„I meditate extremely well. Nobody meditates better than I do. I have great relationships with some gurus, but I am actually the most spiritual person around. I guarantee it.“ (1)
Who would speak like this? Most probably someone with a great, blown up ego. A true devotee feels always very humble and meek. Like Krishna dasa Kaviraja Goswami who said about himself „I am more sinful than Jagāi and Mādhāi and even lower than the worms in the stool.“ (2) That's the difference between a Vaishnava and a materialist. A materialist who might not really possess so many good qualities thinks himself to be a great personality, whereas the pure devotee, who is actually a great personality, feels himself very low. This humility is a sign of love and understanding of the greatness of God.
But if someone feels low, without having established his relationship to Krishna, then that is just another manifestation of the false ego. How is that? If someone advertises himself as very great, the influence of the false ego is easily perceived, but what about someone who feels very low? How is this related to the false ego?
The false ego wants us to look great and fantastic in the eyes of others. Therefore, the false ego pushes us to appear in a certain way that gives us respect and honor. The ego tells us: „you are good if you are perfect, if you are extremely successful, if you are beautiful, if you are super intelligent etc.“ In this way, our ego constantly pushes us to seek recognition. But if we do not have a certain ability or our karma simply does not allow us to be as great and fantastic as our ego wants us to be, we become frustrated and insecure. We are not able to live up to the level that our false ego wants us to and as a result we unnecessarily develop low self-esteem.
The blown up ego-message „I am the best“ and the low self-esteem ego-message „I am the lowest“ are both an expression of the same false ego. But if I identify myself simply as a servant of Krishna, jīvera svarūpa haya nitya-kṛṣṇa-dāsa, there will be no anxiety. In this consciousness, as a servant one thinks: „I am just a servant and I simply try my best. Whatever I can give, whatever I can do, that's me, that's what I can contribute, please accept it“
There are two kinds of confidences. One is based on the false ego - I can do it, and the other one is based on taking shelter of Krishna, by simply being a servant, being internally dependent on Krishna, „please help me, please use me as an instrument“. That also gives confidence, which is the confidence a devotee runs on.
In a survey, Americans admitted that their greatest fear was to speak in front of many people! That's again an expression of the ego! We think “if I stand in front of hundreds or thousands of people and have to address them, I don`t want to look like a fool! No, I want to come across as really smart, charismatic, and intelligent, but because I know that I am not able to do so, I become nervous.” Sometimes I request a devotee to give a Bhagavatam class and the answers are: „oh no sorry Prabhu, I am not qualified.“ That sounds very humble, but actually, it is often motivated by the false ego. “I cannot look as brilliant as I want the people to see me, therefore I better not sit on the Vyasasan.” In other words there is some fear, some pride involved. True humility would be: „yes If that's a way I can serve you, I am happy to do so!“ Without considering the outcome and how well I will be able to perform this task.
I was a more introvert type of person myself and I always struggled with low self-esteem. As a child and teenager, I was very shy and was lacking the confidence to approach others and therefore often felt isolated and lonely. By the process of Krishna Consciousness, I was able to give up more and more false identifications and the demands of my ego. Of course, I am still working on it, but it feels so great to just be a servant. No need to make a show of the super spiritualist and no need to feel low because I am not as advanced as my ego would want me to be. I do not have to play any role, I do not have to impress others with my skills or my knowledge. I can simply be myself and try to offer some service. What a relief! ;-)
1 - From a Facebook Post Picture with the title `Let your Trump Chakra Flow` showing Trump as a Buddhist monk
2 - Caitanya Caritamrita Adi 5.205
This is the last of three blogs on the topic of false ego, once again thanks to H.G. Devaki Mataji for her teachings and inspiration on this subject matter