Karma Sutra: Our greatness lies not in indulging our ego, but in peace

When we take it upon ourselves to protect our interest and that of everything that defines us, namely our family, tradition etc. we are merely indulging our ego.

Written by Ritu S | New Delhi | Published: October 5, 2015 1:26 pm
peace main When our sense of self is defined by external factors such as our parents, our house, our tradition, our country, we fall like nine pins when these cease to be. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

As an ego-self (ahamkara) all our actions are directed at protecting our self-interest. Even when we extend our self, our actions are defined by our sense of self. We do things for our family, our belief, our community, our country.

J. Krishnamurti writes- ‘when you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence.’

When we take it upon ourselves to protect our interest and that of everything that defines us, namely our family, tradition etc. we are merely indulging our ego. This is because all of the above gives us a sense of self importance.

What would we be if not for this grand ‘I’ we have created out of these external factors? And everything about this ‘I’ demands respect; any disrespect to these extensions of ours is disrespect to the ‘I’.

Since we depend on these external factors to lend us a sense of identity, the moment we are stripped of these, we become nothing. The ego-self can bear anything but rob it of its identity and gets violent.

When our sense of self is defined by external factors such as our parents, our house, our tradition, our country, we fall like nine pins when these cease to be. While these factors do play an important role in our life, they are not who we are. There’s more to us than these extensions that supposedly imply our identity.

The only thing that defines us and gives us a sense of identity is our action and our intention. These are not limited by any boundaries. We are fellow humans and creatures subject to death and decay, an immortal lot.

Nobody is here to inherit the Earth ‘forever’. What is limited is our time frame. As immortal creatures to limit ourselves on the basis of external factors is plain foolish. So within the time frame that has been allotted to us, let us transcend all boundaries and extend ourselves to those in need. We are nothing but our actions. Good actions and intentions never demand respect, they command it.

The lines on the map may shift, beliefs may change, our assets may perish but a heartfelt gesture echoes forever.

Our greatness lies not in indulging our ego, but in its sublimation. And when we sublimate our ego, we invite peace, not violence. Where there is peace there is no need for boundaries. As for our ‘self-interest’, let us allow the law that reads not just our actions but our intentions as well, to protect it.

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