Almost all the men in the world have usurped the throne where God should sit. On that throne where God should be, a most worthless slave has been given place. This is the Ego.
Egotism is like drinking wine, it leads astray the senses of the human being, moreover my mother used to say, that Ego is like a stick in the water that seems to divide the water into two. It makes you feel that you are one and “I” am another (which really is not), when the Ego disappears in Samadhi then one knows Brahman to be one’s own inner-consciousness. One must renounce the “I” that makes one feel, I am Mr X, I am a learned man, and so on.
Ego of old age: At this age a person only values his intellect, experience, age, and ego more than God, he is never ready to wait for anybody’s command, and moreover loses patience in a minute. He considers himself that he is, and was the saviour of the family in its trials and troubles. He was, and is alone the comforter of the family/society in its dark days. As everybody knows money and wealth bring vanity. The more egoistic a man is, the farther he is from God, but he does not understand. At this stage, he thinks superior to any living being and considers the other the smallest insect just crawling there. He considers himself that he was so and so, moreover he wants to project himself as a manager in the store room, where others do not go without his prior permission. Old age person regards himself as very important even sometimes, he never appreciates the intellect of other whether juniors or seniors persons and feels that he is the doer.
Old age man has many shackles: Caste, pride, shame, hatred and fear. Furthermore he is bound by the ideas of worldly cleverness, calculating intelligence and deceit. If he is angry with anybody, he cannot shake it off easily, perhaps he keeps the feeling as long as he lives. Again the ego of money and ego of wealth lies with him at this age.
There are few men who cannot attain knowledge of God: men proud of their money, proud of their wealth, proud of their education. If you speak to such a people about a holy man and ask them to visit him, they in their heart and hearts, think: why? we are big people ourselves. Must we go and visit someone else?.
Once a devotee approx. eighty years of his age,questioned Sri Ramakrishna Ji, that he is not being treated upto the mark by his family members. Moreover by society, inspite of having every worldly requirement. Sri Ramakrishna Ji answered him: First of all you destroy your ego, which can be destroyed through service, politeness and good behavior towards everybody. Listen, it is impossible to conquer anybody by way of your wealth, assets and by mere study of books, as it is walk on air. Every man has his weaknesses, including myself, but you must overlook them and see only one’s good qualities. You must give up all fault-finding or if you find fault, let it be with yourself. If you want to live a happy, contended life, stop criticizing others, better to pass time sleeping than gossping and unnecessary criticism. Try to see the good qualities in others. Evil thoughts in the mind towards anyone, pollute the mind of a person who searches for the lapses and shortcomings of others.
Harmless ego: Desire of name and fame, kind of egotism is not good. The misfortune that befalls a man on account of his egotism can be realized if you think the condition of the calf. The calf says, Hamma, Hamma, that is, “I”, And just look at its misfortune! At times he is yoked to the plough and made to work in the field, from Sun up, to Sun down, rain or shine. Again it may be slaughtered by the butcher. In that case flesh is eaten and the skin tanned into hide. From the hide shoes are made. People put on these shoes and walk on the rough ground. Still that is not the end of the misfortune, drums are made from its skin and unnecessarily beaten with sticks and at last its entrails are made into string for the bow used in carding cotton, and when used by the carder, the string gives the sound of “Tuhu, Tuhu”, Thou! Thou- i.e. It is thou, Lord!, it is thou!. Now it is no longer says Hamma Hamma, “I” “I”, only then does the calf’s trouble comes to an end and it is librated. It does not return to world of action.
How can a man get rid of his ego?. When even wild beasts such as lions and tigers can be trained to perform tricks in circus, why can we not control our ego? One must have enough patience, particularly in old age. You cannot get rid of ego until you have realized God. If you find a person free from ego then know for certain that he has seen God. Who are your enemies? Your own senses, but if you can control them, they will become your friend. Keep a sharp eye on mind and see that no undesirable thoughts enter in it.
Conflicting desires arise in mind because of those desires the mind is constantly lashed into waves. As long as these waves remain, the waves gives rise to thoughts of superiority and distracting nature. One must- live a life of self discipline. When we find things going against our wishes, we get annoyed. If we reduce our ego and realize that the world waits for none, our demands and expectations will also reduce and we shall be less irritated by the adverse events.
The ego prevents us from accepting the fact that we have defects in us. It is good to have a healthy ego which gives us our individuality, but harmful to have the tendency to feel superior to others.Sri Ramakrishna Ji distinguishes between ripe ego and unripe ego. Ripe ego is born of maturity, whereas unripe ego is selfish. Due to ego, people very often neglect or forget God’s grace. They become over confident in their own strength and become careless. This may even lead to arrogance. Hence egotism is the main cause of suffering particularly in old age.