Even a Teacher Might Have Ego
(Vinod Anand)

No one is completely devoid of ego and self-esteem. For example, if a guru does not have a well-functioning ego, then perhaps no seeker would ever listen to his discourses and the former would be left alone in his ashram.

Whether you are a guru or seeker, you might have to blow your own trumpet in order for you to be successful. However, ego must be employed differently at different times because of our constant. The Rig Veda says, “Ego is the biggest enemy of humans”.

According to the Bhagwat Gita, a feeling of separateness ensuing from egoism creates a sense of duality and gives birth to attachment; attachment generates delusion, anger, ignorance and other evils.

The Zen school asks us to let go of our focus on the ego to empty ourselves of selfish attachments to overcome mental constrictions and simply be present to the light. Jainism professes understanding and winning over our inner enemies that include krodh, anger; maan, ego; maya, illusion and lobh, greed.

Buddhist traditions view ego not as a single principle but rather aggregates. According to the Upanishads, there are two selves in each one of us, like the two birds perched on a tree. One watches silently (seer) while the other engages in various actions (seen). Egoism is accepting the two powers – the seer and the seen -- as the one and same Self. The seen must merge with the seer.

Ego is like a wild horse – the moment you loosen the reins, it makes you fall on the ground. Similarly, once the ego gets out of control it may prove to be lethal. A scientist had perfected the art of reproducing human genomes.

One day he realized that angel of death was searching for him. In order to remain immortal, he reproduced seven replicas of himself -- each one looking exactly the same, like himself.

The replicas were so perfect that the angel could not identify the original scientist out of the lot and was confused. But not for long, for the angel came with a clever idea. Addressing all eight of them, he said, “You have reproduced so perfectly. The scientist immediately jumped out and shouted, “Impossible!

Where is the flaw?" "Right here" said the Angel of Death, as he picked up the scientist from among the reproductions and carried him off. Ahamkar is the Sanskrit word for ego which means ‘of the form of “I am” or “self”’. This ‘I’ or self is the veil between humans and God, the biggest hurdle on the path to divinity.

Ironically, even the greatest of sages is not free of it. Sages seem to handle ego easily by orienting it towards the spiritual goal by not allowing it to justify its own fears, greed and worries. The average individual keeps clinging to ego due to identification with the physical body and immersion in the ‘I’ or self.

The ego has to be shed in order to reach a higher spiritual plane. But ego is a good tool provided you know how to use it. The bad news is that ego is hungry for attention and finds it in reigning over others. The three letters of E G O seem to stand for Enjoying Governing Others. When the going is good, ego flourishes but suffering cracks open its shell.

Author's Bio: 


Born in 1939, and holding Master’s Degree both in Mathematics (1959) and Economics (1961), and Doctorate Degree in Economics (1970), Dr. Vinod K.Anand has about forty five years of teaching, research, and project work experience in Economic Theory (both micro and macro), Quantitative Economics, Public Economics, New Political Economy, and Development Economics with a special focus on economic and social provisions revolving around poverty, inequality, and unemployment issues, and also on informal sector studies. His last assignment was at the National University of Lesotho (Southern Africa) from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that he was placed as Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at the University of North-West in the Republic of South Africa, and University of Allahabad in India, Professor at the National University of Lesotho, Associate Professor at the University of Botswana, Gaborone in Botswana, and at Gezira University in Wad Medani, Sudan, Head, Department of Arts and Social Sciences, Yola in Nigeria, Principal Lecturer in Economics at Maiduguri University in Nigeria, and as Lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Nigeria. Professor Anand has by now published more than 80 research papers in standard academic journals, authored 11 books, supervised a number of doctoral theses, was examiner for more than twenty Ph.D. theses, and has wide consultancy experience both in India and abroad, essentially in the African continent. This includes holding the position of Primary Researcher, Principal Consultant etc. in a number of Research Projects sponsored and funded by Universities, Governments, and International Bodies like, USAID, IDRC, and AERC. His publications include a variety of themes revolving around Economic Theory, New Political Economy, Quantitative Economics, Development Economics, and Informal Sector Studies. His consultancy assignments in India, Nigeria, Sudan, Botswana, and the Republic of South Africa include Non-Directory Enterprises in Allahabad, India, Small Scale Enterprises in the Northern States of Nigeria, The Absolute Poverty Line in Sudan, The Small Scale Enterprises in Wad Medani, Sudan, Micro and Small Scale Enterprises in Botswana, The Place of Non-Formal Micro-Enterprises in Botswana, Resettlement of a Squatter Community in the Vryburg District of North West Province in the Republic of South Africa, Trade and Investment Development Programme for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises: Support for NTSIKA in the Republic of South Africa, and Development of the Manufacturing Sector in the Republic of South Africa’s North West Province: An Approach Based on Firm Level Surveys. Professor Anand has also extensively participated in a number of conferences, offered many seminars, participated in a number of workshops, and delivered a variety of Refresher Lectures at different venues both in India and abroad. Dr. Anand was placed at the prestigious Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla in the State Himachal Pradesh, India as a Fellow from 2001 to 2003, and had completed a theoretical and qualitative research project/monograph on the Employment Profile of Micro Enterprises in the State of Himachal Pradseh, India.