Tuesday, February 12, 2013
"Ego Too Has A Purpose"
Volumes have been written about this so common but abstract word…but do we actually know what it is? We have been made to believe that it is something which is very bad…but is that really so? What is it after all? All of us have an ego but do not know that we have it. It is difficult to define it but this small story may be able to explain it. There was a king who prided himself on being very knowledgeable. He had read a lot about the Ego but had not understood what it was. He , therefore ordered that a learned man be produced before him to explain to him as to what it was. Unfortunately no one could be found despite a wide spread search till someone mentioned the name of a very wise old man, who was produced in the king’s court. The king asked him to explain what Ego meant…the old man roared with laughter and made fun of the king for not knowing what it was! The king got angry at being laughed at but asked him the same question again. The old man laughed even louder and said that he had never heard such a foolish question in his life before. This so enraged the king that he ordered the wise old man to be beheaded. The old man laughed again and told the king that he had given a practical example of ego by behaving the way he had. My Guruji puts it so beautifully…if there are three things, my ego, myself and God…..what happens when the ego is removed? Then only God remains! This is because ego is the biggest barrier between me and Him….when the ego disappears then my Self merges into Him. The above relate to the body identified ego…which affects most of us. If Ego is really so bad, then why has God created it? The genesis of Ego. According to the Sankhya Philosophy of Creation, Purusha, which is the male but passive counterpart, and Prakriti, which is the female active principle,( Mother Nature/Holy Ghost) together, lead to the development of Mahad or Mahat or Intelligence/Awareness or Buddhi. This gives rise to Ahamkar or Ego. This Ego is responsible for the genesis of the three Gunas of Prakriti, namely Sattva , Rajas and Tamas. Sattva is responsible for the Mind, the five sense faculties, namely ears, skin, eyes, tongue, nose, and the five motor organs, which are mouth, hands, feet, reproductive organs and the excretory organs, while Tamas is responsible for the Five elements or Tattvas…Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space. Ego, therefore, is our sense of self identity and the seat of our consciousness. This is the Universal Ego, which is supposed to be identified with the Self. What does Ego do? For any action to take place, first and foremost a body is needed and the second requirement is the presence of the ego, or the pseudo soul, which enthrones itself in the body, senses, mind and intelligence. For any activities to be directed or executed, this “I-ness’ is essential. What is then, the real purpose of the Ego? Ego is actually a divine manifestation when it identifies itself with the soul. It uses the various instruments of the body and mind to interact with the manifestations of creation. On the other hand when it identifies itself with the senses it becomes the body destroying ego. According to Sri Yoganandji ‘When identified with the subtle instruments of perception and knowledge in the astral body, the “I-ness” becomes a clearer sense of being…when it expresses through the pure intuitive wisdom, the instrument of the causal body, it becomes the pure discriminating ego(divine ego), or its highest expression the soul, the individualized expression of Spirit. The soul, the purest individualized sense of being knows its Spirit-identity of omniscience and omnipresence, and merely uses the instruments of the body and mind as a means of communication and interaction with objectified creation” In other words, Ego has two parts, one identifies with the body while the purer form is identified with the astral and causal parts of our bodies. If the Astral ego identifies with the sense organs it becomes the “pseudo soul”and rules us, and actually gives us a false personality, but if it remains in its pure form it remains in conformity with the wisdom consciousness of the causal body. The pseudo soul gives us a false personality. A classic example is Bhishma Pitamah in the Mahabharat... Sri Yoganandji has called Bhishma Pitamah as Universal ego… here he has been symbolized as the astral or inner seeing ego (which is the consciousness identified with manas, buddhi and chitta). But this astral ego, in Bhishma’s case, has been strongly affected and identified with the outward pull of the sense mind and sided with the Kauravs, but when Bhishma was in samadhi this astral ego became more transcendant and ultimately became part of the pure being. His was the divine ego originally which identified with the senses and he sided with the Kauravs, later, however, he went into samadhi when he achieved union with the pure being. This also goes to prove that ego is very difficult to annihilate. The purpose of the ego, therefore, is to hold together, along with the soul, the body, life force and consciousness, which are three different rates of vibration. Ego, therefore, has been given to us for ident ifying ourselves with the Self or soul….but we misuse it and convert this divine form into the pseudo soul which takes us away from Divinity. Body identified ego is very difficult to kill…our Hindu Scriptures have said “When this ‘I’ will die, then will I know who am I”. In other words, ego is that bubble that separates the drop from the ocean, when the bubble bursts the drop becomes the Ocean…and for that to happen one needs to transgress the Conscious and Subconscious minds and go into the Individual or Universal Superconsciousness through meditation. We, therefore, need to identify with the divine ego and rise above the physical ego. Sources: “God Talks to Arjun The Bhagwat Gita” and “The Second Coming Of Christ” by Sri Paramhans Yoganand and “The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Remedies’ by Vasant Lad.