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Why does one have ego? || Acharya Prashant, on Saint Lalleshwari (2019)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
4 min
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Questioner (Q): Why do I have ego?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Do not ask why does the will-o’-the-wisp or the ego or your personal center still exist. If you’ll 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 is going to die one day, the ego is definitely going to remain.

So, if Parmeshwari asks, why do I have ego? Do you see what comes before the ego? 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 ‘I’. Don't you see what Parmeshwari means? A body that is separate from the universe—that is ego. As someone who is localized, temporally and spatially. Parmeshwari is in this hall, at 12 noon. Had she been the Truth, she would have continued wherever she was. But at 3 p.m., she would be at the Ganga, not here. So, she's localized. Similarly, spatially, at 12 noon, because she is here, so she cannot be at the 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 ghāt 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 be. 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, 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 (body), there would remain the will-o'-the-wisp.

Now, you have to see, what do you want to do with this necessary limitation. That's the human condition, no? This necessary, this inevitable limitation. That is why those who have known the saints, they have said that it was not a 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.

And now that you are born, strive to come out of this incessant cycle of birth and rebirth and death. In fact, that's what is liberation. That's how the Orient has known liberation—liberation from the cycle. 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? 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!

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