Question: What is the best way to conquer the ego?Sri Chinmoy: You have to know what kind of ego you are suffering from. If you have a competitive ego, you will want to do better than everyone in everything. If someone is a better runner than you are, you will want to beat him in running. If someone is older than you and is studying in a higher class, you will say, "Although I am younger than he is, I wish to surpass him."
Never give any importance to the ego that wants to compete with others. You have to feel your oneness with everybody. When you do, immediately you will expand your consciousness. If someone does something well, immediately you have to feel that it is you who have done it. He should also do the same thing when you do something significant. Whenever any individual does something very well, others have to feel that it is their conscious inspiration and aspiration that have enabled that individual to achieve this success. If we always have an attitude of team-work, then we will be able to conquer the ego.
Another form of ego is a kind of divine pride. We think, "I am God's son. How can I be so bad? How can I tell a lie? How can I be insincere with my inner self and with others? If I have to meditate at six-thirty, then how can I actually get up at seven or eight o'clock? I have made a promise to my soul, to my Guru, to God, that at six-thirty I will get up and meditate. If I don't do it, then I will feel miserable that I am disappointing my divine Father, who is all Love and Concern for me, and who expects and needs my help for His divine manifestation on earth. I am God's instrument. I am God's representative on earth. How can I do this kind of thing? I am not keeping to my own promise. How can I stoop to this level of ignorance?" This is also a type of ego, but this ego is not the challenging and destructive ego that makes us want to defeat everyone by hook or by crook and lord it over the whole world with our invincible superiority. This divine ego comes from our divinised consciousness, from our divine birthright.
You came from God unconsciously and you are here to realise God consciously. You are also here to reveal God and manifest God consciously. If you have the feeling that in you is the Divine, that you are of the Divine, and that you are for the manifestation of the Divine, then that feeling comes from your inner oneness with God. In an ordinary way you may feel that this is a kind of ego. But it is not ego at all. The knowledge of your inner divinity which makes you feel that it is impossible for you to enter into ignorance is the kind of feeling you should always cherish.
If you cannot have that type of feeling because you know you have done many things wrong and you are continuing to do many things wrong, if you do not have the inner conviction that you are of the Divine and for the Divine all the time, then you have to accept the spiritual life. Spiritual life means the conscious acceptance of the path of light and total dedication to the path and to the Master. When you dedicate yourself consciously, constantly and soulfully, you become one with your Master, with your Guru. If you take a tiny grain of sand, you will see that it is not pure. But if you just throw that grain of sand into the ocean, it will be all washed away. The grain of sand will lose its unlit quality, its impure quality, and become totally lost in the vast ocean. What has happened? Transformation has taken place. The impure grain of sand has become absorbed by the infinite purity of the entire ocean and has become one with purity itself.
When you offer your dedicated service to your Master's manifestation, it is an expression of your conscious oneness with him. Then your individuality enters into the cosmic Consciousness which is embodied in his consciousness. You still have ego when you act independently, as a limited existence. But when, with that limited existence, you consciously enter into the vast consciousness of your Master, you automatically become vast. The tiny drop or the grain of sand, when they enter into the ocean, lose their individual identity. They lose their very existence. Then what happens? They lose their tiny existence, but they become the vast ocean itself. This happens only through self-offering. When self-offering comes first and foremost, in spite of all imperfection, impurity, obscurity, then the limited and undivine ego vanishes, while its divine potentiality immediately expands. The undivine in the drop is gone or transformed. The divine in the drop is expanded and enlarged.
When the Christ said, "I and my Father are one," he was absolutely right. Now why can't you say this? Just because it is not yet true in your case. Christ was great. No one can deny his greatness. He was God's son. He felt it, he realised it and then he said it. In your spiritual life also, you have to feel that you are God's chosen instrument. If you feel in a divine way that you are God's chosen instrument, then there can be no undivine ego in your life. But you have to feel this inwardly. Then in your actions you have to manifest it.
So whenever somebody else does something good, please feel that it is you who have done it. This is not wrong at all. You are not fooling yourself. Do not think, "Oh, I have not done it. My name is not so and so." Your name is in the universal Consciousness. There is only one Being and that is the infinite and all-pervading 'I'. So when any inhabitant of the universe achieves something, you can easily and most legitimately claim that you have achieved it, if you just identify yourself with the universal Consciousness.
My disciples accomplish many things on the physical plane which outwardly I have never done. But I immediately feel that it is I who have done these things, on the strength of my sincere and total identification with my disciples. When they do physical work or mental work, they accomplish so many things. At that time I give them credit. I appreciate them, I thank them and I offer my heart's sincere gratitude to them. But in my inner being I immediately feel that it is I who have done it with an extended part of my consciousness. These are my spiritual children. Naturally, whatever my children have done is also my achievement. Then again, on the spiritual level, when I bring down Peace, Light and Bliss from above, my children have every right to feel that it is with their conscious effort and their conscious aspiration that I was able to bring these things down. It is not that they have nothing to do with it. They are not just passive recipients. If they feel that together we have brought down this Peace, Light and Bliss, if they feel that when I do something they have done it, then I will give them all the credit because of their supreme discovery of truth.
When you do something on the physical plane I appreciate and admire it. But I feel that it is the expansion of my consciousness and the enlarged part of my being that has done it. You can also have the same feeling about my inner achievements. Ego comes from separativity; therefore, how can there be any ego when we feel our true inner oneness? Where is the consciousness of 'I' if, when I do something, you can claim it? Where is the consciousness of 'you' if, when you do something, I can claim it? Where is the ego? It is gone; vanished within our mutual, divine and universal feeling of oneness.
Our ego is conquered in these two ways. When we identify ourselves with other human beings, at that time we feel our oneness with them and the competitive spirit disappears from our life. Then there can be no ego. If we can feel that we have come from God, we are in God, we are for God and we are of God, that is another way to conquer human ego and transform it into divine pride. How can we be undivine, how can we be limited? We cannot do anything wrong when we are conscious all the time of our Source. Let us try these two methods.