Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Ego and its destruction ~ Swami Sivananda

The Medusa personifies the multiple ego
The Ego and its destruction

Now we go to the very root of the spiritual knowledge of the scriptures. What is Jnana Yoga? What is Bhakti Yoga? What is Karma Yoga? What is Raja Yoga?

The ignorance

The very root of the whole question of spiritual realisation and emancipation lies in the theory of ignorance. They say, ignorance is the root. How does ignorance manifest in the individual soul? As Ahankara (Egoism). The root of the whole problem is the ego in the individual soul, and the moment the ego is removed, whatever is shines forth in all its splendour. That is your essential nature. That is Satchidananda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss). To remove the ego is the prime purpose of all Yoga.

Liberation (Kaivalya Moksha)

“When shall I be free? When ‘I’ ceases to be.” When the ego-sense ceases to be, there is complete annihilation of I-ness and mine-ness and the Jiva attains salvation. He enjoys Atmic consciousness. Kaivalya Moksha (Final emancipation) is then and there for the being in whom the sense of ‘I’ gets completely annihilated. It is not necessary for him to go into a higher realm. Then and there salvation is attained by him.

Jnana Yoga , Vedanta

The bar to Knowledge of Atman, (Atma-jnana), is the ego-sense, and ego-sense manifests variously. It manifests as ignorance, clinging to the body, ‘I am this body,’ ‘I am the mind,’ ‘I am the senses.’ Adhyasa is the mistaken identification of the all-perfect Self with the body, mind, Pranas and senses. So, remove Adhyasa by identifying yourself with the supreme all-pervading Truth. Again and again hammer into the mind the idea, “I am the Atman.” That is the process of Vedanta. Therefore, break this aspect of ego which is there as Adhyasa, false identification.

Prema Marga (Path of love - Bhakti Yoga). 

The ego itself manifests as emotion, as attachment 'this is mine', (Mamata vritti). In order to remove this manifestation of the ego as attachment, they said, “Attach yourself to the Lord.” This is Prema Marga (Path of love - Bhakti). 

Tvameva Mata Cha Pita Tvameva, 
Tvameva Bandhuscha Sakha Tvameva; 
Tvameva Vidya, Dravinam Tvameva, 
Tvameva Sarvam, Mama Deva-deva.

You are my mother, my father, 
You are my brother, and my friend.
You are my knowledge and my only wealth.
You are everything to me and the God of all Gods.
There is no attachment for anything on this earth. All my mind is completely tied to that which is my own, my nearest, my dearest. That is the sublimation of the ego in its expression as attachment, as love, as affection.

Karma Yoga

And then, this ego is also found in another aspect of personality, as superimposition, super-arrogation, pride, taking credit for everything, Abhimana (egoistic feeling)—“I have done that, I am a master of the Vedas, I have attained proficiency in that science.” In everything man begins to take Abhimana, and entertain the feeling, “I am the doer, I am the possessor of everything.” Crush this Abhimana. “I am nothing, I do nothing. Everything is being done by the Lord. Hari is the Kartha (Doer). Everything is being done by the power of the Lord. I am only an instrument.” Nimittamatram Bhava Savyasachin, says the great scripture, Gita, which shows man how to act without doership and attachment. Therefore, completely dedicating yourself to the Lord, saying, ‘I am not the doer, I am only an instrument, everything is being done by Him,’ you should work in the world. This is Karma Yoga. 

Thus, Jnana Yoga removes the manifestation of the ego as Adhyasa (false identification, superimpotision), Bhakti Yoga sublimates the ego as emotion and attachment, and Karma Yoga destroys the ego as Abhimana (egoistic feeling). 

Raja Yoga 

What does Raja Yoga do? For all these manifestations of the ego, mind is the root cause. Therefore, destroy that mind. What is the first manifestation of the mind on the surface? The subconscious mind is full of latent Samskaras (impressions). There you cannot go. What is the prime aspect of the mind which manifests itself on the surface? The conscious mind, the Vritti ( mental modification), ideation, mentation. The subtle Vasana  (tendency or subtle desire )which is latent inside as impression becomes manifest as idea. As soon as the idea comes, chop it off. Immediately smash it and put it down.Yogaschitta-vrittinirodhah. Yoga is the destruction of the modifications of the mind. Completely annihilate all the ideas that arise in the mind, and that is done by deep meditation, complete concentration. Many ideas go on cropping up in the mind. Make them lesser, make the field of the Vasanas lesser, and then make them into one idea, and ultimately that idea also should go. Raja Yoga is the technique of completely rooting out the mind, which is the field for the manifestation of the ego in all its various aspects as Adhyasa, Mamata, attachment, Abhimana, etc., and when the mind is destroyed, the ego will go away. That is Raja Yoga. Asana, Pranayama, etc., are only preparations for concentration and meditation.

So, what important truth all these things reveal? The great enemy of man is the ego. The great enemy of man is the sense of ‘I,’ with all its countless ramifications. Everything that holds him down to ignorance and Samsara is nothing but the various Vikaras (modifications of the mind) of the root cause, Ahankara, and all branches of Yoga ultimately aim only at the removal of Ahankara, and Ahankara is removed if Satsanga is carried out. Satsanga is a wonderful technique where this root process is automatically worked out by the influence of a higher personality, provided you have fully understood the importance of it.  

Yoga means the complete pulverization and eradication of the ego in all its aspects. Provided an aspirant approaches a sage with this knowledge, what will he do? He will always be on the guard to see that his ego does not assert itself. He will never do the blunder of going to the Guru with his ego intact and clinging to it.