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Cultivating humility and guarding against pride
August 2, 2010  |  radhanath-swami

Richard had chosen the life of a beggar, sleeping on riverbanks or under trees, searching for God by exploring holy places, and learning spiritual lessons on the way. He believed God was pushing him to seek more truths. From Varanasi, Richard travelled to Pashupatinath at Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. Being a foreigner he was rejected entry into the temple of Lord Shiva by the guards. Richard was crestfallen as he had travelled long distances in train and rear of trucks, with much hope to discover a spiritual meaning to life. At much risk, he covered himself with sacrificial ashes and attempted to enter the temple again. This time not only the guards didn’t recognize him, they dragged him to the central altar of God and honored him with an exclusive opportunity to see and worship God in the temple. Richard was overwhelmed by this turnaround and felt deeply humbled.

“Did he not recognize me in my disguise or was he aware who I was and simply honoring my determination? This I will never know. Whatever the reason, I was deeply humbled. I had defied human law and deserved to be beaten, but God is merciful. Standing before the altar, my limbs covered with ashes, my drab ascetic robes, and tangled, matted hair awkwardly covered with silks and flowers, I squeezed my tearing eyes shut, joined my palms and prayed that I would be shown my true path as I continued my journey.”

Reflecting on this incident, I felt it’s easy to be humble when we fail, but to be humble, prayerful and grateful during success reveals the substance of a person’s character. Before an important event in my life, like exams, a lecture programme or a critical meeting, I have been nervous and intensely prayerful. However if the event turns out to be successful, I am not as prayerful as before the event. I offer a customary ‘thank you’ to God and riding the wave of success, forget about the desperation I had before the event. There is pride in the heart and a feeling that my hard work and preparation merited the success. Reading Radhanath Swami’s mood of gratitude and humility after he made it to the altar of the temple has taught me a lesson on humility and prayer; it’s equally important to be humble and prayerful during success.

Radhanath Swami celebrates the success of his students but as a loving father guards them from the dangers of pride creeping into the heart. He says, “I become extremely happy when I hear all of you doing well, but I also fear that pride may enter the heart and spoil everything.” Once one of his students gave a series of excellent talks in Mumbai on spiritual science, and thousands attended daily. News of the glory of his student reached Radhanath Swami, who was at the time in America. He promptly wrote a letter to his student, thanking him for the service and congratulating him for the success. He also cautioned at the end of the letter, “Please be humble. Souls greater than both you and me have fallen away from spiritual life, due to arrogance and pride. Carefully guard against pride by cultivating humility, and never think yourself to be better than the most menial servant who washes pots in the temple.”

Radhanath Swami’s tireless efforts have created an excellent community of spiritual seekers in Mumbai. People from all over the world come to Mumbai to learn from him. When he was recently honored for this successful project, he humbly revealed his state of consciousness, “I am not responsible for all this success. I am simply a cheer leader, standing on the side, and watching it all happen. I simply keep cheering as all of you are doing wonderful things”. Despite engineering many successful projects, his consciousness is immersed in giving credit to his guru. “This is my guru’s sense of humor that he is allowing me to be used as an instrument despite my unlimited disqualifications.” Radhanath Swami is a shining example of one striving for excellence in pleasing guru and God, and simultaneously meditating on one’s own disqualifications.

Whether success or failure, Radhanath Swami says we should be humble and make this honest confession to God, “My dear Lord, I was nothing, I am nothing, I will be nothing and You are everything”.

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177 Comments


  1. Who can be a better teacher than Radhanath Swami to teach this qualities to others? Radhanath Swami is a perfect example of humility personified.

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  2. “My dear Lord, I was nothing, I am nothing, I will be nothing and You are everything”.
    Everything one needs to know about spiritual life is in above statement.

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  3. thank you for sharing this article. after reading it, i just aspire and pray to be able to imbibe a fragment of his teachings in my life in order to serve his lotus feet efficiently….

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  4. Thank you for the article. HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj always wants the devotees to be humble and Radhanath Swami Maharaj himself is a very wonderful example for the same….HH Radhanath Swami Maharj ki Jai.

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  5. I like the humility that Radhanath Swami displays personally. He adds himself also in bringing out the point to his disciple.

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  6. What a determination! swami ji!

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  7. Radhanath Swami has taught me the best prayer to pray:
    ““My dear Lord, I was nothing, I am nothing, I will be nothing and You are everything”.

    This is perfect mood to pray which I need to develop. WOW!

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  8. This attitude of Humility of Radhanath Swami is really heart transforming because he walks his talks.

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  9. Jagdish Majethiya

    Great read – Radhanath Swami is Humility personified.

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  10. Srila Radhanath Swami says, “This is my guru’s sense of humor that he is allowing me to be used as an instrument despite my unlimited disqualifications.” It is out of genuine humility that a Spiritual leader like Srila Radhanath Swami is saying like this to set an example and standard that this is the mood that all spiritualists must aspire to cultivate. All glories to Srila Radhanath Swami!!

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  11. Whether success or failure, Radhanath Swami says we should be humble and make this honest confession to God, “My dear Lord, I was nothing, I am nothing, I will be nothing and You are everything.”very important lesson to be remembered in all times. I pray this statement always etches in my heart.

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  12. We are time and again reminded by Radhanath Swami to remain humble and keep ourselves insulated from pride and arrogance.

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  13. Beauty of Radhanath Swami is that the foundation of all principles is Humility. Thats his focus always!

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  14. radhanath Swami always emphasis on being humble in all his discourses because he himself is extremely humble

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  15. This is such a powerful point Radhanath Swami has brought out! “Whether success or failure, Radhanath Swami says we should be humble and make this honest confession to God, “My dear Lord, I was nothing, I am nothing, I will be nothing and You are everything”.If only we could undertand the true meaning of this statement

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  16. ““My dear Lord, I was nothing, I am nothing, I will be nothing and You are everything”.
    the above statement/prayer implies that humility is an essence of advancement in spiritual life.

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  17. Such a profound teaching !!

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  18. We often read the extreme degree of humility of great souls – however we cannot understand – no intellectual adjustment also seems to be possible – how can someone be so humble?

    When we see Radhanath Swami’s example we can only begin to understand and see the unlimited depth of humility

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  19. Humility means Radhanath Swami. Thank you so much for sharing this principle.

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  20. Radhanath Swami firmly believes that all the results of our activities (whether success or failure) is just the mercy of the Lord and devotees. Splendid incident to meditate on through out the day.

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  21. “to be humble, prayerful and grateful during success reveals the substance of a person’s character”. The way Radhanath Swami reacts to success it shows his excellent spotless humble & spiritually rich character. Simply Amazing…

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  22. Very nice article; its true then in difficult times our intensity of prayers is different then in good times….Radhanath Swami has amazing humility in his heart which, in his every discourse, he begs people to develop for successful spiritual life…..

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  23. Radhanath Swami has tought his students to be just instruments … and Instruments never takes any credit.

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  24. Thank you very much for sharing.

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  25. Thank you very much for sharing .

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  26. Thanks a lot maharaj

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  27. Shoba Ramachandran

    By reading about Radhanath Swami Maharaj and his loving care and affection and guidance for his spiritual daughters and sons, I find myself ashamed of all bad qualities within me. I sincerely pray to Guru and Krishna to bless to follow in the footsteps of great souls like Radhanath Swami.

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  28. Radhanath Swami’s sincerity and determination was reciprocated by Lord Shiva. Instead of feeling proud to be a ‘special one’ to take close darshan, he is feeling humble and glorifying the Lord.
    I am praying to have a fraction of such a grateful heart.

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  29. shyam bihari das

    I pray to Krishna to give me just a fraction of the humility that Maharaj has, and my life will be successful. Hari Bol!

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  30. “To be humble, prayerful and grateful during success reveals the substance of a person’s character”. Such a deep statement can only be made by person who walks his talk. Thank you very much Radhanath swami maharaj

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  31. Maharaj is a living example of one who is genuinely humble. Thats how he can teach this most sublime principle to all of us.

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  32. MANISH VITHALANI

    I am births away from gaining such humility, if at all.

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  33. Only a humble student can be a great teacher

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  34. Radhanath Swami always reminding for to be humble as this is the essense of Spiritual life.

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  35. What an humble teacher and a student. Maharaj is not only a great and wonderful student but also fantastic teacher who knows how to curb his students in the right path.

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  36. It so very very important to guard against pride by cultivating humility.

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  37. Very Important lesson taught by Radhanath Swami is to see the hand of God at every incident that happens – good or bad and consider it as a blessing! Thank You Radhanath Swami 🙂

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  38. truly,Radhanath Swami is Humility personified.

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  39. Radhanath Swami often reminds us in his discourses to abandon our pride & false ego otherwise we risk destroying our spiritual life. According to him, the only & most effective way of doing so is to become humble & totally dependent on God’s mercy.

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  40. His teaching always give us new hopes and understanding to become deeply determined in the service of Guru and Gurang.

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  41. “it’s equally important to be humble and prayerful during success.” If all of us try and imbibe this teaching of Radhanath Swami in our lives, world around us would be a better place.

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  42. So heart touching! It’s so true how we forget to be grateful and in role of an instrument when everything goes well… Thank you for enlightning this point.

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  43. I Thank Radhanath Swami for showing & Inspiring to take up the right path in the life which is so grossly misled by materialistic society.

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  44. This article about Radhanath Swami’s focus on humility even after success is the most difficult to learn and internalize. There was the difference between amanitvam and adambitvam I heard a few days ago – this is a rare combination which Radhanath Swami has and is teaching it to everyone through his lectures and actions.

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  45. To be humble in any situation requires great character and a sincere understanding of what is our position in this entire creation. In our familiar surroundings we like to blow trumpet of our petty achievements, at times we may not be very open about doing it ,but each one knows the ‘I’ factor in him. Radhanath Swami always stress on the point of humility and leads by his own example.

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  46. This true story of HH Radhanath Swami brings in lot of inspiration to so many hopeless people like me. Truly HH Radhanath Swami is one of the greatest saints.

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  47. Radhanath Swami Maharaj is undoubtedly free from any arrogance and pride. What I admire the most is his untiring efforts in saving everyone from falling to these lower nature.

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  48. humility and service attitude can help one overcome this trap of being arrogant and ungrateful

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  49. It is very difficult to cultivate humbleness during success by attributing all our success to the Lord. It is due to our pride which spois our devotional life. Maharaj is warning about that. To be in conciousness that we are very insignificant and mere intrument of the Lord and the cause of any success is only due to the blessings of Guru and the Lord only can be learnt from this meditation. I pray at the lotus feet of Maharaj that I develop the strength to cultivate this quality of humbleness and guard against anarthas in practice of Krishna conciousness. Thanks for this wonderful meditation.

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