Sunday, 3 January 2016

LIVING LIFE WITH EGO AND PREJUDICE Part 1. The original article

This is a very thought provoking article. We need to resasses our conventional notions about Ego and Prejudice. My comments are given in Italics at the end of the article.

Both are unique words, rendered bad by association always with a bad sense!
Gita refers to Ego as Ahankara (अहंकार), in the context meaning conceit, but literal translation being Knowledge of self.
Paramatma, as distinct from and in search of, Jeevatma (thwaida), could possibly lead to the bad ego, but Paramatma living with and together with Jeevatma (athwaida), could have only good ego.

It shows the wealth and depth of a scripture if it is amenable to a variety of interpretations, at all times!

One often sees downright condemnation of Prejudice and Ego  in The Speaking Tree type of articles,
Like virus on the nervous system.
There are two viruses that settle on the physique of every man, Prejudice and Ego, displayed while dealing with others and with the self.
Observation (action), personal perceptio, impressions made, stored in mind (memories) all lead to some churning (thoughts), and foregone conclusions etched in my mind, called prejudices, which shape  my dealing with others.
Separating the 'I' from others and building it up as distinct from 'We' leads to Ego which dictates the attitude in  me.
"Conquer the three gunas and keep them still, in the Nirguna state, and then wisdom to salvation dawns on the mind, Surrender the action and the results to Lord"
This is the essence of Gita.

It is just not realistic to follow this dictum on the face of it, in modern times. So we tend to find numerous devious explanations for that!
Ego and Prejudice  are not taboos, not bad words, as made out in 'Speaking Trees'

Religious philosophers often remind us of The Goal of Life
Why should there be a goal in life?

Apart from needs of existence, the pleasure of Life is in Living, in interacting, in enjoying and making others enjoy, no other Purpose in Future, to get confused with, and lose the Present! Of course, in a broader sense as distinct from animal pleasure, taking all fellow beings together, with the additional gift of Intelligence.

That is why this Goal itself has been questioned in strong and mild terms by some of our thoughtful friends.
'What is Salvation?'
'We live our lives without wanting to know where from or where to'.
Simple outlook on complex things in the crisply condensed form on ego and competition.

It requires a Bollywood comic hero, SRK, to tell us that there need not be a goal, they only terminate aspirations, may at best be called as milestones, extending one after another, with no end!
A beautiful thought, one wonders at what wisdom is contained at what corners!

Ego, as commonly understood, is at the back of all these.

The confusion comes in interpreting Ego and Prejudice as applied to Religion and practical life (the para and apara vidya (परा और अपरा विद्या) versions of knowledge)
In practical life, they form the base for success in our careers! Seeking information, assimilation into practical application which is knowledge and storing in memory for appropriate recall and use all are taught in management schools,  in addition to excelling others in fierce competition, all in gross contradiction  to what is  preached  in the Salvation path.
"Do your duty without expecting returns"
We expect to be paid in return of what we do!
We  expect promotions for what little extra we do!
We definitely feel sore when somebody flunks us in interviews, leaving indelible scars in our hearts!
Even a devout person giving charity, expects GRATITUDE in return!
Who, amongst us, do not feel bad when our blogs are not well received?

Have we not acquired some ingrained beliefs and faiths, planted and nourished by parents and society, which are also Prejudices? If such cultivated prejudices could lead to universal harmony, why should Prejudice be bad?

A healthy appraisal of Self with ambition to boost it to higher levels is the first step for success, all under the ambit of EGO!
Judging people around with memories of previous interactions, and appropriate techniques of body language and application of intellect in dealings with people, all are essential, all coming under Prejudice!

Most of us in grahastasram (गृहस्थाश्रम), are not after the elusive Salvation (मोक्ष), but after the real Success, needing Ego and Prejudice (normally condemned in Speaking Tree)
In search of the traditional Salvation, we cannot wish away the present Value Systems, Education system, Competition, overnight, in the name of reforms.

EGO and PREJUDICE are not our enemies. We have always used them in a bad sense. With a properly understood meaning  of good ego and good prejudice ( Self respect, Appreciation of others ),  like good and bad cholesterol, and with the right dose these can pave the road to Success.
Beyond limits, they make the monster of a man.

We cannot keep the three gunas still, they are nature's gifts to us, and TO LIVE, is to mix the three in RIGHT PROPORTION, is it not?
Sthita Pragnya स्थितप्रज्ञ (Stable Consciousness, BG ch2), could mean only this, as otherwise, if all move in one direction of sadhvic, we will ALL reach a placid state in the end!

The right path is , not total abdication, but MODERATION!  as guided by our superb gift INTELLIGENCE.


Comments from Ghare
It is stated in the above article that words Ego and Prejudice are unique words, though they are  generally used in a bad sense. I fully agree with this opinion. Actually these are not our enemies, rather they are essential and inseparable parts of us. 

Ego is a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance. It means his consciousness of his own identity. It is one of the main driving forces behind his actions. It gives him immense satisfaction. 
Prejudice means preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. It is synonymous with preconceived idea, preconception, preconceived notion, prejudgment etc. Actually our upbringing including schooling is mostly packing our minds with a lot of preconceived notions. We learn small small details of our way of living and develop various habits without asking for reasons. We just follow what is told to us by the elders. About three fourth of our brain is thus conditioned without our knowledge. How it can be termed as bad?

Ego and prejudice become bad only when they cause harm to others or ourselves, that is when we place them above reason. Otherwise, as long as they lead us on proper path, we call them as our good Sanskar and are proud of them. These attributes are unique and vary from person to person. That causes some disagreements and conflicts. Then one needs to take a unprejudiced, balanced and objective view, which is quite difficult in practice.

No comments:

Post a Comment