Ego and How to Abolish It?


Ego is a strong separative self-experience of our being.

Ego is that which gives one a small sense or experience of self — a veil that makes us feel ourselves to be something separate from the divine, separate from the cosmic and separate from other individuals. In other words, the ego is that which veils us from a knowledge and experience of our True Self, which is tri-fold in its nature (simultaneously transcendent, cosmic and individual), and is at once, timeless and of time, absolute and relative, stable and dynamic, infinite and finite.

Ego is nothing fundamentally real in itself but only a practical constitution of our consciousness devised to centralise the activities of Nature in us. We perceive a formation of mental, physical, vital experience which distinguishes itself from the rest of being, and that is what we think of as ourselves in nature — this individualisation of being in becoming. We then proceed to conceive of ourselves as something which has thus individualised itself and only exists so long as it is individualised, — a temporary or at least a temporal becoming; or else we conceive of ourselves as someone who supports or causes the individualisation, an immortal being perhaps but limited by its individuality. This perception and this conception constitute our ego-sense. Normally, we go no farther in our knowledge of our individual existence.

The Mother says: “It is the ego that makes each one a separate being, in all possible ways. It is the ego which gives the sense of being a person separate from others. It is certainly the ego which gives you the sense of the “I”, “I am”, “I want”, “I do”, “I exist”, even the very famous “I think therefore I am” which is… I am sorry but I think it is a stupidity — but still it is a celebrated stupidity — well, this too is the ego. What gives you the impression that you are Manoj is the ego, and that you are altogether different from this one and that one; and what prevents your body from melting away like that, dissolving in a common mass of physical vibrations, is the ego; what gives you a definite form, a definite character, a separate consciousness, the sense that you exist in yourself, independently of all others, indeed, something like that; if one does not reflect, spontaneously one has the sense that even if the world disappeared, one would be there, one would remain what one is. This of course is the super-ego.”

Our Centre of Identification can depend upon where our consciousness places itself or concentrates itself more and more.

The following are the types of Ego where our consciousness places itself and forms an Ego-sense. We are a product of so many beings inside, so many layers, so many egos which were formed in us for 1000s of years.

Types of Ego:

1. Mental Ego: If a person’s consciousness is identified with mind, it is mental Ego. These people individualise themselves with for example: My judgement, my logic is correct.

2. Vital Ego: If a person’s consciousness places or concentrates itself within the Emotional level, then the person possesses Vital ego. They dominate with their emotional influence, or need or expectations or ignorance.

3. Physical Ego: If a person’s consciousness places or concentrates itself within the Physical level, then the person possesses physical ego. His entire life is symbolized by either lethargy, idleness or physical heroic works

4. Spiritual Ego: If a person’s consciousness places or concentrates itself within the with spiritual achievement alone he develops a spiritual ego. He is always concerned about his spiritual perfection or supremacy in comparison with others.

5. Overmind Ego: Ego experienced even by the Gods at the overmind level.

6. Sattwic Ego: brings knowledge and happiness. ‘I am receiving knowledge, I am full of delight’ — these feelings are actions of the sattwic ego. The ego of the sadhak, the devotee, the man of knowledge, the disinterested worker is the sattwic ego which brings knowledge and delight.

7. Rajasic Ego: Stands for action. ‘I am doing the work, I am winning, I am losing, I am making effort, the success in work is mine, the failure is mine, I am strong, I am fortunate, I am happy, I am unhappy’ — all these feelings are predominantly rajasic, dynamic and generate desire.

8. Tamasic Ego: full of ignorance and inertia. ‘I am wretched, I am helpless, I am lazy, incapable and good for nothing, I have no hope, I am so weak, so obscure, so miserable, so oppressed and ill-used — there is no hope for me, no success, I am denied everything, I am unsupported, how can I do this, how can I do that, I have no power for it, no capacity, I am helpless; let me die; let me lie still and moan” I am sinking into the lower nature, my only salvation is to sink into the lower nature’, etc. — all these feelings are predominantly tamasic and produce inertia and obscurity.

These are not seen all at once or in every case; but these are the general character of that being.

Those afflicted with the Tamasic ego have no pride though they have the ego in full measure but that ego has a downward movement and leads to death and extinction in the void of the Brahman. People with Tamasic ego accept and support despondency, weakness, inertia, self-depreciation, unwillingness to act, unwillingness to know or be open, fatigue, indolence, do-nothingness.

Just as pride has ego, in the same way humility also has ego; just as strength has ego, in the same way weakness also has ego. Those who have no pride because of their tamasic nature are mean, feeble and servile out of fear and despair. Tamasic humility, tamasic forgiveness, tamasic endurance have no value whatsoever and do not produce any good result.

9. Individual Ego: Individual ego is an ignorance and limitation of Self which has been necessary in the course of evolution, at an individual level. It can be based on one’s separative identity or indiviudalisation. But this ego is now necessarily giving away to the wider Self.

10. Collective Ego: Collective ego is an ignorance and limitation of Self which has been necessary in the course of evolution, at a collective level. It can be based on standing for one’s religion, or language or nation. But this collective ego is now necessarily giving away to the wider Self or universal consciousness or oneness.

· How Ego was the Helper:

Our whole life has revolved around ourselves from childhood, bound by a social rules and regulations. All we have done, even the apparently most disinterested or least egoistic act, has been done with a view to our own personal growth or illumination. The society compelled us to work in a manner befitting of mankind, not as per the animal or plant kind. We are made to realize with the help of ego as we could succeed against all other creations using our knowledge, intelligence and power. Ego helps us to create our own identity in this world. Had ego was not present, and had man led an ascetic life, man would have been living in the Stone Age by now. Ego helped it to overcome its own barriers and limitations and start challenging this world. Then a powerful human personality has been formed after years, only because of Ego which provoked and pressurized man to exceed itself. Ego is a helper to build identity. The limitation of the universal “I” in the divided ego — sense constitutes our imperfect individualised personality. The ego is surely the instrument for individualisation, that is, until one is an individualised being, constituted in him, the ego is an absolutely necessary factor. If one had the power of abolishing the ego ahead of time, one would lose one’s individuality.

· How Ego becomes a barrier Now:

After making us a better human in comparison to other animals, Ego has not completely left us. Then Ego tries to assert itself in the negative way and we succumb to its pressure tactics and start respecting its demands and desires. Finally, our being is controlled and dominated by Ego. When ego was established in us completely, this little Ego has taken its roots in our being and completely defines our individuality. Thus Ego becomes a bar for spirituality.

Sri Aurobindo considered the ego as a temporary variable to be replaced during inner growth by soul-principle. The Mother says, Ego is the helper so long as it is needed to form the physical individuality, but when that is formed, ego must disappear. 26 June 1935

But once the individuality has been formed, the ego becomes not only useless but harmful. And only then comes the time when it must be abolished. But naturally, as it has taken so much trouble to build you, it does not give up its work so easily, and it asks for the reward of its efforts, that is, to enjoy the individuality.

Ego develops in various forms:

The ego becomes more and more conscious and resistant as the being develops.

· So-called inert matter — Much more easily responsive, less resistant.

· Plants and animals — The response is much quicker than among men.

· Very primitive, very simple beings, little children — Response quicker as they don’t have an organized ego.

· Man with organized mind — Least responsive and more resistant as they have entirely crystallized, organized mental consciousness which is as hard as stone! It resists. There is much less ego, you see, it is not a conscious ego. People who have worked on themselves, who have mastered themselves, who are organized, who have an ego made of steel, it will be difficult for them. Unless they go beyond all this and have enough spiritual knowledge to be able to make the ego surrender … in which case the realization will naturally be much greater — it will be more difficult to accomplish, but the result will be far more complete.

· Conscious beings — The greatest resistance is in the most conscious beings due to a lack of mental receptivity, due to the mind itself which wants things to continue (as Sri Aurobindo has written) according to its own mode of ignorance.

Bad impact of Ego:

1. Living in Ignorance

Ego is the most formidable of the knots which keep us tied to the ignorance. — -Sri Aurobindo

Man aims at knowledge and mastery of own being & environment first by ego, then by ‘secret oneness’.

To live in the wideness of the Intuition is not possible with the limitation of the ego. Sri Aurobindo

2. Experience All Difficulties

The extent of your difficulties gives you the measure of your ego. -The Mother

The source and origin of all our difficulties always link somewhere with our little ego.

3. Being Fearful

Being egoistic leads to fear entering our being in various levels as we have an excessive concern about our security without any trust in the Divine. We do not have the habit of a spontaneous trust in the Divine. Lack of trust stops us from accepting the best that happens in all circumstances, one would not be afraid.

4. Being in Depression or Suicidal tendency:

It is the ego that gets depressed. -The Mother

All bitterness in life always comes from the ego refusing to abdicate. -The Mother

If the conditions make the experience the soul is seeking still more difficult, for example, if one is in a body with an inadequate will or some distortion in the thought, or an egoism too, too hardened, and it ends in suicide, it is dreadful. It creates a dreadful karma that can be repeated for lifetimes on end before the soul can conquer it and manage to do what it wants. And each time, the conditions become more difficult, each time it requires a still greater effort.

What should we do to overcome Ego?

When we have passed beyond individualising, then we shall be real persons. It is time to live for something other than ourselves, something other than our own individuality. There are various ways to overcome our Ego.

1. Through Love and Self-giving: Using these two instruments men can have as much power as the gods, and even more — when they are not egoists, when they can overcome their egoism.

So long as the ego is there, one cannot love. Love alone can love, Love alone can conquer the ego. -The Mother

Love lacks ego. Ego lacks love. — SRI AUROBINDO

Taking the help of Satprem’s Prayer for the Mother: Let us learn how Satprem used to give himself completely through his prayers:

Something has to explode in me and take possession of my entire being. It is not my force that can achieve this, but yours. Mother, I beseech you to open in me the doors of my true being. I no longer want this false relationship with the outside, this life of approximation. I want to be your instrument, not the instrument of this ignorant and suffering ego. Mother, I ask only for the true, the Light, that which is my real self. I have had enough, enough of this surface self that invades virtually all my days.

May your Will be done.

Your child who desperately needs you,

Mother, by way of expressing to you my gratitude, I want to work now to open myself totally to your Light and become truly an egoless instrument, your conscious instrument. Mother, you are the sole Reality.

So thousands of times a day, I repeat, ‘Mother, I want to be your instrument, ever more conscious, I want to express your truth, your light. I want to be what you want, as you want, when you want.’ There is in me now a kind of need for perfection, a will to abolish this ego, a real understanding that to become your instrument means at the same time to find the perfect plenitude of one’s personality. So I am living in an almost constant state of aspiration, I feel your force constantly, or nearly so, and if I am ‘distracted’ a few minutes, I experience a void, an uneasiness that calls me back to you.

Mother, from the depths of my being, I offer you a sole prayer: may I become your more and more perfect instrument, a sword of light in your hands. Oh, to get out of this ego that belittles everything, diminishes everything, to emerge from it! All is falsehood in it.

2. Use Strong Will power: We need a strong will and the capacity to resist the temptation. The fatal temptation throughout our lives builds up the power of Ego. Each defeat gives it renewed force. But a tiny victory can dissolve it.

The Mother says: Oh, the most terrible of all is when one does not have the strength, the courage, something indomitable! How many times do they come to tell me, ‘I want to die, I want to flee, I want to die.’ — I say, ‘But die, then, die to yourself! No one is asking you to let your ego survive! Die to yourself since you want to die! Have that courage, the true courage, to die to your egoism.’

But because it is karma, one must, one must DO something oneself. Karma is the construction of the ego; the ego MUST DO something, everything cannot be done for it. This is it, THIS is the thing: karma is the result of the ego’s actions, and only when the ego abdicates is the karma dissolved. One can help it along, one can assist it, give it strength, bestow courage upon it, but the ego must then make use of it.

3. Find the True Inner voice:

To become conscious of your psychic being and to live a psychic life you must abolish all egoism; but to live a spiritual life you must no longer have an ego.

When naked of ego and mind it hears the Voice — Sri Aurobindo, Savitri

“Renunciation of ego, acceptance of God in life is the Yoga I teach, — no other renunciation.”

-Sri Aurobindo

It is an ego in man, that is shocked to find ego in others. ~Sri Aurobindo.

To get into the higher and deeper consciousness which knows and lives consciously in the Divine, we have to get rid of the forces of the lower nature and open to the action of the Divine Shakti which will transform our consciousness into that of the Divine Nature.

4. Taste for Nothingness — The Mother says Taste for Nothingness is the most harmonious way to put an end to the ego. It’s the ego coming to an end. It’s, yes, the most harmonious way, the higher way to put an end to the ego. It is tired of being, instead of feeling killed and crushed. A “phew” of relief: “Enough, enough of this battle to exist.” We could say: Falsehood, tired of being, gives up.

In vain his heart lifts up its yearning prayer,
Peopling with brilliant Gods the formless Void;
Then disappointed to the Void he turns
And in its happy nothingness asks release,
The calm Nirvana of his dream of self:
The Word in silence ends, in Nought the name.

Taste for Nothingness — It’s the divine way to annul the ego.

5. Shun the attraction agents of Ego

If you want to be a true doer of divine works, your first aim must be totally free from all desire and self-regarding ego. Sri Aurobindo

Ego’s attraction Agents

We need to shun the 3 dangerous forces:

Power, wealth, sex that have the strongest attraction for human ego. — Sri Aurobindo.

Career, Success and Money: 3 biggest illusions in the present modern world, and society.

The Mother says “Tell the Ego that its hour has gone”. It’s the divine way to annul the ego.

The ego is no longer necessary, it has finished its job, the consciousness is ready.

Two ways to forget the Ego and replace it with Divine:

· We need to follow Sri Aurobindo who advises “Always behave as if The Mother is looking at you for indeed she is always present.”

· The Mother says: Do nothing, try to think and feel nothing which will be unworthy of Divine presence.

6. Need Endurance for overcoming Physical Ego:

The Mother says: Ego of the Physical is the most difficult to conquer (or rather, the body ego, because the work was already done long ago on the physical ego). It might be thought that the form of the body is a point of concentration, and that without this concentration or hardness, physical life would not be possible. But that’s not true. The body is really a wonderful instrument; it’s capable of widening and of becoming vast in such a way that everything, everything — the slightest gesture, the least little task — is done in a wonderful harmony and with a remarkable plasticity. Then all of a sudden, for something quite stupid, a draft, a mere nothing, it forgets — it shrinks back into itself, it gets afraid of disappearing, afraid of not being. And everything has to be started again from scratch. So in the yoga of matter you start realizing how much endurance is needed. I calculated it would take 200 years to say ten crore of my japa. Well, I’m ready to struggle 200 years if necessary, but the work will be done.

7. Practise Humility: The Mother says: if there is one fundamental necessity, it is humility. To be humble. Not humble as it is normally understood, such as merely saying, ‘I am so small, I’m nothing at all’ — no, something else. Because the pitfalls are innumerable, and the further you progress in yoga, the more subtle they become, and the more the ego masks itself behind marvelous and saintly appearances. So when somebody says, ‘I no longer want to rely on anything but Him. I want to close my eyes and rest in Him alone,’ this comfortable ‘Him,’ which is exactly what you want him to be, is the ego — or a formidable Asura, or a Titan (depending on each one’s capacity). They’re all over the earth, the earth is their domain. So the first thing to do is to pocket your ego — not preserve it, but get rid of it as soon as possible!

There is no need of being great, humility is the first necessity, for one who has ego and pride cannot realise the Highest.

8. Practise Plasticity:

Three things are required: Consciousness, Plasticity and Surrender

As a river remembers origin and its destination we should also remember that we are God’s children, and our only destination is the Divine. We are Sons of God and must be even as He. We are sons of Infinite and Ananta. We need to be plastic enough to remembers our origin and destination, whatever be the current difficulties, challenges or calamities we will ultimately merge in the Divine and need not showcase our Egoistic self.

9. Dissolution of Ego

It is not enough to surrender; the ego must be dissolved, must merge with the Divine, disappear in Him, The Mother says. Until the nature is entirely transformed, it is always mixed — the good and the bad side by side. So until the transformation is achieved, there will always be a mixture of egoism in all who come to me.

The Mother is the Final Goal, She is the Path, She is the Source. All our painful experiences given to us in this life time is only to search the Divine, and come closer to the Divine. We must realize finally that “Everything is Mother, there is nothing else but Mother.” It is her action in place. We are just conscious instruments of Her.

Krishna says the secret of secrets is, that the Divine is in each individual being or thing, in all beings and things, and also transcends the entire phantasmagoria of the phenomenal play. To seize this “secret of secrets” is to be able to batter one’s way out of one’s egoistic prison-house and function from a greater wideness, the ego being dissolved in the “impersonality of spiritual being”. This in turn must facilitate a Divine orientation for all actions, all thoughts, all loves. In one sense, not the ego, but Prakriti or Nature is the doer of all works; but Prakriti is only a power of the being or Purusha who is the master and controller of all her multitudinous works and million-faceted energisms.

The Purusha is the silent witness consciousness which observes the actions of Prakriti.

Prakriti is the force of Nature which one feels as doing all the actions, when one gets rid of the sense of the ego as doer. Then there is the realisation of these two entities. This is quite different from the psychic being. It is felt in the mind, vital, physical — most easily in the mind where the mental being (Purusha) is seated and controls the others.

10. Realisation of The Divine:

The Realisation of the Divine Will, Dynamic Divine Force and Unity in the dynamic flow of life is essential to remove the ego.

There is a dynamic force which moves all things, and when you become conscious of it, you see that it is one single Force which moves all things; and as you become conscious, you can even follow its movement and see how it works through men and things. — The Mother

The Divine is everywhere and in all — but this is a world of Ignorance in which each one is separated from the Divine within him by his ego and he acts according to the ego and not according to the Divine. When he sees the Divine in all, then he begins to have the right consciousness and be free. In the ordinary nature we live in the Ignorance and do not know the Divine. The forces of the ordinary nature are undivine forces because they weave a veil of ego and desire and unconsciousness which conceals the Divine from us.

When the inmost knowledge begins to come, we become aware of the psychic being within us and it comes forward and leads the sadhana. We become aware also of the Jivatman, the undivided Self or Spirit above the manifestation of which the psychic is the representative here.

From the minute you become unconscious of the Unity — unity of Force, unity of Consciousness and unity of Will — well you no longer have the perception which makes you quite separate from others, so that you do not know what goes on in them, they are strangers to you, you are shut up as it were in your own skin, and have no contact with others except quite externally and superficially. But this happens precisely because you have not realised in yourself the perception of this oneness of Consciousness, Force and Will — even of material vibrations–The Mother

The realisation of Self and of the Cosmic being (without which the realisation of Self is incomplete) are essential steps in our Yoga’; it is the end of other Yogas, but it is, as it were, the beginning of ours, that is to say, the point where its own characteristic realisation can commence. — Sri Aurobindo

You must learn to unite what you call your individual self with your true psychic individuality. Your present individuality is a very mixed thing, a series of changes which yet preserves a certain continuity, a certain sameness or identity of vibration in the midst of all flux. It is almost like a river which is never the same and yet has a certain definiteness and persistence of its own. Your normal self is merely a shadow of your true individuality which you will realise only when this normal individual which is differently poised at different times, now in the mental, then in the vital, at other times in the physical, gets into contact with the psychic and feels it as its real being. Then you will be one, nothing will shake or disturb you, you will make steady and lasting progress… The Mother

Let us read the following Experience shared by The Mother

Before, I always had the negative experience of the disappearance of the ego, of the oneness of Creation, where everything implying separation disappeared — an experience that, personally, I would call negative. Last Wednesday, while I was speaking (and that’s why at the end I could no longer find my words), I seemed suddenly to have left this negative phenomenon and entered into the positive experience: the experience of BEING the Supreme Lord, the experience that nothing exists but the Supreme Lordall is the Supreme Lord, there is nothing else. And at that moment, the feeling of this infinite power that has no limit, that nothing can limit, was so overwhelming that all the functions of the body, of this mental machine that summons up words, all this was … I could no longer speak French. Perhaps the words could have come to me in English — probably, because it was easier for Sri Aurobindo to express himself in English, and that’s how it must have happened: it was the part embodied in Sri Aurobindo (the part of the Supreme that was embodied in Sri Aurobindo for its manifestation) that had the experience. This is what joined back with the Origin and caused the experience — I was well aware of it.



Believer in Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga and His Vision of Universal Unity and Supramental Consciousness. “Man is not final, He is just an intermediate being”.

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Sanjeev Patra

Believer in Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga and His Vision of Universal Unity and Supramental Consciousness. “Man is not final, He is just an intermediate being”.