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Amma on Ego

Amma on Ego



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Published by all4downloads
Amma Answers questions on Ego
Amma Answers questions on Ego

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Published by: all4downloads on Jul 17, 2008
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Answers questions onEGO
for Dummiesand as a Spiritual Guide for the rest of us
What is ego?
MATA AMRITANANDAMAYI: You are actually asking, what is unreality? But how canunreality be described? What use is there in talking about something that isn't real, thatis nonexistent? And how can you speak about that which is real? Amma can only giveyou a few hints. The mind is the ego. But the ego is a big lie—it is a liar. It is unreal.There was a cowherd boy who took his cows to the meadows every morning andbrought them back to the cowshed at the end of the day. One evening, as he was tyingthe cows up for the night, the boy found that one of them was missing her rope. Hefeared that she might run away, but it was too late to go and buy a new rope. The boydidn't know what to do, so he went to a wise man who lived nearby and sought hisadvice. The wise man told the boy to pretend to tie the cow, and make sure that the cowsaw him doing it. The boy did as the wise man suggested and pretended to tie the cow.The next morning the boy discovered that the cow had remained still throughout thenight. He untied all the cows as usual, and they all went outside. He was about to go tothe meadows when he noticed that the cow with the missing rope was still in thecowshed. She was standing on the same spot where she had been all night. He tried tocoax her to join the herd, but she wouldn't budge. The boy was perplexed. He wentback to the wise man who said, "The cow still thinks she is tied up. Go back and pretendto untie her." The boy did as he was told, and the cow happily left the cowshed. This iswhat the guru does with the ego of the disciple. The guru helps untie that which wasnever there. Like the cow, due to our ignorance, we believe that we are bound by theego when, in fact, we are completely free. We need to be convinced of this, however.The ego is an illusion with no existence of its own. It appears to be real because of thepower it derives from the Atman [Self]. It is animated by the Atman. The ego itself canbe compared to dead matter; for without the Atman, it would have no life. Stopsupporting the ego, and it will withdraw and disappear. We ourselves lend the unreal
ego its reality. Expose it for what it is, or rather, for what it isn't, and that will be the endof it.A dog wags its tail—the tail does not wag the dog. If the tail were to wag the dog, itwould be disastrous! The same is true with the mind. The mind, or the ego, should benothing more than a useful tool; a sadhaka [spiritual seeker] shouldn't let him- or herselfbe ruled by the whims and fancies of the mind.The ego consists of our thoughts and our mind. Our thoughts are our own creation. Wemake them real by cooperating with them. If we withdraw our support, they will dissolve.We simply have to observe our thoughts. The clouds in the sky assume differentshapes, and they change constantly. You may see clouds drifting by that look like facesof the gods or different animals or sailing ships. A small child may believe that theseshapes are real, but, of course, they areonly illusions. In the same way, our everchanging thoughts drift through the mind,which is the ego. They assume differentforms, but they are no more real than theshape of a cloud in the sky. If we simplywitness our thoughts as they drift by,they will no longer have any effect on usor influence us in any way.A lion made of sandalwood is real to achild, but to a grown-up it's a piece ofsandalwood. For the child, the wood isconcealed, revealing only the lion. Thegrown-up may also enjoy the lion, but heknows it is not real. For him, the wood isreal, not the lion. In the same way, to aSelf-realized soul, the entire universe isnothing but the essence, the "wood" thatcomprises everything, the AbsoluteBrahman or Consciousness.
What is ego death for the true seeker of moksha [liberation]?
MA: If the ego is unreal, what death are you talking about? We superimpose the unrealon the real. What really exists is Brahman. There is no discovery, only uncovering.
What are the signs of true ego transcendence?
MA: One who has gone beyond the ego becomes an offering to the world, like anincense stick that burns itself out while bestowing its fragrance to others. For such aperson there is no sense of otherness. It is difficult to say what a clear sign would be.People pretend or they imitate this and that quality—but for a real master, one who trulydoesn't identify with the ego, his or her entire being, and every action, is a pure
expression of divine love and self-sacrifice. Divine love and self-sacrifice cannot beimitated.
Is it possible for a master to completely annihilate their ego?
MA: A mahatma [great soul] is one who disidentifies with the ego; they see everythingas an extension of the Self. Due to our ignorance, we identify with the ego, with thatwhich is not real, but a mahatma is not identified at all with the ego, with that which isunreal.
How does the guru help to annihilate the ego of the disciple?
MA: A true master creates the situations that will allow the seeker to come out of his orher dream. The disciple wants to continue to sleep and to dream, but the master wantsto awaken him or her. The whole effort of the master is to somehow bring the discipleback to the reality of his or her true existence.
It is said that the ego will go to any length to maintain its grip on the individual,even masquerading as our own spiritual longing. What are the most importantqualities for success in the fight against the endless tricks of the ego?
MA: Performing one's own dharma with utmost shraddha. Shraddha is very important atthe beginning stage on the spiritual path; it is absolutely essential.
What is shraddha? Is it faith in the possibility of transcending the ego in this life?
MA: Shraddha is more than just faith. It is trust and love. Both trust and love arenecessary to transcend the ego—trust in the existence of a higher reality, love for thatreality and an intense longing to realize it.
What is the best way to cultivate discriminationin the face of all the temptations of the ego?
MA: Just as a little boy grows out of his teddy bearand other toys, a true seeker gains the power todiscriminate between the eternal and noneternal ashis understanding grows and as he advancesalong the path. The power of discrimination dawnswithin us as we gain proper understanding and aswe mature. As we learn how to evaluate life'sexperiences in the proper manner, weautomatically begin to use our discriminativeintelligence. It is an inner blossoming that takesplace—like a bud opening up. It is part of a slow but steady process.There is a divine message hidden behind every experience life brings you—both thepositive and negative experiences. Just penetrate beneath the surface and you will

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