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Egoless Living In Hinduism

How can one act at all without ego? Will life bloom in all its fullness only when one's life is egoless? These are some of the doubts and fears which arise and from time immemorial the great seers of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) have answered these doubts and quelled the fears. Egoless life is outside the sphere of our experience. Action without the actor, a mind without sloth, and outward movement, are unknown to us and therefore we fear the logical consequence of the pursuit of self-enquiry resulting in the 'loss' of the mind in the Self. Sri Ramana Maharshi assures that in this death of the mind or ego is the birth of true life.

In an egoless state one is born anew in a totally different dimension in which the fountain of joy endlessly overflows. One is, as it were, inundated by it. There is constant renewal, a totality of perception, and perfection in action.

What does egoless living really mean? What is the birth and death of the ego? The rising of the I-thought of waking is ego's birth. All thoughts are its forms. Seemingly infinite is its variety.

What constitutes its death? Is it the silence of the mind made quiescent by breath-control or mental practices which lull the mind? Is it a trance or a swoon? It cannot be these, for these are but temporary spells. When they end, the ego is strident again and is in full cry. The situation would be no different from what it was prior to these spells of mental inactivity. All attempts at "pruning" the ego are destined to fail. But then is there no sure way to bring about its death? Is there no escape from its suffocating grip?

Egoless Living In Hinduism

One can surely nail the coffin of the ego, if only one enquires steadfastly and ceaselessly as to where from it originates. Firm attention to the I-thought as it rises each time is all that is needed, in the Ramana Maharshi Way. "Plant your lotus feet upon the head of the ego as it emerges.” prays Ramana Maharshi to Arunachala (Shiva). Repeated practice of self-enquiry would result in the mind staying ever merged at its source.

Ramana Maharshi explains that ego or individuality is like the moon and the Self is like the Sun. The reflected light of the moon is required only so long as the Sun does not rise. When the ego merges in its source and stays so merged, action is performed automatically just as all the activities are carried on in this world when the Sun rises.

What Happens When Ego Dies?

Being caught up still in the snares of ego, the fear that one would lose all interest in life, that no action would be possible lingers as an undercurrent. Ramana Maharshi's reply to this question is most reassuring. It is only then that the door to limitless bliss opens.

The egoless persons having no feeling of a separate individuality just float in the divine current for fulfilling its purposes. What marks them out is their total faith in the cosmic order.

Since there are no 'others' for them they are 'humbler than the humblest' and are overflowing with love. Enveloped as they are in the Infinite, in them one finds the confluence of peace and power. Their very presence is a benediction to humanity.

Source - Excerpts from the editorial of the The Mountain Path issue dated October 1983 By A.R. Natarajan