Question: What words of advice do you have for a person who is trying to keep ego and pride in their proper places? In other words, how can one develop humility and wipe out the ego?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two types of ego. One ego says, “My and mine: there the reality ends.” The other ego says, “God is mine. The Almighty, the Infinite, is mine. How can I bind myself to an individual or to a family or to anything limited and limiting?” That ego does not bind; it frees. That is divine ego, or you can say that it is not ego, but it is the feeling of inseparable oneness with the Infinite Vast. An ordinary human being is satisfied with an individual or with the members of his family, but a spiritual seeker will be satisfied only with Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. When the divine ego comes forward, each aspirant can say, “I am God’s chosen child. How can I do this? How can I be so mean, how can I be so selfish, so undivine?” This feeling will always save us.

The Christ said, “I and my Father are one.” An ordinary human being might say, “How could he say such an egotistical thing?” But a seeker will say, “He is absolutely right. He has realised the Highest, and it is on the strength of his realisation that he says this.” An ordinary, unaspiring human being who is in the world of desire may feel that God does not exist, or he will say, “God is God. He is in Heaven and I am here on earth. I have no connection with Him.” But a seeker knows, “If God exists, then no matter where He is, there I, too, exist. There is no separation. Who brought me into the world? God. Who is the Source? God.”

Each time the undivine ego comes forward, we shall have to spread our wings and fly in the firmament of divine Reality. Then the undivine ego will die. The ego that binds us will disappear, and in its place will be the ego that gives us the feeling of universal Oneness. Then we will feel our reality; we will feel our life-breath in each individual. We will not be bound at all.

Now we come to humility and other divine qualities. In the spiritual life we have to know that three things are of paramount importance. First is simplicity. If we do not have a simple life, we cannot knock at God’s Door, and God will not be able to knock at our door. Then comes sincerity. If we have no sincerity, then it is useless for us to enter into the spiritual life. In the ordinary human life, we may be insincere and still become successful. But this success is only partial and temporary. In our spiritual life we do not get even an iota of success if we are not sincere. Only a really sincere seeker can make true spiritual progress. But he knows that simplicity is not enough and sincerity is not enough. Something else is needed, and that is humility.

This humility is not humiliation. We will not allow someone to lord it over us, to kick us all the time. No, this humility is our soul’s light spreading everywhere. God is the Highest, the Omniscient, the Omnipotent. But He descended; He condescended to enter into each human being. This is what our soul’s light tells us. When an ordinary human being gets thousands of dollars, he is bloated with pride. He will not talk to poorer people; it is beneath his dignity to mix with them. He feels that he has become very great. But look at the divinity of a tree. When a tree is not bearing fruit, it stands upright. But when it is loaded with fruits and flowers, when it has the real treasure, the real wealth, the tree bends down to offer us the fruits. When the tree is in full possession of its divinely given wealth, it bends down to offer it to humanity.

In the spiritual life, the higher we go, the greater is our self-offering. This self-offering is not an act of self-aggrandisement. We offer ourselves because we feel that only by offering what we have and what we are can we become totally one with the rest of the world. There is no feeling of superiority; there is only a feeling of oneness. And this feeling of oneness comes from the soul. When the soul’s light is offered to the world at large, it takes the form of humility. If a child wants something from his mother, she has to bend down to give it to him because she is so tall and he is so small. The seekers of the infinite Truth have to bend down to offer something to unaspiring, sleeping humanity. This humility of ours comes only from sincere aspiration. In sincere aspiration we see Light and grow into Light. And this Light has to be spread. It can be spread only when we have a genuine concern for the manifestation of God on earth. If the fruits remain on the topmost bough of the tree, they will be inaccessible and no one will be able to eat them. But when we see that the tree itself is bending down and eagerly offering its wealth, then we appreciate the tree’s kindness and generosity. So when we have peace, light and bliss, we have to offer them. The act of self-offering is a manifestation of God; and self-offering is achieved through humility, which is the light of the soul.