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Freedom From The Ego

Pujya Gurudevshri vividly gives specific characteristics of ego to help you spot it in you and enthusiastically march forward towards its annihilation

Enlightened Beings of all religions, from every region, at all times, have concluded that the ultimate goal of all spiritual practices is the annihilation of the ego. As long as you are rooted in the ego, whatever spiritual practices you may follow, be it devotion, study of scriptures, austerities, meditation, etc., they will be unprofitable. Until you have realised your eternal existence and destroyed the ego, your spiritual practices will not bear fruit.

The eternal nature of every being is equally pure. When you establish your identity in your eternal nature and abide in it, you see the same pure nature in all, your ego does not arise. Identifying with your true nature opens up the path to emancipation.

The Focus on Sameness

The saints have the eternal nature of the Self as their focus; they first see pure Self in the other person, so their transactions with others happen with the vision of sameness. When the sameness in all becomes primary, the non-divisive vision blossoms. He then does not discriminate or have likes-dislikes; nor does he see anyone as higher or lower; instead, he sees others as spiritual relatives.

Seeing the differences in others creates divisive vision with strong likes and dislikes. When older, wealthier, or more powerful than the other, you get superiority complex, and try to dominate and exploit the weaker ones. And when younger, poorer or weaker, you get inferiority complex, try to protect yourself or oppose the power and become a rebel. Thus the ego becomes stronger.

You think having an ego will benefit you. You are not yet tired of it. You still have hope in it. You feel that you still have to show your worth to the world. You still want to decorate the prison of ego. The door of the prison is open but the ego is so dear to you that your attachment to it does not even let you seek freedom. You do not fear ego, rather, you fear the annihilation of ego.

Identify the Ego

The saints ask us to see ego as deadly poison and strive to annihilate it. But how would you recognise it? The Enlightened Ones have given the characteristics of ego and the peculiarities of an ego-centred person to help recognise the ego and free yourself from it.

  • (1)Desire to be honoured

    There is a wall between you and God. This ego-wall, ‘I am something, I am the best, I am superior to all and all are inferior to me’ does not let you realise God. You have built this wall yourself and by collecting bricks of appreciation from others, you have adorned your ego so much that you are unable to recognise it as ego. You love the ego-wall and you do not want to break it. You endeavour to find ways so that you are honoured and praised.

  • (2)Fascination for exhibitionism

    The desire to be honoured is so deep that by exhibiting your wealth, skill, and abilities, you try to gain prestige. The moment you have mastered a skill; you want to show it off. It is very uncommon to see someone not having a desire for prestige. Param Krupalu Dev could have earned wealth, fame, prestige in abundance through the performance of Shatavdhan (doing 100 different things simultaneously); but keeping His spiritual welfare at the forefront He stopped the demonstration of such miraculous powers. Such an exemplary feat is rare indeed.

  • (3)Insistence on making changes

    Egocentric person cannot accept things as they are. Whether it is an act of cutting hair or stitching clothes, in anything big or small, he wants to make or suggest changes. Because of this flaw, he has no acceptance and without caring for others, he insists on proving himself right. He is therefore always in a state of likes – dislikes.

  • (4)Averse to being corrected

    Egocentric person considers himself to be more intelligent, wiser and greater than others. As a result, not only does he constantly advise others but also he doesn’t like taking suggestions from others. He cannot accept his mistake pointed out by anyone else, because he just cannot believe that he can even make a mistake. ‘I am right, what I think and do has to be right. If you don’t feel so, it is your mistake; you don’t want to understand me.’ Blinded by his ego, he cannot see or understand that no matter how beautiful or perfect looking the work is, there is always scope for improvement.

  • (5)Ambitious to be the best

    Egocentric person always wants to be at the top, the best. With such attitude, he always remains focussed on the other. ‘I must remain ahead of others, I should look better than others’ – harbouring such feelings, he is constantly running and getting entrapped by fear and insecurity. The wall of your ego is just one, but those who decorate this wall are many. This wall is being decorated from all around you. Mother and father say that ‘we are from a noble lineage; our family is highly reputable.’ The ego is honoured in school and college too where you are encouraged to think that ‘I must be first in my class.’

Ego Remains Alive

The ego takes up and changes many forms and is ever present in the ignorant one. Whatever he does, he wants recognition. He earns wealth and status for the ego, he leaves them also for the ego. In his charity, austerity, or renunciation, his ego remains alive. Moreover, considering them as dharma, he does not examine them and the ego remains woven in them. If he fasts for longer, studies more scriptures, gives more charity, he considers himself to be greater than others.

Therefore, the Enlightened Ones caution us not to get satisfied by changing activities. Introspect closely to find out your purpose of these activities. While examining the religious activities, you will catch if the underlying force is a desire for recognition. Through noble acts of charity, building temples and hospitals there may be the ego only at work. That is why only your deeds do not determine your nobility or spirituality.

The Work of Sadguru

When Chinese Emperor Wu asked the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma, ‘What would my noble deeds of making thousands of Buddha idols, building temples and guest houses for pilgrims, and translation of Buddhist scriptures yield? To his surprise, Bodhidharma said, ‘hope you don’t go to hell.’ Till that day, people had only praised him that he would get heaven for his deeds. Bodhidharma explained to him, ‘the deeds may have been good but you kept the doer alive. All these works boosted the ego. Dharma is not just good deeds. It is good deeds performed without the ego. What you do is not as important as who you are.’

Sadguru not only does not lay bricks to build your ego-wall but he breaks down that wall. He snatches away everything that can give space for the ego to grow. He explains the worthlessness of the ego. Just as a grain of sand in the eye hides the huge Himalaya, and when removed, reveals it, in the same way, ego does not let you realise your eternal nature. If the ego is removed, the Self can be realised. Sadguru makes you drop the desire to exhibit and kindles the yearning for Self-realisation. He does not command but gives a yardstick by which you can recognise the worthlessness of the ego. You then start doubting the empty promises that the ego gives.

There is nothing more worthless than ego in this world. It promises a lot but does not produce anything worthwhile. It makes you run but you reach nowhere. It is smart to seize you in its snare but you gain nothing from it. You doubt everyone, including the saints, but never your ego. Until you realise the worthlessness of the ego, its falsity, the right efforts to annihilate the ego do not start. The day you doubt your ego, your path to liberation opens, you become a seeker and your quest begins.


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#SadguruWhispers You are very eager to offer fruits and flowers. When will you offer yourself to the Guru?