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The ego-ghost

 

35   The ego that becomes embroiled in the multitude of moving pictures, which gets tossed about and suffers as a result, is a worthless phantasm.

 

36   The droll dance of the ego-ghost, whose form is the body, the dirty vessel of filth, will ruin the immortal life.

 

37   Binding one thing tightly to another is the profession of the ignoble ghost, the mind, the deceiving association.

 

Ulladu Narpadu, verses 25, 26:

 

What a wonder it is! This ghostly ego which is devoid of form comes into existence by grasping a form; grasping a form it endures; feeding upon forms which it grasps, it waxes more; leaving one form it grasps another; when sought for it takes to flight. Know thus.

 

If the ego, the root, comes into existence, all else will come into existence. If the ego does not exist, all else will not exist. Verily, the ego is all! Hence, scrutinizing ‘What is it?’ is indeed giving up all. Know thus.8

 

38   Those true devotees who have come under the sway of grace will not get deluded, becoming possessed by the ego-ghost.

 

39   There is nothing as insubstantial as the ego-ghost that remains firmly established, refusing to leave.

 

40   It is impossible to imagine the suffering experienced by this world through the sovereignty exercised by that ego ghost.

 

41   Only through the application of the vibhuti of jnana vichara will the ghost be exorcised.

 

In India it is traditional in some places to use vibhuti, sacred ash, during exorcism rituals. Bhagavan is saying here that enquiry (vichara) into the nature of jnana is the exorcism that banishes the ego-ghost.

 

42   Not only will it be exorcised, it will get beheaded and destroyed before your very eyes.

 

Association with the ego

 

43   What benefit have you gained by associating with an ego, which is just a thought that attaches itself to you?

 

44   To the ego-mind of ignoble people, the Atma-swarupa that is consciousness, the supreme, is very, very far away.

 

45   Seeing him, the ego, the degraded chandala, is defilement. Even hearing about him is defilement. He is an untouchable.

 

A chandala is an outcaste. In Bhagavan’s time such people were deemed to be ‘untouchables’, and were shunned by all caste Hindus. Bhagavan’s advice here is to treat the ego in the same way that society treated outcastes, and by doing so avoid the degradation and defilement that comes from wrong association. In Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 308, he remarked, ‘The non-Self is untouchable. The social untouchability is man-made, whereas the other untouchability is natural and divine.’

 

46   Unless one knows oneself as the witness, ignorance, which takes the form of the ego, will not be removed.

 

Ego, the cause of suffering

 

47   The ego that deludes you through forgetfulness will unsettle you, becoming the enemy of your stability.

 

48   A life in which the ego-ghost, which possesses desire and attachment, dances is a desolate hell of corruption and ruin.

 

Bhagavan: That bliss of the Self is always with you, and you will find it for yourself, if you would seek it earnestly. The cause of your misery is not in the life without; it is in you as the ego. You impose limitations on yourself and then make a vain struggle to transcend them. All unhappiness is due to the ego; with it comes all your trouble. What does it avail you to attribute to the happenings in life the cause of misery which is really within you? What happiness can you get from things extraneous to yourself? When you get it, how long will it last?

 

If you would deny the ego and scorch it by ignoring it, you would be free. If you accept it, it will impose limitations on you and throw you into a vain struggle to transcend them. That was how the thief sought to ‘ruin’ King Janaka.

 

To be the Self that you really are is the only means to realise the bliss that is ever yours.9

 

49   In the certain knowledge of the Self, wherein the ego dies completely and is resurrected, mental anguish completely ceases.

 

50   If even a trace of the ego, ‘I’, exists, the experience of the Self will be obstructed.

 

51   Other than getting ruined, what else can the ego accomplish when it loses the light of consciousness by getting enmeshed in the net of worldly life?

 

52   A rutting elephant [the ego] will kill itself, trying to gore the mountain it takes to be its enemy, but which is in fact its own shadow.

 

53   The upsurging ego-consciousness is the misery of samsara, the bondage of false, mental creations.

 

54   Until you subjugate, root out and destroy that enemy, all manner of blame and sin will accrue to you.

 

55   As long as that ego exists, innumerable obstacles will arise in succession, like winged white ants streaming out of an ant hill.

 

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The slide show comprises photos of Muruganar, the author of Padamalai.

David Godman Books

 

Books by David Godman on Ramana Maharshi, his devotees and his teachings

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