Ego is the sense of our self as the body and the superiority of our set of beliefs, thoughts and actions over all others. Ego makes us proud and arrogant. We find it difficult to overcome such behavior and have conscious control over it. In the modern world which is so competitive, ego protects us from attacks of others and helps us to defend our behavior and justify ourselves.
Ego is how we feel inside. It is influenced by the things that happen in our lives. It is also a collection of our beliefs on any subject. We have certain ways of thinking about a particular thing and we have our own beliefs on all topics under the sun. When we believe that others have a right to their beliefs, we are able to accept various points of view and get the grander view of the picture. Where our ego is strong, it refuses to accept any other belief but its own and creates problems for itself. Belief due to experience of truth within is different from belief of various topics due to ego. Where ego predominates, we insist on our way and opinion without any regard to reality and truth. Common sense goes out for a toss where ego dominates. This can easily bring our downfall as we refuse to see anything beyond our personal beliefs and sense of self. We can see how ego blinds commonsense and brings our downfall in the story of the lion and the rabbit:
Once upon a time there lived a ferocious lion in the forest. It was powerful and greedy. Its sense of superiority was very powerful and it started killing the animals in the forest indiscriminately. No animal could face the unleashed wrath and power of the lion. As the days passed the lion became more and more egocentric and thought that it could get away with anything. The animals of the forest had a meeting. They discussed about the senseless killing of the lion and how to prevent it. Then they decided that each day, one animal should volunteer itself to be eaten by lion. By doing so, the pointless deaths of the animals could be prevented. So each day one animal of different species offered itself to the lion. One day it was the turn of the rabbits. The rabbits chose an old rabbit to be sent as the lion’s meal.
The rabbit was wise and old. It understood the self centred ego of the lion and knew that it was by the ego alone, it could defeat and kill the lion. The lion was indeed powerful and the rabbit was old, but where the ego is too strong, there is no common sense. As per its plan, the old rabbit walked slowly and took its own time to reach the lion. The lion was waiting impatiently for its meal. When no animal turned up by afternoon, it swore to kill all the animals the next day.
The old rabbit reached the lion’s den by sunset. The lion was fuming and fretting. The wise rabbit was calm and quietly told the lion that it was not his fault that he was delayed in reaching the lion. He said that a group of rabbits were coming for him in the morning but on the way they were attacked by another lion that killed and ate all of them. Somehow the old rabbit managed to escape and reach this lion safely. The old rabbit said that the other lion was very strong and was challenging the supremacy of this lion. The lion was very furious and asked to be taken to the location of the other lion.
The wise rabbit agreed and let the lion towards a deep well filled with water. He showed the lion his reflection in the water of the well. On seeing his reflection, the lion was furious to see another lion and started growling. Naturally the reflection in the water growled back ferociously. The lion was extremely angry and he jumped into the water to kill the other lion and lost his life. By attacking the ego of the lion with the supremacy and power of illusion of another lion, the wise rabbit was able to save himself and the other animals.
When we look back, we see how often we behave foolishly due to our ego. We refuse to acknowledge our faults or the truth though we are aware of them. We take a wrong stand due to our ego and suffer as ego blinds commonsense. Regular japa of SitaRam mantra and meditation help in overcoming the ego and living a peaceful life.
( As told by Omdasji Maharaj to his disciples)