Hin

What is your true religion

O GOD! GRANT ME HUMILITY

In my own lifetime, I have seen and met persons, who rose to the pinnacle of glory. Among these were great scholars whose memory was stupendous and stock of information and learning almost encyclopaedic; there were orators, who kept their listeners spellbound for five or six hours without break; there were war generals, who had commandeered vast armies over the whole continent during the second world war; there were political leaders, who had a special charisma in their personality and who wielded power and swayed over hundreds of millions of people; there were actors or musicians, who enthralled and captivated the hearts of their countless admirers so much that the crowds gathered in no time to have a glimpse of them wherever they went; there were religious preachers, who quoted copiously O GOD! GRANT ME HUMILITY and meticulously from a vast array of scriptures; there were philosophers whose thinking was very deep and understanding; their subject was very profound. There were historians whose vision covered a vast canvas of the past and whose views of the past were penetrating and ideas about the future almost prophetic. 

The Galaxy of Great Men

To be brief, among this galaxy of great men, there were people of amazing excellence and rare merit. They had won high laurels and had carved a niche for themselves. Besides these, there were thousand others, who were towering figures in their own respective fields or disciplines whom I had no chance or occasion to meet personally but I read about some of them in contemporary literature and periodicals of the time or heard about them from my friends. 

These and hundreds and thousands more form just a very small fraction of the total number of men and women of excellence during the last half a century, and if I see these people in the vast panorama of world history – history of civilizations, history of science, history of philosophy, history of arts, etc. – the number of great people whom I met personally would be insignificant indeed.

Men of Strong Will, Enormous Ability and Foresight 

Each one of the eminent persons, whom I had the chance to meet, left different impressions on me. (This is true of those persons also about whom I read about in books.) This was only natural because each one of them had their own individuality, personality, traits and mannerisms. It also mattered what aspect of personality of the great man I paid attention to, and this later, in turn, depended on what my own state of mind was when I met any of them or read about some others.

Impressions on The Mind

However, one thing that impressed me universally was that these great men had an indomitable spirit, a strong will, a high power of resistance that withstood the oppositions and the obstacles. They carried on their efforts with persistence, perseverance, and rare clarity. Moreover, they were able to arrange facts and findings in such a manner that these yielded useful conclusions; or they had the ability to organise men and resources in such a way that they attained targets or goals set by them. They could plan things ahead of time as they had keen foresight. 

The Chance Factor

But this is only half-truth. For, besides their abilities, there was always the chance factor that led them to discoveries, inventions or eminent positions. The chance factor has been a very potent factor in the history of nations as well as individuals. One may call this ‘Destiny‘, ‘Drama‘, ‘Predestination’ or by any other name; but this has always been there. 

Circumstances in their homes, events in their country, happenings in their vicinity or situations in the world of their time were such that they stirred these men into play or provided them with an opportunity to come on to the stage and into the limelight. Remove these ‘chances’ and you would find that these colossi of men were only ordinary or mediocre mortals. This is, however, not to underrate their talents, their abilities and their worthy achievements. These men, no doubt, put in hard efforts; but what is meant to be emphasised is that their efforts and abilities only partially explain their success. I have seen men fall from grace and have read of men, who, later in their life, faded into oblivion or lost all charisma, glory and power when time and circumstances substantially changed. Some of these men have themselves said in their speeches or writings that chance has been a major factor that led them to the summit of success.

No Justification for Pride

When I look at these men from this angle and take proper notice of their fate in the end, I come to the conclusion that there is very little justification for man’s pride. What these men were in their old age, or before their death, or when they were dethroned from high pedestal of power or became infirm, diseased or helpless, is a lesson, which is generally lost sight of in the plethora of details. If we weigh man’s achievements in one or more fields against his errors and failures in other fields, the balance sheet forms no rational base for man’s ego. The plus-points might have at best been slightly higher than the minus-points; but, though the matter has been a cause for jubilation and enthusiasm, it has not been an occasion for arrogance. It goes, therefore, to the credit of those among them, who were not touched by any vanity.

Another thing that I noticed was that when any of the eminent men gave up their bodies, there were condolence messages from national and world leaders and there were obituary references about them in the press or by persons and institutions with whom they had worked. These were revealing in a way for what different people said about them after their death, was more often different from what these people had said of them during their life-time, particularly when the man was hyperactive and, thus, stirred the feelings of jealousy in the minds of others, who were in race for power and position. This is another aspect of greatness. Strange indeed!

The world of great men has been a huge mosaic or a multifaceted and multi-coloured vista to me. From Alexander the Great to Duke of Wellington, Napoleon, Lord Montgomery, Lord MountBatten, General McArthur and General (later president) Eisenhower; from Moses, Confucius, Buddha, Christ and Zoroaster to St. Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi, and a host of other saints; from Angoras, Pythagoras, Kapil, Vyas, Patanjali, Jaimini, or from Aristotle, Plato, Socrates and Stoics to Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Hegel, Kant, Karl Marx and Nietzsche and many others; from Vyas, Valmiki, Homer and Kalidas to Shakespeare, Bernard Shaw and many other litterateurs; from Euclid, Archimedes, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Hippocrates, Newton, Arkwright, Gutenberg, Marconi, Mendel, Pasteur to Max Planck, Einstein and others; from Michael Angelo, Monet Claude, Picasso, Leonardo DaVinci to great artists of the day it has all been a saga of talents in one form or the other. And yet this list does not mention thousands of such others. But I, sometimes, ask myself whether these luminaries had understood the cosmos, realised the self, had known God and had attained the goal of life? Did they feel content as to the mission of their life? Had these giants among men attained full satisfaction and felt that the secrets of Nature – inner and outer lay unto them like an open book? When they left their mortal coils, did they feel that they had a clean chit with them?

When I ponder over the meaning of the term ‘greatness’, my own head bows low, for I am neither a scientist nor a mathematician, nor a writer nor a journalist, nor a bigwig in any other field. Perhaps, this is a chance provided to me to have a feeling of humility. Perhaps, this poverty of talent has provided me with a chance to have God’s grace, for it has been rightly said that He is especially benevolent to the poor and the humble. I am satisfied when I think of this and these words well out from my lips: “O God! Grant me humility. Save me from being surrounded by boasters or men of vanity, for I really feel ill at ease in their company.”

To Find Nearest Rajyoga Meditation Center

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