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Is the ego a gift from God? || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2013)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
5 min
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Acharya Prashant: Himadari’s question is, “Does ego have a negative impact on one’s life?”

Himadri, we found out that ego is a disease. What effect can ego have upon you, except a negative impact? There is no positive impact that the ego can have.

We have been saying all along that ego is slavery, ego is lifelessness. Are these not clearly negative? Do you know what ego means? Ego means that you will be always afraid. Those of you who have experienced fear. Fear of any kind they must know. That all forms of fear come only from the ego.

Don’t you see directly that ego is such a terrible thing? It makes life hell. Because ego comes from the outside and you start internalizing it. You also realize that it can also go back to the outside. So, you are always afraid. You always think that someone can take it away from you. Your sense of self is given to you by a group of people. So, those group of people will become your master. You will remain always afraid because they can take back their acceptance. You are at their mercy.

When you come over to speak on a podium. Don’t you see why you are so terribly nervous? Many of you? Would you be nervous had you been told to speak in a vacant room, just in front of the mirror? You won’t be nervous. Right? But you are nervous in front of the audience. Why? Because your self-image comes from that audience. If the audience tells you, “You are wonderful.” You start believing that you are. And you are afraid that now the audience may say that I am a coward. So you start shivering. All forms of fear come from the ego. From a borrowed sense of the self. There is no other cause of fear.

Now you tell me, “Whether it is positive or negative?” Yes, what is it?

Listener 1: Sir, if it is always responsible for fear and other things. So, should one be egoistic?

AP: You tell me.

L1: I am asking you.

AP: I have said all that I have to say. I have told you what an HIV does to a human being. I have told you that now you are more prone to diseases. Now, you may have problem in the lungs, in the kidney, you may have pneumonia, you may have all kinds of infections. And you are asking me, “Sir HIV is good or bad.”


AP: I told you what HIV does to you. And you are still asking me sir is HIV good or bad. Now, you decide whether you want a shot of HIV. Not so sure? It might be good, Sir. Who knows. There may be a great joy in having infections all over the body. We are not sure, Sir.

You have always been dependent on others for decisions. That is the reason why even at this moment you are asking me for a definite answer. Will you never see anything for yourself? Will you always remain dependent on somebody else? Yes?

L2: Is ego not God gifted.

AP: They say that God made a world for six days and on seventh-day man made God.


What is this God you are talking of? Who is there to give you a gift? Santa Claus comes and gives gifts surely but that Santa Claus is purely human. God doesn’t come and give gifts. What is this God? How many of you have known it? Is it not a purely external belief that you are borrowing? And that belief is totally dependent upon which part of the country you come from, what kind of family you are raised in, which cult you belong to.

What do you mean by God gifted? Please? You are a student of science. What are you talking? How can you talk of anything?

When you say something exists, you must have a direct experience of its existence. Right? You must have known it for yourself. I do not know what you mean by that animal, that thing or bird or machine called God.

Have you any understanding of that word God? What do you mean by God gifted? I can accept if you say is it natural. Natural is acceptable because we see nature is all around. It is alright. Yes, ego is natural.

Ego is natural but at the same time it comes from fellow human beings. It is natural in the sense that your brain is susceptible to an ego. It is natural in that sense because we said that the brain of a child is like a sponge. So, it is natural that he will absorb things from the outside. It is natural that others will be able to tell you a few things that you will accept without questioning. To that extent it is natural. And yes it is man-made. Man-made in the sense that all this knowledge that comes to you comes from the other human beings. So it is man-made in that sense. Yes. But please keep God away from all these businesses, Fiction, General imagination.

~ Acharya Prashant Ji speaking in a ShabdaYoga Session at a Samvaad session at MIT on 6th February 2013

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