What is ego?
In common parlance, when we see ourselves boasting of, “How great I am, I am the smartest person in the world”, we consider it as our ego. However, Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, an Enlightened being, explains:
To boast is called pride, which is an extension of ego; whereas to impose ‘I’ where ‘I’ does not belong, is actually ego (ahamkar). ‘I am John (please insert your name here)’ is called ego. Thereafter, ‘I am lawyer, I am clever, etc.’ are also ego.

There is no harm in saying, “I am John” in your worldly interactions, but the belief, ‘I am John’, which is ingrained within you is the ego. Ego is when you do not know who you are and you identify yourself with that which you are not.
Ego is a wrong belief that has emerged from the ignorance of the Self. And from this ego arises 4 weaknesses i.e. the anger, pride, deceit and greed (kashays). It is these kashays which make us fall into the trap of an ego-driven life-style.
How do we prevent ourselves from falling into the traps of an ego-driven lifestyle?
What do you do when you get angry? You try to suppress it? Param Pujya Dadashri, in such a situation, advises us,
“Understand anger first, because anger and calm coexist. If you fail to understand anger and begin to suppress it, you may be suppressing your calm instead. When a child breaks something valuable, you get angry on the child. You think the child made you angry. No, the child is merely someone instrumental, who is bringing you the effect of your causes, it’s not the actual cause.

Analyze your ego instead. It is your ego of greed (profit and loss) that yells, “Oh! I am at loss from the breakage” which causes you anger. By harboring this ego, the anger will continue to remain.

And if you try to control your anger or overcome your greed through ego, the ego only increases. People try to reduce their pride by being humble in their acts, unaware of the fact that while the gross ego of pride reduces, the subtle ego of ‘I am so humble’ creeps in and increases manifold, as the level of intoxication caused from the appreciation of their humble quality keeps increasing. Anger, pride, deceit and greed, at their core, are really only ego. Instead of trying to reduce your ego, try getting rid of it.”

How do we get rid of our ego?
Ego means ignorance and Gnan (Knowledge of the Self) means absence of ego; an egoless state. So there is no ego that cannot be dissolved through Gnan (Self-Realization). Gnan is the egoless state and ignorance is a state with ego; there are only these two states.
~ Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan

All our worldly interactions are based on the foundation of our belief that ‘I am John and I did this.’ As long as these beliefs exist, our ego exists. And on relishing the sweet taste of respect and detesting the bitter taste of insult, ego keeps falling into the traps of an ego-driven lifestyle and thereby goes on charging new karma (causes). Respect - insult, sweet – bitter, kindness - arrogance, joy - grief are all dualities, due to which the vicious cycle of pleasure and pain never ends; and thus effect from causes and causes from effect - this is how the worldly life continues.

When one attains the awareness of, 'I am pure Soul', the ego (wrong belief of 'I am John') is broken. Then new causes do not form thereafter and thus new effects too stop therefrom. The dualities and kashays (anger, pride, deceit, greed) too eventually get destroyed. Without this awareness, all efforts to remove the kashays in fact only perpetuate them.

How do we get rid of the I-ness?
Just like redness means the quality of being red, smoothness means the quality of being smooth, similarly, I-ness means the quality of being the false ‘I’.

After receiving Gnan (Self-Realization), the ego that charges karma is gone, but the discharge ego still remains and that discharge ego is known as I-ness. When even the discharge ego is gone, the entire discharge ego is gone, one is said to be free from I-ness.

To favour the side of the ego, to favour the side of ignorance, to step away from the Self; is called I-ness. It is I-ness to protect the relative self (John). And to protect the relative self by using deceit is known as severe I-ness (deep rooted I-ness).

I-ness is decreased in proportion to the level of awareness. What kind of awareness is required to get rid of I-ness? The awareness of, ‘This is ‘I’ (the Soul) and this is not I’ (John) - a constant awareness of the Self, following the directives (Agnas) of the Gnani Purush, and seeing others as faultless and as non-doers; all these are required.

Everyone has I-ness in the unfolding karma. After attaining Gnan, Pragnya, which is the force of the Soul, prevents this absorption process in the unfolding karma. And as one employs purusharth in the unfolding karma, the I-ness decreases and gradually vanishes. Where I-ness is gone; there is no ego of doer-ship and no wallowing in worldly pleasures. With the departure of I-ness, one becomes the supreme Self (Parmatma, God)).

Thus, to prevent ourselves from falling into the traps of an ego-driven lifestyle, let’s attain Self-Realization. Through Gnani’s grace, we can directly realize the Self within an hour’s time, as he places our ‘I’ in its right place (the pure Soul). And then, remaining in Gnani’s satsang, we gradually overcome our tasteful interest in ego too, as with the right understanding, he liberates us from all the dualities and kashays!!!

To know more: https://www.dadabhagwan.org/self-realization/

Author's Bio: 

Ambalal M. Patel was a civil contractor by profession. In June 1958, spontaneous Self-Realization occurred within Ambalal M. Patel. From this point on, Ambalal became a Gnani Purush, and the Lord that manifest within him became known as Dada Bhagwan. A Gnani Purush is One who has realized the Self and is able help others do the same. Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan used to go from town to town and country-to-country to give satsang (spiritual discourse) and impart the knowledge of the Self, as well as knowledge of harmonious worldly interactions to everyone who came to meet him. This spiritual science, known as Akram Vignan, is the step-less path to Self-realization.