Humility – A Mark of True Greatness

“Coolie! Coolie!” hailed a fashionably dressed young man just after alighting from a train. But there was no coolie nearby. A gentleman who was simply clad heard the call, went up to the young man and said, “Can I help you?” Handing over a suitcase to him, the young man said, “I would like you to carry it for me as far as my hotel.” “No problem,” said the gentleman. And the two walked side by side. When his destination came, the young man took charge of the suitcase and offered the stranger some money by way of a tip, which the latter politely refused. The matter seemed to end there.

The next day, the young man had to go to a public place to listen to a great Indian scholar by the name of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. This was his reason for coming to the village. And imagine his embarrassment when he found that the learned speaker was none other than the stranger who had played ‘the coolie’.

The scholar’s greatness lay in his humility. The is a saying: Learning imparts humility, Charles Newton, a great scientist and mathematician said, “I am like an urchin playing on the seashore with pebbles while the whole ocean of learning lies unexplored before me.”

Extracted from 'Self Empowerment' by Bridget Menezes (Malaysian author)


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