Probing inside, I came
Seeking the moon within me:
Sifting the chaff from the grain.
I went seeking
The like, Alike,
Thou art Narayan.
Thou art Narayan, then,
Why this will-o-wisp.
~ Saint Lalleshwari
Question: Acharya Ji, why do I have ego?
Acharya Prashant Ji: Do not ask, “Why does the will-o-wisp, or the ego, or your personal center still exist?” If you ask, “Why does it exist?,” the answer is: your birth.
It exists because, you do.
When was the ego born?
When ‘I’ was born.
As long as you keep taking yourself, as the born one, as the one who took birth one day, and who would die one day, the ego is definitely going to remain.
So, if Parmeshwari (the questioner) asks that why do ‘I’ have ego, do you see what comes before the ‘ego’?
Acharya Ji: What is the question? Why do ‘I’ have the ego? ‘I’ doesn’t even need to have the ego. The ‘I’, is the ego. Till there is Parmeshwari, there is bound to remain the ego.
Don’t you see what ‘Parmeshwari (the questioner)’ means? A body that is separate from the universe. That is ego – as someone who is localised, temporally, and spatially. Parmeshwari is in this hall at Twelve noon. Had she been the Truth, she would have continued, wherever she was. But at 3 p.m., she would be at the banks of river Ganga, not here. So she is localized. She is localized. Similarly, spatially. At Twelve noon, because she is here, so cannot be at the banks of Ganga.
This is what is ego – a thing of time and space.
A thing that is severely limited by time and space.
And therefore suffers.
And is therefore debilitated.
Even if you want to, you cannot be at the banks, at this very time. And that you see, is at the center of a lot of your suffering. Were you not limited in time, you would have immediately gone back to the past and corrected it. But you are limited in time.
If you are here, you can neither be in the past, nor in the future. If you were not limited in space, then you would have controlled the entire universe, by being present wherever you wanted to. Or maybe by being present everywhere in the universe, and therefore, being the universe itself. But you cannot do that. And therefore, you suffer.
Do you now see what desire is? All your desires are limited to time and space. You could also say that, all your desires are related to your limitations in time and space. All your desires are related to your limitations in time and space.
Had you not been limited, what would have you desired? If you are the entire universe, at all times, what is left to desire? Therefore, as long as, there is ‘this(the body)’ there would remain the will-o-wisp.
Now you have to see, what do you want to do, with this necessary limitation. That’s the human condition, you know. This necessary, this inevitable limitation. That is why, those who have known, the saints, they have said, that it was not the great thing that happened to you – the human birth. But now that it has occurred, you better make the best use of it.
But it would have been far-far better, had you never really been born. Now that you are born, strive to come out of this incessant cycle of birth, and re-birth, and death. In fact, that’s what is liberation. That’s how the orient has known liberation – liberation from the cycle of birth, re-birth, and death.
Because the moment you are born, that is born, from which you seek liberation.
The moment you are born, you are born along with that, from which you seek liberation.
So, why be born at all?
Listener: But we have taken birth now.
Acharya Ji: Yes, so now you better use it to the fullest. Live in a way, that is directed towards freedom. And it is equally, rather much more possible, to live in a way, that strengthens your bondages.
Hence, be cautious.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Why does one have ego? || Acharya Prashant, on Saint Lalleshwari (2019)
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