Once, Shankaracharya was travelling towards the Himalayas along with all his disciples. On their way, they came across the vast river bed of Alaknanda. One of the disciples started praising Shankaracharya by saying, “O Acharya! How much knowledge you have! Just look at this Alaknanda river flowing before us. It has such a holy and vigorous flow! But it is nothing when compared with your knowledge. Your knowledge is vast like an ocean.”
On hearing this, Shankaracharya dipped the staff held in his hand into the water. After a few moments, he took them out of the water and showed to the disciple and said, “Just see the quantity of water that has clinged to my staff. Only one drop.” Shankaracharya smiled and said further, “What do I say about my knowledge? Only one small drop of water from this vast river clinged onto my staff. My knowledge is just like this small drop when compared to the vast ocean of knowledge present in the universe.”
If such a learned person like Shankaracharya says so about his knowledge, how can we boast about our virtues ?
Moral: We should not have ego about the virtues we possess.