The Apparent Paradox: Self-confidence and Humility

Hare KrishnaBy Mahatma Das

How do we maintain self-confidence, yet feel ourselves a fool before our spiritual master? How can we be confident and simultaneously feel unqualified to serve Krishna? Aren’t self-confident people somewhat proud or arrogant? We are ordinary people engaged in an extraordinary process, a process that will make us extraordinary. Thus, our confidence lies not in ourselves, but in the power of the process of bhakti. With Krishna’s divine power and intelligence guiding us, we know we will succeed. In the Caitanya Caritamrita, a brahmana from Avantidesa confidently states, “I willcross over the ocean of nescience.” Why is he so confident? He believes he is assured of success because those who have already traveled the bhakti path have succeeded. His confidence is, “I am walking the same path, so I will also succeed.” I can feel lowly, even useless, yet still be confident that Krishna can use me to do wonderful service. It’s even possible, by the grace of the guru, that a disciple can do more than his spiritual master, even though feeling totally unqualified to serve (actually, he does so much because of feeling unqualified to serve). Externally, Prabhupada achieved more than his guru. Yet, he always gave credit to his spiritual master.