Silk-Cotton Tree of Humility

October 24, 2023

Vahiguru ji ka Khalsa, Vahiguru ji ki Fatih!

Guru Nanak Sahib, in the fourteenth pauri-ballad of Asa ki Var, the Song of Hope, employs the metaphor of the silk-cotton tree to illuminate a universal truth. This truth transcends boundaries and resonates globally with people from all walks of life.

The silk-cotton tree is straight as an arrow, very tall and thick. Those birds who come having hope return hopelessly, for what reason? Its fruits are bland, its flowers tasteless, and its leaves are useless. O Nanak! Sweetness lies in the lowly; this is the essence of all virtues and goodnesses.

The silk-cotton tree stands tall and thick, its imposing presence a facade of strength. Birds approach with hope, seeking nourishment from their flowers and fruits, yet they depart disheartened, for these offerings are empty, lacking scent and taste, and their leaves are of little value.

We pause.
We reflect.

We often seek guidance from those who appear mighty and influential, but all too frequently, their words are hollow devoid of substance. Why does this happen? The sweet inner humility, the essence of all virtues and goodness, is missing.

The absence of humility raises essential questions. What good is power if it lacks the sweetness of humility? What good is impressiveness without the essence of humility? What good is service if it is devoid of the grace of humility?

Humility is not about passivity but rather the absence of self-importance. It acknowledges that everyone on this planet occupies a unique place on the spectrum of human development. Those who embody humility can acknowledge their accomplishments while recognizing the value in each person they encounter.

To be humble is to acknowledge that others may be more or less advanced on the broad spectrum of human experience. Embracing humility means we are open to learning from others, recognizing that their unique life experiences have shaped them differently. It requires us to set aside envy, embrace flexibility in our interactions, and seek wisdom from unexpected mentors to foster our personal growth.

Humility, at its core, is a delicate balance. It allows us to celebrate our worth, sincerely believing everyone is just as worthy.

In a world where silk-cotton trees stand tall and mighty, the inner sweetness of humility truly nourishes the spirit, connecting us with the deeper meanings and truths of existence.

May we embrace the sweet inner humility.
May the Wisdom-Guru be with us!

Watch, Listen, Read

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