WORLDLY EGO (AHAMKARA)
Worldly Ego (Ahamkåra)*
Brahmalina Swami Ramsukhdas
When the aim of a person is directed towards unreality (Asat) viz., to gain pleasure and accumulation of worldly goods, then his ego is, I am worldly and it is called, worldly ego. When such a feeling gets intensified, a person always remains worldly. He certainly remains worldly while performing worldly actions and while practicing spiritual discipline also he still remains worldly. Whatever devotional efforts he makes, are directed towards fulfillment of his desires and that spiritual practice intensifies his pride of being an aspirant. Pride is the gross form of ego. When a man is too much inclined towards pleasures and prosperity, this inclination leads him to selfishness and pride which are the demoniac traits. The Gitå says : (Gitå XVI. 18); They are bloated by egoism, power, pride, desire and anger, (Gitå XVII. 5); They are imbued with hypocrisy and egoism. Further, according to Gitå : ( XVI. 16); Misled by ego, which is demoniac nature, such persons sink into a filthy hell. If it is assumed that on achieving enlightenment or salvation (Mukti), the demoniacal form of ego is overcome and the self-oriented (identified) ego is not affected, that argument is not correct. The reason is that by the wiping out of the demoniacal ego, one escapes hell, but it does not lead to salvation. The latter can only be achieved by destruction of the self-induced ego. The demoniac ego, is a subtle form of essential self-ego, which stays within every 11 living being. Keeping in mind this identified ego, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna : (Gitå XVIII. 58); By fixing your mind on Me, you will by My favour, conquer all difficulties, but if your ego does not let you listen to Me, then you will be lost. Again it is said : (Gitå XVIII. 59); If your ego forces you to say that I will not fight, it will be futile, for nature will compel you to fight. The ego is created by ignorance. Yoga Darana says : (II. 3-4); Knowledge destroys ignorance, when no ignorance is left, how can ego persist? If knowledge does not remove ignorance, then that is not knowledge. That is superficial learning, but not true and experiential knowledge. If identified ego is not destroyed, then as a tree grows from a seed, so this ego with the contact of materials, people, actions and conditions etc., will become demoniacal ego. In the Gitå, where the means of knowledge have been discussed, Lord Krishna refers to the elimination of ego : ( XIII. 8). When an aspirant discards the ego, then on his salvation, how can it persist? No ego is left and there is complete destruction of the self-oriented (Tådåtmyarµupa) ego. Lord Krishna has explained further, the destruction of the self centred ego as follows: In Karmayoga, by the expression : (Gitå II. 71) Freedom from the sense of mineness and egoism. In Jnånayoga: (Gitå XVIII. 53); ìOne who gives up egoism, and the notion of mineness. In Bhaktiyoga: (Gitå XII. 13)., it says, ‘One is free from mineness and egoism.’ All these expressions refer to the elimination of ego.
* Source: Article published in September 2017 issue of “Kalyan-Kalpatharu”, a magazine published by Geetha Press, Gorakhpur