Questions and answers

These questions were asked on 20 August 1966, at the second class of the Summer series on Yoga, held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Gant, 467 Central Park West, New York City.

Question I

Question: Sri Chinmoy, there is a story about a Brahmin, who, having heard about the Buddha's intended visit to a village, waited for the arrival of the Buddha from afar, carrying with him two bouquets of flowers. And the Buddha, in his divine wisdom, read what was in his heart; so while he was yet afar off, the Buddha shouted to the man, "Drop it!" and the Brahmin dropped the bouquet from his right hand. Still the Buddha shouted, "Drop it!" and the man dropped the bouquet from his left hand. But the Buddha again called, "Drop it!" and the Brahmin said, "What is there to drop?" And the Buddha said, "The ego."

This story tells that in order to achieve the state of Pure Delight, one must drop the ego. What exactly is the ego?

Sri Chinmoy: The ego is that very thing which limits us in every sphere of life. The ego always makes us feel that we are anything but divine. We are God's children, we are one with God, but the ego makes us feel that we do not belong to God, that we are perfect strangers to God. At best, it makes us feel that we are going to God, not that we are in God.

The ordinary human ego gives us the sense of separate identity, separate consciousness. No doubt, the sense of individuality, of self-importance, is necessary at a certain stage in man's development. But the ego separates our individual consciousness from the universal consciousness. The very function of the ego is separation. It cannot feel satisfaction in viewing two things at a time, on the same level. It always feels that one must be superior and the other inferior. So ego makes us feel that we are all separate weaklings, that it will never be possible for us to be or to have the Infinite Consciousness. Ego, finally, is limitation. And this limitation is ignorance and ignorance is death. So ego ultimately ends in death.

Sri Chinmoy, AUM — Vol. 2, No. 4,5, Nov. — 27 Dec. 1966, Boro Park Printers -- Brooklyn, N. Y, 1966