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Observing the world, one comes to the ego. Observing ego, one comes to the Self || Acharya Prashant
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
6 min
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Questioner: If love is death of ego, then loving man will be just soul. So, is love Moksha (Salvation)? (as repeated by AP ji)

Acharya Prashant (AP): Everything that you just said, is a concept in your mind. Ego lives on concepts; ego lives on thoughts—concepts are thoughts.

What is the definition of a concept? Where you define A in terms of B, A is equal to f(B), and you define B in terms of C, and you define C in terms of D, and ultimately everything is defined in terms of everything else, and nothing has any independent definition of its own—that's a concept.

So, what is love? Death of the ego. What is ego? Lovelessness. So, love is defined in terms of ego, ego is defined in terms of love, and what are both defined in terms of? That you have no idea of. Because there is nothing independent in your life, and hence there is no independent definition either in your life. Then you said, "Moksha, enlightenment, emancipation," whatever that means. Now what does that mean to you? Again, ego-lessness.

Whatever you are saying is just ego. What do you mean by death? What do you mean by love? Don't start with all that. Don't go into fancy words like enlightenment. The only thing that is close to you, as you are, is your daily self. Just observe it. Sitting on that chair, continuing with your daily life, you will neither know ego, nor love, nor enlightenment.

You will have to observe your daily life. You will have to first of all come to the fact of the ego, not the concept of the ego. Coming to the concept is something that the ego really likes, because concepts are the diet of ego—it flourishes upon them. Keep feeding concepts to ego, and the ego says, “Yes, yes, yes. I know more. I know about love also, I know about enlightenment also."

Start with knowing how you are living. That will bring you to the direct fact of the ego. Coming to the direct fact of the ego, you will know how to proceed. And as you proceed from there, love and realization do not then remain mere words. But before you proceed towards the solution side—the side of love, and freedom, and realization, you first of all have to encounter the problem side; because it is only from the problem that the solution can emerge.

When you come close to the problem, you have also come very close to the solution. Are you getting this? Come very close to how you operate daily, come very close to it. That is ego. Ego is not a thought, or a concept, or a framework. What is ego? Ego is how you operate in your daily life—that is ego. Your sense of 'I am’. You wake up, and you say, "I am going to work." Then you say, "I am going to earn." Then you say, "I am going to meet my friends." Then you say, "I am going to play."

The entire day is a succession of activities that this 'I am' is absorbed in. The very movement of 'I am' is ego. That is the point to start. See how you live. Don't talk about it. Just see how you live. When you see how you live, then you have really come upon ego. I am repeating, do not have thoughts about ego. Ego is not something out there (pointing outside), imaginary. Ego is something in here, in here (pointing towards self), and you have to watch it in action. You have to see the ways of the ego.

It is not something static. It is always functional; it is always doing. That is why I said it is a movement. The ego is always restless and is hence always involved in some kind of activity or the other. You have to watch your activities. Watching your activities, you see the ego. Or let's put it this way, that when you watch yourself, whatever you see is called the ego. When you watch yourself, whatever you see is called the ego.

This watching is sufficient, at least for now. Out of this watchfulness, much more is known, much more becomes clear, much action results. But we cannot talk about that action right now. If we talk, that would be just imagination. All that action, all that realization, all that clarity depends, first of all, on a clear observation of what we are, what we are doing—an impartial, unbiased, attentive observation of the self. That is what the ego is. Otherwise, you will be left making grand and conceptual statements like this—that love is the death of ego.

We do not even know the ego; how can we talk about the death of the ego? Do you know ego? Here is a test—knowing ego is freedom from the ego. Are you free from the ego? You find yourself in the clutches of your daily routine and pattern all the time, right? That is ego. How are you free from the ego?

You find it so difficult to go against your grain. How are you free from the ego? And if you are not free from ego, then you do not know ego. So first of all, know it. Thankfully, the ability and the faculty to know is there with you. That which you need to observe is always happening. You need to observe life, which is always on. So, observe and then you will not only know ego, you will also know love and realization. All right?

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