13.08: Humiliation is false ego frustrated, humility is false ego rejected
The Bhagavad-gita (13.8) lists humility as the first of the twenty qualities that comprise wisdom. Significantly, the Gita mentions humility in a negative way to convey its subtlety: amaanitvam, absence of the craving for respect.
The craving for respect from others is the driving force of the lives of most people. This craving originates from their false ego, which misleads them into believing that their self-identity is their material body and their self-worth is nothing more than the net worth of their talents and treasures, their positions and connections. Consequently, they parade their assets in the desperate hope of earning respect and when they don’t get the respect that they feel is their right, they feel humiliated. Humiliation, then, is nothing but false ego frustrated.
On the other hand, humility is an entirely different ball game, one that those shackled to false ego can scarcely comprehend. Their lack of comprehension is because the driving force of the lives of the humble is not the craving for respect, but the longing to serve: serve the Lord and serve all living beings as his children. Those who are humble are confident about their self-identity as indestructible souls and they are secure in their self-worth as the beloved children of Krishna. Having thus rejected the fetters of the false ego, they are free to act in the best interests of one and all. Thus, they always act in honorable ways without being bothered about whether people are honoring them or not.