Journey towards self

मेरी अना ने डाल दी ज़ंजीर पांव में

यूँ तो पहुँच से दूर तेरा घर नहीं रहा
                                                               अभय कुमार “अभय”

Rumi says: “Ego is a veil between humans and God, in prayer all are equal.”

Shri Tulsidas ji, says in Ramcharitmanas: “Egotism is a counterpart of the most painful Gout (clotting of blood vessels). This Ego is like a cloud. When the cloud disappears you can see the sun. Similarly/Likewise, if the ego vanishes you can see God. Irony is, people often get confused between Ego and Self Respect. These are two different mechanisms and in a way, opposite of one another. While ego encourages manipulation, futile comparisons, self-respect on the other hand inspires us to work harder by providing us the inner strength which helps us in achieving big, with a positive frame of mind. For example, a gentleman claims that he is thorough in Biology and Physics, this is self-esteem. But to say that I know better than you, that is Ego. There is a very thin line between Ego and Self Respect. Wisdom is to know the difference between ego and self-respect, and to become more aware towards these.

In my opinion, Ego is the feeling of supreme. It is an attitude of thinking ourselves superior to others. It is an unhealthy attachment to self. Ego persists because you are deeply attached with your own ideas. From above statement, one can question me – How about if my idea is truly the best? Should I not fight for my idea then or would that also be ego? The answer is – now you know your idea is BEST. The associated feeling is of confidence and self-assurance. While in ego the associated feeling is of insecurity and fear. Ego is fueled by materialistic achievements, for example, you feel extremely proud of yourself when you buy a new house or a new car or when you get promoted to a higher rank. You start thinking that you are superior from rest of the world who are still struggling to achieve things which you have already mastered. You don’t realize at that time, you can lose all your wealth, fame or position in a blink of an eye and when that happens, all your ego gets shattered.

Unlike ego, self-respect comes from within you. It comes from virtues like honesty, kindness, commitment, patience and your smile. If you get attached to your virtues, it starts diminishing. The less you are attached to your virtues, the more self-respect you have. Non- attachment to virtues brings the highest self-respect. When you lose wealth or position, you won’t lose your self-respect. Individuals with positive attitude understand the significance of self-respect and self-awareness and they perform their actions accordingly. In self-respect, everything is a game, winning or losing has no meaning, every step is joy, and every move is celebration.

The best way of manage ego is to expand yourself. Enlarge your ego so much that the whole is included in its embrace. And when nothing remains outside you as “thou” then there is no way to say “I am”. I can call myself “I” only so long as there is a “thou” separate from me. The moment “thou” disappears “I” also ceases to be real. So the egoless “I” has to be vast, infinitely immense. Abhey Kumar “Abhey” an Urdu poet from Meerut, India says:-

                    मिरी ख़ुदी को अगर बेख़ुदी का नाम मिले

                        तो इस वजूद को फिर  आप ही का नाम मिले

It is in the context of this immensity of the “I” that the rishi, the seer of the Upanishad exclaimed, “Aham brahmasmi,” “I am GOD, I am the supreme.” It does not mean to say that you are not GOD, it only means that since there is no “thou” only “I” remains”. The egolessness that comes through this way is total, so total that nothing remains outside of one – not even this much. That he can say, “I am now egoless.”