Question: Can you speak about the ego in connection with Nag Mahashay and Swami Vivekananda?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us begin our discussion by talking about the vital. There are many layers of the vital. There is the vital that is extremely destructive and there is the vital that is dynamic, wide and all-embracing. The vital itself is not bad. I always say that it is like a knife. With a knife we can stab someone, or we can use it to cut fruits to share with others.

Similarly, there are different types of vital. Look at Swami Vivekananda's vital! How much dynamic power he had! Did he use it for destruction? Never, never. Again, the vital of Julius Caesar and Napoleon was of a different type. Their vital had more of the destructive quality.

When Vivekananda came to Chicago, his dynamic vital embraced the whole world. In his very first speech, he began, "Sisters and Brothers of America." After those words, he was unable to continue for two full minutes because of the enthusiastic cheering and clapping of the audience. Immediately, Vivekananda had spread the feeling that we are all sisters and brothers. He showed the seekers of the West that he came to embrace them, not to conquer them. And, as a result, he conquered their hearts, because his words came from the very depths of his soul.

True, we use the terms 'sister' and 'brother' at every moment, but do we have the same genuine feeling as Vivekananda? In comparison to him, we are all frauds. We do not have the same genuine feeling as Vivekananda had when we use those terms. For us, it is like saying, "Ladies and gentlemen." It is simply a form of address. When Vivekananda said, "Sisters and Brothers of America," it was based on his dynamic, all-embracing vital.

Girish Ghose said something most significant about Swami Vivekananda and Nag Mahashay. He said that on the strength of humility, one person can become smaller than the smallest. Again, another person, on the strength of his oneness with the Highest, can become larger than the largest. In the case of Nag Mahashay, Girish Ghose said that he made his ego small, smaller, smallest — so that there was no ego left. Then he was able to blend with everybody.

In the case of Vivekananda, he opened his ego and made it large, larger, largest. He said, "I am one with God the Absolute, with Lord Shiva. I am Brahman." If an ordinary person dares to make such a statement, people will throw bricks at him. But when someone of Vivekananda's spiritual height says it, it is absolutely true. Vivekananda's ego was so vast. He expanded his ego and then he went beyond it. That is why there was no ego there. Vivekananda sang the song of the Beyond, and he himself went beyond and beyond and beyond. Nothing could bind him.

Nag Mahashay became so small, like a tiny molecule, and that is why nobody could bind him. Nobody can even see a molecule. And in Swami Vivekananda's case, nobody could bind him because he was so vast. He broke the net of maya, of illusion, and then he escaped. Nag Mahashay became so small that the net could no longer hold him. He was able to slip through the gaps between the knots of the net.

Vivekananda was such a huge fish that he broke open the net and swam away. And Nag Mahashay was such a tiny fish that he was able to hide inside the net. Then, at any time, he could slip through the gaps and disappear. When he was inside the net, you could not trace him, you could not even see him. If you looked inside the big net, this tiny fish, Nag Mahashay, was nowhere to be found. The huge fish, Swami Vivekananda, just smashed the net and then, he, too, could not be found. So that is the difference between the ego of Swami Vivekananda and the ego of Nag Mahashay.