statement by Radhanath Swami “whereas tolerance brings the freedom to choose an intelligent response and stay fixed in our values and goals, irrespective of our circumstances.”

    Radhanath Swami has not only spoken these words, but if we analyse his life, we will see that he’s lived his life by these words.

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  19. Radhanath maharaj also has such tolerance ,he is guiding so many to develop that tolerance

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  20. Wonderful article. All glories to author Pr. Humility means to be free from the anxiety of having the satisfaction of beign honored by others. Gauranga Pr says, “There is always a tendency to be attneded, appreciated and to gain affection”.

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  21. I believe this must be a great turning point for Radhanath Swami Maharaj to have come in contact with such a pure & advanced devotee like Krishnadas babaji.

    The deeper understanding of the humility and tolerance is very enlightening.

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  22. Very nicely compared the humility and tolerance as inner muscles of oneself. Thank you very much for sharing.

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  23. ‘humility and tolerance protect us from internal over-reactions to externally distasteful situations.’ just fantastic

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  24. sangharatna bhamare

    Tolerance empowers us to not let irritating circumstances steal our peace of mind. “Lack of tolerance makes us a victim of our circumstances”, says Radhanath Swami, “whereas tolerance brings the freedom to choose an intelligent response and stay fixed in our values and goals, irrespective of our circumstances.”

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  25. Siddharth Hindlekar

    Truly, the example of muscles is perfect to describe the power & protection that tolerance yields for the practitioner…Thank You

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  26. very good read. Krishna is so merciful on Radhanath Swami that he arranged the wonderful association of Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj.

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  27. nice explanation regarding humility & tolerance

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  28. “Humility means the freedom from the anxiety of having the satisfaction of being honoured by others.” By Maharaj.

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  29. So wonderful!!!

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  30. Very empowering statement from Maharajah, if we follow it sincerely.
    “whereas tolerance brings the freedom to choose an intelligent response and stay fixed in our values and goals, irrespective of our circumstances.”

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  31. Humility is the touchstone of our spiritual advancement. Without humility this is not possible. Thank you Maharaj. I am still trying to develop humility. Hari Bol!

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  32. Thank you sooooooo much for sharing this. It’s really an eye opener & makes me realize what wrong things I do.

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  33. 99% of our battles/struggles/difficulties in life can be simply overcome when we develop these exalted qualities of humility and tolerance by mercy of of the Supreme Lord and His devotees…

    it is more difficult than climbing mount everest…but worth all the effort…

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  34. Radhanath Swami is teaching us how to experience real inner fulfilment by developing these divine qualties

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  35. Radhanath Swami has said very important quotes on Humility and Tolerance.

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  36. Radhanath Swami always stresses on humility being very important in our daily lives. Thank you Maharaj for embodying this quality.

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  37. Amazing article.

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  38. Very nice…

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  39. Madana Kishore Das

    A very nice and thought provoking article. Thanks maharaj for clarifying the real meaning and strength of humility and tolerance, two of the most under utilized assets we all have.

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  40. Radhanath Swami has given a amazing insight about how a proud person if disrespected, loses his freedom; such a person is forced by pride to lose his prudence and explode with words and actions. This also results in hurting the other person and even himself far beyond what the situation warrants

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  41. Having skills and not showing off untill required is humility. Such a nice observation by Radhanath swami. Thank you.

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  42. If only we could follow Radhanath Swami Maharajs instructions about humility & tolerance the world would be a much better place.

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  43. very beautiful article, haribol, bhakti

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  44. humility and tolerance are 2 most important aspects for a good devotee, one must be humble and submissive at his service and must also be tolerant in situations/circumstances for better results, thank you Maharaj for guiding us on these main qualities, haribol, rajesh karia

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  45. Very nice article. Thank you very much for sharing the same.

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  46. “Humility doesn’t mean that we let others trample upon us without protesting, but that we don’t let others’ (mis) behaviour determine our decisions and lives. Humility allows us to calmly consider the cause of disrespect and maturely adopt a principled course of action to clarify the situation and rectify the misdemeanour.”

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  47. extemel good artical

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  48. Radhanath Swami is the best example for everyone to lead a life where Lord Krishna is the centre. This atomatically makes one lead a disciplined life.

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  49. Thank you Radhanath Swami for enlightening us by making us understand that we can get a bigger ‘high’ by practicing spirituality rather than using cheap material substitutes

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  50. Thank you Radhanath Swami for sharing this

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