Question : Beloved Osho, The dictionary definition of humble is: “having or showing a consciousness of one’s defects or shortcomings. Not proud, not self-assertive, modest.” is a rebel humble? Is there more to the definition of humble?
Osho : Dhyan Nidhi, the dictionary definition of humble is one thing, but to know humbleness as an experience is totally another. The dictionary is the world of words, and humbleness….
So, do you want to discuss the word `humble’ or the experience of humbleness? They are totally different things. The word `love’ will have a dictionary meaning, but the experience of love will be a totally different thing. So always remember, the dictionary meaning is not relevant in this gathering of mad people. Their search is for the living experience, not for dissection of dead words.
The dictionary meaning almost always falls short of the actual experience. For example, the dictionary meaning of humble is, “Having or showing a consciousness of one’s defects or shortcomings. Not proud, not self-assertive, modest.” All these three things have to be understood.
First, the man of humbleness is not an exhibitionist; he does not show a consciousness of his defects or shortcomings. A man of humbleness simply is no more; he exists without an ego, without a personality. And without a personality you cannot have shortcomings and you cannot have defects. These are possessions of the ego. That’s why ego feels a deep inferiority complex whenever it sees some defect, some shortcoming.
The dictionary meaning is that if the ego accepts and shows its shortcomings and defects to people, it is humble. But the existential humbleness simply means egolessness: there is nobody to experience defects, there is nobody to compare oneself with others as being inferior, as having shortcomings.
Second, the dictionary meaning says, “not proud.” Anybody who says, “I am not proud” will be proud of this very fact. He will declare loudly, “I am not proud,” and if you say, “I am even more humble than you, even less proud than you,” he will feel offended. He is proud, but from the back door. The true humbleness knows nothing of pride or no pride. Just a small child … does he know if he is proud or not proud? The sage comes back to the same state of innocence; he is neither proud nor not proud — he is not aware. The very ego that could have decorated itself with being non-proud is missing.
The dictionary meaning again says, “not self-assertive.” A man who is not self-assertive is bound to be self-repressive: where will the assertion go? The self is there, the ego is there. He may not assert it — then he will have to repress it, but a repressed ego is more dangerous than an ego which is assertive because the repressed ego goes on accumulating, and you are sitting on a volcano which can erupt any moment.
The authentic humbleness knows nothing of assertion or repression. Do you think a roseflower is assertive because it is opening in the morning sun and blossoming, and because it is spreading its fragrance to the winds? It is simply natural; there is no question of assertiveness. Whether anybody sees the flower or not will not make any difference, whether anybody passes by the side of the flower or not will not make any difference. The flower will go on dancing in the wind, in the rain, in the sun, will go on spreading its fragrance; it is simply natural.
The humble man is just like a flower He is not assertive, he is not repressive, he is simply natural. When he blossoms, fragrance comes out of him. When he becomes enlightened, he radiates light. Love overflows … his compassion is so abundant that it has to be shared with others. It is not assertiveness. Do you think that when a rain cloud showers it is assertiveness? What should a rain cloud do with its rain? It becomes heavier and heavier and heavier; it becomes a burden. It has to share its rain with the thirsty earth. A humble man is simply natural. And whatever grows in this naturalness — whatever blossoms, whatever fragrance, radiation comes out of naturalness, without any effort on his part — is a happening, it is not a doing.
It may appear to egoistic people as assertiveness, that the roseflower is asserting its redness, its fragrance; it is doing a kind of PR job, inviting people to see, inviting people to smell, declaring to the world, “Look, is there any other rose better than me?” But this is your own projection. You are not being kind to the poor roseflower. He is not doing any PR job, it is just his nature.
And finally, the dictionary says, “the humble man is modest.” But a man without ego — how can he be modest? Modesty means you have an ego but you have controlled it. You have made boundaries, limits; you have cultured it, you have made it civilized. But it is very thin … skin-deep. All your so-called modest people, just scratch them a little bit and immediately their barbarous ego will be out.
A truly humble man has not practiced humbleness. It is not his discipline, it is his understanding and it is his renouncing of the ego. He is not modest, he is simply what he is. You will interpret him according to your own projections … somebody will think that he is too proud, somebody may think he is too self-assertive, somebody may think he is very humble. But it will depend on you. He is only a mirror; he will simply show your face. Dictionaries cannot do justice to real experiences of life, particularly experiences which go beyond mind.
Dhyan Nidhi, you are asking, “Is there more to the definition of humble?” These are not the definitions of humble at all! The dictionary cannot understand what humbleness is. To understand humbleness, you don’t have to go into a library, you have to go into meditation. You don’t have to consult a dictionary, you have to consult your own being. There you will not find any definition, you will find the real thing — humbleness itself. And don’t be satisfied until you have found the real thing. As far as religious experiences are concerned, dictionaries are absolutely useless, because religion is not part of linguistics; it is something beyond language.
Source : Osho Book “The New Dawn”