Transformation of the Ego

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Some of the (pseudo) Advaitic folks would have us believe that there are only two states one where Ego exists and the other where it is not. They employ the very same logic of black and white or in computer (binary) language 0 or 1. They admit of no scope of a gradual refinement of Ego or Self through Sadhana (spiritual Practice). In the Advaitic tradition though such a thing is not denied and it is this that I want to bring out in a concrete manner.

Now before we proceed we must know that Vedas( Earliest Advaitic or Non-Dual books) were written long ago and used symbolic language the key to which is probably not fully known or lost. To be precise they were orally translated for many generations before being written. This is the view of Aurbindo too, lest someone blames me of cooking up a story. Now some of these symbols are very beautiful and their meaning is not hard to understand. The art of symbols is a matter of deeper import and difficult to grasp. Those in earnest may do well to go through a beautiful exposition of this in Al-Ghazali Mishkât Al-Anwar("THE NICHE FOR LIGHTS") which is a commentary on the famous Light verse in Koran and elucidation of a certain tradition.

To give an example of the symbolism of Veda let us take the Sun and the Moon being employed for Intellect ( intelligence) and Mind (Man in sanskrit or Ego, the thinking and feeling faculty) respectively. Since the moon waxes and wanes and shines on borrowed light it is a fit symbol of the mind. The symbols convey a meaning much deeper which our heart can understand more easily. So there is much more to this like Sun also symbolises the soul being more permanent and the source of light etc etc.

Now concerning the transformation of our ego symbolism of Deha ( body) Atmak or or I am the Body mind is implied. This mind is born out of our identification with the body and is gross in nature. Such a mind is totally a slave of our bodily needs and pleasures. But as we evolve we realise that mind itself is more powerful and our joys and sorrow depend on it. Meaning that it is not the object alone that determines the outcome. This is not difficult to see and one of the simple tests is to ask which is more painful a hurt of the body or psychological hurt. So with little reflection and observation we get convinced of the fact that mind is more powerful. Thus we can say that this ego is less gross as compared to the former which took bodily pleasures to be everything.

Some people give peeling of the onion as a simile to attenuation of the ego. I shall be more specific and mark out stages or road map. Now the next thing that a seeker stars being aware of his self image. I am so and so. He realises that there is much in it that is not factual and also how much he shows off to keep up with the Joans. There is also the discovery of the fact of personal sorrow. Now having got an Insight into the ways of thought he tries to observe the common human predicament or the truth about the ego. This leads him to the discovery of Sorrow and compassion or he comes to discover his true I.

Now is it not going from gross to subtle or attenuation of our Ego. I hope my (Pseudo) Advaitic friends are listening.