Ages ago, Saint Bhrigu of India had a desire to find the most humble form God had ever taken. He wandered all over the Himalayan Mountains and other holy places in search of an incarnation of God he could accept as a guru. But, since he wanted an example of humility to follow, he determined that the God he followed must have this attribute.

He met many saints, whom he questioned as to where he could find such a god-guru. After a strenuous search, he found that all the saints he met gave him the names of the same three forms of God– Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu, who was then incarnated as Krishna—and assured him that one of them was sure to be the right one.

Saint Bhrigu heard that Brahma could create anything, that Shiva could destroy anything, and that Krishna (Vishnu) could preserve anything from annihilation, for they represented the creative, destructive, and preservative principles active in all creation.

Bewildered as to who was the humblest and greatest of the three, Bhrigu conceived an unusual plan to test them. His great powers, gained through meditation, enabled him to leave his body and find God, in the form of Brahma, on the astral plane. Without much ceremony of introduction,  he began to criticize him in a very disrespectful manner. “Hey, Brahma, what is the matter with you? Why don’t you stand up and greet me when I come?”

Brahma was astonished at the audacity of this mortal man and retorted, “Do you know to whom you are talking?” “Yes sir,” said Bhrigu, “of course, I know that I am talking to that despicable God who is the creator of vermin, plagues, mosquitoes, diseases, criminals, and all ugly things in creation. Why don’t you reform yourself and create only good things?” Brahma was beside himself with wrath and threateningly replied, “Get back to earth before I convert you into a stone by the gorgon gaze of my will.”

Saint Bhrigu laughed at him and left, saying, “Oh no, you cannot hate me or make me into a stone, for God and I are One.” Brahma suddenly awoke from his error and apologized. Bhrigu said, “I forgive you Brahma, but I am disappointed not to have found in you what I hoped to find.”

Bhrigu then repaired to Shiva, who was getting ready to meditate on all the things beyond their prime that must be brought to an end. As soon as Bhrigu’s eye met Shiva’s gaze, the saint shouted savagely, “Hey Shiva, you grand cosmic killer. Why don’t you stop shattering worlds, murdering innocent babies, and inventing ingenious death-dealing devices? Why don’t you cease destroying the beautiful and useful things of the earth and get busy annihilating the wicked things?

Shiva could not believe his ears –– that a mortal man like Saint Bhrigu could be so audacious in his speech. Shiva shouted, “Shut up, or I will reduce you to ashes with the burning magnetism of my spiritual eye.” Saint Bhrigu derisively retorted, “Fine. Use you your spiritual eye. Go ahead. I dare you to burn up the God in me, you grand killer!”

Shiva, who had been nearly paralyzed with anger, became speechless at the awakening words of Saint Bhrigu, who soon melted away from his sight, saying, “Oh, what a disappointment you are.”

At last, almost despairing because he could not find the world’s most humble God, Saint Bhrigu skeptically resorted to the third God—Vishnu, who controlled the preserving principle of the cosmos. But this time he stayed on earth and sought out the prophet Krishna, in whom these great powers were manifesting. Saint Bhrigu found Krishna sound asleep on a sofa in his palace. He stood there for a moment observing the halo of peace radiating from Krishna’s face. Then, unable to think of any way to test him, in a fit of emotion Saint Bhrigu kicked Krishna on the chest, shouting, “You sleeping fool. Wake up. See who is here.”

Krishna awakened with the sweetest, most loving smile and immediately embraced the foot Saint Bhrigu was using to kick him. While massaging his foot, he said gently, “Ah, my lord Bhrigu, is your foot hurt?”

Saint Bhrigu, beside himself with both remorse and joy, cried out, “I have found him. I have found him. O Krishna, thou art the world’s most humble being, even as God is. Thou art, O Krishna, the greatest, the most humble form of God. You can teach me. I accept you as my Guru. Will you accept me?” And Krishna accepted Bhrigu as his disciple.

Now, dear friends, you realize that if you want to know the greatest of all beings, our God, you must be humble, for the humble man makes an altar for God in himself, and establishes his altar of humility in the heart of everyone he meets.

From the 1934 Praecepta Lessons.


  1. Jai Guru! It was wonderful to read this after all those years of my childhood when my mother had narrated this mythological story to me, glad to have been reminded by my Guru once more and that too with the message it imparts. Beautiful!

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