This is an incident from the days right after my enlightenment when I was in Tamil Nadu in South India.
One evening, I was sitting in a very relaxed mood in a forest. My eyes were open, but I was not seeing anything, as there was no information going inside and getting processed. There was a huge snake lying about three feet in front of me. Because the eyes were not processing any information, there was no fear inside. I was sitting and the snake was also so relaxed and comfortable.
Then slowly, my mind came down to the normal plane and I had a thought, ‘Oh, there is a snake.’ Then the next thought came, ‘I should move away.’ The moment the thought ‘snake’ came in my inner space, I saw very clearly that the snake also felt disturbed that there was a man in its presence.
Until I felt ‘There is a snake,’ the snake never felt that I am a man. Until I felt the fear, the snake never felt threatened by me. Neither did I have fear nor did the snake have fear. But the moment I had fear, the snake also got fear. It was not that the physical distance between us reduced. Just the thought ‘snake’ came in me and I was clearly able to feel there was a disturbance, a restlessness, in the snake’s inner space. The moment I had the thought ‘I should move’, the moment I had the fear, immediately the snake also felt the same insecurity, the same threat. Immediately, the snake started moving, even before I started moving.
When your ego becomes strong, your ability to connect with Nature is disturbed.
We all have two identities, the identity that we project to the outer world, and the identity that we believe to be us in the inner world.
The identity that you believe to be you inside your mind is called mamakara in Sanskrit. It will always be much smaller than what you really are. You will carry or remember all your failures, past mistakes and guilt, constantly trying to work on them. The identity that you project to the outer world is called ahankara. Ahankara is your visiting card. You print on it everything that you want others to know about yourself. This is based on the identity you show to the outer world. It will always be more than what you have, more than what you are. It will always be much more than what you are because you think you have to sell yourself. It becomes a basic need to do this, especially in the societies where you have to market yourself.
Ahankara will be based on a superiority complex. Mamakara will be based on an inferiority complex. Ahankara will be based on fear. Mamakara will be based on greed. The identity that you show to the outer world will always be based on fear. This is why it will always be more than what is true about you. You will constantly try to keep it alive. The identity that you carry in the inner world is based on greed. This is why you always try to develop the identity that you carry inside you. You constantly work on the identity that you believe is you and continuously try to chisel it.
Your life is nothing but the fight between these two worlds. The conflict between ahankara and mamakara, the conflict between the personality that you show to the outer world and the personality that you reveal in your inner world is called ‘tension’. The uneasy feeling between these two identities creates dis-easeness.
Both the identities, ahankara and mamakara, are pure myths, both are lies! You are something beyond these two identities.
If you spend your whole energy expanding ahankara, the identity that you project to the outer world, your life becomes materialistic. People who work on mamakara are constantly working on their personality, trying to create some identity to feel satisfied about. If you spend your whole life chiseling and developing mamakara, the identity that you think is you, your whole life becomes moralistic and suppressing. The basic truth is that you are much more than these two identities. When you unclutch from these two identities, you will suddenly realize that you are beyond the two identities. When that happens, these two identities can never bind you again.
Low self-esteem means showing yourself or imagining yourself to be less than what you are. High self-esteem is imagining yourself to be much more than what you are. Again, this is also based on the opinions of others. You judge yourself based on your lifestyle rather than your life. You weigh yourself by the cars and real estate you have purchased, not by the quality of consciousness you have achieved.
The big problem is that you don’t know how to remove your personality and go to the next personality. You don’t know how to use personalities like coats. You are caught in one personality.
Using the wrong personality in the wrong place is what I call ego.
Understand, if you are arrogant and violent where you need to be polite and humble, it is being egoistic. If you are polite and humble where you need to be courageous, you are egoistic. Understand, we always think, ‘If I am very humble how can I be egoistic?’ Be very clear, ego standing on its head is also ego. It is called ‘inferior ego’
An incident from the life of Ramana Maharishi*:
One of Ramana Maharishi’s disciples translated one of his books into another language. In the translation, inside the book, his name was also published as the translator.
When the disciple saw the book, he was shocked to see this. He went to the concerned authorities and scolded them for this mistake. He then went and told Ramana Maharishi, ‘Bhagavan, they should not have put my name. I don’t feel my name should be publicized. I am not that kind of person.’
Bhagavan said, ‘The ego that asks for the name to be there and the ego that asks that the name not be there are one and the same. Relax.’
Be very clear, the inferior ego that is trying to show humbleness is also ego.
With a superiority complex, with a violent aggressive ego, at least society will teach you. This ego is very visible. With the humble ego, you will escape from society. That is more dangerous. It is a cunning ego that can nicely save itself.