This is a transcription from Swami Veda’s “Guidelines for Spiritual Living: Yoga in Daily Life.” 1976.
Always try to find opportunities to make yourself small. Always try to find opportunities to make yourself small before others in humility – mental humility – not always trying to assert your bigness, not always asserting your thought that “I am right!” Say, “I’m wrong,” and then you will grow. “Yes, I’m wrong, my mistake, my fault. Yes, it’s my fault.” And sometimes do it even if it is not your fault.
There is the story of an Indian king, a Mogul king. He was one of those kings who never took anything for himself from the treasury. So, though he ruled over whole empire, he made his living by copying manuscripts. In those days there were no printing presses, so books were just manuscripts, and you used the art of calligraphy to copy them.
One day he sat in the court, copying manuscripts, and a great scholar came. The scholar picked up the book that the king was copying, and he started looking over the manuscript and said, “Oh, excuse me, Sir, this passage here shouldn’t be this way; it should be this way. So the king picked up the correcting fluid that they used at that time, that was very essential for calligraphy, and he corrected the passage. The scholar was very happy that he had corrected the king and went his way.
After the scholar left, the king picked the manuscript back up, put correcting fluid over the scholar’s passage and replaced it with the original. It didn’t harm him at all, and it made somebody happy.
It is a fine art to find the opportunities of making yourself small – provided thereby that you are not going to do any harm to anyone – or to do something philanthropic, or to do something that is for the good of others.