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Inspiring humility

CHENNAI: Humility is a trait that is most difficult to cultivate, since it has to be genuinely felt and be ingrained in oneself. Conventional wisdom present in the many religious, philosophical, rational and practical teachings unanimously affirms the need to develop humility and eliminate the sense of ego that easily attaches itself to human beings. While an individual driven by ego will tend to boast and attribute personal effort for any achievement, the truly great will acknowledge the grace of God for their success.

Of all the characters in the Ramayana, the personality of Hanuman is inspiring in many respects, said Sri Mathivannan in a discourse, for the exemplary devotion and humility that is reflected in his thought, word and deed. One is attracted as much by his prowess, valour and scholarship, as by his unselfish nature and life devoted to selfless service. It was no mean accomplishment when he broke the tight security in Lanka and entered Ravana's fortress described as impregnable even to a whiff of breeze or a ray of the sun. Using his wits, wisdom and suave manners of speech and action, he not only gave Sita the tremendous reassurance of Rama's imminent visit to Lanka to rescue Her from Ravana's clutches, but also achieved the impossible task of getting an audience with Ravana, and taking the opportunity to burn Lanka when his tail was set on fire. Deep inside Hanuman believed that it was by chanting the Rama Nama that he crossed the ocean, and that all his courage and prowess that helped him overcome hurdles and accomplish so much single-handedly was due to the power and grace of Rama.

In great people like Hanuman there is no trace of ego, and hence they are able to honestly ascribe their achievements to the grace of God rather than to their effort. Such modesty that is genuinely felt and realised in one's inner self instils complete devotion to God. The thought of the smallness of the individual against the backdrop of the infinite universe should be ever present. It is only this realisation that can elevate an individual from the worldly level towards devotion to the Supreme Being who is responsible for this Universe and its intricate mechanism.

Really great deeds speak for themselves. Does one know the names of the sculptors who had carved the marvels on stone in Ajanta and Ellora?

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