Question: How do we know if we are just pleasing our ego or not?

Sri Chinmoy: Suppose you have done something good and I appreciate you. While I am appreciating you, you can feel that this appreciation is being offered to everybody present. If you feel that you are the only person on earth who has done it or who can do it, and others don't have the capacity, then you are feeding your human ego. At that time you are separating yourself from the rest of the world. But if, while I am appreciating you, you feel that it is the conscious aspiration of all the disciples which has been fulfilled in and through you, then you are not feeding your own ego. If you feel that all are aspiring inwardly to do something for God which, unfortunately, they could not do on the outer plane, and you are the instrument through which their conscious aspiration has taken manifestation, then you are not pleasing your human ego. Whenever you do something good, you have to feel that you have become part and parcel of the spiritual collectivity.

Now suppose you have done something wrong and I scold you. At that time you will be feeding your ego if you try to distribute the blame. Do not think, "Oh, this mistake everybody makes. It is not only I who have done it, everybody does it. I am not the only person who makes this kind of mistake, so this scolding is of no particular value to me." If you take it in that way, again you are feeding your human ego. You should feel that you have done something wrong, and for your own good your Master is scolding you because he feels that this is the only way in which you can make progress. At that time others have to feel that your mistake was made by them as well, that they are also responsible for it. They must not separate themselves from you at that time. But it is not your business to put the blame on them.

When you do something good, others will identify themselves with you and you will also identify with them. When you do something wrong, if they dissociate themselves from you, then they are making a mistake. They have to feel, "Inwardly, perhaps we did the same thing. Perhaps we cherished some wrong thought and it has taken form in his life." It is their business to identify with you at that time for their own inner humility. But if you try to identify with them with the feeling that everybody makes this kind of mistake, so it is not really serious, then you will only enter into the world of self-justification, and you will make no progress. You have to feel sorry, you have to feel responsible and you have to feel that you need not and will not make the same mistake again. If you have done something wrong and I have found fault with you, then you have to feel that I scold you for your own good, for your own progress, for your own perfection.

In this way you can always keep the ego under control. When you have done something right, something good, something appreciable, then feel that others equally deserve the appreciation. When you do something wrong, it is up to others to feel that they are equally responsible for your wrong deed. But you have to feel that you alone are the one through whom the manifestation has taken place. If you get some form of outer punishment, you have to feel that this is also the right thing for your own progress. And when you make progress, when you become more divine, then feel that the others, whom you claim to be your very own and who claim you as their very own, have also become more divine.

From:Sri Chinmoy,Two devouring brothers: doubt and ego, Agni Press, 1974
Sourced from