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February 5, 2024

What does it mean to be free from Ego?

To be free from ego means to recognize ‘who am I’. It means to be free from wrong beliefs which are the cause of one’s suffering and misery. The ego can be understood as the false sense of self, characterized by identification with the mind and body complex. It creates a sense of separateness and a constant need for validation, control, and superiority. The ego is laden with negative emotions of anger, pride, deceit, and greed (kashaya).

Where did the ego stem from?

From a scientific perspective, the combination of two eternal elements – matter and Soul – can lead to a mistaken belief about oneself, known as Ego. By identifying ourselves as something we are not, we give rise to this phenomenon. For instance, when someone addresses us by name and informs us that “You are John [insert your name],” we naturally accept this information and begin to believe that it defines our identity. However, this wrong belief, resulting from ignorance, ultimately leads to the development of our Ego.

After believing that I am John, we believe, ‘I am an accountant, ‘I am a grandson’, I am husband, I am a son’, and also believe ourselves to be the doer, ‘I practice, I earn, I serve, etc.’ All these are different kinds of egoism. Falsely placing our belief into something which we are not, is egoism.

The concept of egoism arises from our lack of understanding of our true selves, which serves as the root of all worldly suffering and confusion. While every living possesses a sense of self-awareness, the crucial realization of ‘Who am I?’ is absent. This lack of self-awareness is the primary source of our anguish, distress, and unhappiness.

How can the Ego be destroyed?

There are two major spiritual paths: Kramic and Akram. The Karmic path involves following a step-by-step process to attain knowledge of “who am I“. This includes practices like meditation, chanting mantras, worship, penance, performing rituals, and engaging in religious practices. The ultimate goal is to achieve Self-Realisation. However, this path can be lengthy and slow. It also requires individuals to abandon bad deeds and embrace good ones, while working on overcoming weaknesses like anger, pride, deceit, and greed.

On the other hand, the Akram path is a step-less approach to spirituality. With the guidance of an Enlightened One (Gnani Purush), individuals can achieve Self-Realisation within an hour. In the next hour, they learn about five principles that help them remain in the state of the Pure Soul and dissolve their discharge karmas. Unlike the Kramik path, the Akram path does not focus on specific actions or practices. Instead, it emphasizes inner intentions to bring about change.

Both paths of spirituality require renunciation. In the Karmic path, individuals must renounce possessions, both gross and subtle, including attachment, anger, pride, deceit, and greed. This allows them to reach the stage of the Absolute Soul. In contrast, the Akram path involves renouncing the ego and accepting the true Self with the help of the Gnani. Through this process, individuals gain awareness and experience of the Pure Soul, which enables them to overcome negative traits like anger, pride, deceit, and greed that cause suffering.

To conclude: Once, the Gnani directly graces us with Self-realisation and awakens our Soul. After attaining the Soul, one experiences the body, and Soul as separate. This awareness remains, and with it, neither any sort of unhappiness nor happiness in worldly life be felt. Rather, one experiences bliss all the time from within one’s Soul. This is what it is like to be free from the ego!

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Ambalal Patel  |  Contribution: 33,015