Question 113: Ego is the false conviction of a self in a body


The young Rama what is the cause of the illusion and how is it sustained in the akash, the formless?


antarkarana: the inner instruments of action: mind, chitta (consciousness), intellect, ahamkaara (egoism)

Atma-tattva reality of the Spirit; the primordial element; the consciousness that is the primeval element of existence;

avidya San. f. ignorance, especially in a spiritual sense arising from the illusion of maya, the veil of separateness. The darkness of ignorance veils our perception, so that we see a snake in a rope and are deluded by our senses into believing the world is real; we are unaware of the true Reality that underlies and sustains it.

chitta: individual consciousness

maya: Hin., San. f. magical or supernatural power; illusion, the deluding power of God, the ‘divine hypnosis’ that deludes us into forgetfulness of our true nature, so that we believe we are separate individuals with the power to act. This illusion of separateness is the raison d’etre of our identity with ego. Maya works with two powers using the mind – one enables it to veil the truth, and the other to project an illusory image, whereby the unreal appears as the Real and unity appears as multiplicity; maya creates forms in the formless. ‘Understand that to be maya (illusion) which is devoid of any purpose, which is not to be found in the Self and which is unreal, like light and darkness.’

paramapurusha The supreme Spirit.

prakriti: primordial nature, disposition; root-matter, the original or natural form or condition of anything, matter, form.

pranava San. m. ‘that which is ever-new’; ‘that by which God is well-praised’; ‘the sound inherent in the breath or vital air’ (prāna) – an indirect way of referring to the sacred om, sound symbol of the Absolute. (V. 409, 957)

vasana: tendencies or desires


Question 113: Sir, how do the ideas of innumerable names and forms and the firm conviction of what they connote arise in the non-dual Atma-tattva that sustains the illusory akash?

Answer: Ramji, the pure cognitive power that exists as ideation is called mind. When this power (mind) develops into conviction, then it experiences according to its ideation the manifestations of the so-called existent and non—existent objects. This tendency of the mind is called intelligence or cognition.

Ego is the false conviction of a self in a body.

As is the ideation arising with the ego, so are the objects experienced. Memory is the frequent recollection of the impressions of the objects. The ideation arising in the chitta according to a firm tendency in the mind for the acquisition of experiential objects is called vasana.

The power of the Absolute (non-dual Atma) due to which the experiences of the non-existent duality (multiplicity with names and forms) arise, is called ignorance (avidya). The tendency to forget one‘s true state and to ideate mundane affairs for one‘s own destruction, and to entertain doubts about Atma, is prime ignorance. The modification that firmly spreads the web of a universe in the non-dual Atma is called prakriti (nature); maya is the force that gives the realisation of the real in the unreal, and of the unreal in the real.


Ego is the false conviction of a self in a body.
The entire Creation is bound up with name and form and so unreal. It can be described in words and so, limited and circumscribed by the intellect and the mind. The paramapurusha, the Supreme Person alone is eternal, real, and pure. He is the prompter of activity and the dispenser of consequence. But, He is beyond the eye, beyond the intellect. Like the spokes of a wheel that radiate from the hub, that lead from all directions to the centre, all creation radiates from Him.

To reach the central hub and know that all spokes radiate from it, the mind is the instrument. Brahman the target is to be reached by the arrow-mind. Have your mind fixed on the target and using the Upanishadic teaching as the bow, shoot straight and hard, to hit the Brahman and master. That is to say, the Pranava or the OM is the arrow; Brahman is the target.

The Brahman illumines the Jivi by getting reflected in the inner consciousness or antarkarana. One has only to turn that consciousness away from the objective world, contact with which contaminates the mind. Now, train the inner consciousness to meditate on the OM, with single-pointed attention. Meditate on the Atma as unaffected by the Jivi, though in him and with him and activating him. Meditate on Him in the heart, from which radiate countless nadis, subtle nerves, in all directions. If this process is followed, one can attain Jnana or Wisdom.

The Universe is an instrument to reveal the majesty of God. The inner firmament in the heart of man is also equally a revelation of His Glory. He is the Breath of one’s breath. Since He has no specific form, He cannot be indicated by words. Nor can His mystery be penetrated by the other senses. He is beyond the reach of asceticism, beyond the bounds of Vedic rituals. He can be known only by an intellect that has been cleansed of all trace of attachment and hatred, of egoism and the sense of possession.


Hamsa Gayatri
Om Hamsaaya Vidmahe
Paramahamsaaya Dheemahi
Tanno Hamsa Pracodayaat

“May we realise Hamsa that is our own Self as Swan. Let us meditate on that Paramahamsa, the Supreme Self. May Hamsa illumine us.”