The importance of Humility and meekness cannot be overstated and one can find countless statements in the scriptures, stressing on the importance of Karpanya, the sixth division of surrender. It is said that just like the trees having fruits are always bending down unlike the erect trees which bear no fruits, similarly, one endowed with true knowledge and good qualities is always humble. Therefore it can be understood that a devotee who is actually advanced on the path of Bhakti, shall surely be humble. This quality of humility can be very vividly seen in all the great associates of Mahaprabhu, like the six goswamis of Vrindavan and others. They were the epitome of humility and although eternal associates of the Lord, they always considered themselves to be very lowly and fallen. This was just to set a good example for all the sadhakas on the path of Bhakti. Arrogance and pride can never exist in a person in whose heart pure love of Godhead has arisen. Following in the footsteps of the previous acharyas, the sadhakas should also endeavour to inculcate the great virtue of humility into their personalities. Sachinandan Gaurahari has also greatly stressed on humility in the third verse of his Sri Shikshashtakam:
tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.
Srila Bhakti Vinod thakur has also presented the same view in the following passage of one of his songs,
tṛṇādhika hīna, kabe nije māni’,
sahiṣṇutā-guṇa hṛdoyete āni’
sakale mānada, āpani amānī,
ho’ye āswādibo nāma-rasa-sār
When will I taste the essence of the Holy Name, feeling myself to be lower than the grass, my heart filled with tolerance? When will I give respect to all others and be free from desire for respect from them?
Understanding the importance of humility, we should all try to give up false ego and be very humble if we desire to make rapid advancement on the path of Bhakti. One must, however, also understanding the meaning of humility. True humility is to understand that we are the eternal servants of the Lord and have no connection to anything material. When one hears someone blaspheming the Lord or his pure devotees, and if he remains quiet at that time, thinking himself to be very humble and elevated, is actually committing an offence at the Lotus feet of the Lord. One must at that time, be very strong and completely defeat the offensive person and glorify the Lord and his associates. Therefore, when we see Vaishnavas getting angry, we should not assume that they are not humble, but rather they are serving the Lord by being strong. But if one takes offence of something said about himself, that shows that the person is still entrapped in the false conception of ego and prestige. A devotee of the Lord considers praise as poison and blasphemy as nectar, and remains aloof in all situations, constantly engaging in the service of the Lord. In this way, one attracts the mercy of the Lord and the Vaishnavas and is able to progress in devotional life.