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Karma Sutra: Why ego suffers by its own greatness

Are we the ‘blessed’ soul leading a handpicked life (by our own admission) or are we this brat complaining about why the others are leading a better life than us?

Written by Ritu S | New Delhi |
October 27, 2015 12:47:44 pm
ego main Everything about this vain self wants to be grand and special. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

No matter how abject our situation in life, when we interact with people, (the world) we always project a picture of perfection. We constantly remind others of how we are the chosen ones who have been spared of so much horror that the others are subjected to.

But this stance of ours takes a 360 degree turn when we approach God (the higher power/divinity). For Him our list of woes is endless- ‘why me?’ or ‘why not me?!

So where do we really stand?

Are we the ‘blessed’ soul leading a handpicked life (by our own admission) or are we this brat complaining about why the others are leading a better life than us?

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We, the crowd of people, operate in this world with a subjective sense of identity. The ‘self’ has its origin in our consciousness (aham) and is the ‘I’ maker.

This sense of ‘I’ ness or ahamkara produces thoughts of ‘me and mine’. The by products of ‘me and mine’ are jealousy, attachment, greed, arrogance to name a few.

The thoughts of ‘me and mine’ are the source of all the problems because out of them stem an inflated sense of ‘self’. Everything about this vain self wants to be grand and special.

Like Indra, the god of the sky, who asked his architect, Vishwakarma, to build him a grand palace befitting his stature, we too are constantly on the lookout for things and responses ‘befitting’ our imagined grand stature.

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Since this vain self is dependent on the world for its validation it can’t bear the thought of disapproval or negation from the world in any way, shape or form. It particularly loathes being at the receiving end of sympathy because it is aware that sympathy is just another tool for the ego to feel superior about itself. The ‘poor you and lucky me’ stance makes for an instant feel good emotion.

Hence, the minute it comes into contact with the world, the ego-self not only projects but believes it is ‘greater’ than the others in some way or another. It is the ego’s only way to survive its ordinariness.

It lets its guards down in front of a higher power (God) because it does not see God as a threat to its self-worth. It humbly or grudgingly pleads with that higher power to enhance that (fame and fortune) by which its worth is measured in the material world.

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This is because the ‘self’ takes the world of maya- that which can be measured and categorised by our mind, for reality. And till the time it lives in this illusion of ‘confusing the map for the territory’ as the semanticist Alfred Korzybski’s slogan aptly describes it, it is bound to suffer by its own greatness.

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First published on: 27-10-2015 at 12:47:44 pm
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