14 Oct Hansaji talking on ‘Overcoming Our Ego’
The topic for the Hindi Satsang on Sunday, 13th October, 2013 was ‘Overcoming Our Ego.’
Following is the transcript of the speech made by Smt. Hansaji Yogendra on the topic.
Listen to the Audio:
“Our I-sense or Ego is the outcome of Ignorance (Avidya). These are our Kleshas (afflictions) and we are born with them. A young child does not demonstrate this ego but when this child goes to school, we instill this I-sense within the young child by teaching him that this school bag belongs to him, this water bottle belongs to him, this is his mother or his father or his sister etc. And such is necessary too to be able to function in this world. It is his homework and he has to complete it, he cannot say otherwise. Hence, this I-sense is important but when we impose this I-sense on others, then it becomes Ego.In everyday life, we have to use the “I” word in our dialogue to bring in clarity and understanding of who does what but at the same time the we should not be averse to using the “we” word whenever required to include others. For eg if a file has be moved from one desk to another and I have moved it, then I should say I have moved it, else a correction is not possible in the assigned task if done incorrectly, therefore for day-to-day communication, we have to use the “I” word. At the same time, we should realize and become aware that the sense that only I can do this job and nobody else can do it should not creep in. The office / the institute / the world can run without me as well as with me… this should be clear in our minds. I am only an instrument for the execution of certain things or events.
Secondly, we should be very careful not to bring in our emotions when spotting mistakes or analyzing events. Ego at an intellectual level is acceptable but when mixed with emotions could create chaos. Ego is a negative emotion and gives rise to negative feelings like – the feeling that only I am right, or no one can teach me or that there is no other way of doing things. In fact, wars are a result of the Ego being hurt, either the leader was abused or criticized in some manner. Therefore, we have to take utmost care not to encourage any negative emotions in our daily life.
Today is Vijaydashmi or Dushera (an Indian mythology festival celebrating the victory of good over evil). A very wise and knowledgeable King Ravana was attracted to Sita, wife of King Rama. King Ravana then used incorrect methods to steal Sita following which King Rama attacked King Ravana’s kingdom and killed him. A dying King Ravana realised that King Rama was an embodiment of positivism, love, compassion and duty and was happy to have been put to death by him.
We should learn from King Rama and perform our duties wholeheartedly and cultivate feelings of love, compassion and positivity within us to combat Ego and negativity. The idea is to improve our faith in God, make Him our partner for life to deal with negativity in our lives. Let’s understand that God is doing everything and we are just his instruments. Strengthening such ideas within our minds will help us to overcome our Ego.
Philosophy says that Rama and Ravana, both live within us. When our Ego takes over us then it is Ravana who is strong and when we feel love, care or positivie then it is Rama who strong within us. We have to consciously work on ourselves so that Rama stays strong all the time. Let’s understand that both Rama and Ravana are extremely strong and if we neglect them then they will overpower us. If we do not work on being positive then we will become negative. In relationships, if we do not spend time together, they break down. In business, if we are unable to devote sufficient time, the downfall begins. Similarly, we have to remember God frequently during the day to be able to cultivate egolessness within us. Whenever we receive praise, we should credit it to God, this will help to overcome our Ego which goes up on receiving compliments. The I-sense needs careful handling.
An egoistic person is unable to listen to or tolerate criticism of any kind. He is not open to advice or suggestions or help from others. Self-esteem is good. A person with high self-esteem will be unaffected and undisturbed by criticism. The Bhagvad Gita cites that a wise person is he who can see everyone, even the lowliest creatures, at par – with the same eye, the same respect.
Everyone, each of us have Ego. Some of us have Ego of Egolessness. We have to learn to handle it and gradually reduce it. First accept that you have Ego and then work on it. Do we accept that we are ignorant? If yes, then we have Ego too.
We have to be on guard always. Yoga is the science of awareness. Become aware of yourself, your manners of speaking, body language, thoughts etc and begin work towards improving it. We all have Ego, so let’s work on ourselves.”
– Smt. Hansaji J. Yogendra