Acharya Prashant is dedicated to building a brighter future for you
Ego, personality, and individuality
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
15 मिनट
169 बार पढ़ा गया

Questioner (Q): How is personality related to ego and how does individuality relate with both personality and ego?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Personality is what is visible to others. Personality is your behaviour. Personality is your way you look, walk, talk. Personality is the attitude that you display. Are you getting it? Personality is what is visible to others. Personality is that which can be easily seen.

If I am silent, then it is easily visible. If I talk too much that too is easily visible. Getting it? I am, what you call as an extrovert, that too is easily visible. My voice quality, the way I look at somebody, the opinions, and attitudes that I carry. All these are easily visible. Getting it? They form a part of the personality. They form what is called our personality.

Ego is something more subtle. What is the ego—understand this—ego is your sense of who you are. When you say, “I am something.” This is ego. Ego means ‘I’. Ego is your sense of who you are. Are you getting it?

Depending on what you think of yourself you display a particular kind of behaviour. If you start thinking that you are very very brave, then you will display one kind of behaviour. Just because of the thought that you are brave. Right? If I continuously start thinking that I am very brave, then my behaviour will take one particular form. So out of the ego statement—what is the ego statement? — “I am brave.” A particular personality trait will be displayed. The ego statement is, “I am brave.” So, what will be the behaviour? I will become daring, I will take a few risks, I will shy away from adventures. Getting it? And why will that behaviour be displayed? Because I would be thinking of myself in a particular way. What am I thinking about myself? That I am brave, and because I think that I am brave. What behaviour do I display? “I love thrills, can we go on an adventure trip?” I will not shy away from a fight. Are you getting it?

So, what are we seeing? That out of my self-concept, which is ego, comes the personality. So, Sneha, you could say that ego is the mother of personality. That the ego is the source from where personality comes. Are you getting it? Ego is the source of personality.

What kind of personality you exhibit depends upon what you think of yourself. If somehow you are made to think that you are very very weak. If somehow you are made to believe that you are very very weak. Then what is the kind of behaviour that you will show? If you are convinced that you are very weak. Then what kind of behaviour will you show?

Q: That we are scared of certain challenges.

AP: You will be scared, you will not accept challenges. What else will you do, or not do? If you are convinced that you are very weak physically, mentally. You are very weak. Then what shape will your behaviour take?

Q: Hesitation.

AP: Hesitation, very right. You will be very-very hesitant. What else? If you are convinced that you are very weak. Then what will be your behaviour like?

Q: No confidence.

AP: Yes, very good. So, no challenges, no confidence and no adventures, no thrills, very hesitant.

We have come across a very good observation now. What we are saying is that how you appear externally which is your personality, depends completely upon your thoughts which is your ego. So, if there is something a little sick in the way you appear then for sure there is something a little sick in the way you ... very right. Are you getting it?

In fact, there is a good expression of it in English when it is said that “As a man thinketh, so doth he becometh.”

Thinking is ego, the ego is “I am something,” this is ego. Ego is your thought about who you are. Depending on what you think of yourself, your external appearance, the complete personality keeps taking shape. Now, so many of us are deeply interested in changing. The way we act, the way we appear, the way our attitudes are. It should be obvious now if you want to change how you appear, if you want to change your personality then you must first change your thoughts, yes ego. The ego statement must get altered.

It would be a great mistake, and so many of us make this mistake; it would be a great mistake to try to change the exterior, without changing the interior. It is like trying to cure the symptoms without understanding the root of the disease. And most of us are deeply interested in changing something or the other. And sometimes for the right reasons we see that something the way we act, the way we think is not healthy, we want it changed. But we want it changed without understanding that no change in the exterior can happen without a corresponding change in the mind itself. The ego statement must change. What you think of yourself must change. Unfortunately, what we think of ourselves comes mostly from outside, from what others have told us. What family, society, all kinds of propaganda, media, what they have told us.

So, we are full of belief about ourself, we are full of ego statement about ourself and these ego statements are all second hand, all borrowed. So, it is no wonder from these borrowed ego statements a borrowed kind of personality also rises. This borrowed personality has no substance. And you keep feeling uncomfortable. Most of us keep feeling uncomfortable with our personality without understanding, why? The reason is this, because your personality is just a display of your thoughts, your ego, and your thoughts are not yours they are borrowed. You are not comfortable with them. It's like an alien element in your system. No system can be entirely comfortable with a foreign element inside it. It's only when your thought of yourself, your self-concept, your self-worth, when that arises from your own observation of who you are, the real, sincere observation that your ego statement gets purified, gets real. Getting it? And then your personality is also real, not fake, not borrowed, not diseased. Right?

Second, part of Sneha’s question was, “How does individuality relates to both personality and ego?”

We talked of pure ego. We talked of my thoughts about myself, coming from my own observations, not being borrowed from others. When my thoughts about myself, when my idea of myself comes from others. The society tells you that, “You are a Hindu, you are an Indian, you are a budding management professional, you are an earning member, you are a member of the family or head of the family.” Then from this kind of ego, a personality will emerge. Whereas when I really know myself by looking at my daily life, as to who I am. When my concept of myself is first hand, honest, direct, real. Then from that emerges something called individuality.

So, borrowed thoughts lead to personality, and real understanding leads to individuality. Is that clear?

Somebody has told you who you are. You are under the pressure of a lot of forces. Then you will display a personality. But when your actions, your behaviours, your attitude are real, not coming from somebody else. But, coming from your own intelligence. Then what you display is called individuality. It has a certain firmness about it. Because it does not come from others, hence it does not change under the influence of others. It has a particular depth and simplicity. That is individuality. Personality is fake and complex because it is coming from too many sources. Fake, complex, and superficial. Individuality is simple, direct, solid, and deep. And very-very simple. You know that this is who I am. And out of this realization, your life flows. This is individuality. Is that clear, Sneha. Alright.

Q2: Acharya Ji, Is ego good or bad?

AP: Saroj is asking, “Is ego good or bad?”

Saroj, first thing, ego is there. Ego will necessarily come because of the way we are brought up. Ego is inevitable. Being brought up in a society, it is inevitable that we will have identity given by that society. It is definitely going to happen.

As a child, you do not know anything about yourself, except that which has been told to you by others. Others tell you that you belong to a particular religion, others give you a name, others tell you who are your parents, who are your relatives, others determine every single aspect of your life. That is definitely going to happen as a result of a social upbringing. So, ego is inevitable. It is always going to be there. You are always going to have identities that say, “I am something. I am smart, I am dumb, I am intelligent. I am hesitant. I belong to a particular religion and a country.” And several other kinds of statements beginning with “I am.” All that is inevitable, all that as we said comes from being born in a society. Getting it?

What is inevitable must not be called good or bad. What is inevitable, what is bound to happen, what will definitely must not be called good or bad. Anything is good or bad when there is an option available. Till a particular age you do not have an option, you do not have any choice. You have been told, “You are this,” and you have to believe it, because your intelligence has not yet been awakened. Your brain is not yet ripe. So, you keep on believing all the ‘I am’s that has been given to you by others, by the society in general. But after a particular age if you keep gathering more ‘I am’s if you keep gathering more identities, then it is stupid, then it is extremely stupid of us.

Then it means we have not grown up, then it means that we are still childish, then it means that the brain is still not mature. Instead of gaining freedom from all the identities statements that the society gave us, we are gathering more and more such statements, in fact we are reinforcing the ones that has been given to us. Now, this ego can be called bad. No, it is not inevitable. Now, nature has given you an option, you are an adult, you are grownups, you are young. It is withing your powers to break free, but instead of breaking free you are still gathering more and more identities, or are just toeing the line. Then this ego is bad, very-very bad. Then it proves that there is something missing in your humanity itself. That you are not completely human yet. Like a machine you are being conditioned. And that is much below our potential. That is not what we ought to be, that is not what we are. So, this ego is very bad.

The ego of a child is alright, it is inevitable. But, if the same ego, if the same nonsense, if the same borrowed stuff is present in a young man, then it’s a disorder, then it’s a disease. Then it’s a tragedy. A child has no option, he has to believe in what others tell him, he cannot find out, he does not have brain for that, the child has no option. So, it is alright if he believes what has been told to him. But, if a young man like you is still doing what others are telling him to do, is still carrying the identities that others have given him, is still believing in the stuff that is floating around. Then as we said it’s a tragedy. Then it means that we are not yet young, then it means that our bodies have grown up but our minds have been arrested. This is a bad ego. Getting it?

The ego of a child is inevitable, it’s alright. You tell the child that he is a sheep, you keep feeding it into him. And after some days he will start saying, “I am a sheep, I am a sheep.” What else a poor child can do? He is dependent upon you. So, whatever you tell him, he will have to believe. But if a young man also keeps saying, “I am a sheep, I am a sheep.” Then it’s a disgrace. This is a bad ego. What is a good ego? The possibility of waking up is always present before the young man or the young woman. He can any day any time wake up, open his eyes, and start looking at himself. When he looks at himself, he finds out the truth, the reality. He finds out what all is fake within him. And when he discovers what is fake, what is unreal, he gives it up. He says, “I don’t need to carry the fake, I am alright.” Who wants to carry a burden unnecessary? Then he says, “I am not this, I am not this.” Earlier he was saying, “I am this, I am this, I am this.” Now he says, “I am not all this, sorry, I refuse to believe.” He says a firm, “No.” Even this is a kind of ego. A refined, a sublimated, a pure ego. Which says, “I am not this.” This is a good ego. “Till this day I kept believing in your nonsense. Now I know that this is not true. I know this because I have seen the reality with my own eyes.” This is a good ego. “I am a slave; I am a slave.” This is bad ego. “I am free and freedom is my nature.” This is a good ego. This ego is so good that some people do not even call it ego. They say this is freedom from ego. They say ego is always bad. So they will not even call it good ego, they will just say egoless-ness. Good ego is egoless-ness. Because it says, “I am not this. No, that is not my real identity. You have been telling be all along that I am nothing more than a son, or a daughter, or a student, or a professional. No, all those are very superficial statements. I may be acting as so and a daughter but that is not my reality. I am just myself.” This is good ego. This is good ego. Are you getting it?

To believe in your identities that are coming from others is bad ego. To carry on being a child even when you are mature and young, and adult is bad ego. To remain dependent, on others is bad ego. To say, “I am that what others tell that I am,” is a bad ego. And to find out, and to exercise your intelligence and say, “I am not all this,” is good ego. Good ego is essentially the action of intelligence. Bad ego is the action of stupidity. When intelligence awakens, when you are really human, then you discard all that which is automatic, which mechanical, which binds you. After all that is what makes you human, right? Your intelligence. When you allow that intelligence to act then it discards all the chain of slavery. This is a good ego. Your fight for freedom is a good ego. Your fight to regain yourself is good ego. A clear statement that “I will die but I will not remain a slave,” is good ego. A clear realization that “I am intelligent. And I will not believe in foolishness,” is good ego. “I will face all kind of hardships but I will not remain dependent,” is good ego. Getting it?

So, if you must have ego, have good ego. Good ego comes very close to egoless-ness. But for the moment forget egoless-ness, just cultivate this good ego. Are you getting it?

क्या आपको आचार्य प्रशांत की शिक्षाओं से लाभ हुआ है?
आपके योगदान से ही यह मिशन आगे बढ़ेगा।
योगदान दें
सभी लेख देखें