A MAN went to a sadhu and said with a great show of humility: "Sir, I am a very low person. Tell me, O Master, how I am to be saved." The sadhu, reading the heart of the man, told him, "Well, go and bring me that which is meaner than yourself." The man went out and looked all round but found nothing whatsoever meaner than himself. At last he saw his own excrement and said, "Well, here is something which is certainly worse than myself." He stretched forth his hand to take it up and carry it to the sadhu when suddenly he heard a voice say from within the ordure: "Touch me not, O sinner. I was a sweet and delicious cake, fit to be offered to the gods and in appearance so pleasing to all the spectators. But my ill-fortune brought me to you, and by your evil contact I have been reduced to such a detestable condition that men run away from me with faces turned and with handkerchiefs covering their noses. Once only did I come in contact with you and this has been my fate. What deeper degradation may I not be thrown into if you touch me again?"

The man was thus taught true humility and became the humblest of the humble. As a result he attained the highest perfection. (101)