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Ego Quotes – Swami Pavitrananda

A collection of quotes on Ego by Swami Parvitrananda.

Yoga means yoke or union, union with God. And what separates us from God, that we want to have union with Him? It is our ego-sense, our I-sense. It is a mysterious thing. You cannot say it exists; you cannot say it does not exist.

In Vedanta, it is said that this maya is existence and non-existence both. You cannot say this egotism or ego-sense exists, because you do not know what it is. You try to analyse it, and do not find it. But on the other hand, you cannot say it does not exist. A few harsh words and at once you flare up; you are disturbed for days together. So it exists, and it does not exist, too.

This mysterious entity is said to be something like a mirage. A mirage really does not exist, but you see it all the while. It is said the deer runs after the water of a mirage; it runs and runs until it dies. It is the same case with us. We are moving at a great speed on ego-sense, and we run and run. We do not know what we run after or why we run. But we run; we are always busy. Sri Ramakrishna used to say that all troubles will be over when this I-ness goes, when you can give up your sense of I, your attachment to I, your love for I. You are not a loser when you give it up, because you do not know what it is, you are not sure whether it exists. It is a mysterious thing.

This ego-sense expresses itself in three different channels: I think, I feel, and I will. We all experience that; we all feel, we all think, we all will to do certain things. But we think because we have the I-sense. It is said that God does not have to think. Unlike us, God does not have to think with certain material, of this and that: God is thought itself. God is knowledge itself. God does not have to love, as we love: God is love itself. Because we have this I-sense we think, we feel, we love. As I said, we do not find what this ‘I’ is, but still we can act upon it.

One of the Buddhist meditations is: try to discriminate, just to analyse what you really are. They say, if you analyse you find these things: we see forms; we feel there are things which have names; we have some disposition, outcome of our past lives; and some consciousness. All these five things combine to make this I-sense. Or if we analyse we find that because we have the I-sense we feel we have this body, this mind, these senses, and so on. But basically all is included in these three aspects, feeling, willing, and thinking.

Swami Pavitrananda (d. 1977) was a former head of the Vedanta Society of New York and a former editor of Prabuddha Bharata.