It is not easy to attain true humility. A man went to a Sadhu and with a great show of humility said, “Sir, I am a very low person. Tell me O master, how am I to be saved.” The Sadhu read his mind and found out that he was not really humble, but was only pretending to be so. So, he told him to go and bring that which was meaner than himself. The man went in search of that and looked all around but found nothing whatsoever which was meaner than himself. Then he went to answer the call of nature and when he saw his own excreta he felt that it was something certainly worse than himself. When he stretched out his hand to collect it for the purpose of carrying it to the Sadhu, he suddenly heard a voice from within the human waste saying, “Don’t touch me O sinner. I was a sweet and delicious cake with a wonderful appearance, fit to be offered to God, but my misfortune brought me to you and by your evil contact I have been reduced to such a condition that men run away from me turning away their faces with handkerchiefs covering their noses. Only once did I come in contact with you and this is my fate. To what deeper degradation would I be thrown into if you touch me again is anybody’s guess.”
The man was struck by humility and became the humblest of the humble and as a result, he attained the highest perfection.
Using the above analogy Sri Ramakrishna taught how difficult it was to be truly humble. Quite often even without one’s knowing one becomes proud and egoistic. Unless one is extremely careful and is endowed with a deep sense of Viveka and Vichara, it is not possible to develop true humility.