The Highest Virtue

Infinite Ways to Infinite Bliss
In this section, we present excerpts from the discourses of Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji of Chennai, India.

 The Highest Virtue

“All virtues are contained in the highest virtue – humility. Likewise, all vices are contained in the one vice – pride. The good qualities in a man do not shine forth if he lacks humility. A man may have many vices but if he is humble this shows him to be a person of good nature.

Adi Sankara commences his Shatpati stotra with ‘Avinayam apanaya vishno.’

Avinayam means pride. He prays to the Lord to remove his pride because God graces only those devotees who are devoid of pride.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavan Krishna, in His upadesa to Arjuna says,
‘Tatvittih pranipãtena paripreshnena sevaya’’
– ‘Jnanis know the Tattva. Serve them in all humility and clear all your doubts.’

During the (Pandavas’) Rajasooya Yajna, the hosts desired to perform the first puja for Bhagavan Sri Krishna; but they could not find Him. After a search they found Him at the entrance performing pada puja to all the guests.

Adi Sankara has sung a hundred slokas on Ambal (Divine Mother) in his work, Soundaryalahari. But in all humility, he likens this work (singing the praises of Ambal) to giving ‘argya’ with a drop of water to the ocean that is vast stretch of water and showing ‘karpoora harati’ (lighting the camphor) to the Sun that is a ball of fire.

Kanchi Maha Periyava once gave a detailed discourse on Adi Sankara titled ‘Egoless Acharya’. At another time, while speaking with his close devotees, Maha Periyava said, ‘It is said that sanyasis (ascetics) should not possess any desire. But I have a desire.’
When the devotees asked, ‘What is it?’, Maha Periyava said humbly, ‘I desire that none in the world should know that such a sanyasi lives.’

Many years ago, in a weekly magazine’s Diwali special issue, the replies of dignitaries from various walks of life to the question, ‘What is the lesson learnt by you from the world?’ had been published. This question was also placed before Maha Periyava. Maha Periyava said to them, ‘Every moment the world is teaching me some lesson. But only I do not possess the required maturity to learn.’ This shows his humility.

When Paul Brunton (a foreigner who came to India seeking a spiritual Master and author of the famous book, A Search in Secret India) sought an upadesa from Maha Periyava, Maha Periyava offered him the wonderful advice – ‘Be humble. You will find what you seek.’
Sri Ramanuja, the founder of the Vaishnava sampradaya, at the time of departing from the world after the completion of his ‘avatara karya’ (work of the Incarnation) stood atop the Srirangam Temple tower. Innumerable bhagavatas, sanyasis and vaishnavas had gathered below. Sri Ramanuja said to them, ‘As I was concerned only with the proper execution of the Lord’s work, I might have been harsh to you all. My behavior, while making you involve yourselves in the service of God, might have upset you. Bhagavan will not give me a place in Vaikunta if my behavior had hurt even one of you, a bhagavata. I, therefore, beg your pardon.’

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who established Nama Siddhanta not only said that a bhakta should deem himself to be lower than a blade of grass but he also prostrated to everyone.

Ramana Maharshi has said that he prostrated mentally to everyone who came to have his darshan.

Some proud people who came to have darshan of Yogi Ramsuratkumar in Tiruvannamalai, in the early days, used to wonder if they should prostrate to him or not. Even while they stood wondering Yogi Ramsuratkumar would say, ‘It is not difficult to bow down. I will do pranams.’ and prostrate to those who had come for his darshan.”

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