Thought Bite: What Is A Great Person?

What makes a great man or woman? Is it money? Fame? Talent?

Often, people with huge bank accounts, especially billionaires, are thought to be great people. But are they really? Perhaps having such a vast fortune in the bank account means someone is good at business, but it might also mean they were lucky, or even that they cheated and conned people to get their money.
Another group of people who are often considered great are the famous. This group is mostly composed of movie stars, musicians and politicians. They may be great actors, great musicians, inspiring orators. They excel in some skill, some talent. But are they great people?

What distinguishes a great person from a person with a great bank account, great fame or great talent? In his book Sadhana–The Path to Enlightenment, Swami Rama says, “The difference between a great man and one who is not great is this: A great man does everything selflessly for others; a small, petty man, who lives like a creature in this world, does all things for himself.”


Swami Rama’s definition of greatness seems spot-on. When I thought of the people in history who were great, the three who came to mind were Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa. These people lived to serve rather than tending to their own comfort, and they laid down their lives to help others.


So, when we think about who is great and who isn’t, let’s be clear what this means.


19 Dec 2021;
07:00PM - 08:00PM
Full Moon Meditation 2020