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Will egolessness make me worthless? || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2013)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
8 min
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Listener: If we do not have Ego, we will not have any goals in life, and such a life would be worthless. Speaker: Mark the words, ‘we’, ‘have’, ‘ego’, ‘goals’, ‘worthless’. If we understand the question properly, clarity would be there. The question itself is the answer. The clarity lies in understanding the question. For me to say that I have this pen, there is a prerequisite. What is that? There must be a ‘me’ and there must be a ‘pen’. There ought to be two entities to say this. For me to say that I have an Ego, requires two entities- ‘Me’ and ‘Ego’. The question then arises, ‘am I anything apart from my Ego?’ To say that there is an ‘I’ and there is an ‘Ego’, I must be separate from Ego. But am I really separate from Ego?

Listeners: No, Sir. Speaker: So first of all, it is not very accurately worded when you say, ‘I have an Ego’. We do not have Ego. We are Ego. In order to understand Ego, we first have to understand ourselves as something apart from the Ego.When you are angry, do you understand yourself as something separate from the anger? No. You are anger.When the body gets hurt, do you say that ‘the leg’ is paining? Listeners: No, we say ‘my leg is paining’. Speaker: You say, ‘I am feeling the ache’. We do not have Ego, we are Ego. So the question, ‘what if we do not have Ego?’, is hypothetical. If you do not have Ego, then you will not be what you are. It is impossible for you to imagine that state, to conceptualize that state. You currently are Ego, and what does that mean? Where does the Ego come from? Listener: From outside. Speaker: Now combine these two statements:a) I am Ego.b) All Ego is external, foreign. Listener: I am external, foreign. Speaker: The conclusion is that ‘I’ do not exist. I am a sum total of the external, foreign influences on me. Now then, we do not like dropping the Ego. The existence of Ego means that you do not exist. The existence of Ego means you are nothing but what the society, education, family, religion, philosophy, evolution, all these external influences combined has been given certain name, your name. I pick a few things randomly from here and the combination of all of this randomly picked stuff is what we call as ‘My name’. How does it sound to be like that? Listeners: Disappointing. Speaker: Want to live a life like that? Listeners: No, Sir. Speaker: You are young; you have a life to live. You have two years to spend in the campus. Would you want to live like that? Just a sum total of this & that. Or would you want to have an individuality of your own which is not coming from somewhere else? Is you, which is not a foreign influence, which is ‘You’, which is ‘You’ in all your freedom. Isn’t that the real ‘you’?See, whatever comes from outside, can it be real me? Whatever comes from outside can also go. You still remain. Your clothes come from outside, they go, you still remain. Listeners: Isn’t it a goal to ‘be yourself’? Speaker: It is what you are. How can this be a goal? What you are; cannot be a goal, goal is in the future. But yes, if you do not know yourself, then to know yourself can be a goal. What you are cannot be a goal, this is what you are. That just IS, purely IS. It cannot be a goal.When we say that to not to understand the Ego is, to assume yourself to be a sum total of all foreign influences, is this point understood? Now the question asked in the beginning was, ‘If we do not have Ego, we will not have any goals in life. Will such a life be worthless?’ The first part of the question which says ‘If we do not have Ego..’ must be clear by now. We do not have Ego; we are Ego.Let’s go to the second part, ‘…we will not have any goals…’Now, I am a sum total of all the influences on me, I am a slave to those influences. Whatever goals I have, whose goals would they be? Listeners: External Speaker: They are my master’s goals. What is the fun in having such goals? I am a slave to someone. He says, ‘go and fetch vegetables from the market’. So, it becomes my goal to fetch vegetables from the market. Even if I accomplish that goal, what does that give me? Listeners: Nothing. The master will get all. Speaker: Even the master is an Ego. He himself is not free. Remember a free man never becomes a master of anybody else. Only a slave wants to enslave somebody else- That is a golden rule of the mind. There are clear and definite laws of the mind.So, the first part (If we do not have Ego) and second part (…we will not have any goals…) have been taken care of. Listeners: Sir, what if the goals are mine? Speaker: They cannot be, till the time you do not know who you are. If ‘I am’ is a son, a student, some identity, and then all my goals will come from that foreign influence. Till the time I do not understand a foreign influence, as foreign, I remain a slave to it. Till the time I do not see external, as the external, and assume it to be internal, I remain a slave to it. Because I have confused it with myself, I am assuming that this is ‘me’, I am not seeing clearly that this is not ‘me’, I am not born with this, this has been taught to me, I have been told this, this has been given to me, I was not born with these beliefs, I was not born with these thoughts, they have been given to me, till the time I do not realize my essence as clearly separate from all the contents of my mind, I remain a slave. Because, I will assume all that which is external, to be myself, and hence, I will keep following the external without any understanding of ‘who I am?’There is no problem with goals, there is no problem with looking at the future, provided you first look at yourself. But that does not happen. You see, why do we look at the future? There is a very clear reason. This brain that you have is coming to you after millions of years. There is an entire process which made a developed life- form. All the experiences from the past, are what has made the brain. Your brain is nothing but a collection of your past experiences, all stored in your DNA. Those experiences constitute what is called as ‘physical conditioning’. Those experiences are what give you two eyes, a couple of hands, etc. You did not choose to have five fingers, it is just a result of your evolutionary past, and all that is there in your DNA.Now all that this brain wants is the continuation of this journey. Security is its primary concern. I have been traveling and I must keep traveling. I must not die. So there are only two major concerns that nature has:1) The body must stay intact.2) You must produce kids.That’s all what nature wants from you. It has come from the past and it has always been looking to the future. It has no regard for the present moment. It has no concern for what you are right now. The past is stored in it and the future is its concern. I must continue in the future. So, that is why fear exists. Fear is nothing but the possibility of extinction. ‘I may not be there’. Because nature wants security, hence fear exists. Now, because the brain has traveled such a long journey, it has accumulated experiences. It wants to repeat those experiences for the simple reason that the sum total of those experiences is- It is still alive today. The past is good, and what is the proof of that? That I am still alive. Had it been bad? I would have gone by now.

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

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