Nature of the Ego

“When the ego rises, all things rise with it. When the ego is not, there is nothing else. Since the ego thus is everything, to question ‘What is this thing?’ is the extinction of all things”.

The quote above from Bhagavan Ramana is from ‘Reality in Forty Verses’ (‘Ulladu Narpadu’), v. 26. It can be found in Bhagavad’s “Collected Works”.

Here Bhagavan eloquently points out that one cannot force oneself to give up the ego. The very attempt to discard the ego, is itself based on the assumption of separation from the whole. In other words, the effort to conquer the ego is based on egotism!

Such forced efforts to overcome the ego end up only reinforcing the notion that we are “separate” from the Universal Existence. With such attempts, the nonexistent phantom of the ego appears real in our imagination.

Hence Bhagavan Ramana says, “Question, what is this thing, this ego which manifests as a sense of separateness from the whole”? Where does it come from?”

This inquiry requires us to simply bring our attention to the sense of identity, the sense of “I AM”. It is only by bringing quiet, nonjudgmental attention on the ego, that the ego can be see through as unreal. The method is simple and yet the mind has to be made pure and subtle to grasp it.

Love to all



Analysis Of The Mind Or Transcendence? By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

Bhagavan Ramana’s teaching of self-inquiry is fundamentally different than the schools of thought which focus on self-improvement through a variety of motivational approaches. Sri Ramana used to say that when you are going to throw out the trash, you need not spend time analyzing its contents. He was referring to the mind. Continue reading

Bhagavan Ramana

How To Overcome The Ego? By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

Bhagavan Sri Ramana used to say that all techniques of meditation and concentration presuppose the retention of the ego/mind. Bhagavan used to joke that employing the ego/mind to overcome the ego/mind is like hiring a thief, who is all dressed up as a policeman, to catch the thief. The policeman will pretend to make herculean efforts to catch the thief, give periodic reports of progress, but will fail each time (since the policeman is the thief!). Continue reading

ULLADU NAARPADU (Reality in Forty Verses) – Verse #9.

(Reality in Forty Verses)

The famous Vedantic poem in Tamil by Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi
(consisting of two preliminary verses called Mangalam,
40 verses which form the main text ,
and another 40 verses called the Appendix)

Detailed Commentary in Tamil by Lakshmana Sharma,
adapted into English by Profvk

(Continued from ULLADU NAARPADU – Verse No.8
See Post #48178 Of Harsha Satsangh)

Lakshmana Sharma’s Introduction to Verse No.9

The Ishvara and JIva spoken of here constitute a dual pair. They consist of two opposites, like light and darkness. Ishvara is all-knowledgeable while JIva has only a scanty intelligence; they differ in many other respects. So they form a pair. Knowledge and ignorance, good and evil, happiness and misery, inside and outside, are each a pair (Sanskrit: dvandva). Such pairs or dualities are numerous. The world is full of differences because of these dualities. Further, when we visualise an Ishvara, there are three different things, namely, the seer, the seen and the sight. These three constitute a triad (Sanskrit: tripuTi) or trinity. Triads also are innumerable. And they too create differences in the world. We have to enquire whether these differences are real or unreal. If they are unreal, it will confirm that the world is unreal. This is conveyed by Bhagavan in this verse.

Verse #9

iraTTaigaL, muppuDigaL, enRum onRu paRRi iruppavAm;
avvonRu Ethu enRu karuttinuL kaNDAl
kazhalum avai; kaNDavare uNmai kaNDAr,
kalangArE, kAN

Translation (Lakshmana Sharma)

The triads all arise depending on the ego-sense; so too arise the pairs. If one enters the heart by the Quest of ‘Who is the I?’ and sees the truth of it (the Real Self) all of them vanish utterly; such a one is the Sage; he is not deluded (by them).

Translation (Prof. K. Swaminathan)

`Twos’ and `Threes’ depend upon one thing, the ego. If one asks in one’s Heart, `What is this ego?’ and finds it, they slip away. Only those who have found this know the Truth, and they will never be perplexed.

Translation (Osborne)

The duality of subject and object and trinity of seer, sight, and seen can exist only if supported by the One. If one turns inward in search of that One Reality they fall away. Those who see this are those who see Wisdom. They are never in doubt.

Word by Word

iraTTaigaL: Pairs (like knowledge & ignorance, pleasure & pain)
muppuDigaL:Triads (like knowledge, knower & the known)
enRum : always
iruppavAm: hold alive, exist
onRu paRRi: supported by (some) one (namely, the ego )
Edu: Whence (is)
avvonRu: that one
enRu: thus
karuttinil : in the bottom of the heart
kaNDAl : if one finds out
avai ; they (the dualities and trinities)
kazhalum: slip away
kaNDavarE: Only those who thus see (the truth)
kaNDAr: have realised
uNmai : the Absolute Truth
kalangArE : they are not deluded (by the dualities and trinities)
kAN : Know this (to be the truth).

Commentary (by Lakshmana Sharma)

Pairs and triads all arise in the mind. In every pair, when one rises, the other (of the pair) also arises simultaneously. In the same manner, in every triad, when one rises, the other two of the triad also rise alongside. And similarly, when they die they die together – the two of the pair together and the three of the triad together. In sleep where the mind is absent, there are no duads or triads. Therefore they are all constructs of the mind. And at the bottom of all thoughts in the mind there is the thought of ‘I’. Always this thought arises only in respect of a form or body (see verse #25). This is what is called the Ego (‘ahamkAram’ or ‘ahamtA’ in Sanskrit and ‘akanthai’ in Tamil). It will be explained in the sequel. Thus, pairs and triads, all have their roots in the Ego. In the words ‘onRu paRRi iruppavAm’ in the first line of the verse the word ‘onRu’ (meaning ‘one’ in general, but here in the context meaning ‘some one thing’) stands for this.

In a later verse (#26), it will be shown that this Ego is the original source for all world-appearances.

All the differences of the world that hide the Atman, the Existent Reality, have their seed in this Ego. If this is destroyed, everything vanishes and the Real Nature of the Atman shines. This is the content of this entire work.

What is the means by which this Ego may be destroyed? The means is the quest for the source of the Ego. This comes up in verse #27 and succeeding verses.

That source is what is mentioned in the second line of this verse by Bhagavan. In order to know the truth of this Ego one delves inside; the mind dives into the heart and merges into it. Then one realises the Self. The ‘finding out’ in the bottom of the heart (‘karuttinil kaNDAl’) is nothing but this experience. ‘The dualities and trinities slip away’ says the verse; this shows that in theturIya of Self Realisation these do not survive. In other words in absolute truth (pAramArthika reality) they are not real. Only so long as the feeling or attitude of ‘I am the body’ is there they appear to be real – just as for the dreamer the dream is a reality while dreaming.

Those who see thus realise the absolute truth. This shows that such a seer is a jnAni. Not only that. Because he sees no differences – he does not see them – he is not perplexed by this mAyA of the world. The delusion caused by these differences is only when Ego is alive.

Thus all the differences have their root-source in our Ego; in Self-Realisation the Ego has vanished; therefore the mental constructs of dualities and trinities all vanish. And the only thing that remains is the Atman. All this go to confirm that the world is unreal.

(To be continued in Verse #10)